Healing Journeys: Svaroopa Yoga helps with healing mind, body, spirit
Angelina Calafiore is a dedicated “walk your talk” yoga teacher, retreat leader, speaker and author of “Rushing to Yoga” and a CD of guided relaxation. She teaches a type of yoga called Svaroopa Yoga which is useful for beginners as well as advanced students. Along with her specialized programs and teaching, she leads retreats locally and yoga vacations to Hawaii and France were she engages you in yoga, cooking, massages, touring and so much more – really sounds like a dreamy vacation! Angelina was one of the first yoga teachers to present a keynote based on yoga for the workplace in 2001 and to offer yoga for amputees.
Was there a specific moment when you knew you would be a yoga teacher?
Absolutely. In 1999, I was meditating at home and as I sat there, it was like watching TV. I saw my self on a stage teaching yoga in a room with many people. The next day I signed up for a teacher training. A year later, my vision became a reality. I was on a stage presenting an experiential yoga session for the Society of Human Resource Management at their national conference and had 450 people in my session! All of my teaching is a result of years of practice and personal insights. When I began practicing yoga, I found that I was already familiar with many of the postures because I frequently did them as a child (without knowing what I was doing). Aside from going to my official teacher training, I have been my own teacher. Through self-motivation I have experienced, researched, studied and channeled a lot of information through deep meditations.
You offer Svaroopa Yoga – please explain what kind of yoga it is.
Svaroopa Yoga is unique. It offers all the benefits of an advanced practice without the difficulty. It provides a core opening in which one learns how to rest into the support of their bones. Once you release the tension in your muscles your spine can relax more fully and that is when extraordinary things happen. It is a great style for everyone; however, it is most effective for people with chronic conditions or recovering from them because it is an accessible style of yoga.
Many have come to Svaroopa Yoga because other styles are too demanding and place a lot of strain on the back. In ancient days, a yoga practice was begun basically from an early age. Because of this the more advanced “pretzel” poses were easily performed. For the present day average beginner, this is a challenge that may result in injury. Svaroopa Yoga is a very healing style of yoga and even if you only practice twice a week, its profound benefits are long-lasting and stay with you for days. You will notice a profound difference in your physical/mental/spiritual being even in your very first session. All levels of yoga practitioners can easily practice this style of yoga.
What benefits do you witness from your clients with your type of yoga instruction?
I have taught all ages from 18 months to 98 years old. I have created many programs for YMCA’s and for private clients alike. I see myself as the key to open doors for people to have their own experience. In my view, yoga heals what needs to be healed and nurtures what needs to be nurtured. With my guidance and instruction, my clients have cancelled surgeries. Their yoga practice has prevented joint replacement and spinal surgeries as well as reduced or eradicated migraines, fibromyalgia, and insomnia. Over the years, I have developed a successful Yoga for Weight Loss program. It has proved very powerful for people who are ready to make a life change.
You also present tours to Hawaii and France and Mindspring Retreats – what is the design behind them?
I created a treks and tours aspect of my business by combining yoga with my love for cooking, hiking and dancing. I enjoy taking people off the beaten track to places where we experience what the locals’ experience – not the tourist traps or standard tours. Last year we stayed in the south of France in a 10th century B&B. We took gourmet cooking lessons, did beach yoga at the Camargue and shopped in a village that Van Gogh made famous. My Mindspring Retreats are designed to be weekend getaways to immerse oneself in yoga, meditation and vision quest techniques. It is an easy time for people to clarify the clutter in their minds thereby increasing their own innate ability to “see” what they want to create for themselves. We also discuss yogic nutrition principles and cook together.
What do you get out of your yoga practice?
I get an incredible sense of stillness and clarity from my personal practice. Something happens when I rest into my bones and allow the floor to support me. I feel like the earth is taking away or absorbing all of my “stuff.” I can rest in the knowing that everything is going to be OK. I just have to remain present and clear and yoga is my vehicle for that.
Angelina Calafiore, CMT, CYT of Serendipity Yoga offers her Yoga for Weight Loss program at Cosmetique Spa and teaches Svaroopa yoga at Down Doggie Yoga Studio in Grass Valley. Her retreat schedule can be found at http://www.serendipityoga.org/events or by calling 530-559-1839.
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