Raised by surfer parents in Hermosa Beach, California, Shiva Rea was a hardcore athlete as a kid (she played shortstop and point guard!) She soon fell in love with dance and ended up traveling to Europe and Africa as a teenager. Shiva made her way back to California and studied dance anthropology at UCLA -- and while all this was happening, she began a yoga practice. Now Shiva Rea is one of the most highly respected teachers in yoga.
Shiva talks to us about what she loves about yoga, the Chakras, and some of her favorite things.
MBG: What do you love about yoga?
SR: What I love about yoga is that it permeates all of life. It teaches awareness and connection – it’s about developing relationships, both internally and externally. So it’s really a practice that serves our own inner well-being as well as the quality of relationships we cultivate with our family, our friends, and anyone we meet.
What do you find challenging about your practice?
Keeping a traditional daily asana practice as a western householder always has its obstacles -- maybe of time, or of space. These challenges offer new creative opportunities to weave shorter practices throughout the day, or to bring the essence of your yoga practice into all areas of life -- into preparing meals, connecting with our families, and all aspects of householder living.
Yoga and surfing -- how are both practices similar?
Both yoga and surfing are incredible ways to experience the power of life moving through you. In yoga, you're tuning into the rhythm or the wave of the breath. When surfing, you're experiencing that pulse all around you with the movement of the water and the churning of the waves. They are both practices in staying present in what you're doing and of finding your balance in movement.
Any advice for someone just beginning a practice?
Start where you are: Don't limit your experience with the idea that you need to meet some external goal. Let the internal and external training and churning and transformation happen authentically and in their own time.
Show up: Stay present in your breath and be compassionate with yourself as you discover and play with your evolutionary edge.
Be consistent: Establishing a practice is about finding a rhythm. Try practicing at different times of the day until you find the time where the rhythm of your daily energy naturally supports a steady practice.