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Shiva Rea has been studying yoga since the young age of 14, when she took it up in an attempt to understand her name. She has remained true to her practice of a Vinyasa (flow)-based yoga that incorporates her background in dance and bodywork, as well as her own personal experience. In her teaching she emphasizes strength, intuition, fluidity, meditation, and wisdom in action. Her travels have taken her all over the globe to India, Africa, Nepal, Bali and the Caribean, and she is currently a faculty member at UCLA's Arts and Cultures Program, where she also received her Master's degree in dance movement therapy. With this interactive release filmed in beautiful regions of India and the Maldive Islands, students can select their favorite practices from a menu to put together a sequence that is specially tailored to their needs. Viewers can select from a variety of moving poses, meditations, and relaxations, and Shiva provides a list of suggested sequences of various lengths and levels of intensity.
NOTE:The Disc contains 4 Segments(Segments are Basic Flow, Solar Flow 1, Solar Flow 2, and Lunar Flow). Each segement has to be selected individually from the main menu and played.
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There really is great variety in the level of difficulty on this tape- some of the poses I just couldn't do, and some I had to do at the first level. That was a bit humbling (and reminded me that working with where you are is important in yoga!) It's nice now that I've moved on to using the custom practice feature that I can add in a new difficult one each time to work on.
I recommend having 1-2 blocks and a strap handy before getting started with this DVD. Some of the poses use them regardless of your skill level. A blanket to roll up is also a good friend on occasion.
The music and the scenery were lovely, but here are my (relatively minor) gripes:
1. Sometimes Shiva moves too quickly and it's hard to follow her when learning the poses. Some of these poses were new to me and I was lost trying to follow the instructions. This DVD seems to assume familiarity with all poses in advance- in fact there are some it advises against doing unless you've learned them with an instructor. I admit to cheating on that front.
2. The poses are almost always called by their Sanskrit name. This is fairly useful and educational, except for the fact that when doing a home routine it's easier to not have to look at the TV in the middle of a pose, and some users may not be able to consistently match names with poses. Just a head's up if you're in that camp!
3. The poses are not organized in the booklet in the same order that they are in the matrix, so if you need to look one up it can be confusing.
3a. Also, it''d be nice when adding segments to your custom routine if the DVD would tell you how long each of the segments is instead of just the name. Sometimes I only have an hour for yoga and want to make sure I haven't just chosen a sequence that will take ninety minutes.
4. Sometimes the camera doesn't pan quickly enough to the part of the body you need to see in order to assume a pose. As a result, I think a beginner would need to be careful about what poses s/he attempted, and to read the book carefully or stick to the first basic workout or the lunar flow for a while.
I'd say to get the most out of this a practitioner probably would want to be advanced beginner/intermediate level at a minimum, and able to keep some perspective on not being able to manage all of the intense bends Shiva does. This is a DVD that will grow with you as you progress in your yoga practice.
p.s I was so glad to find that this contained different breathing exercises as well as a wonderful, calming forward bend sequence. Yay!
But that's not all. The Yoga Matrix, consisting of the 30 individual components that make up the larger programs, allows you to create your own sequences. Thus, you can emphasize backbends, focus on standing poses, or just do forward bends if that is your preference. That is the beauty of this dvd--the variety of practice it offers. The range includes opening meditations, sun and moon salutations, dancing warrior variations, standing pose options, backbends, ha kriya, core work, supine poses, forward bends, shoulder openers, lunges, meditation, inversions, and handstands. You will find energizing sequences and relaxing ones, challenging asanas, and options for working up to them. Times for each component are listed in the accompanying booklet. There is something for everyone in this dvd.
Shiva Rea leads you through the practice on a sandy strip by the ocean, with the waves and sky behind her. Her flexibility allows her to demonstrate the full expression and beauty of each pose. Her narration is soothing and well-timed, while the music choices fit the mood of each sequence. There is a companion CD, Shakti Rhythms,if you like what you hear, or you can consult the music credits for individual pieces.
The such possibilities for your practice, this dvd a must for your home library!
Vinyasa yoga is defined as flow yoga and focuses on breathing and movement. It is suitable for all levels.
What I loved about this DVD:
**the breathtaking scenery of the Maldive Islands and Southern India. The gentle sounds of the waves are especially relaxing.
**the sitar music gives the DVD a true yoga feel. The indoor scenes look like they were filmed in some sort of Indian temple. For me, this is very appealing and part of the whole yoga experience. This may be too much for some folks, who prefer their yoga to be more of a stretch routine.
**Shiva's voice is very calming. I feel relaxed just listening to her.
**the preset practices give you good variety. I love doing the beginner flow when I'm tired and want to do a little something. Both Solar Flows are about 90 minutes long, so I save these for when I have lots of time. The Lunar Flow is perfect for an end of day workout.
**the matrix option allows you to build your own workouts. Since I don't do this DVD very often, I can't remember the details of each section, so I find it hard to build a workout. I tend to use the preset routines. Some of the section times are not accurate, so it's hard to judge how long your workout will be.
Some things to be mindful of on this DVD:
**there are some advanced poses, like handstands and bakasana(advanced crow), which should not be attempted unless you are very strong and have done yoga for a while. Shiva does emphasize you should do what feels right for your body, but sometimes it's hard not to want to mimic her exactly.
**sometimes Shiva does mirror cuing and sometimes she doesn't and this can be a bit confusing. It used to bother me at first, but now I focus on the movements and don't worry whether I'm on the correct side. I just make sure I do both sides.
I highly recommend this DVD for anyone wanting a comprehensive Vinyasa yoga practice. Because of the variety allowed by the matrix, you will not get bored with this DVD.