Sunday, 19 June 2011

Shiva Rea Awesomeness

Happy in our Yoga camp
Although I love yoga, my experience of really well known teachers is pretty limited, especially now I am a mum. My time is stretched at the best of times, so I usually take my inspiration from my amazing local instructors. However, yesterday I made an exception and, thanks to my gorgeous friend, Will Forrester, managed to bag myself a highly sought after ticket for Shiva Rea's Summer Solstice Yoga Workshop held at London Zoo. Right at the last minute as well, the lovely Marie Greaves, also decided to join us and so the band of three headed off through the rain to see this world-renowned teacher.

We were not disappointed. Considered to be one of the best Vinyasa yoga instructors in the world, Shiva Rea's style and approach to yoga helps to restore energy levels, build strength in the muscles and body and works to achieve optimal balance through a Vinyasa yoga practice. For those that aren’t familiar with Vinyasa yoga, it is a technique that uses “connecting postures” which works both with movement and breathing. Shiva Rea teaches in a calming and methodical way to help a person take on the challenge of the poses. 

Shiva's four hour workshop was dedicated to lighting the fire within, helping to unlock passion in our lives. There was much "solar meditation" with beautiful and powerful chanting. Imagine it, 250 people all chanting together, it was a humbling experience. The meditation was interspersed with intense, creative and dynamic prana flow yoga. It was startling to feel the heat that I built up during the practice, sometimes not even realising how much yoga we were actually doing, such was her charisma and ease of teaching. Shiva walked around us, correcting where and when needed while all the time taking us though her amazing sequences. 

The combination of mantras and movement created a wonderful energy within the 250 strong class. Often only inches apart from mat to mat, it seemed natural and acceptable to have my neighbour's legs and feet folding across me as we went deeper into the postures. Shiva's friendliness, encouragement and humour were contagious and made the practice seem so much more honest and kind.

Throughout her teaching life, Shiva has passed on the belief that even a little yoga is better than no yoga at all and has encouraged her students to start even with just a few minutes, helping them to feel instantly better while working on balance, a peaceful mind set and composure in order to get through a daily routine. It isn’t just about the mind though; this type of yoga helps to sculpt long lean muscles, as well as build stamina while toning the body in an effective way as most fans in attendance yesterday will agree. 

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