Shiva Rea is a global pilgrim, an international traveler and wisdom seeker who has been teaching from the heart of her own embodied practice for over 30 years. With a background in movement therapy and music anthropology, she is passionate about creating a place where people can come together to ignite and regenerate. We caught Shiva in a brief moment at home, between a snow storm in Denver and the sultry heat of Kerala, to tune in to what she will be transmitting with BodyMindLife Byron Bay in March 2020.
Shiva Rea in Byron Bay
You are taking a quick breath in the middle of an extended period of travel and there is a lot going on in the world. How are you feeling?
Well, my heart is with Australia and what you have been going through with the fires. I live above a state park in Malibu and when the fires came through in 2018 we saw nothing but black for so long. Then there was a super bloom. Fields of mustard, sage and fennel, plants that are normally waist height were double that. I’d like to make my offering down there a sanctuary, a space where people feel they can recover. I’m really grateful to Phil and Ferique, Noelle, Lara and Benny, the studio family, and all the wonderful teachers, students and friends there for welcoming me.
Will this be your first visit to Byron Bay?
I’ve been once before. I don’t know what they put in the papaya there but the people are beautiful!
My first visit coincided with my birthday and we biked up to watch the sunrise. I felt connected on such a cellular level. Friends had told me that it’s a traditional place of magnetic energy and I felt the call of the Grandmothers there in such a strong way. That’s what I love about being a global pilgrim. We may not be walking exactly where our ancestors stood, but we can listen through our bones and feel the memory of the keeping of ways and the sacredness of nature.
Breathing With Tigers
What will you be sharing when you visit in March?
A week long ritual flow experience called Breathing With Tigers, that begins with a two day weekend immersion under the full moon, and a celebration of ecstatic trance dance with wonderful local treasures Benny Holloway and Edo Kahn. It will be practical but very juicy.
We are an open circle and everyone is welcome to come and seep in the universal pulse for the full nine days, for the weekend, for a night. We reach to the sky.
What does it mean to you to breathe with tigers?
There’s something about lions and tigers that captures our imagination. They are one of the symbols of instinctual presence. My first experience with them was while I was volunteering in Kenya. On safari, we saw lions in savasana and they were so relaxed. Like a cat on a windowsill.
Fast forward to another pivotal moment. After surrendering to becoming a mother, I was called by a photographer named Michael O’Neill. He was doing a book on yoga and we shot out in the desert with two teenage tigers who had been rescued from a circus. It was bone cold but my clothes looked ridiculous so I stood, wearing just a giant mala, with these primal creatures knowing that everything could change in a moment.
That’s where we are in life right now. When we learn to navigate from a place of sacred ground we avoid a lot of anxiety.
You are coming to Byron Bay fresh from India?
Yes! I’ll be coming to BodyMindLife straight from three weeks with my own teachers. I’ve been going to India for 30 years and for the last 15 years have been there to study Kalarippayatu, which is one of the oldest martial art forms in the world. It’s such a profound form of movement. One has to be initiated to do the traditional practice but, with my teachers guidance, we share a practice called Kalari Prana Flow, that shares the instinctual embodiment of prana shakti, rich with Ayurveda and massage traditions. In our Breathing with Tigers immersion we will dive into those teachings, learning some practices we can share and others that create an inner energetic shift towards sacred embodiment.
Full Moon Flow Yoga Immersion & Free Flow
Your Full Moon Flow is a weekend immersion. If people haven’t practised with you before is this a good place to start?
Absolutely. We’ll be moving through four balancing Prana Vinyasa namaskars and everyone is welcome. I really embrace the one room classroom, aware that someone might be stumbling in for the first time. We speak to that and we reach to the sky. I’m grateful for any chance we have to come together and empower each other.
For the uninitiated, what is Rhythm and Flow – Ecstatic Trance Dance?
That name scares some people but we are not randomly dancing like a disco! It’s a led practice that leads to free flow movement. A yogic unfolding that comes from the heart of tantra.
Anyone can do this practice. I’ve worked with elders, scientists, CEOs, people who say they have no rhythm but once we start to move we break through the limitations we have set on ourselves and awaken to the pulse of life.
Join Shiva Rea in Byron Bay for a yoga immersion from March 7 – 15.