Freedom Style Yoga

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Erich Schiffmann Invents A New Form - Or Perhaps Returns To The Original

Erich Schiffmann is the ultimate contradiction. An LA yogi who has been on the scene for decades, he does not look the part. He’s not the skinny and strict Annie Carpenter type, or Bryan Kest handsome, and he doesn't have a dramatic drug recovery story to explain his immersion into yoga.

Schiffmann could be described as a tall, roly-poly teacher, with a smile that seems to come from deep within. He runs a free-form class and yet has studied with some of the luminaries of our time (and I use that word advisedly –J. Krishnamurti, T.K.V Desikachar, B.K.S Iyengar, Vanda Scaravelli, T. Krishnamacharya), which may be why there is something profound about his classes. Committed yogis have always sought him out.

He doesn’t teach in New York often, but since he’s coming to Omega the weekend of October 11th – 13th, YogaCity NYC’s Cynthia Kling called him up to find out how he got started, what his philosophy is, and what he wants his students to learn and unlearn in his classes.

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Cynthia Kling: How old were you when you began practicing?

Erich Schiffmann: Fourteen. My older brother gave me a book – it was one of those ‘I’ve got to get Erich something for his birthday things.’ I thought "What a stupid present" and threw it in a drawer. Then, I was cleaning out a drawer a few years later and found it. It was called The Spirit and Practice of Yoga by Michael Volin. My best friend had also given me Think on These Things by Krishnamurti. I was intrigued. I guess it was because I was a California surfer kid and Yogananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meher Baba were idols to the surfer dudes.