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Kelowna friends' passion for yoga and art creates mother/daughter bonding retreat

Yoga instructor Krisna Zawaduk and art teacher Rena Warren are college buddies who
Yoga instructor Krisna Zawaduk and art teacher Rena Warren are college buddies who've seen each other through thick and thin; now they're realizing a dream, teaching a retreat for mothers and daughters aimed at growing together.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

When Rena Warren and Krisna Zawaduk say they want to teach a class for mothers and daughters who want to grow together they know of what they speak.

Warren, an art teacher, and Zawaduk, a yoga teacher, have a lot more in common than meets the eye—as do their disciplines.

"The practice of yoga really is an art," says Warren.

"And there is art in yoga," adds Zawaduk, looking over at Warren. "The attention and intention and devotion that she practices in her art, that's yoga."

Warren and Zawaduk's relationship goes back much farther than this quaint banter of philosophical hypotheses of course. They've seen each other through school, the births of their children, relationships, new homes and the very paths that earned them their careers.

The pair met when Warren was 21 years old and Zawaduk was 19, and both were studying at Okanagan College. It didn't take long before Zawaduk moved on, trying to make a life for herself in Vancouver.

"I wasn't doing anything glamorous," she jokes. "I worked in a bakery. Just got out there and started working."

Warren continued school, finishing her fine arts degree, while Zawaduk stuck it out studying the Iyengar yoga they had both experimented with through Margaret Lunam, a yoga teacher who taught out of her house on Clifton Road and would later donate the property that became Kelowna Yoga House.

When Zawaduk returned from the big smoke, the pair wound up living on the same orchard property, Zawaduk soon starting a family and Warren adding a daughter to her own life a few years later.

At one point, they agreed to share a roof. At another, they travelled to India with their families—Zawaduk to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, and Warren to find new direction and see something new, at Zawaduk's invitation.

"I think my knee jerk reaction was well, I can't," Warren recalled, as the pair described how that joint Indian adventure got started. "I thought, I have a daughter and I'm a single parent; but I just had this feeling like, if you don't go, you'll never know. And so we made it happen."

Now with a string of trips back to the country under her belt, it's easy to see the impact that one decision has had on Warren's life and work. Setting aside the vivid colours and intricate imagery, there's an indescribably South Asian feel to much of the artist's acrylics, let alone her block prints.

Zawaduk, meanwhile, said that initial trip was integral to her success as a teacher as well.

"I had to go to the source," she says, painting a crystal clear mental picture of the founder, Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, his stature and his presence and the depth of practice she's developed as a result of studying in his presence.

It doesn't take long to see the pair are uniquely qualified themselves to teach both arts, but spend half an hour with them and you soon find out they're relationship is one a few mothers and daughters could learn from too.

As such, these teachers of life will realize a lifelong dream this summer when they teach a joint retreat focused on each of their disciplines and how they can help mothers and daughters grow.

The retreat runs July 18-22 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. out of the Kelowna Yoga House. Zawaduk will guide participants through yoga asanas, philosophy and pranayama (breathing), while Warren helps the class create beautiful mandalas using block print.

The total cost is $250 per person and surrogate mothers and daughters are welcome. For information contact Warren at 250-448-5533 or Krisna at 250-869-8771 or email nerolidevi@hotmail.com or capricornucopia.hotmail. The pair have a Facebook page titled Shakti Yoga & Art —Mother & Daughter Retreat.

 

 

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