Yoga Sanctuary

Shiva Rea
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Yoga
- Audio Workout

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I've been practicing yoga at home for several years now and occasionally attend classes, but Yoga Sanctuary was my first yoga CD purchase. So far, I am thrilled with the versatility of this amazing CD, as it lets me tailor my practice to meet my wants/needs perfectly. The set includes two CDs, each containing 6-7 separate tracks varying in length from about 6 to 16 minutes. You can follow the guidelines included for suggested practices or mix and match to create your own. The first CD, Solar, focuses mainly on more active, standing postures, whereas the second, Lunar, consists of more relaxing, restorative poses. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the tracks:

1-Sun Salutations. Three classic sun salutations are performed at a nice, even pace with long holds in down dog; the section finishes with a few warrior poses to prepare for the next track.
2-Dancing Warrior. This is the only segment I didn't like, as I felt it moved a bit too quickly--you transition from a vinyasa to warrior 1, warrior 2, and reverse warrior.
3-Standing Poses. Here the postures are held for a nice, long time, allowing you to really feel the effects. The poses include triangle, warrior 2, side angle, several variations of wide-legged forward bend, and pyramid to finish.
4-Standing Pose Flow. As in Track 2, this segment includes standing poses interspersed with vinyasas, but the pace is more reasonable. Poses here include pyramid, triangle, half moon, warrior 1, standing splits, and crescent.
5-Balance Poses. A nice sequence of both standing and seated balance poses, including tree, dancer, boat, firefly, and crow.
6-Abdominals. In this section, you do only two moves: a reclining straddle and an abs bicycle. However, the latter is repeated FIFTY times. This sounds grueling, but I actually found the steady, rhythmic pace to be quite soothing even though I was working hard.
7-Backbends. A progressively more difficult sequence which starts with cobra and moves on to locust, bow, camel, bridge, and upward bow.

1-Full Body Warm-Up. This segment begins in standing forward bend and contains some great warm-ups for the spine and upper body.
2-Forward Bends and Twists. Performed entirely on the floor, these poses feature lengthy holds.
3-Hip Openers and Twists. Another floor segment which includes happy baby pose, double pigeon, seated twist, and two seated wide-legged forward bend variations.
4-Inversions. This track includes plow, deaf man's pose, and several variations of shoulderstand (no headstand or handstand).
5-Meditation. In this segment, you practice ujjayi breathing while focusing on quieting the mind.
6-Savasana. This final relaxation is designed to be performed at the end of every practice.

These CDs are led by Shiva Rea, a well-known, experienced yoga instructor. She is accompanied by new-agey type background music which includes guitar, flute, and ocean waves. For the most part, this set would be appropriate for experienced beginners, but there is enough here to challenge intermediates and even more advanced students. Overall, I am very pleased with this purchase--highly recommended!

Instructor Comments:
Shiva has a very calm, pleasant voice, and she cues very well, but the set also includes a large, detailed poster of her practicing the poses to aid in following along. She frequently makes statements such as "breathe into your feet"--some people tend to not like this type of language, but I found that her imagery enhanced the practice. Furthermore, she is extremely encouraging and repeatedly reminds you to respect yourself and your own limits.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Workout Length: up to 2 hrs
Level: All
Equipment: Mat
Date Released: 1999
Availability: (and others)

This is a very nice, very versatile two CD set. There are 13 tracks in total so you can skip around and make up your own practice. Three suggested shorter practices are shown on the back of the CD, plus two to add on to another workout. The CD's come with a very well illustrated poster that you can follow along with. This helps to visualize the pose and see what's coming next.

The tracks are:

Disc One - Solar Practice
Sun Salutations
Dancing Warrior (modified Surya Namaskar B)
Standing Poses (tringle, side angle pose, wide leg forward bends)
Standing Pose Flow (includes half moon & standing splits)
Balance Poses (tree, dancer's pose, boat, firefly, crow)
Abdominal Strengthening (50 yogic bicycle!)
Backbends (cobra, locust, bow, camel, bridge, wheel)

Disc Two - Lunar Practice
Full Body Warm-up
Forward Bends & Twists (seated forward bend, twist, leg stretches)
Hip Openers & twists (double pigeon, twist, wide leg forward bend, twisting variation)
Inversions (shoulderstand, plough, fish)
Meditation & Ujayi Panayama
Deep Relaxation (Savasana)

I'm really glad she decided to include inversions here. So many workouts leave them out so I often have to pause and do them on my own.

I've had this workout for several months and have used it quite a lot. It is a little gentler than some of the more power type yoga practices so it adds a nice dimension to my practice. It is not vinyasa based so you don't build up so much heat in the body as you would in a power practice.

The poses are all pretty basic. If you've done any amount of yoga before there shouldn't be much, if anything, you haven't seen before. One track does include firefly and crow (which I can't do), but they're at the end of the track so it's easy to do the first part and skip to the next track (or give them a try if I feel like it!). I also like that she uses sanskrit terms for poses which will help to learn them.

The music is soft and new-agey - not intrusive at all. The "woo-woo" factor is pretty low for Shiva. She does read a poem at the beginning of Savasana but that's about it.

One thing that's really starting to bother me about this is that she takes a long time to set up the pose on the first side. This means that if you know the pose and can get into it quickly you end up holding it a lot longer on the first side than on the second side. From now on I will move to the second side before she tells me to.



First, I have to say a BIG “thank you” to Linda Arcuri for posting her review of this audio CD set. Without her review, I never would have found Yoga Sanctuary, and these CDs have definitely become my most reached for yoga outlet for the last 6 months. Through these CDs, I’ve also learned that I much prefer this format over video for the amount of attention I’m able to pay to myself instead of the TV.
One of the true benefits of this CD set is the versatility it provides. With 13 tracks, it is very easy to create your own sequence that does just what you need for that day. It is very easy to come up with different combinations for when I feel energetic and want to challenge myself, for when I feel tired and want to relax and get out the kinks, or days when I’m scattered and want centering. I think this is one of the reasons that I haven’t become bored with this set.
I find Shiva Rea’s descriptions to be both clear and affirming. There is a strong sense that this is “real” yoga both in the emphasis on MIND/body, and in the use of the Sanskrit terms for the postures, both with and without the English term. I found the Sanskrit mildly confusing at first, but now I really appreciate that I recognize the terms. The fold-out poster is SO clear, that things are easy to follow. I did find it helpful to simply listen to the CD and look at the poster once without doing the postures (I did this while I walked on the treadmill!).
I completely concur with Linda’s grade of A+.

Michelle Clark


Yoga Sanctuary is a set of 2 CDs with yoga instruction and music. The instructions are excellent, the music is beautiful and relaxing, and the way the CDs are set up is ingenious! There are 13 separate tracks on the 2 CDs, and you can pick and choose which tracks you want to do on any given occasion. The set is advertised as being appropriate for experienced beginners or intermediate yoga students. I think that it would be useful to anyone from beginners through advanced yoga practitioners; the instructions are very thorough, and beginners could easily leave out the tracks with more advanced postures until they become more experienced. Also, for advanced yogis who want to add certain postures, it is suggested that you can pause the CD in the appropriate section (for example, inversions if you wanted to add headstand) and continue when you are ready.

Here is a detailed break-down of the tracks on the 2 CDs, with descriptions from the CD cover and the poster that comes with the set:

Disk One: Solar Practice ("an energizing, balanced sequence cultivating strength and flexibility, inner and outer alignment")

1. Sun Salutations (9:55)
2. Dancing Warrior (6:45)--"a more dynamic variation of the sun salutations (without the pause in downward dog) to develop graceful fluidity, inner stamina, and wisdom in action"
3. Standing Poses (15:05)--includes triangle pose, warrior 2, extended side angle pose, wide leg forward bend, intense side stretch
4. Standing Pose Flow (13:00)--flowing standing pose sequence that includes some more challenging poses, such as half moon and standing splits
5. Balance Poses (11:14)--includes tree pose, king dancer pose, boat pose, crow pose
6. Abdominal Strengthening (8:00)--includes leg raises and "yogic bicycle," which works the obliques
7. Backbends (9:44)--includes cobra, locust, bow, camel, bridge, and upward bow or wheel pose

Disk Two: Lunar Practice (a relaxing flow for deep release and relaxation)

1. Full-Body Warm-Up (11:34)--includes standing forward bend, half salutes, hip twists, and shoulder stretches
2. Forward Bends & Twists (8:00)--includes seated forward bend, a seated twisting pose with 1 leg bent, and reclined leg stretch
3. Hip Openers & Twists (13:04)--includes a reclined straddle pose, double pigeon, a seated twisting pose with both legs bent, wide leg seated forward bend, a wide leg twist/side stretch, and cobbler or butterfly pose
4. Inversions (8:30)--includes shoulderstand and variations, plow, knee to ear pose, fish pose, and a reclining twist
5. Meditation & Ujayi Pranayama (9:00)--a meditation focusing on ujayi breathing
6. Deep Relaxation (9:00)--shavasana, with a short guided relaxation, a poem, and soothing music

The CD lists suggested combinations of tracks to use for shorter practices and as pre- and post- workout practices. All of the tracks have a nice variety of poses, and it's nice how they are divided into distinct, logical categories so that you can choose different types of poses depending on what you want to focus on. I especially like to use the forward bends and twists and hip openers and twists (usually followed by shavasana) as a wonderful post-workout stretch and relaxation.

With the exception of the flow sequences, the poses are held for a nice length of time, allowing you to go deeply into the postures. The music is kind of new age-sounding; I find it very relaxing and it is not so loud or obtrusive that it drowns out the instructions or the sound of my breathing. The CD set comes with a large, 2-sided poster that has beautiful pictures of Shiva Rea performing the poses included on the CDs.

I can't say enough good things about this CD set! In the couple of months since I received it, I have used it at least several times each week and hardly have used any of my extensive collection of yoga videos. It's nice having so many options for different practice sequences, and I tend to prefer audio instruction rather than video instruction for yoga. I find that I can pay more attention to my breathing and my experience of the postures when I am listening to an audio tape or CD rather than using a video.

I would definitely give this CD set an A+. It has greatly enhanced my yoga practice. I purchased the set through Amazon; it also can be ordered from the Living Arts catalog or web site and from the Sounds True catalog or web site.

Instructor Comments:
Shiva Rea gives wonderful instructions, and her voice is very pleasant. She does sound kind of new agey at times; that doesn't bother me at all, but it may bother people who don't enjoy references to the spiritual component of yoga practice. She currently writes the beginner asana column for Yoga Journal, and there also was an interesting article in a recent Yoga Journal about combined yoga and rock-climbing outings that she leads through her company, Yogadventures.

Linda Arcuri