Yoga, The Vanda Scaravelli Way - Part I
Vanda Scaravelli was born on January 15th 1908, in
Florence, Italy. She studied yoga initially with B.K.S. Iyengar and
later with T.K.V. Desikachar, both of whom learned yoga from T.
Krishnamacharya. Vanda credits Desikachar with her realization that
the postures, or asanas, cannot be disconnected from breathing. When
breath awareness is absent from the performance of an asana, there
is no true yoga—there can be no real experience of union—and
although the body may appear outwardly to be doing a yoga pose,
inwardly one could just as well be simply stretching or performing a
gymnastic exercise. “How” we practice does make a difference.
Over time Vanda developed and eventually began to teach what she
called a “stress-free new yoga that works with the body to restore
health, vitality, and energy.” Her approach to practicing yoga is
based on a unique method of spinal awakening and extension, not
through muscular effort and forcefulness, but through softening,
yielding, releasing, and allowing time for the postures to unfold
naturally, spontaneously, organically—a system she defined in
beautiful and poetic language in her book, Awakening the Spine.
Although the asanas we practice are the same, the results are
noticeably different and produce a sense of lightness of being,
freedom, and even exhilaration in the body, the mind, even the
spirit. We have discovered that authentic Yoga results not from what
you do but from how you do it.
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