Exploring Deeper Poses with Krisna Zawaduk

by Nancy Zrymiak

Krisna workshop group attendees

Our Iyengar Yoga Vancouver community gathered together for a workshop with senior Iyengar teacher, Krisna Zawaduk. It was two days of yoga exploration, learning and challenge. Luckily we had 3½ hours each day where Krisna led us through a sequence of asanas to prepare us for the more advanced poses “at the back” of the book – Light on Yoga – that is. That familiar “come and watch” where we would gather around Krisna or another student to watch a demo and then go back to our own mat and try it out.

Krisna gave plenty of creative ways to achieve poses with props. And she gave us plenty of time to try them out – explore, try and try again. Falling was okay, wobbling was okay.

After the workshop I asked some of the participants if they would share a particular “Gem” from the workshop. Here are their answers:

Priyanka Joshi
Priyanka Joshi

“Practicing with Krisna and other experienced Iyengar Yoga Teachers over the course of 2 days was one of the most exciting and inspiring practices I’ve done. Krisna really helped me understand the techniques of getting into some of the more advanced poses that I would initially find challenging to attempt. One of her quotes that resonated with me was “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”. — Priyanka Joshi

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

“Krisna made this a carefully thought-through journey of self-discovery, rather than offering detailed correction at every step. She encouraged us to explore the more challenging poses from Light on Yoga, always with multiple options and creative use of props. Everyone experienced some aspect of each pose from Astavakarasana to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, and much more. It was inspiring to be reminded that even the most difficult poses can be broken down into accessible actions that teach us about Iyengar yoga and ourselves.” — Jayne Lloyd-Jones

“As someone who has an aversion to bending backwards (like most!) I found the repetition of shoulder/armpit opening and lifting the waist (without arching the lumbar) so effective to prepare for the fireworks. When we were working (and working more) on the deeper backbends the idea of finding courage to maintain the actions we had prepared all class (lifting, shoulder and upper back opening) was such an important factor for success. When there is fear or hesitation, then comes tension, and our old friend stiffness. Choosing courage over fear, for me, really removed all roadblocks and discomforts in the back-bending postures. I committed to the actions learned over the class and I left feeling light as a feather, and A LOT TALLER!” — Sean O’Leary (This is an excerpt from a blog post that Sean wrote called “Why Stiff Parents Need LOTS of Yoga! Read the full article.)

“One thing that stands out to me about the weekend workshop is Krisna’s playfulness. Even though it was a challenging workshop, the atmosphere was quite joyful. I hope we get to see her again in Vancouver sooner rather than later!” — Siobhan Sloane-Seale


A battle ensues when the mind says, “I want to”, but the body says, “I cannot.”
It lies in your hands to see who wins.
Sri B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar: his life and work)

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.