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Awakening the Spine

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  330 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A revolutionary new method of yoga for overall fitness that teaches "if it hurts, it's wrong'"--from a vibrant 83-year-old master.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 11th 1991 by HarperOne (first published August 29th 1991)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  330 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga
Beautifully illustrated, but not so well written (or is it the translation that's ailing?), it was interesting, but not life changing. Interesting since Scaravelli, just like me, discovered yoga later in her life- in her late forties. Taught by Iyengar and Desikachar, she went on to establish her own yoga school based on her ideas regarding breath, gravity and the spine. She voices her theories in the book. She became quite well known and regarded before dying 50 years later in her nineties.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Movement is the song of the body."
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not a book to read in order to learn yoga. Rather, it gives a depth of understanding to an existing yoga practice. Beautiful.
Judy Lindow
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Awakening the Spine is sort of an odd book. It looks like an easy read, there are a lot of pictures, but there are some points she makes about yoga and our bodies that I've never read about before. The most fascinating to me is the significance she places on the lower back, a point where the body extends upwards and downwards at the same time as a result of gravity - a sort of magical junction.

For example, in this analogy that compares a tree to a body she writes, "This central point of the
Shuyi Chua
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book. Wisdom captured in small readings and sections. Love the choice of accompanying images.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Worth reading for the images alone.
Rob Martin
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not your average yoga book.
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
Her yogic technique is far better than her writing skills. I enjoyed the last section where she demonstrates different postures.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Lovely collection of photos and meditations on incorporating yoga philosophy into daily life.

One catch: The language often feels awkward. I don't know why the editor didn't step in more. I suspect the weird syntax has to do with translating Italian (whether that was done by the author herself or someone else). Sometimes, reading something written by Yoda, I was feeling, yes.
Antony Mayfield
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book about yoga. Not immensely practical but a must-read if you are learning Scaravelli yoga, and I'd imagine would be useful for Hatha practitioners generally.
Lindsay Terry
I found this book at a college used book sale in 2006. Or, I feel that it found me... truly. At a time I needed the wisdom within its pages - it became my companion. I’ve read it over many many times and have been privately practicing yoga ever since. Her writing is powerful and poetic, and helps you understand why one should practice yoga for themselves - not as a show for anyone else or a competition. I recommend his book for anyone interested in self development, yoga, philosophy, or poetry. ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book gives the usual yoga instruction a new twist. Inspirational and uplifting, it encourages the gentle movement of the body to align not only one's spine but also oneself in the greater scheme of things. Lovely photos and role model in the supple bendiness of the 83-year-old author herself.
Leon Hermanson
More of a scrap book than text book. Only for experienced yogis. Took a few tips from it, but my spine remains dormant...
Barbara Golub
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is a must for every yoga teacher's shelf; practitioners will love it, too. Scaravelli offers really accessible ways to understand the function of the spine—from a physical, and energetic, perspective. She talks about the importance of the feet in feeling grounded, and suggests ways to make this an inherent part of one's yoga practice. The last part of the book is all asana, but not a specific, particular sequence. Instead, Scaravelli gives classes of poses that can help ...more
Mary Karpel-Jergic
A beautiful book of prose and pictures that provide an insight into yoga. This is not just a book of poses (in fact I'm not sure books are the best way to learn poses; much better to have an instructor to guide you) but an introduction to a new way of life and a fresh way of looking at the world. This is an updated version of a classic so has really stood the test of time. The author is/was a remarkable woman.
Pedro Testi
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book about yoga positions ( asanas ), although you will find some photos and comments regarding certain postures.
Every page contains in simple paragraphs and photographs on concepts of being, finding peace, breathing and existing in peace in a chaotic world.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is so much more than what it sounds like from the title. It is full of wisdom, inspiration and beautiful photographs.
Ryan Dixon
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A key book for me, to back me up with Yoga practice and Yoga teaching.
Pupak Haghighi
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing, enlivening, highly recommended.
Marianne Meyers
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, beautiful book. So knowledgeable, so simple, so clear, so loving. Seeing the photos of Vanda in asana are inspiring at her advanced age.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I did not find this book very "awakening" even if my knowledge of yoga is pretty basic... And kinda still is.
I guess I was looking for and needing something different, but that's me.
Hertzan Chimera
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very inspiring and positive.

Some insane poses, though -- maybe something for after-nine-years of Yoga.

John Hawkins
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful images, sweet soul.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely stories and wisdom and photos
Best yoga book out there!
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jose Gomez
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Much highlighting in here, a delight and a lesson for movers of any persuasion.
Leanne Ford
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
just lovely. and useful too!
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
Loved the philosophy
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Vanda Scaravelli was born into an artistic, musical and intellectual family. Her father, Alberto Passigli was involved in creating the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as well as the Orchestra Stabile. Her mother, Clara Corsi, was one of the first women graduates from an Italian university. Her early life was very much a musical one and many world class musicians such as Pablo Casals, Andres Segovia and ...more
“To relax is not to collapse, but simply to undo tension.” 1 likes
“Movement is the song of the body.” 0 likes
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