Yoga was a gift from Vanda Scaravelli to her students. It is a gift, from you to your body.
Everybody is different. Every “body” is different. Whatever body type you are. However experienced or not you are. Whatever physical issues you have. This Yoga is for you.
Nobody can know your body better than you… this Yoga will give you tools to enable you to become more aware of what your body needs, what your body likes.
Discover how your body responds when you do things it enjoys. Work with your body, not attacking it, not against it, not trying to control it; and allow your breath, with the help of gravity, to release tension and stress.
Remember: If it hurts… it’s wrong!!
A message from Tony
This material is offered with great humility: I can’t acknowledge sufficiently the debt I owe to my teachers, especially Sophy Hoare and Diane Long, but also to so many people without whom this project could not have been accomplished. I have learnt so much from my own students, from Sandra Sabatini, from Rosamunde Jordan and Marilyn Freedman, and many others, not forgetting our joint debt to Vanda herself. The material is in no sense complete; it is as unfinished as any pose, it is developing, a work in progress, a snapshot of where I am now with my own practice. The asanas I have included are basic, I have not even included Triangle Pose.
The prime purpose is the encouragement, support and development of your very own practice.
Find 5-10 minutes each day when you can give your body’s movements really profound awareness. Use one or two of these poses each day. Pay attention to the time and place, even the clothing you are wearing. Sometimes it is hard to find the “ideal” location, away from other people, and then it may be that you are able find an appropriate frame of mind to do it where you are. Feeling a wholeness of movement, even for a moment, gives us a freedom, which is natural, profoundly relaxing and therapeutic.
Just a few minutes each day is very valuable. With each practice, we begin to discover the intelligence and harmony of our bodies. The ideal is to remain aware all day long. Think Tadasana when you’re in a queue, and balance when putting on, or taking off, your shoes. Imagine your body missing a daily session so much that you ‘do Yoga’ all day long!
How to use these recordings
One way to organise the practice is to recognise that there are basically three movements: Forward Bend, Backbend and Twist, or Spiral. Each of these can be performed from any of three basic positions: Standing, Sitting (or kneeling) and Lying (supine or prone). The starting point doesn’t matter: see what your body feels like each day. Try to fit in three movements, plus perhaps an Inversion, and a Balance.
The recordings are organised like this, so that tracks 2-5, tracks 6-9 and tracks 10-13 form complete sessions together with track 19, with a preparatory “letting go” exercise and a relaxation at the end. This “track by track” approach is just a suggestion, to get you started. You can alternatively create your own “playlists” to suit your situation, to accompany your personally-tailored Yoga practice.
As an alternative to three movements from three positions, consider how Yoga poses can flow into each other: We are always inviting small muscles to come into play, releasing big ones, finding space at the joints. this can be a more formal dance for our bodies.
Instead of the basic three poses considered separately, we begin to form a habit for our practice, where one pose leads to another, without having to think too much about what comes next.
Tracks 14+17 and 16+18 offer this kind of approach, with some “balancing” poses to “centre” the body prior to different versions of “Sun Salutations” sequences.
Notice how each pose brings awareness of different groups of muscles, and take what your body teaches you in one pose into your understanding of the next one.
As you do more, you become more aware of what your body needs, what your body likes. Listen to your body: pay it attention and take away your mind’s intention.
Discover the intelligence and harmony of your body.
Imagination is important, it fills the gaps while your awareness is developing.
If you are as inspired as I am by Vanda’s approach, read (again, and again!) her seminal work, her only book, written when she was 80, “Awakening the Spine”. I have also enjoyed Sandra Sabatini’s books, and “Notes on Yoga” by Sophy Hoare and Diane Long, Vanda’s long-term student.
Accompanying audio files
2: Letting Go (8:46)
3: Standing Forward Bend (11:29)
4: Kneeling Up for Backbend (8:24)
5: Laying on your back for Twist (6:24)
6: Walking slowly round the room (8:40)
7: Standing for Twist (12:01)
8: Sitting for Forward Bend (9:41)
9: Laying on your front for Backbend (13:51)
10: Laying with one leg in the air (10:51)
11: Standing for Backbend (13.24)
12: Sitting for Twist (11:10)
13: Lying on your back for Forward Bend (8:18)
14: Sun Salutations – includes 3 mins for centring (14:18)
15: One-sided Forward Bend & Virasana (10:07)
16: Mini Sun Salutations (20:56)
17: Tree Balance (13:20)
18: Warrior Balance (4:08)
19: Lying on your back for relaxation (7:55)
20: Standing for Hand Yoga (12:28)
About Tony Parsons (01737 789112)
Tony has been practising Yoga for more than 25 years, but was introduced to Vanda Scaravelli’s ideas just over twelve years ago, following an injury. Since then he has trained to teach in this style, he has a BTEC Professional Diploma, and has extended this to teaching children with Special Needs. He runs morning and evening classes for small groups in Reigate, a U3A class and gives private classes throughout East Surrey. He says that this kind of Yoga is ideal therapy for back and joint problems. He also runs retreats at Nerja, on the Costa del Sol. His own teachers are Sophy Hoare and Diane Long.