Movement is Life: The Story of Vanda Scaravelli

While I was thinking of what to write on the blog for you this week, I stumbled upon the story of a beautiful yoga legend, Vanda Scaravelli.

Born in 1908, Vanda was the daughter of a music lover and successful businessman. Her mother was well-educated and also loved the arts. Vanda grew up around music, and was trained as a concert pianist.

She married philosophy professor and scholar, Luigi Scaravelli, and together they had two children. In an unfortunate turn of events, Luigi died unexpectedly after World War II — it was then that her friend and now well-known composer, Yehudi Menuhin, introduced her to author and yogi, B.K.S. Iyengar. 

Aruna Yoga Studio - Movement is Life: The Story of Vanda Scaravelli

Vanda’s Discovery of Yoga

The rest is history. Vanda explains, Iyengar “kindly agreed to teach me. I went each morning. I didn’t resist, and I liked it… He let me enter my body and understand my body. It was a sad period, because I had lost my husband and I was very run down. With yoga I could survive…” 

Vanda Sacravelli found yoga in her 40s, and it changed her forever. She even has her own publication, “Awakening the spine : the stress-free new yoga that restores health, vitality, and energy.”

Vanda laid to rest at the age of 91, in 1999, but she lives on in spirit and in the teachings of her students, who are well-known and sought after teachers for the practise.

What an example of a life without limits. Movement is life!


If you are feeling any restrictions in your body, a restriction at any one point, can easily affect many different areas. A physical challenge may start to affect us emotionally, like Vanda was affected with the passing of her husband (who would not be?). This can impact the breath and our cognitive function – finally affecting how we interact with the world.

Vanda found her freedom through yoga. She shared, “I was so happy. My body was enjoying, like a plant, like a flower. I started around 40, 45, and a new life came into my body. In nature the flowers blossom in the spring and then again in the autumn. I felt this.”

Connecting the mind to movement in the body and also the quality of your breath through yoga, will bring you to a feeling of vitality and a sense of freedom and openness.


Three things that I learned from Vanda:

  • Yoga is not just a class that you join or participate in. It’s a way of life — a journey that will take you somewhere; anywhere you can dream of! The sky is the limit.

  • Loving yourself and caring for yourself equips you to care and love on others. Take time to renew your body, mind, and spirit.

  • Try new things even if you feel like you are past the age of adventure. Everyday is a beautiful adventure ready and waiting for you to fully experience.


Tomorrow at the studio, we are celebrating life and the anti-aging properties of yoga through a special Somatics Workshop with Teacher Joanne. Together we will be shedding tired shoulder stiffness, poor back posture, and sleepy hip movement.

Whatever your stage in life – after attending this workshop you will feel like diving back into life. Hopefully it will provide you with revelations as beautiful as what Vanda experienced when she made the discovery of how yoga could help her. Join us to unblock physical obstructions holding you back from your true self.

Vanda continued to practise yoga as she eased into her golden years. She is a beautiful example of everything that the practise emulates.

“Yoga should not be a training for body control; on the contrary it must bring freedom to the body.”

—Vanda Scaravelli