Shaking the last dregs of the weekend reluctantly from my sleepy brain and body, I took some time away from my desk and joined in one of Jane Manze‘s Monday morning yoga drop-in classes. An hour and a half later I emerged feeling invigorated and ready for the week ahead of me, before quizzing her on her passions, influences and what got her into yoga in the first place.
Inheriting both her love of yoga and a (now well-worn) mat from her mother, Jane was introduced to Yoga at the age of seven. With a background in dance, competitive swimming and martial arts, yoga has helped to deepen her understanding of the body and self. Exploring various styles from Iyengar to Ashtanga, Jane discovered the work of Vanda Scaravelli and was lucky enough to be taught by first generation Scaravelli teachers at the Brighton’s Natural Bodies Centre during her yoga teacher training there.
For those of you who don’t know what, or whom Scaravelli is, let me elaborate. Taught by renowned yoga practitioners Iyengar and Desicachar concert pianist Vanda Scaravelli began practicing yoga at the age of 50 and continued her exploration until her death at the age of 91. Taking time to interpret each technique, she began developing her own ideas of breath awareness and gentle body alignment. Central for her was the mindful interplay of the spine, the breath and the ground beneath us, encouraging an understanding of gravity, fluidity and ease.
Jane’s Scaravelli yoga classes cultivate a exploration and an awareness of self through bones and muscles into classic yoga postures. Her classes are open to all abilities and each individual’s needs are responded to throughout; Jane is able to provide stimulation and new ways of working for her more experienced students, while adapting postures for newcomers.
Her courses present the opportunity to ‘build’ over the weeks, whereas drop-in classes stand alone with varying themes during each session. Using the Scaravelli principles of finding ease within each posture, these classes are particularly suitable for people who experience restrictions within their bodies, or think they can’t do yoga, alongside more experienced yogis!
What brings her to yoga, to Tango, to Egyptian dance and working with people with brain and spinal injuries, is the heart of all of Jane’s passions: an overwhelming fascination with the human body. Whether it’s the powerful limbs of a gymnast or the intricate workings of a dancer’s physique, exploring and examining this gives us a greater idea of the infinite possibilities and the innumerable opportunities available to us.
In addition to Jane’s classes and courses, she runs a yoga retreat in Spain, a brilliant opportunity for beginners and those with experience to deepen and develop their practice.
Katy Pryer @KTP_WRITES