Written by Elizabeth Pauncz Lutz
Donna’s call for articles that covered a wide range of subjects was news to me. I wrote to her to check on this and her comment was: “Sure write about yourself. It’s a great idea. That’s what the group is all about – networking and strutting our stuff”. So here goes:
I am probably the oldest member of WIN, having lived in Florence since 1963 which will already give you a big hint regarding my age. I first came here to be with my Hungarian boyfriend, who had escaped from Hungary when he was 16. I got the first job I could find which was in Cellini’s, explaining how silver articles were made to tourist groups. Situated beside Santa Croce, I had occasion to take them there after their visit to our store so I have an enduring love for that remarkable church. Several months later, I also began teaching at The American Institute. I taught in various other private schools but thought that I would be better off in the Public School System so I went back to the University to get a degree since Italy did not recognize American ones and after a few years, ended up at the Magistero as a Lettore (long story there).
In the meantime, I married Péter, had two children, and got swept off my feet by Yoga, an encounter that was made in Cleveland when we were on vacation for two months. THAT changed my life forever. I studied on my own for two years and then continued in Florence with a well-known teacher for years. Her approach to Yoga was hardcore and very tough. My life was changed again when I was accepted as a private student by Vanda Scaravelli, who was a myth in Florence. Her approach to Yoga was revolutionary and completely different from what I had known. Relying on “three friends”: gravity, breath, and the wave. During the time I studied with her, she wrote a book, Awakening the Spine, which is now a classic.
I began teaching Yoga at the same time I was working at the University and raising my two children while trying to please my husband who thought that lunches should be served as in Hungary at 1:00!!! Need I say more?
My dream was to have a room where I could teach Yoga and while dreaming, I taught in many different studios throughout Florence. After many years, my dream came true and the New Yoga Center in Via Puccinotti 15, came into being. I am still there but have had to resort to teaching my dear students, who by now are friends, via Zoom which is not my thing!
Over the years I have led Seminars and taken my students all over Italy, choosing places with special energy. We have been to Greece, Egypt, Morocco, and England but these final years have seen me teaching extensively in India.
Two of the things I have published may be purchased through me: The Egyptian Sun Salutation and Yoga and Seven Days of Relaxing Practice. The third, Loving and Living Yoga; Reflections of a Yoga Teacher, may be ordered through Amazon. When the book was first published, Elia and I had arranged for me to speak at a Network luncheon but I had to cancel the date because my husband was seriously ill.
The book is a sharing of personal stories that I recorded over the years. They offer a wide-angled view of Yoga where most anyone who meditates or gardens or sees beauty in the unexpected, may find something of interest.
The DVDs I’ve made and more information can be found on my website: www.florencescaravelli.com
My book Loving and Living Yoga: Reflections of a Yoga Teacher may be purchased through Amazon