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Vivian Campagna is perhaps the most inspiring, creative and thorough teacher I’ve ever had, and I have had over thirty or forty over a period of 30 years of off and on classes and practice. She is so intensely present, both in her words and embodiment of spiritual wisdom, not to speak about her words on anatomy, movement, asana, balance and strength. Vivian always brings me into possibility because she gets to know her students well; she seems to read states of mind. That comes from her own deep practice. Her compassion and insights make students remember , and feel, that we have all we need within. Her teaching is intensely personal and her stories are vivid. We get a great workout, with precision and safe practice.
Vivian is a treasure. She has the rare ability to teach heady spiritual topics in a grounded, personal and even amusing way. More than any teacher I’ve experienced, she has helped me to contstruct my own bridge from spirit to body and back, leading to countless “aha” moments of inspiration and revelation. I’m not exaggerating! Vivian is authentic, gifted and humble — a joy to be around. My life is immeasurably better for having her in it.
Hi Everybody, I’m Vivian Campagna
I’m Vivian Campagna. A momma, wife, seminarian and a passionate and enthusiastic yoga practitioner and certified teacher since 2002, currently E-RYT® 500, YACEP®. Baltimore Yoga Village has been my yoga home and community since 2009, for which I am deeply grateful. My belief in embodiment as a sacred gift, my deep appreciation of yoga philosophy and story, my love of people and passion for cultivating beloved community, all spill out into my classes. As a dancer turned yogini, I also have a passion for the healing power of clear, grounded alignment cues which help us remain strong, connected and healthy in body-mind-spirit. Forever a student on this life-giving, never-ending path, I am incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful teachers, most notably the students who come together in this great community of practice. Grace happens when we breathe, move, chant and meditate together. It never gets old.
"Yoga guides us to remember who we are at the essence level."
Embodiment, Spiritual Practice, Interconnectedness, Love and Justice are the threads that weave the heart of who I am to the work I feel called to do. I was born into an Episcopal clergy family in the early 1970s, in Montgomery, AL. Growing up in a clergy family brought God down to earth, yet witnessing both of my parents walk their faith elevated my sense of human calling. Theology and politics were frequently discussed around the family dinner table, and I discovered early that they are deeply intertwined. I was in the fourth grade when we turned on the evening news to see my father hold vigil in front of the governor’s mansion in the rain. Later, I’d ask Dad what it was like to stand and pray with a man who was facing the electric chair. My mother’s “ERA NOW” button, in support of the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, was proudly pinned to her blouse when we went out to run errands. She worked on progressive political campaigns and regularly testified at the AL State Capital in support of racial and gender equality. She took me to Church Women United and League of Women Voters meetings. These meetings brought women together across racial and socio-economic lines. They were intentional, fueled by love and connection, and aimed to empower and uplift the voices of the oppressed. I soaked it in. This was love in action, church work at it’s best. This solid spiritual foundation set me on a life-long path of curiosity about the relationship between Creator and Creation.
My personal journey is defined largely by movement, and a deep appreciation for the gift of embodiment. When tongue tied I joke that movement is my first language, but it’s no joke. Movement is the way I most naturally engage the world. My passion for dance and years of rigorous classical ballet training took me from Alabama to New York City at age 17, where I embraced living in a diverse urban environment. As a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet and student at NYU, I was struck by artists who courageously stood at the forefront of meaningful social change. It was the height of the AIDS crisis and artists like Bill T. Jones, Keith Haring and so many others generated awareness and activism by making life-giving art from the ashes of their profound pain and loss. After years of approaching dance as performative, I began to deeply consider the unique role of artists in society to bridge divides and inspire new understanding.
I enrolled in Hunter College as a sociology major with a focus on dance therapy and social work in order to explore the powerful healing connection between psyche and soma, and to better understand the dynamics between people, society and systems. My professors connected me with an amazing woman named Penny Shaw, a retired professional dancer who started Project HAPPY to provide recreational activities for youth and young adults with disabilities. Under Penny’s support and guidance, I joined Project HAPPY as a volunteer dance and movement teacher. This was a powerful life-changing lesson in accessing and liberating the glory of one’s spirit through movement!
Another Professor of Dance, Dorothy Vislocky, the founder of the Hunter College Dance Department (who had come out of retirement that year to return to teach dance improvisation. Lucky me!), turned me onto what would become a lifelong journey into the world of mindfulness and yoga. Her assignment to read and write about Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, was completely life-changing. I began a daily mindfulness practice of breath meditation, which was particularly life-giving during crowded subway rides. I wrapped practices like “eating an orange to eat an orange” and “washing the dishes to wash the dishes” into my routine. Walking through crowded NYC streets, I embodied Thay’s mantra, “Kiss the Earth with your feet.” Offering love with every step on massive layers of concrete had an incredible spill-over affect of teaching me how to better love my neighbor in a crowded fast-paced and sometimes seemingly ruthless city. Movement classes with Prof. Vislocky took on new meaning and depth, as did my life. Mindfulness gave me tools to radically engage and compassionately attend to what was going on inside and outside, underneath all of the concrete layers of separation.
A few years later, in need of self-care and inward movement, I signed up for a beginner’s yoga series at a local studio in Brooklyn. The practices spoke to my soul. I instantly knew that I wanted to dive into a lifetime of study and practice, and eventually teach. As I grew into a serious practitioner committed to daily asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath work), seated meditation and chanting, my experience of myself, all beings and the world as sacred ground deepened. The practices rooted in non-dualism offered an intimacy with self, God, humanity, and the world that I realized I’d been looking for my whole life. It was about awakening, and more than anything I wanted to live an awakened life and to serve from an awakened heart.
I began teaching yoga in 2002 after graduating from my first 300 hour yoga teacher training at Willow Street Yoga Center in Takoma Park, MD. I continued to study with teachers in the Anusara School of yoga, particularly Suzie Hurley, John Friend, Cristina Sell, Amy Ippoliti and Sianna Sherman, eventually earning my full Anusara Certification in 2009. Along with a passion for yoga philosophy, clear alignment cues to safely guide students into a deeper and more fascinating relationship with asana, I began to notice that my greatest passion is human connection and cultivating loving community. My greatest joy is being with people who are open, honest and willing to look deeply into their own heart and awaken to the spark of spirit alive within everyone in the room.
I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work alongside and continually learn from Anjali Sunita, founder and director of Baltimore Yoga Village, where I have taught yoga since 2009. BYV is a community of radical welcome, dedicated to welcoming people where and as they are, and offering yoga as a pathway of love that helps us to take on ourselves and the world with sensitivity, compassion and non-violence in order to dismantle forces of injustice and oppression.
Following two years of formal discernment, this February I became a postulant for holy orders in the Episcopal Church, and I’m thrilled to have recently been accepted into the Masters of Divinity program at The Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA. My theological studies begin this June. It’s quite a journey, y’all, and it’s still unfolding!
I’m super excited to be returning to teaching at BYV following a brief sabbatical. Cannot wait to see you on the mat!