Studying Prana Flow Yoga with Shiva Rea

Robyn Donaldson and Shiva ReaPhoto from

When The Student Is Ready

On Christmas night in 2013, our family finished our festivities early, which gave me some much needed relaxation. I sat in my bed thinking about what I wanted for myself in the coming year. I had been teaching yoga on and off since 2009. My yoga practice began 14 years ago. I started with a home practice watching DVDs and reading books, then it expanded into me practicing at studios and becoming part of a yoga community in south Florida, where I completed my 200 yoga teacher training.

I had just accepted a new yoga instructor position at a popular gym chain in Atlanta. I would teach my first class with the company the day after I returned home. I knew for years I wanted to be in a position at some point in my life to train people to teach yoga. I truly believe the more people who practice yoga, continue to deepen their practice and share their practice with others; the better our world will be. I sincerely believe in the benefits of yoga. I also believe in the depths, mysteries, gifts and powers of a yoga practice.

I knew how much my yoga teachers had impacted my life. It did not matter whether I studied with these yoga instructors personally over a long period of time; or if I  just took a class in passing. There are many nameless and even sometimes faceless yoga instructors whose teachings impacted my life in a moment where I sought refuge on my mat and they were the teachers who “held the space” with positivity and support. Even if I only took one class with those teachers and never saw them again, I was still grateful to them. They were bridges for me in my practice and helped me to stay connected to my practice, which helped me return to my mat.

Shiva Rea

My Teacher

Earlier that year, I decided I wanted to pursue an advanced yoga training certification with a top notch instructor. I had hit a bit of a plateau in my yoga practice. I knew I was ready to take my teaching to the next level. However, up until that point I was not particularly attracted to any of the teachers or practices that people had referred me to. However, a few weeks ago, I remembered watching a yoga documentary “Yoga Is”.

One of the teachers being interviewed had stood out to me. I remember then my gut said that this was the person I needed to consider studying with because I had resonated with her energy and appreciated her insights about the practice of yoga—and that teacher was Shiva Rea. I went to her website and several hours later, I found myself reading Shiva’s Master’s Thesis (“Hatha Yoga As a Practice of Embodiment“). I started watching and reading whatever I could find about her work and service to the yoga community. Of course, Shiva had crossed my path as I had seen her through the years on covers of yoga magazines, as a writer for Yoga Journal and I even owned one of her Yoga DVDs, in fact one of my first yoga DVDs. I never had imagined I would be studying with her in the future. I didn’t even know back then that I would even teach yoga. But, I  knew in that moment that I would study with her one day, I thought, maybe in 2015.


A mandala from Awakenings Center for Conscious Living in Laguna Hills, CA
Then, I stopped and asked myself why I kept waiting and putting off this next level of yoga study and training. The best time to start something was now, in the present moment, to keep waiting to be “ready” just did not seem like it was leading me anywhere. So, the next day, I started my teacher training application and applied to the Shiva Rea’s 300 hour -Prana Flow yoga teacher training certification (which upon completion would give me 300 more hours of yoga teacher training, in addition to the 200+ training hours I already had completed). A few weeks into the New Year, I was accepted into the training. I went out to Los Angeles, California for my first 10 day intensive training with Shiva Rea at Exhale Spa and Yoga Studio in Venice, Beach.

Below I share some of my insights I posted via the Robyn’s Healthy Living – Facebook page. I talk about some of my teacher training experiences and insights during Shiva Rea’s, Embodying the Sacred Flow and Mandala of Asanas training in Venice Beach.

 ANNOUNCEMENT: (March 7, 2014)

“I’m excited to announce that I was accepted into Shiva Rea’s 300 hour- Prana Flow Yoga Teacher Training certification! I start my training today in Venice Beach, CA! It is a 10 day intensive with 90 hours of training. (What have I gotten myself into!! LOL!!) Over the next 2-3 years, I will be studying with Shiva Rea (her born name…lol), so I can deepen my yoga practice and eventually be in a position to train and certify other people to become yoga instructors themselves. Shiva Rea is a powerful teacher and one of the most experienced, world renowned yoga instructors of our generation. I decided to study with her because she honors the Indian lineage of yoga, but also offers innovative ways to practice yoga in the western world with a focus on breath work, rhythm, dance, movement and spiritual activism. I look forward to sharing what I learn with all my students, clients and readers. Namaste!”

Robyn practicing yoga

My first day of Prana Flow training with Shiva Rea!

DAY 1: Beginning My Journey in Prana Flow Yoga (3/7/2014)

“DAY 1 complete! Thank you to everyone who shared their well wishes and kind words about my good news! I really appreciate the love! I’ve been practicing yoga the last 14 years and it has always been a safe space and peaceful refuge no matter how long I’ve been away from the mat. Yoga is not only about the poses either. Unfortunately, often times the way yoga is portrayed in America is one dimensional and based on consumerism.

There isn’t a such thing as a “yoga body” nor income bracket to practice. Yoga is for everyone. Its lineage originated in India and also has roots in Egypt dating back thousands upon thousands of years ago. The reason people all over the world STILL practice yoga is because of the powerful nature, very profound healing benefits and transformative qualities. I will be sharing more going forward. But, if anyone else is interested in developing or deepening their yoga practice with me whether in person or via Skype, please let me know! All you need is an open heart, open mind and willingness to let go! If you have questions about yoga, check out this blog I wrote which answers popular questions about yoga! Thank you! Namaste!”

Read More about DAY 2: Life and Yoga Breakthroughs




  1. […] Read about my yoga teacher training journey – DAY 1: Beginning the Prana Flow Journey […]