Marseille-based Florence Cevaer has been practising yoga for almost 40 years and established one of the first yoga studios in Marseille, Le Studyo. From being a lawyer to teaching yoga was a transition that took her 15 years, and she made this change as she wanted more meaning in her life and found that purpose in yoga. Her spiritual inspirations are Swami Vivekananda and Ramana Maharshi, and she calls India her mother and second country. Find out why this French national feels so connected to India and how she uses yoga to release tension and connect to the real Self.
Sophia: From being a lawyer to a yoga teacher. How did this transition happen?
Florence: It has been a long journey and a long process. It took me almost 15 years to make the shift. I was looking for something meaningful for me, but I had many fears to overcome….
Sophia: What was the inspiration for founding Le Studyo?
Florence: I had the feeling that I needed a special place dedicated to yoga, where I could settle and from this location, I knew that the Yoga light could spread and shine. This is exactly what happened. When you gather your energy somewhere it becomes powerful.
Sophia: You focus on yoga for fascia. Please elaborate on this?
Florence: I’m interested in fascias because recent research has pointed out that these tissues are extremely important in the body and could be the cause of many chronic pains. It is like a huge spider web underneath the skin that is alive and connected to our organs and bones. Scientists say that without fascias, the skeleton cannot stand. These facias are connected to movement and have to be stimulated constantly in order to prevent diseases. It is interesting because in yoga classes in Europe, many people are not so young and are not able to hold a pose for long. Practising with fascias allows me to introduce soft movements like little jumps, rocking…. Various studies have shown that rocking, for instance, reduces anxiety and provides multiple health benefits. I can adapt and adjust the practice with warmups and bring some modernity to this ancient practice. I find it fascinating.
Sophia: Who have been your greatest yoga inspirations/influences?
Florence: Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and all my teachers through the years.
Sophia: How is experiencing yoga in India different from yoga in the West?
Florence: In the west, focus is mostly on the physical body, whereas in India, yoga is more about pranayama, spirituality and the inner self. But I have noticed a change during my last stay in India. Some young instructors were more focused on performance and physical body as well. It is a shame.
Sophia: You talk about yoga helping one to move inwards. How do you think yoga and its allied disciplines can help inner personality development?
Florence: For me, yoga is a path of silence, patience, observation, humility, non competition, slowness. All these values are not promoted in our societies where everyone wants to get everything effortlessly and immediately.
Sophia: What are you reading right now and can you list some of your favourite books on yoga?
Florence: I’m always carrying with me my “Yogas Sutras” and the” Upanishads.” I’m also reading texts on buddhism.
Sophia: You conduct retreat across Europe. How is teaching a retreat different from a shalal/in-class experience?
Florence: From my point of view, a yoga retreat can be used to go deeper inside yourself to connect with your true nature. It’s also a chance to connect and share with people no matter your age, profession, sex, social status. It’s always a process of transformation. Thanks to the practice, you can also release physical and emotional tension which allows you to relax deeply. I like to guide students on this path, and be the witness of their transformation.
Sophia: Any advice for young yoga practitioners and teachers in France (and India) who want to pursue this path?
Florence: Trust life and be confident because when you are on your way, abundance appears. I also have my personal Mantra: “everything is in divine order”.
Sophia: What is your favourite memory/place in India?
Florence: So many!
My first stay at the Swami Ramana Ashram in Rishikesh just before quitting my job remains a very strong and powerful memory. It gave me the impulse to embrace yoga. I will always be grateful to Mother India, my second country.
For further information about Florence, visit https://www.yoga-marseille.fr/