Submitted by Mugs McConnell, E-RYT500, Co-owner of SOYA
Bob and I have just returned from a 5 day yoga teacher’s training with Erich Schiffmann at Exhale Yoga in Venice Beach. I always look forward to continuing to learn and deepen my knowledge of yoga. Even though Bob and I have trained for more than 100 hours with Erich since I first experienced his yoga in 2005 we are continually so very grateful for his depth of spirit and incredible ability to inspire our personal practice.
So what makes Erich so different from other yoga teachers? Of course the asana is awesome… it starts so easy and then the next thing I know I am in something so very deep and I wonder how I got there! His hip-opening sequences create amazing space leading to the ultimate achievement of the lotus position. His back-bending is delightful to watch, and his dog sequences are liquid as they open up the heart.  But it isn’t so much the asana that is so incredibly inspiring, it is his union with the Divine that takes me to places beyond.
“Your personal practice is being in class with the Infinite. Having your notebook ready is like inviting the insights in. The insights are the fruits of your work. Write them down right away, when they are the most clear.”
Erich reminds our class that the Infinite, the Universal Consciousness, or Big Mind – otherwise known as God – is Love. And Love is oozing out of every one of his pores as he teaches us teachers. “Put more love into your asana”. “That’s YOU in there. Be gentle!”
Erich has trained with the best of the best… He studied with Krishnamurti and taught yoga for many years in Krishnamurti’s Brockwood School in England. He lived in Madras, India for a year and studied with Desikachar. He studied with Mr. Iyengar in Poona, India in the 1970’s. He studied with Dona Holleman and Vanda Scaravelli in Italy. And in USA, Joel Kramer made it all click for him by taking it beyond the physical to an understanding of the flow of energy.
According to Erich, self-trust is the advanced technique of yoga… as you trust YOU, you are trusting in the ALL. We learn self-trust through the practice of meditation – regularly – on and off all day.  Start when you wake up in the morning by sitting up in bed with pillows supporting your back. In that early stage of waking, enjoy the inner quiet as you enter your day. Let those insights come into your mind and then trust them. With self-trust you are opening up to the Universal Wisdom. As you think less, and listen more… then “new knowing” will flow into your mind.
Erich lives his yoga ALWAYS. “Yoga is a lifestyle, which means living it all the time. ‘All the time’ is the new NOW that you are in all-the-time.” Whatever comes into your day, good or bad, it is your “new now” and how you handle it is a reflection of your state of yoga, your current level of consciousness.
We are very excited about Erich returning to BC next June 5-7, in Sorrento, BC at Sorrento Centre where he will help us celebrate 20 years of SOYA! He doesn’t come to Canada often so we are really very fortunate that he is making the trip here. Registration for this event will open in January 2015, so be sure to register early!