Shiva Rea is a yoga instructor who has been called “one of the world’s greatest yoga masters.” She has a highly successful series of yoga DVDs. This DVD is a follow up to 2009’s Daily Energy, which also used vinyasa flow yoga. The DVD contains seven twenty-minute yoga practices that can be combined however the viewer wishes. The practices, Foundation Sahaja, Foundation Heart Flow, Foundation Standing, Prayer Wheel, Evolution Flow, Evolution Heart Flow, and Evolution Standing Balance, are divided into Lunar and Solar Series.
The Lunar Series are meant to be practiced at nighttime, and are more gentle and less vigorous. The Solar Series are meant to be practiced in the day, and are more challenging and energizing. The practices can be performed on their own in 20 minute increments, or as part of a several set series provided on the DVD. I find it challenging to find 90 minutes in my day to devote to yoga, and I appreciated that the DVD allowed me to do 20 minute sessions. I realize that it is not ideal to do only 20 minutes, but I am more likely to do 20 minutes several times a week than do 60 or 90 minutes.
I have mostly practiced hatha flow and ashtanga yoga, so the vinyasa poses were new to me. My first reaction was disappointment at how mellow the practice was. Both the solar and lunar series start with an opening meditation and a series of opening moves. I immediately missed the rigor and physicality of my hatha and ashtanga practice. As I stuck with the DVD, I realized that it did indeed provide a challenge, but in a more subtle way than an ashtanga series. This isn’t meant as a workout DVD, although it does provide physical exercise. The focus is on opening, stretching, connecting with your body, and releasing energy.
There are many of the common asanas, but also poses that were new to me, or variations on poses I was familiar with. This provided a nice variety and change of pace from my usual practice. I am not very limber, but I was able to do most of the poses, and Shiva provides variations for the more challenging poses. The lunar series is gentle enough for beginners, although I would not recommend this DVD for someone with no yoga experience. She mostly uses the sanskrit names for the poses, and in general assumes the viewer has at least some familiarity with yoga.
The production values are very good. The set is tasteful and not too showy. Shiva both demonstrates the poses and does the voice-over. She has a calming voice, and her instruction touches on the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga without being cheesy. I’ve started doing one of the solar series in the morning, and then a lunar series in the evening, and I’ve found it a nice way to start and end my day.
More Daily Energy may not be as physical as some yoga practices, but it is an excellent DVD for those who are looking for a more stretching, meditative practice. It was my first introduction to Shiva Rea, and won’t be my last.