California-based yoga master Shiva Rea travels the world teaching her unique program of vinyasa flow yoga.
Integrating her studies of world dance, yoga, anthropology, and the arts while advancing the celebration of intuition and the awakening of rasa (our inner nectar), she leads retreats that guide participants of all levels to transformation and rejuvenation. A self-described “yogic usher,” Rea says she guides students whom she calls friends to a “seat inside,” themselves that connects them to the source within. Stressing the balance of opposites, Shiva leads a practice that is moving meditation, both muscle and spirit.
Becca: Your journey as a yoga teacher is unique in that it incorporates the lessons of many travels and overlapping interests. What place influenced you the most?
- Shiva: I lived in east Africa for a year and a half. I had already started teaching yoga, but that experience taught me so much about yoga it has stayed with me my whole life. I learned all about absorbing rhythm and joy, integrating movement, living and moving with nature.
Becca: Intuition is very important to you. How do you help students connect with their deepest intuition in their practice?
- Shiva: My style is to create a pattern for them to find the inherent intelligence that is already there. The way I teach is less about me, and more about their experience.
Becca: What do you hope to inspire in your students?
- Shiva: A love of life.
Becca: Inner balance means knowing where we are and who we are at any given time. What are some tips to keep us from deluding ourselves, to help us measure where we truly are on this journey called life?
- Shiva: We all have our various mythological conflicts, some unique to us, and some part of a collective confusion. We have a huge confusion about body image. Through practice, we learn to be honest with ourselves: about our energy, feelings, inner state. You have to work with the soil. We need to learn to love ourselves.
Becca: What is the first thing you do each morning?
- Shiva: I pray in bed to feel the preciousness of the day. As a follower of Ayurvedic principles, I rise at 4:30, and follow all the morning rituals such as body brushing, tongue scraping, and use of the neti pot.
Becca: Do you learn from your students?
- Shiva: Absolutely. They have taught me everything.
Becca: Do you go to spas?
- Shiva: Yes, I try to get a massage once a week. When I know things will be chaotic, I don’t make myself crazy. I move in the modern world at a yoga rhythm.
Becca: What is your favorite getaway and where do you go to heal?
- Shiva: Getaways can be in your own house. It is healing to me to sunbathe at home. When I get on a plane though, I head for Kauai or Kerala, India.
Becca: We know you love to dance and rock climb, do other sports play a role in your life?
- Shiva: Kayaking!