This week we’re very proud to announce a brand new teacher to Movement for Modern Life, Catherine Annis. Catherine is a Scaravelli inspired yoga teacher. You may ask, what on earth is that all about?
Well, Vanda Scaravelli was a true yoga pioneer. She often talked about the importance of listening to the body:
‘You have to learn how to listen to your body, going with it and not against it, avoiding all effort or strain and centring your attention on that very delicate point, the back of the waist (where the spine moves in two different directions).’
The Scaravelli way of practicing yoga is nothing to do with a workout, or the achievement of poses. In fact, you could say that the form of yoga is unique in not being at all about getting into any particular poses.
How freeing is that? No poses to achieve. No progression. It’s a revolutionary approach to yoga, which is in fact a freeing of the body.
It’s what happens when all the trying stops, and you truly start to listen to and understand your body.
In our society we are so obsessed with the idea of progression we often forget to really listen to and notice what’s right there in front of us.
Even on the mat, we’re often grimly determined to ‘achieve’ the pose and we strive to do more, we twist and force our body into shape and we ‘challenge’ our mind to face up to poses that don’t seem intuitive for us.
But how useful is that in a life, in a society, where we use often grim determination to achieve what we think we need to. Indeed, the yoga we practice on the mat often merely replicates the attitude we have in life.
Instead, the Scaravelli-inspired approach is to strive less in order to listen to our bodies and get what we need from a yoga practice.
Her focus was on freeing the spine, and to listen deeply to the body, and increase awareness “to absorb the teaching requires infinite time and no ambition”.
If you try Catherine’s new class, filmed at the Yoga Garden Party this year, you’ll see that the class is very subtle. And if you approach the class looking for a workout, or to improve your strength or flexibility, or to practice any particular yoga pose, you will be disappointed.
But if you would like a chance to listen to your body and are interested in what your body says to you as you move, and you’re looking for movements that’ll inform not only your yoga practice, but how you go about your everyday life, you’ll love the class.
I do hope you enjoy Catherine’s teachings as much as I do, she’s on our Movers Group for any questions.