Friday, 6 June 2008

Another new DVD: Yoga Shakti



I ordered this because I've heard good things about Shiva Rea and her version of vinyasa yoga, and I found it on Amazon.co.uk for under £9.00. Bargain! I thought this was only one workout, so when I got it, I found out that it was actually a superbargain...the DVD contains four separate workouts, plus 30 basic elements that you can mix and match using the 'yoga matrix' function. So the combinations are numerous, and as I learn which segments are my favourites, I can string together workouts using only those components. That is so awesome!

So far we have tried 'Basic Flow' and 'Lunar Flow'. The Basic Flow was 43 minutes long and consisted of a brief movement meditation, sun salutations and warrior poses, and a final meditation. The Lunar Flow was pleasantly reminiscent of kundalini yoga. It started with sufi grinds, then into cat-cow (although she put her 'Shiva flow' into it!) and progressing on to what she calls 'moon saluations', some killer hip openers, a segment of inversions which we ultimately decided to skip (I HATE inversions...), alternate nostril breathing meditation and a final meditation in corpse pose (savasana). It was 73 minutes.

One thing about Shiva is she tends to use the Indian names for yoga poses, though she will throw the English in as an aside for us lesser mortals who don't know them yet. I am going to try to start using them myself, just to make things easier when I do this DVD and Eionn Finn's Power Yoga for Happiness.

Another thing about Shiva is that she is incredibly bendy and strong, and she makes the most advanced poses look effortless. This could be quite discouraging for beginners, or perfectionists like me who beat themselves up over the fact that they're only slightly more flexible than when they started yoga 2-3 years ago, conveniently forgetting that not only has Shiva done yoga for 20 or 30 years, she is master yogini enough to be world famous. It's not like the average housewife who buys this DVD can get into those poses that easily. (At least I hope not, for the sake of my poor self-esteem). Some reviewers of her DVDs say she is self-worshipping, and I can see how you could think that, but I really believe her intentions with her DVDs are good. She wants to share yoga, not show off. But this is the reason why many yoga teachers don't show the extent of their skill to their students, but save it for their own personal practice.

I'm not sure yet that I like this vinyasa flow business. You don't stay in any one pose for very long at all. There's a lot of dancer-like movement in the transitions--I suppose you could call it grace. Shiva looks graceful. DH and I so far have just produced grunts and the occasional unexpected bone pop. Still, it's early days with this particular practice. It's challenging to me. It's going to take me a while to work through it. I bet in a few months I will be totally hooked.

Here is the 'Classic Sun Salutations' segment from Yoga Shakti. This segment is included in the Basic Flow premix that we did day before yesterday. The voice over with instructions for postures and movement has been removed, leaving only the music, the sunrise, the beach, and Shiva. Enjoy.

Shiva Rea Sun Salutations

And here is an interview with Shiva:

Sitting Down with Shiva Rea

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