By Annette (Annapurna) Zucco, Interviewed by Lissa (Yogeshwari) Fountain
“Teaching Svaroopa® yoga is my path to the Self. How I teach now may be different from a year ago. I’m always evolving, changing and going deeper,” shares Annapurna Zucco. She has been teaching Svaroopa® yoga in MA for 10 years.
Like so many teachers, Annapurna began as a yoga student in another hatha yoga style. However, she felt that her experience was incomplete: “I was not able to do any spinal twists, because the pain between my shoulder blades was so intense.” A mother of two young boys, her full-time job required she change her schedule. So she tried Marjorie Crockett’s Svaroopa® yoga class at a local Parks & Recreation. Annapurna recalls, “The marker pose was JP (Rotated Stomach Pose)! Right at the start I was in that painful spot again. Yet, by the end of class, I relaxed into this reclining twist, completely pain-free. It was a magic moment. I was hooked!”
Taking regular classes with Varadananda King since 2004, Annapurna says, “For me it was an organic process. From the moment I lay on the floor, I was able to track what was happening in my body. I could follow what was unraveling, maybe because of my background in physiology and anatomy.” Although Annapurna felt she was “too shy” to actually teach, her curiosity got the best of her, and she took Foundations in 2007. “This training propelled me into the depths of my Self, and I gained confidence as the other participants were encouraging me to teach. It set the groundwork for where I wanted to go.” Even while she was still raising her family and working, she was able to complete YTT by 2011, and has been teaching ever since.
“Asana spoke to me. I worked at a greenhouse, which is physically demanding; you’re moving all the time. And I process my experiences through my body. So I continued to take one to two classes per week.” She feels this has given her a unique perspective. “Attending class has focused me on my path. Learning and getting support from other teachers kept me centered and more aware of what was happening within: the flow of Grace and unfolding of Kundalini. Because I was still a student myself, I could then understand what was happening for my students as well. I am more sensitive to them and respectful of their needs.”
“When I teach, and I’m well prepared and present to my students, it all flows from a place of Grace. It comes from my heart. There’s an ease to it. I teach because it is who I am.” Part of Annapurna’s preparation is to re-read the pink sheets, write clear lesson plans, practice the poses and do her own daily practice. She says, “It’s all coming from Swamiji — every word in the pink sheets is imbued with her Grace. Annapurna also meditates and studies with Swamiji’s Year-Long Programme: “I need all these different pieces to reach inside myself; this is my way to The Self. The Grace is always there, but you do have to put yourself into it.”
After Marjorie Crockett’s death and Varadananda King’s relocation to Downingtown, Annapurna’s classes are an interesting blend of her own students with theirs. “Today, it feels like coming full circle when I can serve my own teachers’ students,” reflects Annapurna. Because she wants to be able to give her classes more, Annapurna has signed up for her first ATT course in March 2019: “Heart Openers.” She wants to keep personally evolving and growing and enhancing her classes. “Students teach me so much. I love supporting them. I am so blessed that this is how I can be in the world.”