Pioneering Yoga & Teacher Development...

Inspired by Vanda Scaravelli


Workshops,Courses & Immersion Retreats

Created by Marc J. Acquaviva (aka Marc Woolford)


About ...

What to Expect ~ the Benefits


"Practice transforms us ... We need to eat less, because we assimilate more and therefore there is a loss of unnecessary weight. We become more beautiful, our faces change and our walk gains in elasticity. more...

The Philosophy of the School


The baseline intention behind the Course is to support each individual participant in their personal journey towards liberating and embodying their essential selves through Yoga.

This way, each teacher that comes out of the school will be entirely authentic in their teaching... more...

About the Teachers


Course workshops are generally facilitated by Marc J. Acquaviva and assisted by Abigail Peck with regular teaching and hands-on support from previous AcquaViva graduates that are continuing to expand their yoga and teaching experience, sharing their exceptional skills with new students of the Course.

We also build workshops into the course with Marc's most significant teachers, such as Pete Blackaby, Diane Long and Sophy Hoare. more...

About the Course


There are 3 Courses running: One in Brighton E Sussex, a second in Stirling Scotland, and the other in London.
To Maintain the highest quality of attention and support course workshops are restricted to small groups. And the modular structuring of the courses means that you can apply at any time and join as soon as a space becomes available.

Courses on offer:

  • 7-day Full Immersion Residential Intensive Retreats *
  • 4-6 weekend/8-12day Immersion Courses (56-84 hrs**)
  • 10 weekend/20-wday Full immersion Foundation (140 hrs**)
  • 200 and 500 hr Teacher Training Diplomas**
  • 1000hr+*** advanced Teacher Development Programmes ....more...

About 'Scaravelli inspired' Yoga


The basic premise behind 'Scaravelli inspired yoga' is that you let go of tension into the earth, and in that let-go there is a responsive wave of release that travels from the ground up through the entire body and spine away from the ground that continues to support you... more...

Who is this for?


The AcquaViva training is a deeply enriching process for anyone interested in exploring the body-mind relationship and its potential for an ever-expanding quality of life ... more...

quote1 Why do I practice?'

'Where I started from was extricating myself from the myriad of pains and difficulties that came with a scoliotic postural habit, but the yoga has given me so much more than mere relief from pain and functional difficulty ... I practice with the simple intent of removing the conflict in my actions... What does that achieve? 

Well, when I become less conflicted in my actions, my body creates less resistance to movement, so I gain better range and simplicity of function...but that is not WHY I practice...

 Here is the REASON I practice : I do it because in actually achieving moments of true non-conflict with the spine, there is immense direct sensation of physical PLEASURE that surges up through my spine and out through my bones and body into space... This is actually WHY I practice... I would practice this even if there was no benefits to it whatsoever and even if it made me ill to do so.

However, I also notice that after this experience, I am brighter, lighter, kinder, a little more present to the world, and this seems to agree with the idea of yoga ... and I have more energy; for life, for work, for my daughter, my garden and other things that become infused with this thing that feels like new life-force moving through me, but perhaps could just be called good health. Real Yoga is direct, it is organic not contrived, it is experienced directly not imagined, it should fully expose you in the strength of your own vulnerability, not hide you behind a veil of control.

... The older I get the more passion I find for the power and simplicity of this practice of self-non-violence in its true meaning... And the beauty of it is that it can be instantaneous - we are dealing with revealing nature, so it is perfectly possible for a beginner to have as deep an experience as a seasoned pro... in fact, these layers that need peeling off goes so deep, that there is no end to the number of times you can do it... there is no end to the number of times you can have the experience.

 .... So, whatever your previous experience, If you want to dive deep into the yoga, come and join me on one of my events or courses... because my other most favourite thing to do, is to share this experience with others. quotes2

~ Marc J Aquaviva (aka Marc Woolford).  


What to expect...

quote2Practice transforms us ...


... We need to eat less, because we assimilate more and therefore there is a loss of unnecessary weight. We become more beautiful, our faces change and our walk gains in elasticity.

Our way of standing is steady and poised, our legs are firmer, and our toes and feet spread out, giving us more stability.

Our chests expand, the muscles of the abdomen start to work, the head is lighter on the neck…

To watch these enchanting changes is amazing.   A different life begins and the body expresses a happiness never felt before. These are not just words; it actually happens. quotes1

~ Vanda Scaravelli

the Course Benefits

  • 'Wishing to teach' is in no way a requirement of attendance of these courses. The entire course can be used purely for you to explore and develop your own authentic yoga journey. Although with the way that the experience will open things up for you, it is quite likely you will find yourself wanting to share some of what you discover with people in some way.
  • The 500  hour training certificatation involves at least 360 contact hours of workshop time and direct one to one support, with hundreds of hours of supporting online video and audio classes available to you.`
  • The modular structuring and open ended accreditation possibilities allows for an entirely natural pace of progression in pracrtice and of teaching development


  • The priority of the School....
    is to provide a safe environment, direct guidance and support, and a distillation of the most useful information avaialable, so that each individual on the course finds their way to personal liberation and empowerment through the practical application of Yoga.
    The premise being that it is this empowerment that leads naturally to a life-long love affair with the potential that this investigative approach to yoga engenders. And that this spirit is also precisely what leads to inspiring and deeply effective teachers. So far this equation has proved to be entirely true.
  • The School has support from some outstanding visiting teachers, including Pete Blackaby, Diane Long, and Sophie Hoare.
  • Course groups are restricted to a maximum of 12 students so that quality of attention to each participant is assured.


  • Every workshop is filmed, and attendees get unlimited access, so that all content can be revisited at any time. Access is given to audio classes and comprehensive notes to support specific home-practice themes.


Regular mentoring and private tuition by course facillitators and assistant teachers is an integral part of the program (Skype tuition can also be filmed for personal access).

  • Continual Professional Development & marketing assistance offered after graduation
  • Intensive one week retreats are put on twice a year, exclusively for AcquaViva students as an integral part of the course, to offer the opportunity to consolidate all course content in practice.


Certification requirements can be met at any time...
as long as there are sufficient contact hours. This makes love of the practice the central protocol, and those that decide to teach, can simply put the work into the assignments when they feel inspired (and have the time) to do so.

  • You will gain a thorough understanding of the nature of restrictions/injuries, together with the School's proprietary highly effective whole-body solutions - turning restriction and difficulty into a direct potential source of liberation and joy.
  • The principles of the work can be applied to any specialist interest, and this is both encouraged and supported by the Course faclillitators - Coursework requirements are adapted to suit the mission-statements of students
  • The foundation module weekends count towards accreditation, as they are simply experiential.versions of the training modules (no home-study required, only practice).

quote3The Practice of Yoga ...

is the practice of being Objectively Present (from the heart) to the space within, in relationship to the space without; to the space below in relationship to the space above...You just let go of your conflicts between these things in practice, and everything starts to come together more simply, with less 'trying', and there is a surprising freedom. quotes3

~ Marc J. Acquaviva (Marc Woolford).





the Teachers

Workshops are generally facillitated by Marc J Acquaviva ....


...and assisted by Abigail Peck with regular teaching and hands-on support from previous AcquaViva graduates that are continuing to expand their yoga and teaching experience, sharing their exceptional skills with new students of the Course.

We also build workshops into the course with Marc's most significant teachers, such as Pete Blackaby, Diane Long and Sophy Hoare



Marc J. Acquaviva (fka Marc Woolford) ~ course creator & facilitator

marcmugshotsmall2Marc is Director of Studies and founder of the AcquaViva School of Yoga. He is the author of the course content and of the proprietary AcquaViva approach to this work (Creating the Conditions ©). Marc has been passionate about yoga since his early childhood, and from 1991 he has been studying and practicing exclusively with people that have worked directly with Vanda Scaravelli, such as Diane Long and Sophy Hoare, as well as with the highly respected osteopaths and anatomists that have been called to further understanding of her work, such as Pete Blackaby and John Stirk.  

"To my understanding the word 'yoga' means to bind, to put back together, to reintegrate. It has nothing to do with achieving postures by distorting the body, but it has everything to do with creating the unique condition of unconflicting (ie. natural) relationships between 'different' parts of ourselves.
When this synergetic state is achieved, there is tangible arrival into 'the yoga'...a homeostatic state in which the body quite naturally self-repairs. The balance allows the mind to calm and centre in the heart & spine, and the body, relieved of conflict with itself, suddenly becomes capable of moving in extraordinary ways with simplicity and grace...." more...

Abigail Peck ~ course facilitator & assistant teacher

abigailmed2Abigail is Co-founder of the School, Director of administration and Co-facillitator on the course. Having delved deep into other trainings, including; the Esther Myers School in Toronto, pre & post natal pregnancy yoga training, Doula work, as well as a MSc in Engineering, Abigail brings her own extensive experience, intelligence and deeply nurturing skills to the course. She helped found the School so that she could go through a training with Marc herself, and has been working side by side with him ever since to develop and bring to fruition the vision that they both hold for this Yoga and for the School.

"Yoga is my soothing, my challenge and my pleasure. My delight is to guide students in their own practice so that they listen and trust in their own body wisdom. Once they tune into their own yoga, the stripping away of unnecessary noise and fight allows the body’s magnificence to be revealed." more

Returning AcquaViva Graduates ~ mentoring & ongoing support


Acquaviva Graduates of previous courses may apply to continue their yoga journey under the auspices of the School and extend their teaching experience (and level of qualification) in the process. There are a limited number of places for these positions, so the Teachers that ask and are invited to return are a highly valued resource of the School. They become an integral part of the AcquaViva team and inevitably influence the ongoing evolution of the course itself.

Returning graduates take on more of a 'mentoring' role as part of their own teaching journey, although we settled on calling them 'yoga sisters' or 'brothers', to step away from any of the misleading hierarchical implications of the word 'mentor'...

They immerse themselves in the workshops in the same as everyone else, but are also sometimes asked give short classes to introduce the weekends. They are available for suggestions or hands on help at any time, and they will be there guiding some of the small-group activities... As a course participant you can get some 121 time with them, and they can offer some excellent advice - not only on the yoga and the teaching itself, but if you make a good connection, you may also feel to take them up on the 'sister' title and share some of the more personal aspects that arise for you. These heart-centred and genuine people have been through the course process themselves and are quite familiar with the rhythms that you will inevitably go through on your own yoga journey.

We are very proud of the way the developing structure of the course allows for this deeply helpful dynamic between newcomers and those that have been on the AcquaViva journey for a little while...

the Visiting Teachers

Pete Blackaby

m57Yoga Teacher, Osteopath, Naturopath & Author of 'Intelligent Yoga', Pete was the first of Marc's significant teachers when he came back to yoga as an adult. Every year, the School hosts a workshop for Pete at each of the venues so that he can share his highly investigative and common-sense look at functional movement within the context of yoga practice with AcquaViva trainees.

"Yoga is a broad church, spanning many styles and belief systems. The approach I am working with at the moment has its roots in a humanistic philosophy. To understand as clearly as one can the rationale for yoga practice, and then to encourage practice with attentive curiosity. So that practice becomes your own, and you grow to be your own teacher."

"I've also taken issue with some of the modern asanas than I feel may cause harm if practiced regularly. Many of these asanas are part of the lexicon of modern yoga, and have remained un-critiqued for over 50yrs. It is time to re-evaluate, and that is what I have started in 'intelligent yoga'.


Diane Long

dianemugshot1Marc has worked regularly one to one with Diane (whenever she came over to the UK during his formative teaching years) and he considers that some of his 'Patterning' methodology to be sourced at least in part from some of the deeper connections that he made as a result of these private sessions.
So Marc invites Diane to teach a workshop on the yearly autumn AcquaViva intensive retreat (in Sabina - Italy).

Diane Long has been developing and refining yoga for most of her life. While living in Florence, Vanda Scaravelli invited her to become her student. She was a devoted student of Vanda's for the next 23 years.

This meeting with Vanda introduced her to a new form of consciousness in the study of yoga and body/mind awareness. At Vanda's urging, Diane began teaching in the late 70's in Italy and later in Canada, England and the United States.The intuitive yoga of Diane Long is a progressive physical practice with the intention of leading one to the vital core, the spine, and is based on the concept that the spine divides at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae.

It is here that strength grows into lightness. The base of the position is where one is rested and anchored into the earth. Refining the awareness opens the vision to wholeness and harmony, guided by this intention and concept. This becomes a way of being, a form of meditation, which allows for new sensation and a different approach to asana. "


Sophy Hoare

Sophy is one of the few renowned 'Scaravelli inspired' teachers to have worked directly with Vanda directly. Also one of the teachers that Marc considers as having a deeply significant part in his own yoga journey. The School regularly invites Sophy to teach a workshop for our students sophymugshot1.

"In 1991 I met Vanda Scaravelli who invited me to become her student. In my first lesson I knew immediately that Vanda was offering me this key. After that I visited her in Italy once or twice a year to learn how to work with the principles she had discovered in her own practice. At Vanda’s house I met Diane Long and recognised in her practice the same freedom that I saw in Vanda. I invited Diane to teach me and my students in London and since then we have been meeting regularly to practise and teach together

"The emphasis is not on achieving postures but using them to undo tension and find integration. The practice is an ongoing exploration of the relationship between the parts of the body and between our movements and the breath, the ground and the space around us. Gradually a new network of muscles is brought into use. Then our movements come from the spine and bring us back to the spine and the whole body pulls together. We train our attention so that we can feel more, impose less, and allow the intelligence of the body to reveal itself."


quote4It is evident that a child will learn a piece of music more quickly where there is melody, rather than an exercise in which only technique is required. Therefore beauty comes first.

In the same way, yoga will be accepted by the body when it is done without resistance.

The wave along the spine is like the melody in music.

When the beautiful flow of extension is in action, this wave (felt along with the magical attraction of gravity) will help the body find the right adjustment in the performance of the various movements. quotes4

~ Vanda Scaravelli






What is 'Scaravelli inspired' yoga?

The Basic Principles


quote5Yoga should not be a training for body control; on the contrary, it must bring freedom to the body ~ all the freedom it needs quotes6 

~ Vanda Scaravelli

quote6The basic premise behind 'Scaravelli inspired yoga' ... that you let go of tension into the earth, and in that let-go there is a responsive wave of release that travels from the ground up through the entire body and spine away from the ground that continues to support you; dividing and separating the body at the centre of the waist, opening at the heart, and elongating the spine and body in the process ... we grow taller, more centred and stronger as we release tension, whatever the posture.

This is perceived as radical, simply because it is the opposite of most people's experience. But if you have had the great fortune to experience this through your own practice, or with the guidance of a good teacher, the feeling is undeniable. quotes5

Marc J. Acquaviva (fka Marc Woolford)

This is not re-inventing yoga....

... it is the fundamental principle of ahimsa - non-conflict. If you practice with the intent to experiment with this basic principle, and work out what actually allows this to happen; if you are prepared to re-evaluate everything you know and do, until 'letting go' leads to this experience; in the process you will naturally rediscover everthing that was ever written about yoga from 4000 years ago, all techniques, all 'secret' practices, all descriptions of the experience of yoga from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika to Patanjali's sutras - it is all there waiting to reveal itself to you spontaneously, as you practice in earnest to remove conflict in your actions, with honesty, whole-heartedness and authentic self-inquiry (all described by the yogic codes of practice - Yamas and Niyamas).

And what is truly significant is that because it is about undoing what has been imposed on the body by misunderstanding, injury, history, habit etc., it is entirely available to ANYONE that is interested in working this way – physical restriction is no obstacle... in fact, as a point of focus, intending to change things until you find a solution to a particular restriction can be a truly valuable - probably more valuable than the desire to achieve a posture.

Any pain or restriction in the body can be used as a way of discovering the body's relationships with itself, and perhaps even the mindset behind it. And there is empowerment in the fact that once you have become aware of a conflictive relationship, you can change it, because it is literally a relationship you have with yourself. And in the process you are working to eliminate the source of the limitation.

Having a postural issue or injury, however long-term, can serve to illustrate the effectiveness of working to find the whole body relationships that remove local conflict... for the very flexible, problems caused by hypermobility in certain areas can be resolved in precisely the same way - by changing the whole body's relationship to the the part that has become hypermobile.

Even in the absense of some basic imbalance to work with, the postures offer you the same challenges in every part of your body and self, so it is equally suitable for experienced yogis, dancers and athletes as it is for those with postural or health issues to resolve.



The Philosophy of the School

The baseline intention behind any of the Courses...

is to support each individual participant in their personal journey towards liberating and embodying their essential selves through Yoga.

This way, each teacher that comes out of the school will be entirely authentic in their teaching.

The process that naturally unfolds through the course structuring and the supporting information offered, furnishes each student a direct physiological/ somatic/paradigmatic experience, leading to a direct understanding of the work, which then can be shared in their own equally direct way.

Through this process of directly liberating and embodying, through practice, all functionally pleasant postural choices, there is a developing understanding of other people's body types and physical responses. It leads to a deeply informed way of working with people that is highly 'intuitive', and the immediacy of its effectiveness can be surprising.

The main skill to develop, is the skill of communication. So the work is to find your own voice... And this is precisely what applying yourself to the course process can do for you.

The 'Scaravelli inspired' approach to yoga is defined more by the word 'inspired' than 'Scaravelli' (she would not have had it any other way)... and I believe the only people that can really teach it are those that are truly inspired by their own process of applying themselves to the work. This is the basic philosophy of the AcquaViva School...


Authentic practice makes for authentic teachers.

The course is a carefully crafted (and ever-evolving) process that requires dedication to the PRACTICE of it in between workshops... it is suggested that you have a minimum of 1hr per day set aside for practicing the themed content of each workshop, at least for the week following each workshop. As time goes on and the principles become more present in your natural consciousness, practice naturally extends to mindful awareness in your day to day life.

Then dedicated practice on the mat becomes more something you are drawn to do simply for the pleasure of it, to investigate a theme that has been presented to you, or to make deeper progress in the unravelling of some physical history you have noticed.
But mostly just for the sheer pleasure of it.

quote7The Yoga necessarily brings you to a place of greater authenticity, and to my mind it is authenticity that makes for the most inspiring teachers. I also think that people engaging authentically with their practice is a very beautiful thing to see. I believe that this work can only really be taught by those that enjoy the process of conscious evolution, and are truly inspired to share it with others. quotes7

~ Marc J. Acquaviva (fka Marc Woolford).  

Who are the Courses for?

The AcquaViva training is a deeply enriching process for anyone interested in exploring ...

... the body-mind relationship and its potential for an ever-expanding quality of life.

And for those that wish to teach, it offers the best possible start to an authentic and inspiring teaching practice.

The degree of content and avaliable Resources means it can equally be considered as a post-graduate course for teachers that feel the calling to deeepen their understanding of yoga and this particular approach, as well as expanding their effectiveness as teachers by discovering the work's surprising potential to help redress long term health issues.

It is also simply for anyone that loves yoga enough to fully immerse themselves in this process...

It is a process designed to move people beyond current limitations, into ever more harmonious and empowering relationships with and between body and mind... This, we believe, is appropriate for anyone that is interested in self-exploration and self-development through mindful awareness, and a direct physical investigation of the body-mind relationship.


quote8The Inspirational work of Vanda Scaravelli offers us the heart- opening realisation that the support and freedom that we seek in Yoga, is available to us if we simply dare to start trusting in; the ground beneath our feet, the nature of the spine and breath, and the deep arising intelligence that is inherent in a body that is being listened to.


This approach together with my own studies has led me through personal discovery to gain a sense of experiential understanding, in modern day physiological and bio-somatic terms, of what I believe to be the actual and practical meaning of the ancient texts about the practice of Yoga.

I believe that is simply in giving objective and compassionate attention to the relationships that exist between ourselves and the nature, that we become able to release the myriad of unnecessary complications that unnatural mind-sets impose upon the body.

In the process of this release, the very core of the body itself, the spine and the breathing, wakes up in ways that are familiar from early childhood, and the body begins to express itself in ways that are recognisable as 'Yoga techniques'... The difference being, that this deeply satisfying awakening arises because of an UN-doing of tension/history, not because you have habituated a new contrived physical action. The result is that the deeper ramifications of the Yoga 'practice' become a natural part of day to day life. When this happens, the person has been inexorablty changed by yoga practice. Transformed.

In terms of physical practice, I have come to the conclusion that the only really effective way to find the Yoga, is by placing attention NOT with achieving difficult postures, but in the steadfast intention to find natural simplicity and ease in the approach to ALL postures (without exception).

The real contribution that it seems we can make directly, is to step outside of our personal stories, and put ourselves to the deeply pleasurable task of removing, undoing and releasing the habitual conflicts that we recognise as we approach a movement. This way there is an opportunity to witness how graceful and powerful it is simply to flow with the true nature of being in this moment.quotes8             

Marc J. Acquaviva (fka Marc Woolford)


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