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Release that tension. Invented by Italian teacher Vanda Scaravelli, Scaravelli yoga was originally created to provide a less structured alternative to traditional forms of yoga. Scaravelli believed that you should not push or order your body to move into different positions, and that yoga should focus on freedom rather than control. The main focus of Scaravelli yoga is the spine, although breathing practices also play an important part in relaxing the body and achieving a state of intense alertness.
A Scaravelli yoga class typically lasts for an hour and may be taught in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis. When practising Scaravelli yoga, you will be encouraged to take your time and to move in an unhurried way. You will be instructed to pay attention to your breathing in order to release tension and rest your body. You will then be taught to focus on your spine, using it as the basis for your postures rather than putting pressure on surface muscles. This allows you to naturally find positions, rather than forcing your body in to them.
It’s important to feel comfortable whilst practising Scaravelli yoga, so you should wear loose cotton clothing. Wearing layers can help you to regulate your body temperature and to avoid getting too hot or too cold during the class – you can strip off or wrap up to your heart’s content.
Scaravelli yoga can be practised by everyone regardless of age or level of flexibility. It allows everyone to work at their own pace, and teachers are careful to tailor classes to the ability of their students – so no need to panic if you’re a beginner.
Scaravelli yoga aims to relax the body, heighten awareness and improve flexibility, so can be great for easing physical and mental tension.
Pregnant women can benefit from Scaravelli yoga, but as with all forms of exercise you should consult your instructor and ensure that you are taking all the necessary safety precautions. This type of yoga is also suited to those returning to exercise after an injury – again it’s a good idea to inform your instructor of the injury so that they can make sure they tailor their teaching to you.
As well as being a leading yoga teacher, Scaravelli belonged to a very musical family and was a concert standard pianist.