Amanda was born and raised in Caracas (Venezuela) and moved to Italy in 2007 to continue and finish her architecture studies. This is how she first encountered Astanga Yoga, as a young and busy student. The practice has kept her company ever since. Her first guide was Elena de Martin and her Yoga Shala, where she practiced throughout her long-6 year-stay in Milan.
by the end of 2013, after working as an architect and in international cooperation for developing countries, she moved to Paris to pursue her PhD. Still, teaching wasn’t in her life schedule and her Sadhana was there to serve her spiritual path and inquiry while sustaining the rest of her life. She lived in Paris for three years and practised with Linda Munro and Gérald Disse: they grounded her practice, made her feel like family and encouraged her to start teaching.
All her travelling and studying has made her embrace the idea that even when you are becoming a more “experienced” practitioner you remain a “beginner.” There is always room to learn, or just to create space. This is how she welcomed Chuck Miller’s teachings who she tries to meet every year to have her beginner’s mind checked.
In 2017, together with her husband, she opened a little shala in Arona, a lake-town in northern Italy. Ever since her inquiry has become deeper and she has sharpened her community vision and her clarity around the teacher-student relationship. The workaround in their shala has driven them both to study directly in Mysore with R. Sharath Jois in 2018 and since then they intend to continue to visit this historically-infused context regularly.
Amanda has been practicing since 2008 with discipline and commitment; the mat has allowed rays of equanimity to shine in from time to time and this has become the heart and core of her quest. She cultivates this middle way through a growing silent sitting practice – free of dogma – which helps her to maintain ongoing introspection. Yoga has also made me her a romantic. She now embraces a small web of relationships that support her teaching with fruitful and beautiful exchanges. It is within this love circle that she would like to walk and grow. This web has lit up a spark that nourishes a long-distance exchange with Angela Jamison who mentors her through her words and challenges her to stay clear and compassionate in her work.
she remains open to change, to question and to be questioned. .
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 where he encountered Swami Viran with whom 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 ashtanga sequence.
In 2015 he moved to Paris to live with Amanda, where he worked in urban agriculture and continued his Ashtanga practice at AYP. Since 2016 he studies with Chuck Miller who has given him interesting ways for approaching the practice and also on how to pass it on.
His progress has been steady thanks to his consistency and discipline and the sharing of this practice with his wife. In 2017 he founded the Arona shala with her and since then he has been fully dedicated to maintain and give care to a small community of dedicated practitioners.
Between 2017 and 2019 he practiced and shortly assisted Gabriele Severini in Rome and started to go to Mysore in India to study with Sharath Jois. These experiences, along with the discovery of Angela Jamison have enriched and further infused with curiosity his practice. The reflections and voice of Angela around the teaching of yoga and his fascinating views for its evolution have deeply touched Giacomo disarming the last shadows of doubt and scepticism he had.
Today, far into two years since the shala opened, Amanda and Giacomo have indeed grown some roots! Whenever they look at the richness of the community gravitating around AYA and glance at the deepness of the relationships that have been created, they are touched. They are aware that the real thermometer to evaluate their work’s “success” is the community’s quality; because of this they dedicate themselves to cultivate relationships with love and seriousness, expecting the same respect from who is at the other side of them.
foto © carlotacoppophotography