who

Amanda Marquez.

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Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela – where her family still lives –  Amanda moved to Italy in 2007 to continue her architecture studies at the “Politecnico di Milano” in Milan. She encountered Ashtanga Yoga in 2008 while going for a drop-in class with her roommate. The force of this practice caught her instantly and she continued along the path under the guidance of Elena de Martin and the Yoga Shala, where she practiced throughout her long-stay (6 years) in Milan.

By the end of 2013 and after working as an architect and also within international cooperation for developing countries, she moved to Paris to do her PhD. She started practicing at Gérald Disse’s and Linda Munro’s school where she soon started teaching. These Parisian experience was very important to Amanda both as a student and teacher; her practice became deeper and more enriched and she learnt Pranayama techniques learnt through Linda and Gérald that follow the Kaivalyadhama school from Sri O. P. Tiwari.

Daily pranayama led her to establish a daily “sitting practice”, without enclosing this last one on a box or lineage. Whether a metta meditation or just a breath awareness sit, these introspective sessions bring mental clarity and transparency to the teaching, but also more generally to the way of approaching life.

In the middle of a lot of traveling Amanda has always looked for steady schools where she can practice: in Caracas she goes every year to the Samasthitih studio where her friend Liz Carrasquel teaches with great humbleness and devotion; and in Cairo she was welcomed within Ashtanga Yoga Cairo where she became fascinated with Mira Shihadeh’s teaching. Every long-stay at a foreign place allowed her to be hosted by other shalas where she showed respect and attained local rules.

All these exchanges, and also the shorter ones that have taken place during workshops and intensive courses, have led Amanda to embrace the idea that even when you are becoming a more “experienced” yogi you remain a “beginner”, as there is always room to learn about the unknown. This idea has been reinforced by Chuck Miller’s teaching with whom every year she tries to study with. His radical but simple approach has deepen the way she practices and teaches as she continuously searches for “sama” or the equanimity in movement, breath and thinking.

Amanda, along with her husband, travels to Rome every month to practice with Gabriele Severini and they have also started to study at the KPJAYI in Mysore (India) where they spent 2 months in 2018 practicing under the guidance of Sharath Jois. India will enrichen not only her practice but her work-in-progress knowledge on philosophy and eastern culture.

Amanda has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for almost 10 years now, with discipline and commitment; the mat has taught her to raise awareness towards one’s own behaviours and to better know herself and others. She believes that practicing yoga helps to maintain the right balance in life.

Giacomo Coppo.

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Giacomo was born and raised in Milan where he studied Architecture. He met Amanda in 2013 while following a project of international cooperation for the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya. He did not know yoga at that moment but had been searching for a while for a physical non-competitive practice that would use the body as the only instrument to stay healthy, without machines. For this reason, he asked Amanda to guide him through through the postures and has remained fascinated with this practice that is so vigorous but at the same time gentle and meditative.

He spent one year in Venice (2014-2015) to pursue his masters degree in Urbanism. Here he attended once per week vinyasa classes. Subsequently in 2015 he went to Girona, in Catalonia, for an intenational university exchange; here he encountered Swami Viran with whom he started on a yogic path at the VIRANANANDA YOGA ASHRAM, where he practiced Hatha Yoga with regularity and got initiated into Trascendental Meditation (which he still practices daily nowadays).  In Caracas he practiced at the Samasthitih studio, led by Liz Carrasquel, where he was introduced to Ashtanga’s Mysore style and learnt the first part of the sequence.

In 2015 he moved to Paris to live with Amanda, where he worked in urban agriculture and continued his Ashtanga Yoga studies in the same school where Amanda was practicing and teaching, under the guidance of Antoine Suplisson and Agata Wasko.

His progress has been fast thanks to his commitment to the practice and to the sharing with Amanda, which allows him to have a live and profitable contact with this discipline. Even though he has only been practicing for 3 years, he believes in the importance of the practice itself and in the assisting and accompanying Amanda throughout the creation and management of the school in Arona – and this has brought him closer to teaching itself -. He monthly visits the Ashtanga school of Gabriele Severini in Rome to keep a traditional contact with a certified teacher.

In 2018 he spends 2 months in Mysore, India, where he practices intensively and with dedication at the KPAJYI under Sharath Jois guidance. He also starts to study sanskrit in the same structure with Lakshmish and studies philosophy and chanting at the Anantha Foundation in Lakshmipuram.

 

The Space

 

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