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Reflections on my experience as a student, volunteer, board member Dianne Kapty

November 2, 2021

It is with pleasure that I reflect on my history with KYH as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio on St. Paul Street. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Margaret Lunam, as she had moved on to the next phase of her life by the time I came on the scene. One story from Margaret’s teaching that still makes me smile is when she would say ‘Ladies, show your medals’ as her way of saying ‘lift your sternum’. Makes me feel like a warrior when I ‘show my medals’. 

My history with yoga started at a community center in Vancouver in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, I was introduced to Iyengar yoga in a school gym in Richmond. I still remember one sequence that released the tremendous stress I was holding in my upper back and shoulders. I did not have the sense to follow that teacher when she moved her next series of classes to another venue. I did however start buying yoga books by and about BKS Iyengar.

In 2011 I retired early and moved to Kelowna to live with my elderly mother. The daughter of my mother’s neighbours, who volunteered for KYH, introduced me to the studio when she needed to run an errand there. I liked the feeling of the place as soon as we walked in. In my first class, Krisna had me do a shoulder stand, which I still consider to be a miracle. Yoga quickly became an important part of my life, and my mother often asked if I was going to ‘yogurt’ today. 

My experience as a volunteer started with work exchange dusting and washing the floors once a week. Eventually I shared with Phofi supervision of the work exchange cleaners. At the 2013 AGM I was elected to the Board of Directors. In 2015 I transitioned from washing the floors to managing the office on Wednesday mornings, in exchange for yoga classes. And my latest adventure in volunteering was assuming the role of President of the Society in the middle of the pandemic?! 

Besides the wonderful Iyengar yoga teachers at KYH, I have enjoyed workshops with many visiting teachers. While each teacher brings their own personality to the subject, the highlight for me has been Jawahar Bangera. From Mumbai, Jawahar studied under Mr. Iyengar’s guidance for more than 30 years, and is a trustee of the Light on Yoga Research Trust. Despite my fears that I was not up to the rigors of a world class Iyengar yoga teacher, I registered for my first workshop in March 2014 based on my two and a half years of Iyengar yoga. What can I say … not only did I survive, I loved the workshop, learned a lot, and registered for each of Jawahar’s subsequent workshops in Kelowna (April 2016, February 2017, February 2018, and May 2019). In 2016 I had the pleasure of driving Jawahar to Vancouver, to see the sights, before his workshop there. In 2019 I drove him through the Rocky Mountains to his next workshop in Calgary. The March 2020 workshop was cancelled by the pandemic. In August 2021 I took an online workshop with Jawahar. VERY early in the morning BC time, still good but not as enriching as in-person. I do hope that Jawahar will eventually return to Kelowna to share his wisdom with the Iyengar community here. 

It is probably obvious by now that both yoga and KYH are important to me. I have at times been frustrated by the vagaries of a society run by volunteers. And then I take a class that leaves me feeling especially good. Or I chat with other students and am reminded what a wonderful community I am part of. 

Kelowna Yoga House succeeds through the dedicated service of its many volunteers. 

 
 

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