Spry: Why did you decide to focus your latest yoga DVD on the core?
Shiva Rea: The funny thing is that itís really a compilation of all the core work Iíve been doing over the last 7 years. I have a couple titles. I created this technology I call the yoga matrix for my DVDs. It allows you to create your own practice Ė use your cursor or your remote. So this is the best of the best of core work.
My approach is to have an effective core practice thatís based upon a deep inner connection to whatís happening in the whole region in the core. As youíre moving, keep cultivating that strength and that sensation. It really teaches people to be much more engaged on an embodiment level. 5-10 rounds of what weíre doing, if youíre really engaging, is intense. Itís fewer repetitions, and more about the effectiveness of creating a long-term connection. Itís creative and itís fun and diverse, which has become much more valuable.
Spry: What is the philosophy behind the ďyoga matrixĒ?
SR: I give people a lot more material than some exercise DVDs. It allows you basically to choose what youíre going to start with, how long your program is, to work with where you are in your life. Rather than plop this DVD in and itís the same every time, this allows you to combine a lot of programs. People love it. I think a lot of people are getting used to customizingóthink of Starbucks, and being able to create whatever drink they want.
Spry: Do you prefer one type of yogaólike the more energetic vinyasaóover another?
SR: For me, yoga is not ever exercise. From teaching for 20 years, I understand what I need to do for myself, whether itís a more calming, grounding practice, or a more energizing practice.
My practice is really a whole spectrum of an approach so that weíre not always in one mode. I help people who hate exercise come to love their practice, and I bring people who are a gym Nazis into a more balanced routine. We all need everything ójust like with food. We need the full spectrum.
Spry: What do you think of all the variations of yoga that have sprung up: aerial yoga, hot yoga, stand-up paddleboard yoga? Are you a yoga purist?
SR: No. To me itís about the fact that yoga can happen anywhere. I donít think itís diluting the tradition if people create styles. Itís natural. When Iím on my surfboard, I also do yoga, which is like stand-up paddleboard yoga. I think itís awesome. I think itís important to emphasize that you can do yoga anywhere.
Page 2 of 2 - Spry: How do you recommend that someone whoís new to yoga get started?
SR: Know yourself. If youíre already athletic, and not injured, any of my DVDs are great. You donít even necessarily have to be in great shape. But if someone has health problems or is coming back from an injury, I really think itís important to go to a live teacher. They can give live feedback and make sure youíre connected and really know what youíre doing. Start with the intro class.
Spry: There was a little bit of controversy a few years ago when you gave an interview and said youíre not a strict vegetarian.
SR: Iím not ashamed of anything. Iím really sensitive to the vegetarian aspect that can be connected to yoga. I was a vegan for 16 years. I will eat fish, and even eat some lamb near my cycle to build blood. But I really believe my main commitment is to organic food, not just for the health of my family, but also for the planet and the local community.
Spry: What are some of your diet staples?
SR:Iím really into healthy fats and whole grains and tons of colorful vegetables. I believe in putting raw olive oil on everything. I think Iím a ďgoat-atarian.Ē I have the constitutionómy body loves goat milk, goat yogurt, goat cheese. Thatís kind of my protein staple. Thatís not something I recommend for everyone, but it works for me.
Iím also into easy. I have so many recipes I can make in 10 minutes. Now that itís the end of summer, I made myself a papaya organic blackberry shake. I believe in putting avocados on everything!
Spry: Whatís next for you?
SR: Iím writing a book called Tending the Heart Fire, about living in rhythm with the pulse of life. Itís really about the power of the heart, and the gist is that people literally start to feel the living presence of their hearts, and tap into that internal guidance. Tending our heart fire is really about tending our life.