Asana Technique/Enquiry (Scaravelli Inspired Approach), Buddhist Insight Meditation, Somatic Experiencing Therapy
My approach to Yoga has most recently has been inspired the work of Vanda Scaravelli, which is a therapeutic, creative, intuitive and enquiry based approach.
In a broad sense, my invitation in Yoga is to re-awaken the natural intelligence of the body, that has an innate healing and organisational capacity within it.
Instead of stressing and straining the body into shapes and breathing patterns that may override this innate intelligence, this practice invites us to listen and to feel inside, so the body can find its own voice – its own “song”.
“The feeling is more interior, because the motion is inside, the feeling is inside. It’s a feeling of well-being while you do the poses not to achieve. You must never have in mind what you want to do but what the body can accept.’” Vanda Scaravelli
By encouraging the body to let go of habitual tension and old patterns that fragment and distort the body and its energy, the body is guided back towards a natural state of rest and release in stillness, in posture and in movement. As this experience of internal ease is cultivated more and more we experience greater degrees of safety, energy, containment, and nourishment inside of ourselves. This provides the ground from which to explore the spine and deep core structures of the body. As we are able to inhabit the core of the body more and more we can start to see for ourselves, how living from this deeper embodied perspective may change the way to relate to ourselves, to others and to the world around us.
Working like this with yoga postures, the practice becomes so much less about the attainment of the postures and so much more about using the container of the posture to cultivate the conditions where the elements of fluidity, stability and spaciousness integrate to facilitate an embodied experience of greater wholeness, connection and coherency.
The yoga postures provide us with a perfect arena within which to investigate in a tangible and clear way how we feel in and how we relate to our bodies. It is a practice that gives us endless opportunities to bring detailed attention to sensation, grounding, breath, to the forces of gravity and rebound and how they in-form our bodies and their shape, to the energy potential of the spine and to the regulation of the nervous system.
One of Vanda Scaravelli’s great gifts to our Yoga practice was freedom. She gave us permission to follow our own inner teacher, liberating Yoga practice from the restriction of rules and traditions. She encouraged students to understand that, ultimately, we are our own best teachers – all we have to do is listen deeply.
“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. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun. To be sensitive is to be alive.” Vanda Scaravelli
Gemma is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Her Yoga teaching is informed by principles of Buddhist Insight Meditation (Mindfulness) and her work as a Somatic Experiencing Therapist (Graduate Trainee / 4 years to date) – (Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing).
She lives and teaches in Totnes, Devon. Currently she teaches at The Forge Yoga Centre, Collins Road, Totnes on Mondays at 7.30 – 9.00pm.
Teachers and Influences in Yoga and Meditation
Thich Nhat Hanh www.plumvillage.org
Dr. Peter Levine PhD and his Somatic Experiencing Method (Body Orientated Trauma Healing) www.traumahealing.com
The Insight Meditation Society (Many teachers :-most recent to date Steven Smith, Martin Aylward – (Now studying under Martin Aylward, Resident Teacher @ www.moulindechaves.org
Danny Paradise in Yoga (original teacher) www.dannyparadise.com (1998 – 2006)
I am currently studying a Scaravelli inspired style of Yoga with my teacher Caroling Lang www.carolinelang.com
I worked with Bill Wood (Scaravelli inspired) for a couple of years unlearning and unwinding and I experienced how to teach a more individualised approach within a class context.
Over the past 3 years I attend regular workshops with Diane Long and also Angela Farmer & Victor Van Kooten. I am inspired by their wild, unorthodox approaches to Yoga asana, the awakening of the spine, the way they set up the internal dialogue with the body, their intuitive / creative approach to the teaching of Yoga, and their joyful attitudes.
My friend, mentor, teaching colleague and teacher Aki Omori, profoundly clarified the direction of my practice and teaching introducing me to Somatic Experiencing and supporting me along the way. I work with Aki in London when I get the chance. www.akiomori.blogspot.com
Flamenco Dance and the internal dynamic and energetic containment of Flamenco and how it seems to be so congruent with the Yoga teachings on Bandhas!
I have been taught by many humble, unnamed here, but certainly not unrecognised family, friends, teachers, mentors and students along the way.
Personal Background I am half English (London) and half Spanish (Ibiza) and I find myself eternally split between these countries. It is for this reason that Still Flowing Yoga TT has found its home in Ibiza (it is in the blood!) I am a full time mother and partner, and I live in Devon where I teach yoga. I love people, children, animals, cooking, gardening, walking my dog Zeus, dancing, music, generally pottering around and perfecting the art of relaxation, skiing, riding, swimming in rivers, nature/trees, chaotic cities, people watching, laughing, learning practical skills that help me to live in a more engaged way, travelling, movement, indigenous culture, enquiring, exploring…
Professional Yoga/Meditation Biog I have been involved in the yoga retreat and intensive yoga world for the past 13 years, practicing yoga and meditation for 16 years, and I have been running yoga teacher training programmes since 2008. I co owned and co directed El Convento Yoga and Meditation Retreat Centre in Andalucia, and I was co founder and director of AshtangaOm Retreats with my ex partner Nic Freeman which was established in 2001. My depth of experience in this field led me to the creation of Still Flowing Yoga Teacher Training which both consolidated, and allowed an ongoing expression of my knowledge of intensive yoga group facilitation, research and coordination of appropriate yoga curriculum material that would allow for a broad, open minded and integrated study into yoga and meditation.