Rebecca van Sciver – My Path to Yoga
I am certain that yoga has saved my life on more than one occasion. Over the years it has become my anchor, my security blanket, my grounding force – particularly in times of turbulence. And trust me – there have been many.
When in 2008 I became un-expectantly pregnant, my life was turned upside down. My original plan had been to take a year to travel to India – to practice yoga, to do a Vipassana meditation, to do volunteer work and to travel. Because of this, I had already quit my job and given up my apartment. To top things off, my partner and I broke up. In light of all of this, with a baby on the way, I found myself in the middle of a major life crisis. As I slowly began to piece my life back together, my yoga practice took on much greater importance. It was on my mat that I was able to find the peace of mind I needed in order to confront life’s many challenges. After my son, Paul, was born, my mat continued to be my personal refuge – a place where I was able to re-find myself and to find the inner strength needed to be a mother alone with child. Over the years there have been many ups and downs and through it all, yoga continues to support me – to be my strong-hold. Here it is just me – on the mat – nothing to prove.
Born to American parents in Italy, I was raised in Denver, Colorado. During the 1990’s I lived in Moscow, Russia for five years. Since 2003 Munich, Germany has been my home.
It was during my time in Moscow where I first started to practice yoga on a regular basis. After many years of dance and ballet, I was immediately attracted to yoga and the sense of tranquility it gave me. With time, however, I learned that yoga is really less about physical flexibility and much more about being present with the breath and mindful of the arising thoughts.
In my personal practice and in my teaching I like to take a playful non-dogmatic approach to yoga. I realize that each day is different and that the yoga practice changes over time – that as individuals we all come to yoga with our own needs. One of my favorite parts of teaching is giving hands-on adjustments. In this way I have a better idea of what is going on in the class and of the needs of the individual students.
I am a true believer that everyone can practice yoga. I believe that yoga is the exploration of the possible. By taking an open-minded approach to teaching, I hope to avoid the sense that yoga, particularly ashtanga yoga, is only open to a select few – that yoga is an exclusive club, with “natural bendiness” being the membership card. I believe that it is important to start where you are – that through the practice of yoga that body softens (and becomes stronger!) and that with time it becomes more possible to be mindful not only of the breath, but of the arising thoughts. It has been my experience, that through awareness, change is possible. I believe that the internal work of yoga is more important that trying to fit into someone else’s image to the “perfect” asana – that, indeed, there is no need to be perfect. I believe that it is important to be sincere, rather than serious, about yoga – that it not only ok to laugh and smile while practicing, but that doing so is helpful.
Like so many things in my life, I came to teaching yoga through the back door. In trying unsuccessfully to organize a yoga teacher for the Bavarian International School, one of my colleagues convinced me to teach the class myself. I will always be grateful to Jane for her encouragement and persistence in this. After discovering my passion for teaching yoga, I went on to study with Paul Dallaghan at Centered Yoga Institute in Thailand with a focus in Ashtanga yoga and pranayama starting in 2007. In addition to my daily personal practice, over the years I have completed numerous yoga workshops and trainings.
When I am not on the mat, you will often find my spending time with one of my best teachers – my son, Paul, or simply snuggled up with a good book on the couch with our two cats. I also still love to dance, to draw and to swim in salt water.
- 2017 – Adjustment Clinic – Nancy Gilford
- 2016 – practice with Saraswati in Mysore, India
- 2013 – Teachers Intensive with Richard Freeman
- 2012 – First 10-day Vipassana Meditation
- 2012 – Moving Limbs – Manfred Gauper
- 2012 – Teachers’ Training with David Swenson
- 2010 – 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training – Centered Yoga – Paul Dallaghan
- 2009 – Pre-/ Post- Natal Yoga Teacher’s Training – Centered Yoga
- 2007 – 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training – Centered Yoga – Paul Dallaghan
- 2005 – Ashtanga Yoga Intensive – Mark Darby
- 1999 – MA in Russian Language and Literature – Middlebury College
- 1995 – BA in Russian Language and Literature – Knox College (1995)