Catherine Annis is well known for her imaginative and practical approach to yoga. In 2017 she created the Intelligent Yoga Teacher Training Course (iytt), a 12 month, anatomically focused teacher training course with world-leading teachers such as 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 yoga practice and teaching focuses on strategies for downregulating the nervous system, working with breath and subtle somatic work to soothe the mind and create more physical ease for those working with pain, stress and anxiety. 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 Annis 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 and teaches live stream online yoga classes and workshops from her home in Somerset.
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 Annis has led Scaravelli inspired yoga retreats, weekends and holidays across the UK and Internationally.
Catherine now lives in the Exmoor National Park with her husband and dog and is thrilled to be living back in the countryside. She's recently taken up cold water swimming.
My Yoga Journey by Catherine Annis
I never had the privilege of meeting Vanda Scaravelli, 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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