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Catherine Annis

Catherine Annis is a member of the yoga teacher training faculty at triyoga, London's leading yoga studio where she also sits on the teacher advisory committee.  She is well known for her imaginative and practical approach to yoga. In 2017 she created the Intelligent Yoga Teacher Training Course (iytt), an 18 month, anatomically focused teacher training course with world-leading teachers Peter Blackaby and Gary Carter.

Originally a professional dancer, she discovered yoga as a teenager, and has been  practicing since the mid 1970s.  Having studied various styles of yoga including Sivananda, Iyengar, Astanga and various forms of Hatha yoga, she eventually gravitated to the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli.

Catherine’s daily yoga practice and  teaching focuses on deepening physical awareness and  alignment to reveal and release the natural freedom of the body, particularly the spine.  She holds a Masters degree in ballet studies, and is a qualified Thai massage  practitioner, and it is this interest in the body which informs and inspires her teaching.

In 2008, Catherine noticed that there was a need for a more intensive course, suitable for teachers and serious students.  In response to this need, she created the Scaravelli Immersion course, which is one of the few such teacher training intensives and is now an annual event.

Catherine teaches Scaravelli yoga privately, on a 1:1 basis in London, and teaches yoga classes and workshops at both of London’s top yoga studios, triyoga (Camden, Soho and Chelsea); at the Life Centre in Notting Hill Gate, and the Haybarn studio in South Kensington.

Throughout the year she leads Scaravelli inspired yoga workshops around the UK and is regularly invited to teach for The British Wheel of Yoga and various independent teacher training schools.

Since 2005 Catherine has led Scaravelli inspired yoga retreats, weekends and holidays in Sussex and further afield in Europe, the Middle East and India.

My Yoga Journey

I never had the privilege of meeting Vanda, but have worked with many of her key students. My first Scaravelli inspired yoga class was taught by Alex Grey (who was a student of Diane Long – herself a long term student of Vanda).

At that time, I’d been practicing since the mid 1970s, and attended Sivananda, Iyengar, Astanga – all kinds of classes, experiencing as much as possible. Alex was teaching elbow dog, and it was a revelation. I wanted to push right into it, to really “do” the pose, but she held me right back and stopped me – and it felt completely different. In the beginning, I found this frustrating, because it felt as though I couldn’t “complete” the pose.

On one level the sensations were much more subtle and delicate – the complete antithesis to the familiar feelings of working hard and “having a good stretch”. But after a while I discovered that Alex was making me integrate. Rather than hanging out on my flexibility, she was making me work from the centre, from deeply inside, engaging my whole self in that simple movement. That was my first experience of Vanda’s approach, and it hooked me and kept bringing me back to discover more.

Shortly afterwards, friends and other teachers urged me to work with John Stirk. He became my teacher and mentor for the next 12 years. John’s insights into  Vanda Scaravelli’s life and work, and his own inspired approach to yoga and living, have profoundly enriched my practice and teaching.

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