Yoga as a life philosophy. Travels around the world to always come back home, in Sicily. She’s Ania Venanzio, from Palermo, professional yogi and forever fascinated by the interaction between body and mind. Looking for inner wellness, Sicilian Secrets interviewed her for you.
Since forever, I have lived trying to make what I think, what I say, and what I do live in unison.
Q: How did you approach the world of yoga?
A: It’s not easy to understand the moment in which my journey into yoga started. During my trips and my life across Italy and abroad, I’ve been in touch with many different types of yoga based on asana, the positions. And one day in 2013, in Naples after a special meeting, I began practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa. The effect on my soul was pure magic.
Q: Physical, inner wellness and trips around the world. What’s the common denominator according to Ania Venanzio?
A: First of all, it’s a human and relational path. One of the powers of yoga is in its semantic root of union: it connects the world, others and ourselves. Travel and yoga have something in common: transformation. And nothing that was, still remains.
Q: What pushed you to make yogi your job?
A: When I decided to give up my career as an interpreter to teach people how to breathe and improve the perception of their life experience, everybody thought I was crazy. And they still do. I teach because this is an act of deep sharing and love for what this discipline can give to each of us, Paying homage to the yogi of today and yesterday.
Q: How much did Sicily and you being Sicilian influence your path?
A: Sicily as an island always put me in contact with the ritual of going beyond your limits. The horizon gets lost in the sea and always reminds me the infinite. Mountains that surround Palermo remind me that we are finite, immersed in the cosmos. I was born in the sea and I am a sailor. Sicily for sure put me in front of the natural beauty of the land.
Q: You organize workshops around the world, but in Italy you always look at Sicily. What’s the bond you have with your land?
A: The first workshop of the series Yoga Experience just took place in Balestrate (Palermo). The next one is going to be in Catania on May 12th. I created this project since Yoga is an experiential path, I want to make it come alive for Sicilians. For me Sicily is a magical island, rich in contrasts, wonderful raw materials, a volcano that reaches to the sky, a coast full of white and black beaches. I always come back to Sicily.
Q: According to Ania Venanzio, what’s the added value that yoga can give to everyone who practices?
A: Yoga is quickly spreading thanks to the undeniable benefits that are often identified with the reduction or elimination of symptoms such as stress, backache, and insomnia. For the most part people who get close to yoga are moved by physical and/or emotional pain and almost every time they discover the source of these problems is deep. Yoga practice purifies the heart, body, and mind, enlightening our most authentic nature.
Q: What’s your favorite spot in Sicily? The one where you go to practice your exercises or share this experience with other people?
A: I discover my favorite spots almost always on Instagram: this is the social network in which I have the most direct contact with those who follow me and the public and private locations that contact me. And then there’s a place in Palermo that can be reached hiking for an hour, it’s at the peak of a mountain in which the forest looks toward the incredible blue ocean. The fresh and salty air of the sea in the lungs is indescribable.
Q: From today, what’s your professional achievement you are most proud of and what are your future projects?
A: To have been able to create a genuine community on my Instagram profile and on Facebook to share yoga practices both offline, with a program of workshops in Italy and abroad, and online creating a course to satisfy the requests of many people that cannot practice with me in person. For the future, I would like to open a yoga studio in my beloved Sicily.
Q: What advice would you give to those who want to enter this world or are already in it?
A: To those who want to approach yoga I suggest waiting until they find teacher that is able to perfectly convey the right message; to trust your own intuition. To those who already practice it, I suggest not to give up! Try to stay simple even when everything seems complicated.