Vanda Scaravelli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vanda Scaravelli
Vanda Scaravelli with B. K. S. Iyengar.jpg
Occupationyoga teacher, author

Vanda Scaravelli (1908 - 1999) is known for her contribution to the practice of yoga in the West. She learnt yoga as an early student of two of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya's pupils, B. K. S. Iyengar who taught her the asanas, and T. K. V. Desikachar who taught her pranayama (yoga breathing). Her style of yoga was developed with the help of her long-term student, the yoga teacher Diane Long.


Vanda Scaravelli was born in Florence in 1908. Her father, Alberto Passigli, was involved in creating the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as well as the Orchestra Stabile which enabled Florence to have its own orchestra.[1] Her mother, Clara Corsi, was a teacher and one of the first women to graduate from a university in Italy. At the age of three Vanda started learning the piano, and went on to train as a concert pianist, taught by Ernesto Consolo. She maintained her involvement in music throughout her life. The family home functioned as a salon for famous artists and musicians. World class musicians such as Pablo Casals, Andres Segovia and Arturo Toscanini were frequent visitors to the family villa, Il Leccio.[1]

As a young girl, Vanda met the philosopher Krishnamurti, who became a family friend. He would stay at their home in Florence each year.[2] Krishnamurti and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, another friend of the family, invited Tirumalai Krishnamacharya to come to Scaravelli's home in Gstaad, Switzerland to teach them yoga. Krishnamacharya sent two of his students, B. K. S. Iyengar and T. K. V. Desikachar, to teach them.[3] Iyengar taught her the asanas, and Desikachar taught her the awareness of the breath.[2] In this way she took up the practice of yoga in her 50s.[3] When they left Europe she no longer had a teacher, and had to develop her own practice. As this progressed, she developed a focus on breath, gravity and the spine.[3]

Her daughter, Paola Scaravelli Cohen, has updated her book from Scaravelli's notes.[2]


  • Scaravelli, Vanda (1991). Awakening the spine : the stress-free new yoga that restores health, vitality, and energy. Aquarian Press (HarperCollins). ISBN 9781855381506. OCLC 877438335.
  • Scaravelli, Vanda; Howard, Rob; Iyengar, B. K. S (2015). Awakening the spine: yoga for health, vitality, and energy. HarperOne. ISBN 9780062428530. OCLC 939995733.


Scaravelli-style yoga, inspired by her work and that of her student for 23 years Diane Long,[4][5] continues to be taught into the 21st century.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b Mannarelli, Sibilla Vecchiarino (23 February 2018). "Vanda Scaravelli: Gravita', Colonna e Respiro" (in Italian). Yoga Magazine.
  2. ^ a b c Redfern, Helen (3 January 2019). "Book Review: Awakening The Spine by Vanda Scaravelli". Yoga Matters. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Wishner, Nan (May 5, 2015). "The Legacy of Vanda Scaravelli". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  4. ^ "The intuitive yoga of Diane Long and the teaching of Vanda Scaravelli". Diane Long Yoga. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Christine Borg | Exploring the Teachings of Diane Long and Vanda Scaravelli". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Awakening The Spine Inspired Vanda Scaravelli Yoga". Vanda Scaravelli Yoga. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  7. ^ "About Scaravelli Inspired Yoga". Freeing the Body. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  8. ^ Baroncini, Rossella (2018). "The teaching of Vanda Scaravelli". The Quarterly Magazine of Yoga Therapy Ireland (72 Summer 2018). Retrieved 1 April 2019.

Further reading[edit]