As founder of Yogashala Ibiza, retreat host and instructor at The Garden of Joy, Ibiza’s only certified Jivamukti instructor, London Regional Training Officer for the British Wheel of Yoga and a licensed Yoga Alliance Teacher Trainer, Ibiza yoga expert Jacqueline Purnell has a lot going on for someone in such a zen-like profession!
“I just love all of it,” says Jacqueline, when asked to define her biggest passion. “Every minute of it.” And who could blame her – these yogic responsibilities must seem like a cool Mediterranean breeze after a ten-year, high-pressure career as a reinsurance broker and reinsurance underwriter in billion-pound industries of Lloyds of London.
Today, it is the wellbeing, rather than the wealth, of others that receives her pure focus, a calling she felt strongly after she left her city career. Wanting to spend more time with her family, she returned to her yoga practices and headed to India where she studied with Shri K. Pattabhi Joise and in turn began teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa. After working with, and being exposed to, many gurus, Jacqueline stumbled upon an Ayurvedic astrologer, who saw a “calling to train others to teach yoga” in her Vedic chart, setting her on the path to today.
“You know, when you find your vocation, everything comes together,” says Jacqueline of her career path. Originally, she ran apprenticeship programmes at the West London Yogashala while also teaching retreats around the world. She studied to degree-level in Ayurveda and in Yoga with the British Wheel of Yoga, where she now has serves 3500 qualified teachers requiring CPD (continuous professional development) anually. “It was intense, but it was meant to happen,” she explains, having extended her qualifications to also include the Yoga Alliance USA top-level accreditation in order to offer her student teachers more international teaching opportunities.
Another compulsion was brewing the in mind of this supportive and intuitive instructor… that she would really like the opportunity to teach her courses in Ibiza. “I’d always loved the island,” she says. “My partner and I packed up the hippy van, drove over to Ibiza… and we’ve been here ever since!” Since her arrival in 2008, Jacqueline – who divides her time between Ibiza, London and New York – has set up Yogashala Ibiza, through which she hosts retreats, teaches a variety of classes around the island and works with private clients – and The Garden Of Joy, the location where she hosts her Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Courses.
Constantly learning via her own gurus plus masters she encounters through her work with the British Wheel of Yoga – from trends in yoga, and anatomy and physiology, to business skills – Jacqueline then imparts her knowledge to students and student teachers from as far and wide as New Orleans, Ethiopia, Russia, Switzerland, Argentina, Holland and more. Just like lawyers, doctors, health professionals, military staff all need to be continually updating their training, Jacqueline says a yoga teacher – even the teacher’s teacher – is no different to ensure your professional development and personal practice evolve.
“My knowledge has certainly exponentially,” she says. “I’m very blessed to have been all around the world, getting that top information, and now it’s my joyful duty to pass it on and train other teachers!”