“Stillness is peace with movement.” –Shiva Rea is the founder of Prana Flow and an innovator of vinyasa.
I’m very much into restoring our instinctual body through yoga. Prana Flow vinyasa is based on the five movements of Prana. Samana is this coiling in we are meant to experience that is an instinctual waking up.
Living in Oakland was a very tough environment. I can’t even go into all the violence that was all around that just normalized itself. I realized that it was part of a process leading up to breaking my pelvis. Sometimes we have fear because we are in a dangerous environment. I try and be in nature as much as possible to melt and deconstruct all of that including the Vata and all the anxieties of the world.
I found that in nature and in yoga, particularly in Savasana, I begin to feel more of a baseline of trust and instinct. We live in a world of change and we understand that even though we may relax we don’t know the next moment, so our practice is to be relaxed with change. Then, when fear arises, it arises with more intelligence because we’re not living with the fear that our mind generates, or the fear of insecurity, or the conditioned fear. That’s what our yoga practice helps us find. My process with every exhale is to explore the baseline of deeper trust and of deeper instinct.
I’m crazy about all of the shifts and what we understand. Even with the discovery of black holes being so central to what binds our galaxies and universes together, they pulse. Gravitationally, we can’t find anything that is still in the universe. We need a different word, and I think that word is “Being”.
Movement begins from being. We could also say movement begins from stillness, which I think is the universal wisdom that we find in the Tao Te Ching, in T. S. Eliot’s poems, and around the world. For Westerners, we sometimes literally try and do meditation like we are still or can be still. It’s a little congested.
I prefer this notion of being, and also the state of Mudra. Mudra is a state of being. As we come into a state of being, we are able to feel the state of being is a place where we become, followed by an instinct to move.
Prostrations, the rhythm of a little movement and the deep stillness of being, are the main thing missing from Western yoga practice. We still need a tremendous amount of ‘world is movement’ education. We’re a little too bound in the West, so when we hear stillness, we think, “Good. I can forget about my body and I can continue with my life in my mind.”
If we discover the movement of life that is always moving you and healing you, then we can find stillness in our heart because we are now flowing in tune with that. Stillness is peace with movement.
Slowly my own practice changed into a Mandala, into Mantra. By Mantra, Mudra, Mandala, I refer to these more circular food pathways of the Mother. They are for men and women and have the same asanas that we’d find in a normal Vinyasa practice, but it’s more of a movement meditation. More about listening. More about awakening this kinesthetic intelligence, and allowing each person to find their solar-lunar balance in every practice, so that we learn to change.
To be continued…
2nd part of the in-person interview series with Shiva Rea at Shakti Fest West in Joshua Tree, CA
Interviewed by Hung Tran and Dawn Morningstar. Edited by Dawn Morningstar.
Join Shiva Rea Sept 7-12 at Bhakti Fest West 2016 in Joshua Tree, CA
Photo credit: Shiva Rea
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