Awakening the Spine
Awakening the Spine is the culmination of Vanda Scaravelli’s decades of experience exploring the union of breath, gravity and anatomy. Her insights and musings are unique and will inform and instruct all who read them.
She began her study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar just after World War II. Her fascination with the wave of expansion the breath creates in the body laid the foundation for her special approach to teaching – with an emphasis in working gently with our bodies. “If you are kind to your body,” she says, “it will respond in an incredible way.”
Her signature approach is detailed beautifully in this richly illustrated book. By grounding ourselves through the lower body, our upper body – the head, neck, arms, shoulders and trunk – are free to express lightness. The first part of Scaravelli’s book is a guide to these principles of movement – in nature, in history and ourselves. With illustrations from breaking waves to ancient Egyptian drawings, the patterns of human movement are echoed everywhere.
Part II is a simple, straightforward guide to the practice of specific asanas, with photographs of the incredibly lithe, 80-something Scaravelli demonstrating many of the poses. Here she takes us into breath, what Scaravelli calls the “essence of yoga,” and concludes with simple pranayama exercises.
This beautiful, philosophical look at anatomy and the practice of yoga, is a gem formed over many decades. Its brilliance will delight, inspire and teach all who view it.
Vanda Scaravelli was born in 1908 in Florence, Italy. An accomplished pianist, she discovered yoga in her forties, while living in Switzerland. This is when, she said, “a new life came into my body.” Since her death in 1999 at age 91, many teachers around the world have continued her methods.
Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy (Paperback)
B. K. S. Iyengar (forward), Vanda Scaravelli (Author)
A long awaited reprint of this classical work revised by Vanda’s daughter and based on extensive notes left by the author allowing the book to be published for the first time as Vanda intended. Even if you have the first edition, it’s still worth investing in this one to see how Vanda’s ideas subtly changed. Superbly illustrated with iconic pictures of Vanda as well as inspiring photographs and images to set the tone. A book to treasure.
Vanda Scaravelli (1908 - 1999) is known for her contribution to the practice of yoga in the West.
As a young girl, Vanda met the philosopher Jiddhu Krishnamurti, who became a family friend. He would stay at their home in Florence each year. Krishnamurti and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, another friend of the family, invited Tirumalai Krishnamacharya to come to Scaravelli's home in Gstaad, Switzerland to teach them yoga. Krishnamacharya sent two of his students, B. K. S. Iyengar and T. K. V. Desikachar, to teach them. In this way she took up the practice of yoga in her 50s. When they left Europe she no longer had a teacher, and had to develop her own practice. As this progressed, she developed a focus on breath, gravity and the spine.