Join Master Yoga teacher Erich Schiffmann for his popular weekly class held in Santa Monica, California. These multi-level classes begin with an opening discussion on yoga philosophy and its relevance to everyday life, followed by an asana practice that encourages an intimate connection to the breath, receptivity to inner guidance, and permission to explore and discover your own yoga.
This live recording features yoga instructor Erich Schiffmann during one of his weekly classes held in March 2009. It is a two-part audio, with Part 1 featuring a discussion and Part 2 offering an asana practice. Schiffmann begins the 15-minute discussion by talking about “the green flash,” a phenomenon occurring just before sunset, when the sun briefly flashes a brilliant, emerald green just before dipping below the horizon; he compares this to the flash of insight that can occur as part of the spiritual journal that takes place in yoga. Furthermore, Schiffmann talks about how yoga allows you to connect to something higher than yourself, to tune into a “big mind” which permits one access to greater knowledge and information. He concludes the discussion by introducing a special guest: his brother, Carl, who gave Schiffmann his first book on yoga many years ago.The practice portion of the class begins with an 8.5 minute seated meditation. Here Schiffmann encourages the class participants to set themselves up in a position which they can remain in comfortably for a bit of time and then to take a “leisurely” approach to this stance. At the conclusion of the meditation, Schiffmann leads the group into a simple cross-legged seated forward bend, held for a bit on each side. Coming to a standing position, a series of basic warm-up moves follows, including circling the arms, shaking out the arms and legs, and performing fluid movements in a standing forward bend. Next it’s back down to the floor on hands and knees for one of Schiffmann’s patented flow series: here he has the class perform child’s pose, down dog, and cat/cow.At this point, Schiffmann introduces a yin-like portion to the class. He contrasts this practice, which he calls “timings,” with true Yin yoga, mainly because the postures aren’t held as long here—Schiffmann times each hold for about 2.5 minutes per posture (poses with two sides are held for the same amount of time on each side). The eight poses performed in this segment are as follows: 1) Janu Sirsasana, 2) repeat Janu Sirsasana for one minute, move into pigeon pose, 3) one-legged reclined hero’s pose, 4) sphinx or seal pose, 5) frog pose, 6) “z-position” forward bend, 7) upavistha konasana, and 8) reclined twist. Schiffmann cues his students to move directly from the final timed posture into the “Free Form” portion of the class. Here, he instructs the class members to listen for what they feel like doing while two different songs play in the background (10 minutes). The practice concludes with a final 6.5 minutes that Schiffmann states can be used either for savasana or for a final seated meditation.This practice, which comes in at about 74 minutes, would be well-suited to those who are curious about the Yin yoga style. Schiffmann mentions that when he studied with Iyengar years ago, Iyengar engaged in a timed yoga practice once per week, and Schiffmann notes how this type of practice allows for a deeper opening. Furthermore, the slower, more unhurried, measured pace of a yin-type practice makes this session class ideal for countering the stress of a hectic day or work week. Although some basic prior experience with yoga is advisable, this audio is appropriate for all levels of yoga practitioners.