26 May MEET OUR TEACHERS: KARMELINA SAVOIA
Karmelina started practicing yoga in 2009 in Florence, where she was exposed to a variety of styles of practice: hatha, kundalini, and asthanga. Her enthusiasm and wish to learn brought her to deepen her knowledge of asthanga through daily practice, studying of the ancient yoga texts and of eastern philosophies and the chanting of mantras.
Karmelina, how did you first come to know yoga?
The desire to understand the meaning of life and of one’s own existence led me to search yoga and spirituality in general. I began by reading books of oriental wisdom such as bhagavad-gita, dhammapada, several books by osho and gurdjeff, tao te ching etc. Then at 21 years of age, in a moment of loneliness and loss, I went to the first center of oriental disciplines that I found and tried all the yoga classes. I remember that my first thought at the end of the lesson was an exclamation: “wow!” And for the first six months I eagerly followed all the lessons mainly of hatha, kundalini and ashtanga yoga.
What is your approach to yoga?
My approach to yoga is traditional. I practice and teach the method of ashtanga vinyasa yoga. My practice always begins and ends with the recitation of the mantras and in the middle there is the sequence of positions or asanas. The discipline and the physical rigor are flanked by the concentration of the mind on the breath and the attention turned towards the inside and the study and practical application of the sacred texts such as the yoga sutras of Patanjali.
What do you think is fundamental in yoga practice?
In the practice of positions, as in any other activity, I believe it is essential to have a Right Mental Attitude (of positivity) supported by a Just or Correct Effort. Effort alone is not enough. To remain on the yogic path without deviating and progressing rapidly, a great deal of enthusiasm and a burning desire to accomplish what is spoken of in the sacred texts are also needed. It should be remembered that Yoga is both a physical discipline and a spiritual practice, of concentration, introspection and purification of mental contents.
What’s your favorite asana – or practice – (if you have one)?
I love the sequence of greetings in the sun, in Sanskrit surya namaskara, and in general all the basic positions such as the dog upside down, adho mukha svanasana, or the positions of the triangle, trikonasana, because they are apparently simple positions, which are maintained with presence and listening to the breath give us an idea and a taste of the magic of the yogasana both on the physical and on the mental. My favorite, however, is the vertical, in Sanskrit adho mukha vrkshasana, and all sorts of positions in balance on the hands (or forearms) such as the scorpion, vrschikasana, and the peacock, pincha mayurasana.
What do you look for in a yoga studio?
I am looking for professionalism, kindness and competence. A clean place, sharing and growth.
What would you advise to someone trying yoga for the first time?
To begin and practice and let the magic of yoga do the rest.
Learn more about Karmelina here