Are you looking for a way to refresh your yoga practice? Would you like to rediscover the sense of lightness and joy that you found when you were first practicing yoga? If so, find a Shiva Rea workshop or video as soon as possible.
I’ve practiced yoga for 11 years, studied several styles and enjoyed renewal in my practice from a variety of sources. Recently I was looking for a little inspiration and purchased a DVD of Shiva Rea’s live free flow vinyasa workshop from the Yoga Journal San Francisco Conference. I’ve felt so much positive change in my practice and teaching from this DVD, that I can’t imagine how inspiring it would be to experience a workshop or retreat with her in person.
Shiva Rea’s teaching style is very free-flowing, light-hearted and casual, appropriate to the style of yoga she encourages students to practice. This DVD enriched my understanding of the Vinyasa style, helping me to find fluidity and ease in the practice that I have not found before.
The class starts with a simple moving meditation, moving the arms with the breath and progresses into a flowing alternating lunge sequence with a rhythmic arm motion. From there, Shiva encourages the class to freestyle from that basic movement, coming off the mat, moving and flowing spontaneously. Even this simple warm up opened my mind a little, enjoying this opportunity to move freely and intuitively.
The class then moves into more challenging flows, which Rea calls Mandala Namaskar or circular salutations. As the name implies, these sequences move the body in a circle, continuously changing perspective. They are a bit confusing at first, but give the great sensation of doing something new, experiencing your body and movement in a new way. Rea then introduces new motions into the sequence, some you may not have experienced before, and new core strengthening moves, providing new alternatives to Boat Pose. They say that new poses and movements actually open up new pathways in the brain. All I know is that it gives me a little rush of joy.
What I enjoyed most about the class and Rea’s yoga style was the fluidity of motions and transitions between poses that she inspires. She helped me to experience the true feeling of flow in the Vinyasa style. With the addition of a flowing preparation motion, Eagle Pose, which can feel stiff and stress-inducing, is made fun and easy. In Locust Pose the class is invited to swim and dance the limbs, releasing the energy of the effort so that it does not become blocked and build up into a sense of strain. In one sequence she introduces a bind in Warrior II and transitions to Bound Triangle, again making a somewhat challenging pose accessible, even enjoyable.
If you enjoy the Vinyasa style or are curious about it, I think you will enjoy Shiva Rea’s Free Flow Vinyasa, Live at the San Francisco Conference. If you are looking for some new ideas to lighten up and invigorate your practice, this DVD may be just what you need