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Erich Schiffmann Workshop

My first teacher, Chris Furtak, loved teaching all styles of yoga. She would spend a month and teach us what we would learn if we would go and study with Baron Baptiste, Rodney Yee, Anna Forrest, John Friend, or Erich Schiffmann among others. She would teach how they taught, the differences they have, and poses/ series they liked among other themes. Over the years I have had wonderful opportinities to study with many of these teachers, somtimes for just a few hours, but sometimes for an entire weekend. Erich Schiffmann never seemed to be where I was going. I found Shiva Rae, David Life, and Sharron Gannon but never Erich. I bought his book, devoured it and loaned it to many people, but had never met him.

About a month ago I got an email from Alison, of Harmony Yoga in Spokane, asking if I could spread word out about an Erich workshop held there. Immediatly I wanted to go, but didn't think I should take time off from work and the studio. I sent an email out to some other teachers and became jealous when they replied they were going. Then something happened. Events changed. It became easy to see that I should go. So I did.

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Erich taught about meditation, finding your pose, and free from yoga. These are all things I am going to take with me into classes I teach. In each two and a half hour class he spent at least 45 minutes teaching meditation and answering questions, it really inspired me. I can not even scratch the surface here, but will do my best over the coming weeks.

From an asana (posture) standpoint, there is a whole new world of hip openers; Hip Yoga is about to get more interesting (don't worry, these will show up in other classes). He compared asana to musical notes. When you learn about music, you learn the scales, the basics; when you learn postures you learn where hands and feet land. Trikanasana (triangle pose) is taught differently between Iyengar, Yin, Anusara, and Ashtanga, however they are all correct. Some days you feel like a more strict Iyengar version, sometimes a more relaxed Yin variation. Each day can be different. Each pose can be different.

When Erich teaches classes, they tend to be about 10 minutes of meditation, 30 of lead asana, 20 of free form, savasana, and if time is left, a few more minutes of mediation. I always try to start a class by asking what you want to do, sometimes everyone speaks up, and this give me a conundrum. Do I try to fit it all in and not hit somethings enough? Or do I omit a posture that someone needs? Enter free form. Erich turns on music and lets you go. Do what you want/need. It is fun. I will try and do this more in classes, however, it is fairly advanced, so not every class will include it.

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