Boom Shiva! Jai Shiva Rea!
Report from Shiva Rea’s E2 Retreat in Denver, hosted by Om Time!
Photos and words by Ryan Nadlonek
SHIVA REA is a big name in American yoga. Given the name Shiva by her father and growing up on the beaches of California, Rea was destined to be at the forefront of the American yoga scene. She’s been studying and teaching yoga for over 20 years, pioneering her own styles: Prana Flow Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance. Her ability to communicate yoga to westerners in a way they can understand along with her powerful enthusiasm and breathtakingly beautiful presence has led her to international popularity. Her current Evolutionary Edge Tour (E2) came through Denver, Colorado last month and gave 100+ participants a Raise the Vibration retreat. Sacred space and sound were the themes, with all classes beginning and ending with yogic ritual and most vinyasas performed to live music. A deep sense of community was generated with love-vibes abound. The following is a first-hand recap of my retreat experience.
January 30th to February 1st was a full weekend of hot yoga, but not Bikram-hot. From the beginning, we created sacred space, the kind of space only yogis and yoginis know how to create. Our fearless leader, Shiva Rea, assisted us as we tapped into creative energy (using a secret passageway at the core of our being) and raised it up into our hearts. We were bubbling with love and excitement and the purest of joys! We shared laughs, hugs, cries, sweat, our voices, and ecstatic life!
The retreat began Friday evening with a presentation on the energetics of vibration from sound-scientist Alex Theory, demonstrating how sound-waves physically transform the matter in their path. It blew our minds and re-wrote our conceptions of reality, allowing us to lose ourselves in an evening of Puja led by Jyotish expert Shiva Kumar. We created, pinch by pinch, a beautiful mandala of brightly colored flour in the shape of a lotus, and we chanted the names of 108 Goddesses. Blissed-out, we left the Denver Convention Center, happy to have gathered with our brothers and sisters to create sacred space and excited to gather again.
The next morning, everyone arrived ready to get down. And down did we get! Live African drummers led us through three hours of primal movement. We started by spinning poi balls (glowing balls on the end of a string). We learned how to let go and let the poi flow almost like we were candy-ravers on ecstasy (but not really). Then we got into a sweat-inducing core workout inspired by Kalarippayattu, an ancient martial art from India. We finished with a body-shaking African heart-beat dance. Prana flowing!
After lunch we were ready for radical relaxation, pampering ourselves with lavish neck rolls, back rolls, and rolling all around. We were fed raw chocolate while we listened to Rumi. The ethereal sounds of Christing Tulis‘ harp allowed us to release all worries, stress, and fear, and fall deeply in love with the moment.
Sunday morning brought sun-salutations and wake-up asanas to the sound of Dave Stringer‘s kirtan band. My voice poured a river of sacred mantras. I released deep devotional emotions. I was moved to tears. Shiva said that where Hatha Yoga ends, Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion) begins and goes much further. I believe her.
It may all sound luvy duvy, but if you were there, you felt the power of the soul, the power of the sangha, and the love of which we are capable. Shiva Rea is teaching that it’s our obligation to raise the vibration. Her Tantra Yoga sees the divine potential inert in humanity and our infinite possibilities for creation: we make this world, and if we want it to be suffering, it will be; if we create love, love it shall be! But in order to manifest these ideals, we must have strength, positivity, compassion, and balance – that is what her E2 workshops help participants achieve.
Understand vibration and its power.
Respect and achieve sacred space.
Tap into the energy of the core, awaken the kundalini.
Raise it to the heart space and begin the flow of love.
Release from stress. Release from fear.
Om Namah Shivaya!
To learn more about Shiva Rea, visit her website: shivarea.com.
Shiva has a clothing line, Shiva Shakti, by Marika: marika.com/shiva.
Sponsors for this retreat included Prana (prana.com) and Om Time (omtime.com).