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!
BUT, this approach takes time, patience, earnest devotion to really feel the sense of release, letting go, and the expansion that she taught. 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 would come 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! And I do not need 100's of online students, I prefer to get to know my students, or already know them, and vice versa. 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 4 weeks which will come out of your bank account/Paypal automatically until you cancel it. You and your whole household will then have unlimited access to attend all 3 classes weekly if you wish. Most students on this plan attend twice a week.
Often in class, 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. And with all Yoga approaches, we are developing strength and ‘juicy joints’!
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. So you develop more patience, compassion and reliance on Self, rather than wait for your teacher, to sometimes, make a ‘too strong’ adjustment. You rely on your own ‘feedback’ from your body and mind. You become even more Mindful and relaxation is truly restful.