IYCWM Student Spotlight: September 2021

By Published On: September 9th, 2021

The moment you meet April you will agree that pure joy and enthusiasm pours out of her effortlessly. She is infectious and her positive attitude and hard work inspire all those lucky enough to be in her presence. No matter what the challenge is April will take it on with a smile, immense curiosity and thoughtfulness. It is with great pleasure that we shine the student spotlight on this radiant being!

Tell us a bit about yourself – My name is April Zyirek and I live in a sweet little bungalow in Norwood, MA.  Presently, I am a Special Education Administrator for Public Schools of Brookline and have been working in the field  of special education for 25+ years. While I enjoy working with teachers to improve their instructional practices and pedagogy, I most enjoy being and working with students.  I am a lifelong learner myself and enjoy the reciprocal nature of schools where I am often the student learning from my teachers and students. 


What is a little known or surprising fact about you or your work? For almost 5 months during 2018, I traveled solo throughout Southeast Asia visiting and exploring Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It was a life changing experience,  reminding me ,though  cultures and experiences may be varied , there is an interconnectedness in our shared humanity and the joys of family, art, nature, music, food and spirituality.

Another fun fact, during lockdown I started Tapestry Weaving as a way to nurture my creative side and to keep myself grounded in self expression.  I have completed several wall hangings and will start a new project once the New England winter darkness sets in. 


What led you to Iyengar yoga? How did you find IYCWM? I had practiced Vinyasa yoga for a few years before I found Iyengar Yoga.  As a teacher who embraces direct instruction of skills, Iyengar yoga was a perfect match.  The instructional format of “i do , we do then you do” has helped me understand the proper alignment of asanas and has helped me to grow in my practice. I also like all the props we use!   I started practicing with Susan Elena at Down Under Yoga and on special occasions, traveled IYCWM for in person classes and workshops.  When the pandemic hit, Susan Elena’s online classes became readily available and an anchor to tether to in such uncertain times.   I have continued to practice with IYCWM as a regular member since March of 2020.  


How long have you been practicing yoga? I have been practicing the asanas for about 4 years and have really started practicing the limbs of yoga on & off my mat over the past 2 years. 


What keeps you on the mat? I always feel better afterwards.  Even when I am procrastinating or finding excuses, once I get on my mat and in class, I always am grateful that  I attended class. 

What keeps you off the mat? Excuses 


What poses do you love? Arda Chandrasana  this pose makes me feel open and expansive. Also, Supta Virasana  this pose helps counteract  all the sitting & driving I do 


What poses do you find challenging? Salamba Sirsasana. I am still working on my inversions. As Susan Elena reminds me, yoga is a lifelong practice on and off the mat  


What do you like to do when you are not doing yoga? I enjoy traveling, being in nature, bike riding, spending time with loved ones and reading. 


How has practicing yoga impacted your life? Yoga Vrksa Immersion series has taught me that the asanas are just a small part of yoga.  Continuous study of philosophy and sutras has helped me with better integration of my body and emotional mind.  Yoga helps me immensely with the fluctuations of the mind and trying to remain present in the moment in which we are. When I am feeling out of sorts , I think about which series of poses will help with realigning myself.  


 How has the pandemic changed your daily life?  Does your yoga practice help you in any way? The pandemic has significantly impacted my social activities.  I haven’t been to the movies, have not eaten indoors at a restaurant nor have I gone to any museums or large public activities.  My yoga practice has kept me grounded and connected to a yoga community.  Having regularly scheduled yoga classes has kept me connected to the practice and regulating my mood. 


What has it been like to become part of a virtual yoga community where you do not know some of the other students? I have loved being part of a Virtual Yoga Community with IYCWM.  I have liked getting to see and know other students even if it is through the computer.  When I have attended in-person classes, there is never an opportunity to get to know other students. The on-line format with a regular teacher and returning students allows for more interactions.


How does this yoga community contribute to your practice? Susan Elena has created a non-judgemental space where questions are embraced.  I have learned so much from other students’ questions and the Yoga Vrksa philosophy discussions.  IYCWM community is a wealth of knowledge, and experiences and I  have benefited from  the vast array  of perspectives.  


What do you think about the future of hybrid yoga classes – some people in person some online? I am thrilled with Hybrid classes. It allows me to attend classes at IYCWM and practice with Susan Elena. Without a hybrid option, I wouldn’t be able to attend regularly. 


Any advice for those seeking to connect to a virtual yoga community? Find a good teacher who exudes the philosophy of Yoga.  A compassionate and knowledgeable teacher will create a yoga community where you can learn and grow.  Susan Elena is the heart of IYCWM.   She is compassionate, knowledgeable, engaging and direct. She is able to provide individual attention while also bringing the class through a sequence that is well thought out and developed.  She offers  a wide variety of classes and  workshops and the IYCWM fundraisers throughout the year reminds us that a yoga community goes beyond our mats.  I learn something new in every class. I encourage anyone to try IYCWM.


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