Deep Dive Offers Meditations for the Flow of Life with Shiva Rea and Rara Avis
Created by Shiva Rea, world-renowned yoga/movement facilitator and creator of Prana Vinyasa Flow and Rara Avis, CEO/Co-Founder of YogiTunes, Deep Dive is a multi-faceted experiential movement mediation offered in the spirit of Sahaja, the natural, spontaneous flow of life force that exists within us all. Rather than asking us to create, to perform or to “do” something with our breath, Deep Dive invites us to take a step back and for the breath, itself, to breathe us. In doing so, we are invited into a Sahajic state of bliss, one which arrives from within, through a re-awakening of the spontaneous rhythm and flow of breath.
Deep Dive offers two formats of experience. One incudes five separate shorter journeys, each with its distinct elemental pattern, as well as a holistic, unified experience of 30 minutes of breath-centered, gentle movement instrumental meditation, akin to the typical length of a Yoga Nidra session.
LA Yoga Magazine caught up with Shiva Rea while she was on an airplane, heading to Diwali for the Festival of Lights. We laughed and shared a lovely interview while Shiva was strapped into her airline seat. In many ways, the context of the interview itself parallels Shiva’s ability and willingness to dive into the flow of each moment. No moment is “perfect” if viewed through an external lens, and yet, every moment is perfect when we exist within the present, one breath at a time.
Deep Dive – the Collaboration
Rara Avis and Shiva Rea have collaborated for nearly twenty years, offering yoga-movement-meditation experiences. Their partnership began back in the early 2000s, when Shiva taught at Sacred Movement in Venice Beach.
Shiva was one of the first yoga teachers to offer a fusion of yoga and dance movement meditation. Her classes were often filled with live accompaniment – drums, sitar, vocals and DJs. The music served as a gentle pulse during the yoga portion of class, and expanded into more encompassing rhythms during the free-flowing, tribal dance portion of class. The experiences were brand new for us at the time, a fusion of the Sahajic state that yoga brings along with the ecstatic state of dance, resulting in a blissful movement meditation. Rara was a frequent collaborator in these organic rhythmic offerings.
By the time it came to collaborating on Deep Dive, “We had a very natural foundation,” remarks Shiva. “Rara had just taken our teacher training in Costa Rica, and though we’d prefer to be in the same space, he’s in Canada, and when I did the voice over, I was in the English countryside while in quarantine last summer, surrounded by sheep.”
“Rara’s music is a testament to the power and the epic experience of the breath as a journey. Rara’s rhythms give people an opportunity to move with the breath, wherever they are, which is a powerful Sadahana.”
Deep Dive as an offering reminds us that “ breath is the the first mantra. Our heartbeat,” explains Shiva. Our pathway to feel what we are living lies in each breath.
Rara Avis adds to the conversation, “A conscious, connected breath practice is perhaps one of the most understated, powerful tools we have at our disposal. It links our autonomic nervous system to our conscious waking minds and helps us tap into the limitless potential we have as human beings to build resilience, strength, compassion and awareness.”
Deep Dive – the Experience
begins with an invitation to enter that sacred space of Self. Shiva’s voice prompts us to root into the earth, to feel that wave of the breath in us, to allow our pelvis to rock back and forth. She prompts us to look into the field of our body and release tension by exhaling from the crown of our head, descending out of our body like a sacred waterfall.
Deep Dive offers a primal experience of movement meditation. It is incredibly basic in its beauty and simplicity, inviting us to experience nature as within us all, a realization often glossed over in our quick-paced, hyper-focused life. The act of unwinding oneself in this first meditative offering aligns us with a fluid, watery presence within. Shiva’s voice is soft and nurturing. Rara’s accompaniment is in perfect sync and harmony. The collaboration itself is one of unity and deeply-held connectedness.
In the introduction, Shiva’s voice prompts us to use our arms, if we so desire, and sweep them overhead, gathering energy in a natural way, to open our inner ear and listen, and to connect with our heart in gratitude and refuge.
The first guided breath cycle is a Solar cycle, one in which we inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth with the solar mantra of the sun: “HA.” This cycle is good for cleansing and releasing.
The second guided breath cycle is a Lunar breath, a softer inhaling, drawing in golden light and pausing on the exhale, diving it into three parts. This cycle dramatically calms and eases the nervous system, inviting a spaciousness within.
The third guided cycle is akin to the practice of Nadhi Shodhana, an invitation into a unified Solar-Lunar breath. Shiva invites us to breathe into the right side of our body (with or without the use of physical, hands-on breath retention) and complete one half of this breath cycle by exhaling out of the left side of our body: in doing so, we offer the sun to the moon. The breath pattern balances itself as we breathe into the left side of our body and exhale out the right side of our body, offering the moon back to the sun.
Shiva’s voice completes the experience by reminding us that we have 21,600 breaths a day every day. Can we experience a sense of awareness in just 100 of those breaths, perhaps? Can we remember our sense of purpose in just a fraction of our daily breath cycle? We are invited to remain in this space of ease for as long as we wish.
Deep Dive as an Energetic Offering of Sahaja
When asked to comment on the energetic tone of the piece, Shiva explains, “Every breath we take travels through our bloodstream into every cell of our body. It touches all of us, like a droplet of water in an immersive sea.”
Most breathwork is integrated into asana, remarks Shiva, “and doesn’t give people permission to feel that sea of breath.” Whereas most yogic breath forms are rooted in classic rules, which may appear to feel rigid and constrictive to some, the state of Sahaja is the opposite: a space of flow, diving into the natural movements of life, a rising and pulsing of energy. Sahaja is anything but rigid or controlled.
Whether Deep Dive is experienced as separate practices or as one complete offering, it accomplishes this invitation to awaken into Sahaja, and in our post-pandemic world, this invitation is truly one of sacred medicine. Deep Dive offers invites us to reunite with our inner Truth through a journey into the depths of the unknown, the sublime and the sacred within us all.
When asked about how Deep Dive is a healing practice, one to soften the edges of the rigidness and deeply held fear state that many were forced into during the last few years, Shiva acknowledges that Fear is useful in a primal sense. But too much of it leads to contraction. It restricts our movement. “Sometimes, we feel ashamed when we begin a pranayama practice. It’s so hard to breathe! we might think. That’s the exit of cortisol, or fear in our nervous system. We are overstimulated,”
Shiva continues,”If we lovingly ask the breath to help us and to take refuge in it, even just for a short while, we experience each breath as life. And if we just love our breath, invite the breath to meet us, to love us, to move us, and to inspire us, we can transform the mental and emotional stress we are in.”
This invitation to experience each breath as innate intelligence, unfolding slowly and without judgment, draws us deeper into ourselves. Breath by breath, wave by wave: through this process, we release the rigidity of fear embodied within.
Bhavana and Sahaja
As with many artistic offerings rooted in the spirit of Divine Expansion, words don’t do Deep Dive justice because Bhavana– the meditative experience itself– is necessary to cultivate the feeling of Sahaja, expansion or bliss.
Deep Dive draws us in with its rawness, an indescribable truth and honesty, deeply felt on a visceral level, and within the very essence of our being. On one hand, Deep Dive is an invitation to trust the Breath as the source of intelligence, to allow the breath to breathe us as opposed to feeling that we have to control and create a specific breath pattern to achieve a prescribed result. On the other hand, Deep Dive is an invitation to expand into the unknown, a space of creation and possibility that unites us all in Love.
Listen to Deep Dive
Aria Morgan is a yoga teacher, doula and music lover who finds inspiration in nature: ariamorgan.com.