Shiva Rea puts out her yoga DVDs at a remarkable rate, and there's not a great deal of difference between them. But Soul Yoga Soul has the twist of being for surfers. It is shot in Hawaii on the beach, with impressive hills and lovely clouds in the background. The DVD has 7 segments that you can watch in any order via a "matrix" facility on the main menu that lets you program how you will use the segments. They add up to 75 minutes of exercises. They are:
· Wave Meditation (9 min)
- Mandala Namaskar (12 min)
- Agni Namaskar (17 min)
- Breath Wave (5 min)
- Balance Flow (20 min)
- Flexibility Flow (11 min)
- Shavasana (2 min)
The Wave Meditation and Agni Namaskar feature Rea with 3 people all on their own mats, following along with her in their own fashions. The other 5 segments have Rea performing alone. You can select whether or not to have her give instructions over the background music, which is all mellow, and some is more Eastern, while at points it is more folky. James Wvinner, who often works with Rea, directs a very proficient DVD, showing her at angles that are mostly helpful (so you can see what her hands and feet are going, for example) and with lively editing.
The idea that these exercises are particularly suited to surfers is a stretch -- these are very standard yoga exercises. Rea says that some of the exercises can be practices on a surf board in the calm sea, but she does not demonstrate that unfortunately. Whether or not the exercises are really designed for surfers, they do build core strength and hip flexibility, and these are as useful to surfers as to anyone else. The 17 minutes Agni Namaskar is more challenging and is closer to the intermediate level than beginner, since it has lots of push-ups done rapidly. These are mixed in with downward dogs and warrior poses. The Balance Flow is also challenging because it has several versions of crow pose, and this can be particularly difficult. The other segments are closer to a beginner's level, being both shorter and easier. So, this DVD can be used by almost anyone with some yoga experience who wants to practice yoga with variations, creating a practice to suit their particular needs for the day.
© 2010 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York