I began practising Yoga (asana practice) around 1998. In the early 2000’s, I was introduced to ‘Scaravelli-Inspired’ Yoga by a Tai Chi friend – an approach named after the teaching of Vanda Scaravelli – which shares similar principles to Tai Chi.
Vanda Scaravelli was born in Florence in 1908 and trained as a concert pianist. She took up the practice of Yoga in her 50’s under the guidance of BKS Iyengar and TKV Desikachar (student & son of the pioneer of modern Yoga, T Krishnamacharya). She also trained in Tai Chi Chuan.
She developed her own unique approach to Yoga practice, which aimed to avoid forcing the body into postures, to engage with the breath, gravity and creating the conditions to release the spine into movement. This approach has much in common with the ‘Internal Martial Arts’ – especially the idea of ‘song’ or releasing the body to access a deeper source of internal power.
From 2007 onwards, I began to study regularly with many inspiring teachers in this and related approaches – including Marc Woolford, Sophy Hoare, John Stirk, Diane Long, Lucia Berdondini, Christine Borg, Gary Carter, Pete Blackaby and others – these teachers possessed an ability to embody and teach qualities that were spoken of in Tai Chi, but seemed somehow elusive in practice. This approach has deeply informed my teaching and practice of Tai Chi & Qigong over many years, and gives it a unique edge.
In 2015, I began an in-depth and rigorous Scaravelli-inspired Yoga training programme with Marc J Acquaviva and completed a 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2022. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) with the Independent Yoga Network.
The physical practices from the Yoga tradition (asana and pranayama) allow a larger variety of functional body movements and orientations, while linking the body more directly with the breathing process. The calesthenic aspect of asana & pranayama, allow the development of a balanced whole body strength that can be missing in Tai Chi & Qigong practice.
The Scaravelli-inspired approach – through deep development of whole body awareness and deep connection to the breath & spine – is an ideal support and preparation for meditation practice..
See also About Meditation section