“Yoga must not be practised to control the body: it is the opposite, it must bring freedom to the body, all the freedom it needs.”
– Vanda Scaravelli
Scaravelli inspired yoga is a gentle yet powerful form of Hatha yoga that uses gravity and breath to release the spine and energise the body. This approach focuses on ‘the intelligent heart’, an innate sense of our natural patterns of movement to bring harmony and ease to the asanas (postures).
Vanda Scaravelli was born in Italy in 1908 to a musical and artistic family. She actually started learning yoga in her 40’s, but was taught by incredible yoga teachers like BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikachar and Jiddu Krishnamurti. She continued to be an active student and practitioner of yoga until her death in her 90’s. During this time, Vanda wrote one of the most famous Hatha yoga books called ‘Awakening the Spine’. She emphasised listening to the body, rather than working against it. As she advices,
'If you are kind to your body, it will respond in an incredible way'.
Interestingly, Vanda never wanted her approach of yoga to turn into a method or a style of yoga. This is why teachers who currently follow this method of practicing often refer to as ‘Scaravelli Inspired yoga’ or ‘In the Spirit of Vanda Scaravelli’.
I discovered Yoga in my early twenties, but it was only when I discovered Scaravelli Yoga, that I began to fully understand what yoga is fundamentally about and how it could help me.
I was always trying too hard, forcing my body to do what I thought it needed, or what I thought it should be doing. Fixed on trying to ‘perform’ what I thought an asana should be, or should look like. But what I began to realise is that it’s not about trying to force the body into a set of rigid poses, it is about learning to let go of tension and habits that limit our movement.
My focus is now on approaching asana from within. When we 'tune in' with the inner-workings of our body, we can begin to move towards each asana with a new awareness that prevents us from imposing on the body.
We can begin to identify any tension, dullness and old habits that exist. With some gentle encouragement, we can gradually begin to disperse these, cultivating new habits that will help to make you physically and mentally stronger. This cannot be hurried and will only get richer and deeper with practice, patience and time.
Scaravelli inspired classes are suitable for everyone including complete beginners. It is also great for experienced students who are looking to deepen their practice.