Erich Schiffman’s book, Moving into Stillness was the first book I ever bought on yoga. I bought it at Santa Monica yoga when I was dabbling into yoga in the late 90s. I have had two of his dvd’s for about a year. Although I never met him I always liked him and considered him one of my teachers. He came to LMU a couple of Saturdays ago to talk. For me, It I was like getting to meet a rock star. He was a wealth of knowledge and really enhanced the way I have been feeling about a lot of things since he taught that day (especially listening to Source). I think now that I looked at these notes I will go to Exhale this week and take another class with him.
Erich said after 46 years of studying yoga he still feels like a beginner. He says it is fun to stay in learning mode. It is much better than being bummed out that you are not enough.
Yoga is a lifestyle. It is the style you live your life not in the future but in the now. Learn to be open to learning.
When teaching keep it as simple as possible. Dumb it down. The more complex the idea the more you need to dumb it down. Work hard to make it as simple as you can.
It is freeing to say you don’t know when you don’t know.
He said he started practicing yoga because his surfing idols were practicing yoga.
He talked of how he wasn’t awarded an Iyengar certification because the Iyengar people in London said he was teaching a cocktail yoga.
He teaches Freedom Style Yoga where you take all you’ve learned and channel them intuitively. You learn how to channel your practice. If you feel the energy the energy will tell you what to o. You have to trust what is right. Channel your practice and channel your life.
Trust yourself to give expression to the wisdom of the all. Let go of your conditioning.
He says this is the format of his class”
1. 1. Erich talks
2. 2. Meditation – He says meditation is the main practice. To quiet the mind, think less, use wisdom of the universe to be your common sense, everyday meditate. If you have difficult time meditating do it in bed. Keep meditating all day long. Get comfortable enough to be tension free. Quiet the mind without going unconscious. Relief turns to calm. Universal energy is love the actually energy is lovely.
3. 3. Asana Practice
4. 4.Free Form
5. 5. Relaxation/Seated Meditation
Most people don’t really want to know the truth. If you don’t know the answer don’t rely – ask big mind for clarity. Mentally shut up and get guided by your favorite awakened one. Blow off explaining. Do what your inner feelings tell u to do. Deepest feelings are the most trustworthy.
Meditation is inner listening. Follow inner prompting. Pause and ask don’t rely on conditioning. Follow your inner prompting – pause and ask. Think less and listen more. Use your thinking to think less and blow off explaining it. Dare to be guided. We all have a deep calling. Be wirelessly connected, listening for guidance.
In asana practice we teach people the technique so they feel the energy. It is important to learn the technique but it is also important to let the energy guide you. Run the energy lines. Of course, less experienced people need direction. Listening to instructions trains people to be attentive. The instructions help people be in the now.
When teaching first insist on something specific. Give people specific choices. Look around and see if people are embodying the instructions. Following directions (learning to detach from your conditioning) You can’t sell out all the time.
In the free form portion of Erich’s class there is no human teacher yacking at you. He started by first asking the students if they wanted to do another pose before savasana to do it. In freeform you guide people to know how to practice. Listen inwardly for guidance. Learning to channel your asana practice is a bridge to doing it all the time. Listen and wait for the glow and do the one that’s glowing.
Get a notebook and a pen you like. Get into a pose like straddle or pigeon and scribble what happens and take it into class and see if it works. Memorize the patterns like learning a song. Writing it down doesn’t wreck the meditation. Be online with big mind. Start taking notes with practice. He says the better teacher he is the more time he spends inn the yoga room. It helps to practice with friends. The easiest way to start is with something you already know. Linger and shift.
With meditation you can lie down or sit up. The more you do it the more you want it.
Yoga is not just PE, or therapy. Yoga is a lifestyle. That’s not just air you’re breathing. It’s spirit, love, fragrant flowers. Talk to awakened ones and open your mind. God is all. Consciousness is being. You are the specific and unique expression of the all. You are the omnipresent looking at infinity. When you see someone else and recognize them – the all is seeing itself – and you recognize yourself in the one you see. There is hope because there’s no enemy only totality. There is no enemy so you can relax.
Erich Schiffmann (born 1953, Los Angeles, California) is an accomplished American Yoga Master widely known for his award-winning video, Yoga Mind & Body, featuring actress Ali MacGraw. He is the author of a best-selling book, Moving into Stillness. He has been teaching yoga for more than twenty years.
At age 18 Schiffmann sent a handwritten letter to Krishnamurti and was accepted to study with him in England.[not specific enough to verify] He deepened his practice of yoga with Desikachar andIyengar in India, and with Dona Holleman and Vanda Scaravelli in Europe.
Yoga Society president Leighanne Buchanan called Schiffmann one of the "innovators" in Yoga Journal's fall 2000 issue. He has produced numerous yoga instructional videos and conducts yoga workshops and teacher training throughout the United States and internationally. He currently resides in Santa Monica, California.