ABOUT ME

As far as I can remember I've been passionate about movement. I was never interested in or particularly good at sports, but I liked to dance and practiced gymnastics as a child. Postures like Hanumanasana and Sirsasana, even though practiced under different names, were fun for 12-year-old me. Fast forward into my early twenties and those days of physical joy were only distant memories. When I stumbled into my first Yoga class in 2006, I suffered from all the aches and pains that are typical for our chair-based societies and which most of us consider a normal part of life. From that first class I remember mostly rolling on the floor, getting conscious of my breathing, the poses feeling familiar, the final relaxation in Savasana - a revelation. I loved every minute of it and never stopped practicing since.

Yoga helped me greatly in re-establishing a sense of well-being in my body. In 2014, I entered my first 200h Vinyasa Yoga teacher training, followed by a 300h teacher training in Traditional Hatha Yoga and Yogatherapy and specialisations in Pre- and Postnatal Yoga (for a more detailed overview of my training scroll down). Over time, I explored different approaches and styles of yoga until I finally encountered the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli. First, I saw pictures of her; this elderly lady dressed all in black, doing advanced poses with such ease and grace. In her book "Awakening the Spine" she speaks of wholeness and beauty, paying attention instead of doing some form of exercise. I was immediately hooked. 

Another important field of influence and investigation comes from the Somatic and Embodiment practices, especially the Body-Mind Centering® approach around Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. I'm also moved by the contemporary practices of original and ancestral movement as well as the more traditional practices of Qi Gong.

I hope to help my students experience the joy and freedom this practice gives to me. Get in touch with me via sandrawoodsyoga@gmail.com if you’re new to yoga or want to find out more about ongoing classes and private tuition.

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"To absorb the teaching requires infinite time and no ambition."

Vanda Scaravelli

THE PRACTICE

The practice is an investigation into the parts of the body and how they relate to each other. It's an investigation into our movements and our breath as we become aware of and release ever deeper layers of long hold tension. Our bodies free themselves as the mind learns to relax through the simple, yet demanding, practice of attention to movement and what actually happens in our bodies when practicing yoga asana. It is demanding to refrain from trying to "get into the posture" and, instead, only getting the circumstances right for the body to become free, the spine to awaken and healthy movement to happen. What we call asana, then, is like the final blossoming of a flower, within its right time and within its right space. We must slowly let go of the tensions we continually create in our bodies and we must let go of the busyness of the mind that wants to fix things. We must be willing to pause, again and again, and to be willing to let go, and to start over, again and again. The mind doesn't impose on the body, but pays close attention only, to gravity, to the movements of the spine, and to the breath.

My Yoga practice is mainly inspired by and based on the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli. Vanda practiced a beautifully simple form of yoga based on tuning into your body and breath and moving in a way that responds to that. She gave her students permission to look to the inner teacher rather than follow rigid rules and for this reason she never wanted to form a school of "Scaravelli Yoga". Vanda is is the author of the book "Awakening the Spine". She was born in Florence, Italy in 1908. Already in her forties, she first learned Yoga directly from B.K.S Iyengar and later T. K. V. Desikachar. Over the course of a few summers she would receive them at her summer residence and enjoy private classes.

After those visits had ended, Vanda would go on to practice by herself and over the following decades developed her own, very unique approach to the practice of yoga. When she finally remained alone she "discovered a new world in this field, a world without aim and without competition, where the body can start again to function naturally and happily, allowing expansion to take place in space." Her yoga is very gentle, yet very profound. Instead of applying effort, strengthening and stretching parts of the body to place them in a fixed and final position, she took her attention deep into her experience. She accepted few students which she would each teach differently, understanding and respecting their different bodies and conditions. She consistently refused to form some kind of "style", or "school" of yoga, because she knew that "Yoga cannot be organised, must not be organised".

 
 
CURRICULUM

Teacher Trainings

Somatic Movement Educator Body-Mind Centering®;  2020-2022

500h Somatic Movement Education Program with www.bmcnobrasil.com, Brazil

Trauma-sensitive Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training; 2020

200h Teacher Training Trauma-sensitive Mindfulness Meditation with Brenda Feuerstein, www.traditionalyogastudies.com, Saskatoon, Canada

Trauma-sensitive Yoga Nidra Teacher Training Level 1;  2020

50h Teacher Training Trauma-sensitive Yoga Nidra mit Brenda Feuerstein, www.traditionalyogastudies.com, Saskatoon, Canada

Yoga for Mothers and Babies;  2019

30h Postnatal Yoga and Somatic movement and Developmental Baby Massage (Peter Walker) with Anne Sobotta, www.yogaparagestantes.com.br; São Paulo, Brazil

Yoga and Somatic Movement for Pregnancy;  2018

100h Yoga and Somatic Movement for Pregnancy with Anne Sobotta, www.yogaparagestantes.com.br; Santo Antônio de Pinhal, Brazil

Traditional Hatha Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Yogatherapy; 2015-17

300h Hatha Yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga and Yogatherapy with Gerson D’Addio da Silva in the tradition of the Kaivalyadhama Institute; São Paulo, Brazil

Hatha Vinyasa Yoga; 2014

200h Hatha Vinyasa Yoga with Camila Reitz, www.camilareitz.com.br; Bahia, Brazil