An Inside Job
Podcast with Scaravelli Inspired Yoga Teacher Catherine Annis
Here I chat with Kate Codrington, writer, menopause mentor and workshop facilitator for her new podcast "Life - An Inside Job". We explore the inner experience of yoga, how we absorb critical voices, and more great tips for inner wellbeing.
Of "Life - An Inside Job" Kate comments: "It will help you nourish your inner world and make it a great place to hang out, so your outer world can become more fun, meaningful and satisfying. I chat with fascinating teachers, creatives, therapists and ordinary people who use their interior experience to change their outer world. You’ll get the inside skinny on healing, how to manage mental and physical pain, how to balance your real-life outer world and make your inner world into the best kind of party. A party that is fabulous, even if you're the only person there."
I hope you enjoy our 'Inside Job' chat as much as I loved talking to Kate.
What is Scaravelli Inspired Yoga?
The style of yoga Catherine teaches has been inspired by the pioneering approach of Vanda Scaravelli. This is a gentle yet demanding form of Hatha yoga, which focuses on developing core strength through releasing tension and creating length in the spine.
Scaravelli inspired yoga is a stress-free yoga that benefits everyone. Classes are suitable for all ages and all levels, from beginners to those with many years of experience. Regardless of your level of fitness, you will discover a longer, stronger and more flexible spine, a calmer mind, and begin to enjoy increased energy and ease of movement.
It uses the breath and gravity to allow the spine to unfold like a wave, allowing the uninhibited opening and energising of the whole body. As Vanda explains in the opening page of her book “Awakening the Spine”:
“There is a division in the centre of our back, where the spine moves simultaneously in two opposite directions: from the waist down towards the legs and the feet, which are pulled by gravity, and from the waist upwards, through the top of the head, lifting us up freely”.
Vanda’s teachings are miraculously simple. She encouraged her students to do less, feel more. To unwind, release unnecessary tension, and begin to simply be. “You must only undo. The more you undo, the more you are and the more things come to you. Don’t try to become; you are.”
Releasing unnecessary tension – the importance of gravity
One of the most important revelations about Scaravelli inspired yoga comes with the discovery of release. Some of the most pleasant sensations we feel during yoga are the lightness and lift – the feeling of grounding and release that happens when we unravel the body and release unnecessary tensions. Vanda understood this, and focused much of her attention on simply using the positions to allow tension to fall away from the body, surrendering to the pull of gravity. Although this is an incredibly simple idea, the practice is more complex, bound up, as it is, in our body histories, the way we inhabit our bodies, the work we do, and the way we react to physical, emotional and psychological stimuli.
If we can follow her advice and at least begin to recognise where we hold on, we may begin to release tension away from the body, let go, and unravel established holding patterns. Once we set this process in motion, our structures will naturally begin to move with more ease and fluidity, as they did when we were children.
Suitability – postural and spinal issues
This Scaravelli inspired yoga approach is gentle, yet demanding. We work deeply, but with intelligence, so that the practice raises our awareness, helping us to make sustainable, healthy and nourishing choices, which will affect us and those closest to us, at all levels – physical, psychological and emotional. It is particularly helpful for those who are working with postural issues, lower back pain, stiff necks and shoulders and for those who are stressed, and need some space to learn how to deeply relax.