WHAT IS 'SCARAVELLI - INSPIRED' YOGA?
HOW I HAVE INTEGRATED HER APPROACH WITH SLOW YOGA?
Vanda Scaravelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1908 into a very musical family and she trained as a Concert Pianist. After WW2 ended and her husband had died, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin introduced her to Mr. B.K.S IYENGAR, and so, in her mid-life, she discovered Yoga. She was also taught by T.K.V DESIKACHAR and KRISHNAMURTHI and gradually developed her own unique sense of the natural patterns of the body and movement. She believed in the use of Gravity by surrendering the weight of the body, dropping the bones into the earth, and using that rebound energy and sensations to help extend the spine to its fullest, lightest, most heavenly length!
The approach takes time and patience to really feel the sense of release, letting go, and the expansion that she taught - moving with “no ambition”. Which is why it fits in so well with S L O W Yoga. Students have said to me they do not want the stronger power type/fitness yoga's, they came to class just wanting to relax and replenish after another stressful week, and slowly, over the years SLOW Yoga began being the core of my lesson plans. And now this is offered Online. There is a whole science behind Slow Yoga [it is not a new concept!]. Students have said they feel more peaceful and calm, they sleep better and are STILL building a stronger body and RESILIENCE to stress overload where they realising they are RESPONDING to stress as opposed to REACTING to it.
This way of teaching, in a more holistic and mindful way, suits me too. I cannot perform or teach chaturanga dandasana! I refuse to teach headstands or shoulderstands. Not even Sun Salutations! And I do not need 100's of online students, I prefer to get to know my students, or already know them, by keeping the classes small.
I cannot 'look after' students online like you can in a class setting, so quality of numbers versus quantity is my aim. The lesson plans have to be adapted for Online classes to keep students safe. The classes are the best value for money, just £10 for 1.5 hours and the WHOLE HOUSEHOLD CAN ATTEND. But by far, even better value would be to sign up for the 4 weekly payment plan of £32 every month which will come out of your bank account/Paypal automatically until you cancel it. You have a choice of a Wednesday morning or Thursday evening class.
Often it may look that we are not ‘doing’ much at all! We may only have a handful of poses/asana during the session. This means we can take the time to really ‘experience’ the asana with no rushing onto the next pose. There is no ‘grasping’ or ‘pulling’ on the joints, we encourage the body to support itself as much as possible, without putting a hand down on the floor. We develop the ‘balance’ muscles, again, using gravity and of course, the breath.
It may not be like any class you have been to before. It certainly is not like Ashtanga/power yoga classes, but it can also COMPLIMENT these more ‘rigorous’ practices. It is a gentle S L O W yoga that benefits all bodies. Non-competitive, no striving, no comparing, no ego. “Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose” Vanda said.
If you prefer more of a ‘workout’ , then this style may not be for you, BUT, it may also have a ‘cooling’ effect on your desire to achieve, achieve, achieve.
What I love about teaching in the Scaravelli-inspired way, is her use of imagination, metaphors, exploration and playing with the poses, all with compassion for Self. You go at your own pace, there is no counting of the breaths from the Teacher, you choose to explore a pose once, or 5 or 10 times! There are hardly any teacher ‘hands-on’ adjustments either [and certainly not Online!!!], you, yourself, wait, watch, listen, observe, experience if the pose feels right for you, and make your own adjustment without OVER - correcting. So you develop more patience, compassion and reliance on Self, rather than wait for your teacher, to sometimes, make a ‘too strong’ hands-on adjustment. You rely on your own ‘feedback’ from your body and mind. You become even more Mindful and relaxation is truly restful.
Slow Mindful Yoga is akin to the slow flowing moves of Tai Chi/Qi Gong when their wonderful amazing ancient words say - ' stones are hard and water is soft, but it is the water that wears away the stone'. In this form of Yoga, when the practice becomes a little more challenging then we SLOW down, and over time, a softness enters the body - read that as - tension LEAVES the body. This is true Mindfulness yoga. From feeling overwhelmed to ease - by really sensing into your inner body - this is known as Interoception [sensing]. This 'sense' enables you to FEEL what is going on inside your body. A great skill to hone, as it enables self-regulation. Helps you feel if you are REALLY hungry etc.
You will notice Qi Gong influences as well as Celtic Shamanic influences in both my Reiki Attunements and Guided Meditations in our yoga class.
This is a nervous system based yoga. 'Hear' this approach 'whisper' to your nervous system. It may not be like any yoga you have practiced before!