Daily Practice Discoveries

by Nancy Zrymiak

My daily asana practice is always different. Sometimes I decide ahead of time that I am going to focus on standing poses or shoulder work. Or maybe I’ll work on backbends. Maybe I’ve created a class sequence and I’m going to try it out myself, before teaching it. Other times, I just go downstairs into my yoga room, and decide when my feet hit the mat.

A few days ago I had one of those days. Hot outside, cool downstairs, no agenda. I remembered a Pavritta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) sequence that I learned from Ty Chandler in Victoria. She even printed out pictures of it and gave me a copy; five preparation poses that led to the final standing twist. I decided to get it out and play with it. I hadn’t done this sequence for a while but with each consecutive pose I thought, this seems easier than before. My shoulders are wide, my chest is open. Plus I could take nice, deep breaths. I felt energized.

Everything seemed to come together and I could feel the extension and expansion that Mr. Iyengar talks about so much in his book, Light on Life. Yet when it came to the final pose, I seemed strangely unprepared. My shoulders were hunched and I couldn’t get all the way into the twist to take the arm overhead. I had to go in and out several times to get it right.

It wasn’t until later, that I realized what had happened. I hadn’t been doing Pavritta in the preparation poses. I’d been doing them all without the twist!

It made me wonder – was I so in the moment, having no agenda and being in the mindset to play, or, was I not in the moment at all? My husband made me smile when he put it this way, “You were definitely in the moment, just not the one you thought you were in.

The whole thing made me think, that’s for sure. But what came out of it? Self-awareness? Curiosity? Certainly a new sequence (at least new to me) towards Parsvakonasana that I can teach my students. That’s what I love about those carefree, non-structured practice days. One thing leads to another, and you just never know where you will end up.

About the Author

Nancy first discovered Iyengar Yoga in Bangalore, India in 2010. It took only one class to convince her that yoga was for her… for life. She completed her studies under the guidance of Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, Louie Ettling and is now a certified Iyengar yoga instructor. In 2016 Nancy travelled to Pune, India to study with the Iyengar family. She teaches in New Westminster.  Follow Nancy on Instagram for more information.