Shiva Rea - Showing Up With Heart Consciousness

NOTE: This interview excerpt is transcript only

Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

“There’s a reverence for life, in all of life, that is at the heart of sustainable living.”

Movement Is Life For Shiva Rea, M.A, Global Prana Vinyasa Teacher, Activist, And Innovator In The Evolution Of Vinyasa Yoga Around The World From Large-Scale Festivals And Conferences To Unplugged Retreats. She Has Taught Thousands Of Students, Teachers, And Movers And Shakers How To Integrate Yoga As A Way Of Life.

On Leading Transcript

Seana Lowe Steffen, host: What do you love about your life?  

Shiva Rea, guest: What I love about my life is that my life is my path. …It was my prayer from a young age to feel that there would be no separation in my work in the world and in my life path. 

Seana: If you could change one thing in the world with a snap of your fingers right now, what would you change and why? 

Shiva: I think the thing about that question is that it really asks us to go to the root of the fragmentation, the problems. Obviously you are looking for the one thing that would have a ripple effect, so I have to look for a moment or feel for a moment because it’s a big question. Maybe under different climate change issues I might answer it differently, but I think the main thing is the shift from toxic fuel sources to renewable fuel sources should be the focus of the entire world right now. I think the socio-cultural issues that we are engaged in are minor compared to the effects that climate change will have on all of us, every body. Although you know it’s hard because you want to say, “No hunger for all the children” or, “Every body has the basic necessities of life.”  

Seana: What have you witnessed or experienced during your work that gives you hope? 

Shiva: I would say I definitely have witnessed a shift in people really showing up for their heart, showing up for the soul of their existence, their life. I feel a really positive sign is that people are showing up for that core alignment with their deep self. What gives me hope is that I think part of why people are showing up like that is because of the difficulties and challenges and changes that people have experienced over the last couple of years. I have talked with many people about this, and I think that we can’t be afraid of the future, because what we don’t feel is the tremendous support that’s given when there is a challenge. We just see those Armageddon kind of movies and think, “Oh no that’s how it’s going to be: mass destruction.” I think there’s a spirit that rises up in times of difficulty and despair that is the indefatigable spirit, and that this spirit can heal anything that arises. This is the power of love. This is the transcendent power that has created miracles in many cultures all around the world. I think the falling of the Berlin wall was a miracle, I think the fall of apartheid was a miracle, even though you could see the steps that were there. The hope that I have, through yoga I see unequivocally moving towards a greater participation from heart consciousness. I can only think that if this is happening with such a unanimous effect, there will be an impact from it. 

Seana: What does sustainability mean to you? 

Shiva: It’s really interesting, in yoga the sustaining energy is called stithe, and it’s part of the 3 phases of creation: shishti being the igniting, creative energy; stithe meaning the sustainable energy; and samhara which means the dissolution energy. Literally that sustainable energy is worshipped as the goddess Lakshmi, or as connected to Vishnu or Krishna. I guess what sustainability means to me is anything within ourselves, within our community, within the world, in which the effect is able to give something back to the future. In terms of what we call vinyasa, meaning the intelligent sequencing, it’s that whatever is cultivated you are able to give back. Something sustainable is able to move forward in a progressive way, not a regressive way. On a global level, I would say sustainability is anything that gives back to the future in a regenerative cycle.  

Seana: What do you believe are the primary blocks to our achieving that? 

Shiva: Our attachment to comfort. Corrupt governments. Giving responsibility to others. In other words, not taking responsibility for our selves and our own actions. Short-sided views.  

Seana: What do those working for global sustainability and planetary wellbeing need to be successful?  

Shiva: To connect to each other.  

Seana: Above all else, what would you have all people understand at this time in our planet’s history? 

Shiva: That every time we are inhaling, we are inhaling some particles of all beings on this planet. That there’s a wave of electromagnetic resonance that is moving through all beings on this planet. That the flow of our respiration, the flow of our heartbeat, is the grand symphony. My prayer is that the yoga of the world gets stronger, and that we really turn and face the shadows and the weeds. The shadow will always assert itself, … but like all indigenous cultures have always honored, there’s a reverence for life, in all of life, that is at the heart of sustainable living, and at the heart of all the goddess traditions in the world, and all of human spirituality. I think it’s the time of the resurgence of the feminine principle because that is what will sustain us—the integration of the masculine and feminine. That’s sustainability.

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Move With The Interconnectivity Of Breath

Dedicated to the untapped resources of our life-force. The power of breath – may we breathe fully in each moment. The power of love – life is short – may we choose love in all ways and all forms. And the power of renewable energy now – positive green energy in the face of climate change.


Tending the Heart Fire, the first book by pioneering yogini Shiva Rea, is an invitation to embody our extraordinary potential at this turning point in time, to reconnect your life to the rhythms of your body and the natural world—to live in flow with the pulse of life.