Erich Schiffman: the real deal

Erich Schiffman is coming to the bay area this weekend. He’s doing workshops at Namaste Yoga Grand Lake (geez, all of my influential teachers seem to be coming there this year)!

Erich can best be described as the real deal. When I first encountered Erich, I had a regular yoga practice, but boy oh boy was it disciplined. In the beginning I needed that discipline. I needed someone to tell me what to do and sequences in which to do it. At a certain point though the discipline turned to rigidity. If I didn’t have at least an hour do my yoga practice, I felt like it wasn’t worth doing. The thought of getting on my yoga mat and doing what felt good for my body instead of a memorized yoga sequence was incredibly scary for me.

Erich advocates a freedom style-yoga that uses discipline as a framework, but then encourages you to freeform from there, guided by feeling. It’s about crafting the practice in a way that works for you and learning to trust the teacher within. As I later delved into Forrest Yoga, it was neat to see the parallels between Erich’s teaching and Ana’s focus on breath and feeling.

Did I mention Erich is also an amazing mediation teacher? In his opinion, mediation is the main practice. Perhaps the best $4.99 I’ve ever spent in the iTunes app store was on his mediation app. Make it the best $4.99 you’ve ever spent too.

Another way Erich’s helped me is through the pre-Facebook online yoga community he started. This has been a tremendous support for me especially in my early days as a teacher. I’ve met a number of amazing folks there (some of whom I’ve met in person). Indeed it was with complete trust that I shared a hotel room across the country with a woman from the list who I’d never met in person before. Since then she’s stayed with me on her trip to the bay area (and I’m about to stay with her on my upcoming east coast trip).

If you’re local, come to one or all of the workshops (you can catch me there on Sun.) Local or not, check out Erich’s book Moving Into Stillness. He also has a number of videos and the aforementioned app.

Have you discovered Erich on your yoga journey? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.


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