Shiva Rea + Steve Gold = perfect yoga weekend

I don't like superstar yoga teacher worship. It feels wrong and a little icky. It didn't used to matter for me with master teacher Shiva Rea. The last two times I practiced with the surfing goddess yogini, I didn't dig her style. She was hard to follow, I couldn't hear her over the music and I couldn't relate to why people loved her so much.

I changed my mind.
  Shiva loves to dance.
Photo credit: Kelly Davidson via Yoga Journal 

After a 20-hour weekend teacher training with her, I still find her directions unclear. When she discusses yogic rituals, yoga's cultural roots and other elements of spirituality, she is sometimes incomprehensible. She throws out Sanskrit like nobody's business.  

Despite all that, Shiva unleashed some powerful realizations in me that took me by surprise. She encouraged us to jumpstart our creative juices in simple ways, like dancing in bed in the morning (truly), in the shower and even putting on headphones and grooving at work (It really works.) During the creative flow, she pushed us to drop any preconceived ideas we had about our practice, feel the music and let our bodies guide us. It was an amazing rush and release through music and movement and an intense reminder for me of how easy it is for me to hold back my authentic self out of some sense of propriety and concern about what others think. It's nonsense.

 You can't see the sacred ash smeared on my forehead above the red, which represents fire. You had to be there.

To build off of that day of inspiration through movement, that Friday night there was inspiration through song. Steve Gold was back in Seattle for a session of kirtan singing. I adore Steve and his wife Anne-Emilie. I still remember a retreat in 2007 during a kirtan session around a fire pit in the North Cascades when Steve, then a landscape architect, talked about the moment when he realized his true path was creating community with music. Look at him now, playing music full-time and traveling with Shiva Rea. Singing with Steve is so rejuvenating and I felt relaxed, free and open. Life should be like this all the time. Be yourself, let the creative juices flow, dance and sing with joy.


La parisienne said...

Love reading about your experiences with yoga and song. It's wonderful to be connected, in a very small way, to your growth. Keep writing!

Eco Yogini said...

you know- this is SO true. I love music, way more than Yoga (gasp!) and I have read similar things about Shiva Rea.... but listened to music on my walk home today for the first time in a while. have no idea why it took me so long!

time for some guitar playin' :)

(found you through twitter- coffeeandyoga :) ).

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