Our Practices Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 1

Welcome to Our Practices

10 min - Show Intro


Kira introduces us to Erich Schiffmann who gives us permission to find our own yoga: "Discipline works, but when it works it will start to dissolve, and at that point your practice starts becoming creative, and you've got to be brave enough to start doing other than what your teachers had said." This show will look at the magical personal practices of our teachers.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

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Apr 08, 2015
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Huge gift to have our teacher and dear friend Eric Schiffman here today. Thank you. Thank you. And so taking the opportunity to allow his help in the introduction of this very special new show that I couldn't be more inspired by. So over the last handful of months the teachers that have come to film here at Yoga anytime have been brave enough to share their personal practices. Like what they do at home, what they do, it doesn't always look like exactly what they're teaching. And something I've been so amazed about in the filming of these practices is well of course everybody is gorgeous as they teach. Something really magical happens when you get to watch somebody in their personal practice. And this was a piece of advice that I received from Eric even before I met Eric. Because Eric's guidelines for being a teacher were Xeroxed and put across everybody's manuals. And so in one of my first teacher trainings one of the pieces of advice was watch advanced yogis practice. And one of the things that really Eric has done for so many of us is given us permission, permission that it's okay to do other than you've been told, other than you've been taught. And then it, you know, you kind of read it, you kind of hear it, you kind of get it. But it wasn't until, I don't even remember the year, it must have been somewhere around the year 2001-ish, that Eric invited me to come over and practice in his studio. And really that's when the really the real juice starts to happen when you gather with your yogi friends and you practice together. And I filmed it. It was so fun. And do you still, is that TV, do you still available? And what's the name of that? Freedom Style Yoga, yeah. That was great. Yeah, we all would collect and so it's a whole collection of most people you know.

We'd gather, we'd play a lot of music, we'd hang out, we'd sit, we'd talk. My favorite was, you know, we'd all try to like share our latest insights and I'll never forget PJ at one time. PJ asking you like, is that it? Is that it? And your answer was close. So I remember, I like those, that era, because I had, the yoga room was small, but I put up three cameras around the room and on one of the walls there's a big mirror so that one of the cameras would shoot into the mirror and then get whoever's on this path as well as whoever was in that corner of the room. And when you watch the video later, it's, the room looks twice as big as it actually is. So people who watch the video and then they come into the room, they think, this is the room? It's like way smaller than I ever thought it was. But I remember being inspired to make that DVD because, you know, you watch a DVD or you go to people's classes and sort of what I've learned is like people do, their actual practice is actually very different from the way they teach, the way, what they insist on in a class, what they recommend. And it's sort of, it's just fun to actually see what people actually do. When I was in my 20s, like in the, in the 70s, when I was with Iyengar, it was 1976 when I was in Puna with him. I had to ask him if it was okay, if I could come and watch him practice, but I would come in early in the morning and just sit over in the corner and, and watch him. I would watch Iyengar practice, his son practice, Prashant, his daughter practice. And I was over here in the corner of the room writing everything, writing down everything that they were doing, partly to get a sense of the sequencing that they were doing. And it was, it boggled my mind at that time because Iyengar was recommending certain practice protocol, do this on Monday, do this on Tuesday, the whole week mapped out, etc., which I loved for many years. But what he was actually doing was wasn't that, and it confused me until further down the road I realized, oh, what he's actually doing is he's not following prescribed routines. He's actually channeling his practice and like actively in learning mode. When you then teach it, how it's helpful to be strict about what you're telling people. And like he was very strict to me and others about what to practice, and for me that was very helpful because suddenly I knew what to practice, like there was no confusion about it. My personal practice actually kicked in when I was with Iyengar because it was so mapped out, and I loved it, and I loved it, and I loved it, and I did it that way for years and years and years, and then at a certain point the structure and the discipline of a prescribed mapped out practice worked. But my experience was, oh wow, I'm just not loving this the way I used to. Oh wow, I'm just not loving this the way I used to. What's going wrong? To me it felt like everything was going wrong. The practice that had worked for years was suddenly ending up like a dud is what it seemed like at the time. And then again in retrospect I realized, oh wow, things weren't going wrong, things were going so right that, you know, you do the discipline, you do the structure, and you do it, and you do it, and you do it. And what happens is that it builds sensitivity. It starts encouraging you to trust yourself essentially, and at that point no one in my world was saying, follow the energy, you know, start giving expression to how the energy wants to move through you. So I was in big conflict about it. Right around then I met Joel Kramer. He taught me how to run energy through the lines and to make a line of energy. And as soon as I started running energy through the lines the way he was talking about, I realized that wow, all the things that I anger had been talking about, which were precise alignment tips, started happening spontaneously when I did what Joel was talking about. When I just ran energy through the line and kind of looked for the feeling the perfect flow, then it was like ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, all the stuff that I anger had been talking about. At that point I got it, oh wow, discipline works, but when it works it'll start to dissolve. And at that point your practice starts becoming creative, and you've got to be brave enough to start doing other than what your teachers had said. Yay. The next frontier it seems for so many teachers is then to start to teach that. Right. Now when I started to teach it, the insight that was happening to me was wow, intuitive is where it's at. Intuitive is where it's at. So I would go into class and I ditched all the alignment techniques. I ditched the structured practice. I ditched all the prescribed routines because obviously that wasn't where it was at. Some people were ripe and got it and lit up, and most people were like, but what am I supposed to do? And I wasn't, initially I wasn't like willing to sort of like go back down the ladder of giving prescribed alignment techniques, etc., because it seemed less than intuitive. And then I learned, no, you got to talk at different levels, but now when I talk about precision of alignment, it's with the awareness that that's not what it's about. What it's about is like precisely getting into that experience so that the movement of the energy starts guiding you about what to do. So then it starts holding both. It's like the intuitive practice flowers out of structured discipline, and that was really helpful for me. So I'm a believer in both now, but now when I bring it down the level and talk about do your fingers like this or spin your arm like that, now the implication isn't that that's the way you should always do it. Do it like that now and get into it because when you do you'll start feeling the energy and then the energy will start taking over, and that's when it starts feeling like your yoga, you know, and that's what you want. Like a good teacher should just help you get to the place for your your own, where your your own teacher, essentially, like where you where you become a better learner and you're able to learn from your own practice. But interestingly, like at that point, you realize that, hey, wow, I'm not my own best teacher. Like you know you're not your own best teacher, but you've learned how to learn, and you're learning from the teacher, online knowing, in the specific moment that you find yourself in, whether it's a yoga pose or the way you drive down the freeway, lifestyle. So these brave teachers have let us witness them learning, listening, finding their own way. We hope it will help encourage your own path, bravely, tenderly, and with love. Thank you, Erin. Love to you.


Kate Smith
3 people like this.
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! I am so grateful to have this available. My love abounds….What a treasure this is. Papa and Kira. Doesn't get much better than this. ;))
Kira Sloane
Kate! Isn't his story great?? How lucky are we? xok
Kelly Sunrose
So. Good.
I could listen to Kira & Erich talk about process and practice all day long.
Mary B
1 person likes this.
Julia Berkeley
this is gorgeous! thank you both so much x
Joanne H
1 person likes this.
Thank you. I have been hoping that Erich would show up on Yoga Anytime. Yes, how lucky we are. XO
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Joanne, love. Yes, later this month we will be launching a super special Freedom Style Immersion with Erich!
Chris Hoskins
Fantastic wisdom!
Erich Schiffmann
thanks, Chris :)))
Misty Eve Hannah
Loved listening to you both. My heart expanding, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experiences. Xx
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