Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yoga Sanctuary - Shiva Rea

My friend Stevie passed this CD on to me. I'm a yoga person, she's more of a pilates person. I was intrigued by the concept having experienced Shiva Rea in person at the opening of Peter Sterios' Truyoga studio. As part of the "blessing ceremony" for the new studio, Shiva had the jam-packed class do nine hundred vinyasas. OK, it wasn't really nine hundred, but trust me--we did A LOT of vinyasas!

I've tried yoga videos and DVDs and felt they were lacking--you can't really get a good workout in 35 minutes! Shiva designed the CDs at the request of many of her students who wanted a way to do yoga at home or while they were on the road. The two CD set is divided into a challenging, heat building Solar Practice and a more gentle, cooling Lunar Practice. Each practice is then subdivided into sections; the solar practice consists of:

1. Sun Salutations (9:55)
2. Dancing Warrior (6:42)
3. Standing Poses (16:11)
4. Standing Pose Flow (12:11)
5. Balance Poses (10:34)
6. Abdominal strengthening(8:27)
7. Backbends (9:55)

While the lunar practice incorporates:

1. Full Body Warm-up (11:49)
2. Forward Bends and Twists (8:12)
3. Hip openers and MORE Twists (12:52)
4. Inversions (7:52)
5. Meditation and Breathing (8:53)
6. Shavasana (8:47)

Unfortunately, Shiva's famous Trance Dance isn't included on either CD, but if you add it all up, you've got over an hours worth of Hatha yoga in the solar practice and just under an hour of yoga in the lunar practice for TWO hours of yoga if you do both CDs! Of course, the purpose of separating each section into different tracks is to allow the user the option of skipping and mixing it up each time. Like for me, I'd cruise past most of the balance poses. Try doing that in a class full of students! What I've found makes it even easier is importing the discs into iTunes and then you can create playlists to customize your own personal yoga class. How cool is that?

Yoga Sanctuary comes with a guidebook and a poster showing each of the different poses. Although most of the asanas are fairly basic, I'd recommend this for students who have been practicing yoga for at least a couple of months. Shiva gives verbal adjustments and soothingly talks you through each pose, but it helps to have a solid background since there are no visuals and no physical corrections. The background music is innocuous and soft yoga music. I prefer the eclectic mixes of my studio instructors, but the star of this show is Shiva Rea's resonant voice and calming energy.

According to Shiva,

"Yoga is ultimately a journey of unification - of the individual self with the...Universal self. The meaning of hatha yoga as the union of the sun (ha) and the moon (tha) is a principle of bringing opposites in productive harmony. The two discs presented in this program, one Solar and one Lunar - were created to embody this balance between activity and receptivity, strength and flexibility, concentration and relaxation, will and surrender within hatha yoga and, by extension, our daily life."

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