Yogi Speaks About Sacred Activism
Here is another enlightening interview with a yogi that will be teaching at the Wanderlust festivals in 2011. In case you haven’t heard, Wanderlust is an awesome music, yoga, and nature festival that takes place across the U.S.. If you live anywhere close to one of the seven cities they will be coming to, we suggest you try to go! Here’s a handy list of where they will be taking place.
Shiva Rea, M.A. is a yogini firekeeper, sacred activist and global adventurer. Shiva is known for bringing the roots of yoga alive for modern practitioners in creative, dynamic and life-transforming ways. She is the creator of Prana Flow Yoga, Yogadventure Retreats, Yoga Trance Dance for Life, Moving Activism for 1,008,000 Trees, the worldwide Global Mala Project, Yogini Conferences and E2: The Evolutionary Edge Tour. She will be teaching yoga at the Wanderlust festival at the Fillmore in San Francisco on May 21st and in Lake Tahoe from July 28-31.
What is the difference between practicing and experiencing yoga, and how do you personally experience yoga?
Yoga is a natural state. Everyone on the planet is born with yoga and is able to be in contact with it at any time. Yoga isn’t edited by mental commentary but is rather a unifying consciousness. Practicing yoga is about the reality that, as adults, it’s easy to feel disjointed when this fragmented world pulls in different directions. Yoga brings us back into an authentic, organic experience. Once yoga becomes part of your life, the line between practice and experience is blurred.
How does yoga live in everyone?
Yoga is in the pulse of every breath. It’s an alternate level that connects us, not just as humans, but to the life in all things on Earth – plants, animals, the breathing soil. This is why yoga classes are so amazing: you take a room full of strangers and gather around the essential experience of just breathing and being breathed.
Next: Sacred activism and the connection to yoga
How have you been inspired by sacred activism and how does this concept relate to yoga?
Yoga is a form of sacred activism and I’ve been an activist all my life. My mentor, Andrew Harvey, is the father of sacred activism. He showed me that there are so many ways to positively mark the world and there is so much abundant energy you can give from yourself into just one small thing. What inspires me is to find a way to align our inner and outer actions, which is so central to yoga. We want to express creativity in a way that sustains new solutions, not just reflections of the same problem.
I started a campaign for Yoga Energy Activism — empowering yogis to respond to our current global energy crisis by observing an Energy Regeneration Day: a day without phones, computers, TV or electricity. A healthy break from technology helps restore both our planet and ourselves. It’s a chance to reconnect with friends, loved ones, tune in with our bodies and go for zero waste. It’s liberating and offers amazing clarity.
Yogis are mindful and already understand the concepts of retreat and sustaining energy. Energy Regeneration Day applies these concepts to the planet, putting us in tune with how we use energy among thousands of other beings. When you sign up to be a Yoga Energy Ambassador, your individual actions connect to the collective. It’s about celebration and letting natural energy power the world.
You founded the Global Mala Project whose purpose to unite the global yoga community. How has this initiative helped bring the millions of yoga practitioners around the world together?
Global Mala Project is present in over 40 countries, in so many yoga communities around the world. It’s been amazing. September 21 is the UN’s International Peace Day — a call for ceasefire in the over 40 wars on the planet and for one day to experience a vision of peace. Our first Global Mala was in LA with hundreds of studios and thousands of classes. You look left and look right and see who we are as a community. You’re raising money for charity and experiencing the power of yoga for cultivating a real collective consciousness. Global Mala is about getting the power of yoga within the individual to generate community action. So often we lead separate lives, but yoga is about union.
What healing powers of yoga have you experienced or witnessed?
Sahaja — the spontaneous flow of yoga — is all around us. It happens naturally on its own. Animals do their own yoga, look at the way a cat stretches, it’s in tune with what their bodies need. During my teacher training last weekend, I met a woman fighting breast and brain cancer. I taught her how to connect to the state of sahaja within herself and this new way of moving in yoga activated her healing response to the after effects of radiation. Stress hormones, illness, trying to get pregnant — these can create negative accumulations in our blood stream but yoga activates the innate healing intelligence.
What can attendees expect from your classes at the upcoming Wanderlust at the Fillmore and Wanderlust California?
They’ll experience yoga unleashed. I’ve been teaching yoga for 22 years and go to India every year to help me stay very in touch with the roots of yoga as a path to freedom. I’ve studied the repression of free-form music and the power of movement in dance — the Fillmore is the epicenter of this. We’re going to evolve consciousness through the power of yoga and music. Wanderlust brings them together so they can meet in the pulse of the human heart.