Having heard many yoga enthusiasts with diverse practices praise Shiva Rea, I looked forward to taking her Fire and Flow: Agni Namaskar class at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference a couple of weeks ago. I must admit, I was a little skeptical too and feared her style would be overly spiritual, pedantic, or judgmental (I have been lectured about the evils of cheese by yoga instructors and really just wanted to get my asana on). But two hours and 108 push-ups later, I was sold. She is one cool lady, even when she's talking about fire tending in the modern age.
Shiva talks with her entire body; almost as if she is dancing her words. She's goofy, too, a plus in my book. But when discussing the power of yoga, Shiva can get pretty serious. For her yoga is a movement meditation and the fiery sun salutation is the perfect tool for understanding your strength. Throughout the class of sun salutation, we completed nine cycles of 12 push-ups, along with a crazy array of arm balances, chair poses, and warriors. The class was empowering.
Walking around the class in a flowy halter top, wearing a large cuff bracelet, Shiva adjusted students and helped me settle into triangle pose by lengthening my spine. She is at once feminine and strong. We chanted at the end of the class briefly, too. Then she sent us on our way, but not before telling us to eat. "You all deserve a big farmer's breakfast after that class." I was overjoyed to hear something so profane after learning the zen of "adjusting to what is" through yoga poses. If you have a chance to study with Shiva Rea, I say do it.