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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to the spirit of yoga
Some of the other reviewers of this book are disappointed that it is not 'practical' and for this reason have described it as 'useless'. I cannot agree. For those who are thinking about practising yoga or those who are already students, it is a wonderful handbook to the spirit of yoga, explained in simple, short chapters.
Not only that, but it is inspiring to see...
Published on 26 May 2000

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More an autobiography of a yogini
I can see why this book would divide opinion. The marketing line on the front cover "The stress-free new yoga that works with the body to restore health, vitality and energy" I think was probably added by a marketer rather than the author. I think it's misleading - as a number of readers of have commented, this isn't a book to read to understand how to do the...
Published on 20 April 2010 by Dirk Benade


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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to the spirit of yoga, 26 May 2000
By A Customer
Some of the other reviewers of this book are disappointed that it is not 'practical' and for this reason have described it as 'useless'. I cannot agree. For those who are thinking about practising yoga or those who are already students, it is a wonderful handbook to the spirit of yoga, explained in simple, short chapters.
Not only that, but it is inspiring to see Vanda Scaravelli, in her eighties at the time, doing amazing backbends. She didn't start yoga till she was about forty - proving that it is never too late to start this amazing practise.
If you want a practical book on yoga, I would reccomend Godfrey Devereux's Dynamic Yoga and Erich Schiffmann's Yoga: the spirit and practice of moving into stillness. But Scaravelli's book is invaluable as an adjunct, and precisely because it is not about things like what to do with your legs in virabadrasana. It is informative without being esoteric. When she writes that to practice yoga you need a teacher she is telling no less than the truth. I have practised yoga for a few years and always return to this book. I also always give it to friends who are thinking of starting and they always love it.
Scaravelli died about eighteen months ago, but her students continue to teach her method which is based on using the power of gravity. She does introduce you to some asanas (poses) in the book; but that is not the point. The only way to learn yoga is to do it, but this book will refresh you and remind you why you are doing it. If the reason you are doing yoga is just so you can do the splits, maybe this is not the book for you. For everyone else: Let go of your ego and your goal-oriented mind and buy this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More an autobiography of a yogini, 20 April 2010
I can see why this book would divide opinion. The marketing line on the front cover "The stress-free new yoga that works with the body to restore health, vitality and energy" I think was probably added by a marketer rather than the author. I think it's misleading - as a number of readers of have commented, this isn't a book to read to understand how to do the postures.

In my opinion a better description of this book is to think of it as part autobiography and part musings by a person who has practised yoga throughout her life. With the end in sight she's reflecting and sharing her observations, lessons learned, philosophy and conclusions about life in general, all of which are framed in the context of yoga.

I would suggest that this book will resonate most with people who've been practising for a long time; have a regular self-practice; teachers and those training to be teachers; and people who have a more emotional and spiritual world view. If you don't tick at least one of these boxes (and preferably 2 or more) then I'd recommend you avoid it.

The book offers many excellent observations for those who are already adept an asana and can use the insights offered to refine and develop the subtleties of their practise. For example she writes "yoga will be accepted by the body when it is done without resistance. The wave along the spine is like the melody in music. When the beautiful flow of extension is in action, this wave will help the body find the right adjustment in the performance of the various movements". This is useful, but it's required more than 10 years of dedicated practise to have an appreciation for what the author is is alluding to here and to experiment with it.

I tend more to the rational and intellectual and found the author's style of writing rambling. There isn't a clear structure to the book and topics change with no warning or apparent logical connection between them. Whilst I'm glad I got it for the gems scattered amongst the pages, I did have to look quite carefully for them.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have book for your collection, 17 Sept. 2001
By 
Stephen Luff "Stephen L" (Worthing, Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Yoga's a big subject. One book cannot cover everything in detail. Vanda's book focuses on how the spine is key to all your stretching in Yoga. She explains in detail how to use gravity as your friend and healer. This book covers VITAL information for anyone practicing Yoga. There are plenty of videos and books out there with detail about a Yoga routine. This is not one of them. Sandra Sabatini's book on Breathing is another vital key book about the importance of focus on Breathing. Just one subject. Vanda's book is an easy read, that makes you want to try out her guiding words in your Yoga poses as soon as you can roll out your mat.

Creator of the Beginner Tai Chi (DVD)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring reminder of what yoga is about, 24 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy (Paperback)
This is a succinctly written and beautifully presented book. Some of Scaravelli's points about philosophy were familiar to me, but were presented in a fresh way, so that I felt like I was truely hearing them for the first time. The author managed to say a lot in short chapters that were direct, thought-provoking and at times poetic. Who can resist reading chapters with titles like "A meeting with death" and "The song of the body", "On beauty" and "Being young again"? I read the book quite easily and quickly, but felt the desire to go back and reread it to let the wisdom sink in slowly.

Scaravelli stresses the importance of lengthening the spine, particularly at the waist and urges the reader to consider why we do yoga. For her it should not be to make our bodies healthy, but to give the body a holiday, doing something that it loves. She states that if you are kind to your body, it will respond in an incredible way (as evidenced by some of the amazing photographs of Scaravelli in advanced asanas.)

Having covered many generally applicable tips for optimising one's physical yoga practice, the asanas section can afford to be quite condensed, yet it still gives good information about weight, lift and safe-practice in each asana.

Scaravelli comes across as an attentive, caring and fun teacher and just reading this book has imbued my yoga practice with these same qualities as well as giving me much food for thought.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanda Scaravelli - Awakening the Spine, and awakening you!, 28 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy (Paperback)
This book was indirectly recommended to me by a good friend, and I can't thank him enough. He told me to look up Scaravelli because she worked with Iyengar, in whom I am very interested.The book, as other reviewers have already said, is not about the asanas as such, although there is a little bit tagged on near the very end. It seemed to me as if Vanda Scaravelli herself felt she 'should' say something in this regard...for me, she didn't need to. This book is the most beautiful, beautiful thing I have set eyes on in a long time. She talks about yoga in a way that moves and inspires and truly 'awakens' something in you. Anyone who loves the humanity and beauty of yoga should read this book. This woman was a 'heaven and earth' woman. I fell in love with her. It's a book I will read over and again. Divine.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poetic testament, 12 July 2004
By A Customer
This book has amazing pictures and a slow and pleasant pace, but I felt it contained very little 'technical' advice re yoga. It is more like a friendly conversasion about what Vanda learnt and felt about yoga and life. Not what I was looking for. But many will find it inspirational.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATIONAL,NOT A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE, 7 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
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You can't properly understand anything about yoga simply from reading or talking about it. Indeed, one of the main things yoga teaches us is that the only way to really find out about something is to do it! This book has a place though. It is truly inspirational, dealing with the principles that run through the practice, not just the external mechanics. I have been practising yoga for over 15 years, and this book gave me new insights, a deeper understanding and appreciation of it. I would reccommend it to anyone who practices regularly, and I certainly show it to beginner friends - not as a 'how to' (you really need a teacher to start off in my opinion), but to remind you why we're doing it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent update, 26 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy (Paperback)
This is the revised edition of the book which was first published in 1991, and was made from Vanda Scaravelli's notes by her daughter Paola Scaravelli Cohen.

The first part of the book is not a book of yoga asanas, but a wide ranging view of human life and the deeper meanings of yoga There ar many wonderful pictures, often from ancient Egypt showing others doing their form of a kind of yoga. There are pictures of childrren, who often instinctively know how to move. Then the second part of the book gives details of an assortment of asanas from the familiar 'dog pose (adho mukha savansana)to the, for many, unattainable sleeping pose (yoganidrasana).

Vanda Scaravelli speaks much of the pull of gravity anchoring us to the earth, and the opposite 'flying up' force that draws us to the heavens.

This is a most inspiring book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTMENT? SURELY NOT!, 16 Aug. 2006
As a practicing yogi of more than 40 years and the owner of many many books on yoga, I found this book a true delight. No it is not helpful if you wish to learn/improve asanas, but what a beautiful book! Full of inspirational text and wonderful photographs. A very worthy addition to my library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of knowledge and wisdom, 5 July 2012
This review is from: Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy (Paperback)
I really enjoyed learning more about yoga and how to get more out of it. I have always enjoyed its as a relaxation tool more than anything else but this has given me much more knowledge and respect for it. I intend to use it a lot more now for my general health. The photography in the book is inspiring too, what a woman!!

So no its not a practical book but if you are looking to back your basic knowledge up with good strong information then this is a must buy.
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Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy
Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy by Vanda Scaravelli (Paperback - 6 Dec. 2011)
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