August 27, 2010

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As many of you know, from this space and my life in the physical world, I practice yoga.  What initially began as neat way to get exercise has become a deeply invigorating physical and spiritual practice.  By God’s (or maybe Buddha’s or Shiva Nataraja’s) grace, I have the privilege to be led through asanas that bring me closer to what I believe is most important in this world: body, mind, and spirit connecting and strengthening, not just within me, but to human consciousness, and all that lives, breathes, and moves.  As a result, I have changed.  I am more integrated, physically stronger yet softer, more understanding, caring, and connected.  I still have a long way to go, but the journey, with yoga, is far more joyous and centered.

At the center of this is Shiva Rea.  I have had other teachers, but none has inspired me or encouraged me to continue as she has (despite never having met!).  Were it not for the discovery of the brilliant Yoga Shakti DVD more than five years ago, I don’t know that I would still be practicing.  It’s not only Shiva’s way of teaching, of leading, but the steady evolution of her yoga, rooted in the ebb and flow of life, not to mention those fabulous matrices that allow me to mix it up according to my needs and time.

These four DVDs are my favorites and are the foundation of my practice.  They are challenging, fun, beautiful, and as ever changing as I am.  Difficult one day, a breeze the next, they enable me to be exactly where I am and embrace it.

As for each video – Yoga Shakti is closest to what I would call a traditional vinyasa practice.  I think, too, if you are new to yoga, it is the best place to start, as she offers some basic postures and forms.  As you progress, it can be very challenging, too.  Even after more than five years, I can, by no means, complete all the postures as shown.  Shiva is strong and incredibly flexible!  My goal is to have this video mastered in 2013.  The body and mind open slowly, over time.

Trance Dance – I’ve written about this before, and my love for it is simple.  Dance!  Invigorating, fluid, sacred, and totally fun!

Daily Energy – I was so jazzed when she made this DVD!  Sometimes I don’t have a lot of time.  With this video, I can have a complete practice in as little as twenty minutes, which is pretty awesome.  Since it also has a yoga matrix, I can make it a whole lot longer, add some core work, forward bends, and a complete shavasana, too.

Creative Core + Upper Body – Though the practice is centered around 108 push-ups (not all at once – thank goodness!), it is definitely not just for the upper body.  The legs and core get a terrific workout, too.  Speaking of the core – in all of the DVDs except Trance, she offers core cultivation in very creative and fun ways.   I’d never seen or felt anything like it – very good!  Oh, and this one is also pretty short, running at 35 minutes.

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