Scaravelli yoga for gentle strength

Scaravelli yoga is named after its founder, Vanda Scaravelli, a dancer who wanted to create a form of yoga designed to allow the body to gain movement without resistance.

There's a lot less stretching and it's suitable for all ages and fitness types as you are not required to be bendy, but be open to subtle structural  movements instead of the sweeping posture routines as in Ashtanga or Bikram yoga.


I signed up for the classes and my first was on a monday evening. I like the idea of focusing on one part of the body and feeling it breath, but after 45 minutes of  diaphragm breathing and big toe analysis I was almost asleep. Still it was a pleasant evening.

Tuesday evening and it's a little more dynamic, in a Scaravelli way. BEWARE, this yoga will never leave you feeling flushed from a workout - it will challenge you however as teacher after teacher uses the softly, slowly, breath into the toes approach - how many toes do I really need to breath into to stretch my arms up high?

"Yoga is an effortless dance with breath and gravity" 
                                                                          Vanda Scaravelli


Phrases like this capture the essence of Scaravelli yoga - and I recognise the truth in them -  my body did feel better for breathing into the scapula for twenty minutes, or lifting my leg off the floor in a "floaty gentle way" for ten minutes.

But what I think Scaravelli yoga does best is that it lets the lazy, lesser able and bad habit yogis return to the mat without bemoaning. Because it is slow going, and focused and intense, you really do remember some basic ground rules before saluting the sun in a frenzy of Om Shantis. However, if you're looking for a dynamic work out, think again, this is technical stuff - dance or not.