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 the first 12 minutes offering a brief discussion on what Schiffmann calls “yoga philosophy made simple.” Here he asks the question “how does a yogi love?” and talks about joining with a deeper sense of purpose, using the concept of the wave merging with the ocean which he has discussed in greater depth elsewhere.Schiffmann begins the practice part of the class in a lying or seated meditation. Although he notes that this segment is short (it’s about 8 minutes), he actually takes his time guiding participants to relax and to continue to connect with something larger than themselves. This meditation concludes with a nice, simple cross-legged seated forward bend. Schiffmann then brings the class to standing for various warm-up moves, such as circling the arms, shaking out the arms and legs, and gradually opening the body in a standing forward bend. Next comes Schiffmann’s first flow series. This one starts on the hands and knees and includes child’s pose, cat/cow, and what Schiffmann terms “heavy-handed dog pose;” the entire series is repeated several times. Another flow follows, this time moving between cobra and half-dog pose. I found the second series a bit challenging to intuit within the audio format; I wasn’t quite able to decipher the positioning that Schiffmann was calling for here. On the other hand, Schiffmann’s laid-back style certainly encourages participants to “go with the flow,” so to speak, and so I was comfortable approximating the moves as closely as I was able.The final cued postures include several reclined leg stretches and a wide-legged seated forward bend; during the latter, Schiffmann suggests that it is better to hold the pose longer than to force oneself into a more intense posture. At this point, Schiffmann tells the class that it is time for “Free Form” yoga, when they can do anything that they have been wanting to do all class long. He plays two songs here: the first is a Tibetan-like chant given to him by a student, and the second is “It’s Good to Be King” by Tom Petty (Schiffmann obviously has eclectic tastes!). The practice then concludes with a short rest (<7 minutes) in either savasana or seated meditation. This is a lovely, gently flowing class that is definitely appropriate for all levels, although given the audio format, beginners and others may find it helpful to have some prior familiarity with Schiffmann’s style.