Yoga My training and teaching for over a decade as a Yoga Teacher in the 'tradition' of Vanda Scaravelli has led me into a depth of understanding of the body's language and movement patterns. How to tap into a place of resource and ease where we experience pain, struggle with stability or flexibility, lack orientation or feel dis-embodied. Over the years I have found ways, through my own body journey, to blend simple and advanced postural work with hands-on structural integration techniques. Here we discover how our body holds the capacity to constantly re-frame our experience through grounding and lengthening.
As an artist and writer it may be true to say that what has ended up being my work with Yoga could have taken many creative forms, but perhaps it is the nuance and challenge of understanding the place of the body in the journey of meaning-making in a rapidly changing world, through the handed-down traditions I was exposed to from an early age and particularly in my late-twenties, that brought me back over the years to deepening my practice as a teacher and meditator.
I was fortunate enough after my first trip to India to find myself in London with a hunger to explore movement, the topography of my own body on what was developing into a deepening understanding of what could be called 'soul' something that appeared to my mind as the physicality of things, a language or word, and in this the desire to be contemplative. It took me to a Buddhist centre near Waterloo where there was a short led meditation. At the end I was asked if I'd meditated before, to which I replied no, because I'm not a Buddhist. The response of the teacher (AlisonMurdoch) was to change my life; she told me that if I wanted to learn I should do so but stay in my 'own tradition' and pointed me in the direction of a meditation centre in Angel, North London, run by a community of Christians. It was finding this place that brought me to start working with my yoga teacher and Rolfer, Giovanni Felicioni. Through him, and the threads that led me into the world of bodywork and movement, I began a journey into the landscape I knew was waiting to be discovered, the inner worlds described by mystics and sages through the ages.
The thread that followed is that I decided to embark on a two-year teacher training with a group of teachers who had studied Scaravelli's approach. I feel extremely privileged to have attended the London Yoga Teacher Training Course over two years from 2016-2018. This was under the tuition of Chloe Fremantle, Giovanni Felicioni, Pete Blackaby, Anne Marie Zulkahari, Neville Cregan and Catherine James. They in turn had trained with the renowned Mary Stewart who had been direct student of Vanda Scaravelli. Alongside this I also participated in a 6-month-long course in The Roots of Christian Mysticism being run at the Angel meditation centre. Looking back perhaps this was significant, that my training was also being touched by the lives of these men and women, from the desert mothers and fathers to the contemporary mystics of our age, and that from here I was beginning to understand the landscape of stillness and silence, the prayer of 'one little word' that had been at the centre of their radically creative and aesthetic approaches to life.
Over the years the way I work with groups and individuals has sought to embrace more and more my personal pilgrimage through the practice of meditation, inspired by the mystic threads found in Christianity and the Vipassina-based imaginal practices advocated by the late Rob Burbea and other teachers of Gaia House in Devon. This pilgrimage has taken me all over the world, living and working in spiritual communities of various traditions. A vital dimension to this outer journey has been the inner journey of receiving Rolfing from my teacher and friend, Giovanni Felicioni, and exploring my love of language. From here a pathway opened for me to dive into the body-soul work of Marion Woodman and the Somatic-Experiencing of Peter Levine and Body-Dreaming work of Marian Dunlea. From 2017 to the present I have been involved in the development of a Christian-based meditation retreat centre called Bonnevaux near Poitiers in France. I spent periods of solitude there as well as coordinating Workaway volunteer programmes and assisting in the leading of young people's retreats. In the midst of this my love of writing was growing and I undertook a Masters in Poetry at Bath Spa University between 2018 and 2019 (read more)
Therefore there are two aspects that make my delivery of Scaravelli-inspired Yoga unique. One is what I call 'the democracy of the body' where Rolfing has helped me to understand the intricacy of how gravity can become evenly distributed through the whole spine, and how when people work in twos and triads, giving and receiving support, they understand the experience of their own gravity field and body awareness in the context of community, friendship, the greater whole. A bigger picture that points beyond an individualised, objective view of the body into a field of interconnectedness and spacial orientation. The other is how language and poetry, the words that we put into the body, help to inform, shape and embody how we move from our yoga practice into the world of relationship.
For more information about current classes, workshops and retreats see here (read more)
Writing I have always looked for language to describe the landscape of experience, or perhaps more pertinently the lens through which this landscape is ﬁltered. I did this through my life as far back as I can remember, through letters and notebooks and journals. Eventually the tool that was shaping between my senses and reading and in my hands identiﬁed itself as poetry. My use of words was asking to be mastered and reﬁned in alignment with my interest in the body and movement, how context is fabricated and then loosens like a dance through the relationship of the body to its backdrop and search for connection, the meaning of open space. My poetry therefore references the visceral, the mystical, the ritualistic, the changing skins of light and shadow, how opposites are integrated when the raw materials of what may be dormant or muted are given the capacity to express. What breathes in every human soul, as well as the animal and plant worlds, waits to surface in words, often long after an event has happened, often generations later. I see my task as an artist of language to excavate and work the words until they break through into what Barbara Turner-Vesselago refers to what can be the ‘scary’ ground ‘beyond the reach of the ego.’
Published Works At The Coalface is a cycle of poems grown out of Rebecca’s highly-praised ﬁnal submission for the Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa university, written between 2018 and 2019. (read more)