Awakening the Spine

This excerpt comes from an entry for this week in the 2008 Yoga Planner by Marsha and Donald Wenig, given to me by a friend:

Vanda Scaravelli's approach to yoga was as an inquiry into her body:
listening to it,
trusting it,
and "undoing."

Her inner teacher was her eternal guide to develop a softer, more feminine approach to yoga, with an emphasis on gravity and breath to gently increase the suppleness of the spine. Scaravelli's is both a hard and soft approach, mixing power with fluidity.

In her book, Awakening the Spine, Scaravelli advises:

"Do not fight your body.
Do not carry the world on your shoulders like Atlas.
Drop that heavy load of unnecessary baggage...
Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose.
Do not look at your body like a stranger,
but adopt a friendly approach towards it."

Vanda Scaravelli died in 1999 at the age of 91 and was still doing poses like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana and Supta Kurumasana.

I thought of Scaravelli's insight on working with the spine - which is considered to be the doorway to experiencing union with the Divine in the yogic tradition.

Her approach to yoga was a sound one - and her advice - wise and wonderful - and a good reminder for all yoginis to heed - particularly in the New Year as we re-dedicate ourselves to the practice.


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