Shiva Rea

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Acclaimed yoga instructor Shiva Rea teaches all over the world and has been instrumental in the evolution of Vinyasa yoga.  She embraces music as a powerful force in her work and her life – from the teachings of Bob Marley to her first dance guru, Mick Jagger. She also gives us a lesson in getting funky. Shiva teaches locally at Exhale and is a featured instructor at Wanderlust, a four-day retreat in Squaw Valley starting July 29.

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Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
Trenchtown Rock - Bob Marley
Blue in Green - Miles Davis
God Made Me Phunky - Mike Dunn
I Need To Wake Up - Melissa Etheridge




Tom Schnabel: Hi, I'm Tom Schnabel from KCRW and I'm here with internationally acclaimed yoga instructor, Shiva Rea. Shiva is considered an innovator in the evolution of Vinyasa flow yoga and travels and teaches all over the world although she's based here, in Malibu. Today, we will be playing excerpts of songs that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Shiva, what do you bring for us today?

Shiva Rae: The first piece I have is the Rolling Stones and it's "Give Me Shelter" because it really captures the energy of being in Berkeley in 1971. We moved to Berkeley when I was about 4 years old and the campus was raging. 

1rollingstones.jpgSong: Rolling Stones - "Give Me Shelter" 

SR: When I've seen the Rolling Stones in concert, I realized that Mick Jagger was my first dance guru because I'm very committed to people's original movement. I lead a process called Yoga Trance Dance and it's really based on this simple fact that we're all born as movers. Everybody knows how to dance. You, of course, are taught how to dance, but the dance that was happening at that time was free form. It was powerful. So I hope anybody listening to "Give Me Shelter" feels that vibration in their body again. This is kind of the place that we began and it takes me back to 1971 in Berkeley.

TS: We're listening to Shiva Rea's song picks for the Guest DJ Project, Rolling Stones starting us off today. Tell us a little bit about Bob Marley and your connection with him and how it relates to your spirit, your groundbreaking work. 

SR: I chose Bob Marley because I saw him when I was 8 years old. It was the “Catch a Fire” tour, which the Bob Marley live album came out of and he was a force.

1marley.jpgSong: Bob Marley --"Trenchtown Rock"

SR: So many lyrics of Bob Marley's are inside me. And, when I think of KCRW, or just this line of "one good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain" and just how amazing music is when you're hungry for whatever it is. If you're really hungry, or if you're hungry for soul, or you feel you need a shift and really, just simply joy, so I feel that Bob Marley's music had that kind of powerful, rising energy, but also just the delight.

TS: That was Bob Marley, the classic "Trenchtown Rock." Shiva Rea's song picks on KCRW's Guest DJ Project. I'm Tom Schnabel, Shiva Rea is with me here today. Let's talk about your next pick, which comes from the best selling jazz record of all time - "Blue In Green" from Miles Davis' “Kind of Blue.” 

SR: Yes, I actually use this in my yoga teacher trainings and teaching Vinyasa, which is kind of like the jazz form of yoga, in that it's not a set structure. It came out of these very deep traditions of Hatha yoga and Tantra, but it happened in America -- the rising of Vinyasa -- and it happened with the same combustion that I think of when Miles Davis started to move out of bebop and into cool Jazz, or whatever it was. It didn't have a label yet. 

1miles.jpgSong: Miles Davis – “Blue in Green”

SR: This track I chose is not the famous "So What," but it's a little deeper in and it's so slow. If it's a rainy day or if you need to move -- grief, sadness -- all the things adults need to move, this song can work for you. It's a fantastic song to make love to, meaning in life. And it is just so sublime. 

TS: The classic evergreen ballad, "Blue in Green," from Miles Davis' “Kind of Blue.” I'm Tom Schnabel. Shiva Rae is our guest DJ and the next piece we're going to listen to is "God Made Me Phunky". 

SR: The title, I think, says it all. This is music that you cannot remain still to. Something is going to start moving when you hear this. Funk music, growing up in Oakland, I mean, is like in my bones. 

1mikedunn.jpgSong: Mike Dunn -- "God Made Me Phunky” 

SR: If you understand what funky means from its origin, the translation in yoga means like your shakti, which means your life force, your creative energy that allows you to be exactly who you are. I know Morning Becomes Eclectic, funky is also like Morning Becomes Eccentric. It means, just be yourself, circulate this groove, wherever you are, see what happens.

The thing that funk does where it moves down, you get down, right? And then, you'll see a little attitude comes, so if anybody, perhaps, is listening to this and needs to get moving again, this is for you. 

TS: So that was Mike Dunn's anthem, "God Made Me Phunky." Shiva Rea is our guest, I'm Tom Schnabel. Our final piece today is something by Melissa Etheridge.

SR: This is the piece" I Need To Wake Up" that was written for Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." I know the impact of that film was a couple of years ago, but this is no time to be sleeping and it is also no time to waste energy. I guess what I love about Melissa Etheridge is, I saw her on the Grammys and there she was, with her completely shaved head from her chemotherapy. Gorgeous other female singers, totally gorgeous long hair, incredible bodies, and she was stunning. She filled that space with this luminous light. 

And it's what we all feel, I think, on a daily basis of what are we going to do with this transition that we're in? We know, in our lifetime, that there's going to be a transition from toxic, limited, polluting fuel sources to renewable, natural fuel sources, but how is this going to happen? And it's got to happen. And so, whether it's about the environmental activism that this song is pointing to, the fact that this song doesn't actually refer to that and just refers to whatever it is that we need to wake up to, that this is where we find our energy -- when we aren't living that truth, when we don't have that energy -- and how powerful music is to wake us up. 

1melissa.jpgSong: Melissa Etheridge -- "I Need To Wake Up" 

TS: That was Melissa Etheridge, "I Need To Wake Up," Shiva Rae's song pick, the final one for today. Shiva thanks so much for joining us. 

SR: What a total pleasure.

TS: For a complete track listing and to find the songs online, go to





Tom Schnabel