Cesare Dapiaggi Castelnuovo di Farfa, Italy
It’s amazing how much the body doesn’t like the effects of flying and jetlag…yet we fly all the time and often just wait out its effects. Using the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air to resolve the effects of flying Isn’t something new, but it isn’t something we generally reach for as a solution, either. Cesare though, does incorporate this into his yoga, as his way to speed and integrate the recovery process, so he can feel like a human being again, sooner rather than later. He has spent so much time flying that he has become very attuned to the imbalances it creates. Once his feet are settled on the earth again, his yoga follows a re-introduction of each element gradually, day by day. This settles any mental disturbances and stress from jetlag, and rebalances his nervous system after traveling through the time warps of time zones.
It is really lovely to spend time with Cesare! He’s so willing to share his knowledge and experience, yet at the same time enjoys still being a student of yoga, diving deeply into the self-awareness it brings. Perhaps what he says, says it best, “I have such respect for the yamas and niyamas, especially off the mat. The way they are carried in that moment between inspiration and expiration, it’s special no matter where we are, to feel it in what’s around us. They require us to slow down and just wait, to stop and not react too quickly…to clear the mind so we can react in the right way, developing the understanding of what we can do the next time. The yamas and niyamas are the two most important words of ashtanga yoga. I want to learn to walk with mastery, while keeping to my roots.”
Cesare carries a true curiosity about the knowledge of Life, and loves to teach what he knows about it. He comes from a very rare perspective and background in his teachings. Not that the subjects themselves are rare, but applying them to yoga…gift wrapping these philosophies together as one, is what’s rare. And he does it beautifully! He brings the yoga (of course), plus the philosophies of Divine Feminine, plus the philosophies of symbols and of the Elements, moving this as an offering, within the yoga classes he teaches.
In 1997 Cesare was in Bombay for work and met with yoga masters, but yoga still remained another world to him; practicing wasn’t leading him to a teacher who gave him the essence of yoga nor a way to calm his mind. It wasn’t until one day when he was looking to do something together with his son that they found their neighbourhood studio. After that one hour class he felt so complete. The teacher of that class would be one he would practice under for years, “he was an Italian teacher who looked somewhat like a Marine. But when he was actually doing the yoga, he was so feminine. And so I learned from this that to have a strong form, I need to be balanced in my own body.”
It was after this time that Cesare found his Master teacher, an Italian woman from whom he received an intensive four year training in Piacenza, Italy. Cesare dove in to studying all aspects of the feminine, including the medical study of women’s anatomy and health related issues. This opened him to a woman’s world which he never thought of before. What he recognized about the Indian study, was the emphasis on the inclusion of the divine feminine. Referring to this, he shares, “It’s not so much about acrobatic positions and form, the intention is to work deeper and deeper within.” The physical aspect of the practice is based on Hatha but the philosophical aspect liberates the asanas in to new forms.
Interestingly, teaching yoga has shown him the underlying role reversal between men and women. It was his keen awareness of his own problems relating to women which attracted Cesare to this yogic style, “I was drawn to this particular practice because I was having lots of problems with women (he laughs). I found that I would approach the feminine in the feminine way instead of in the masculine. I wasn’t balanced. Likewise, I have become aware of those women who have become more like men in their approach to life. This is a teaching method of the divine feminine, of the elements and of symbols all put together. It’s a practice of the feminine body and of feminine principles, so the practice involves particular elements and positions. We need feminine study, especially for men, so they can find their own feminine inside.” Cesare is the perfect teacher to hold such a space for this, with his integrity and respect for this practice.
“This style of practice,” he understands, “it’s difficult, particularly for men because men have difficulty if they can’t meet the practice rationally, if they can’t meet it with the mind. Men need to understand things and they don’t want to admit when they don’t. I started teaching to help others understand which also helps deepen the practice within my own consciousness. It’s not an easy method to explain, it’s necessary to be precise with your words, and so I find less explaining and more doing becomes the best lesson.”
It’s in this way that the practice is almost an understanding through absorption, “I notice that people need this,” says Cesare, “the lessening of the intellectual. When I see one or two people who are very concentrated I feel I’ve met my goal because they are studying themselves. That’s the best! When students have moved into that place where they don’t need to talk, they don’t need to move from their mat to hurry home. It is in this place of relaxation that we understand.”
“It’s very emotional work to be on the mat, as well as on the other side teaching. The meanings of the symbols and the philosophy is so beautiful, they reach deeply.” Cesare has a voice which works well to support this, it’s calm and focused, which adds to establishing that trust which inspires his students.
Cesare stays focused on yoga in his life because it’s a rich world within itself, “I want to help my students understand what I understand. I don’t want to be a master, I just want to study myself, to work everyday to keep my feet on the Earth because I’m always in the sky with my work and with my mind, so what better thing than yoga…finding it was karmic. It’s beautiful to do yoga every day.”