Video Fitness

Erich Schiffman, Live #2

Erich Schiffman

This title is available on Erich's Web site,

This is a live intermediate level class. This new series of Erich's videos are basically a do-it-yourself project that he made. If you're expecting the production quality of Yoga Mind & Body, you will be disappointed. He's very upfront in his marketing regarding this series that it's homemade. This is basically done using handheld camcorders. The mikes are on the cameras and at times it can be difficult to hear what Erich is saying, but it wasn't a problem that affected my ability to know what I was supposed to be doing. You'll hear traffic, trucks in reverse, and an occasional car radio if they're pulling up to or away from the building this takes place in.

If you've never been to a live class or workshop before, this video will give you an idea of what to expect. This is a room full of real people with real bodies who struggle like the rest of us do. There are a few "moaners and groaners". They're in every class! There is seated meditation. There is no chanting.

I wouldn't recommend this tape for beginners mainly because many of the postures are intermediate, and this kind of video isn't the best place to learn them. A beginner wouldn't be advised to sign up for an intermediate leve class, because it's assumed you have a basic knowledge of body alignment. Erich gives some form pointers, but not nearly as many as you'd receive from a beginning class, so it's very helpful for injury prevention if you're familiar with the basic alignment of the poses.

I just received these, so I've done this video once. It's about 90 mins long. I enjoyed it. It felt just like being at a weekend workshop.

Here's a breakdown:
1. Meditation
2. Shaking
3. Opening #4
4. Dangling forward bend
5. Bent leg arm stretch
6. Squat
7. Toe stretch arm pull
8. Ankle stretch chest expander
9. Cat pose
10. Dog pose
11. Kneeling twist
12. Half sun salutes
13. Subset #1--triangle, high lunge
14. Cobra vinyasa
15. Subset #4--triangle stage 1, 2, half moon, twisting high lunge (this is very similar to a segment of his first video)
16. Cobra vinyasa
17. Dog pose into cobra vinyasa
18. Resting pigeon
19. Pigeon with strap
20. Reclining leg stretches
21. Reclining lunge
22. Knees to chest
23. Relaxation
24. Meditation

In this video there are no inversions or "wheel"/urdhva dhanurasana backbends so it's more suited to less experienced practitioners, *however* there are several sections where if you don't have an understanding of alignment, you could really hurt yourself. Two places in particular--the first is the cobra vinyasa and dog pose into cobra vinyasa. If you haven't learned to protect your lower back, don't do these! These ultimately end in straight arm cobras which are really hard on the low back. Second, the pigeon with a strap is working toward king pigeon. Again not only could you really hurt your lower back here, but potentially your shoulders as well. If you don't know basic pigeon alignment (how your hips & back leg should be) there could be a problem there.

This video is easier than Live 1 in that the inversions and backbends are out. It's very slow moving--poses are held for a long time.
Once again when it was over I thought "are we done already?". This is a good video for a day when you're looking to work more deeply. Like Live 1 this is not "power yoga" but if you find moving slowly in yoga easy, my hat's off to you!

Lisa TV

Instructor comments: Erich is a master yoga teacher with an eclectic style he calls "freedom".

Lisa TV

Lisa, thanks for the thoughtful and accurate review.

I like Live 2 enormously. Erich's sequencing is so wonderful. He's such a pro. He really knows how to convey the necessary information. And I ferl so good afterwards.

OK, the production values aren't great. and I do like good production values. But, in this case, the underlying quality of the instruction was so superior it was *really* honestly and truly ok. I did get distracted by thoughts like "Erich, you've got such a beautiful thing here, why not put that leetle extra effort into sound quality and camera framing?"

But mostly, mostly, I was thinking "Wow. This really feels good" and "can this guy open up my shoulders and hips like nobody else, or what?" and "can they bottle him"

and "aaaaaaaaah".

(please note - the newer Schiffman Backyards series is of a much better production quality).

What Erich calls "opening sequence #4" is wonderful - alot of shoulder openers, but more of a total body focus than the shoulder work in Backyard Beginners.

He is *amazing* to watch doing the down dog/cobra vinyasa - so supple, graceful, aligned - and, i mean, he's a big guy - its like watching alchemy.

Live 2 will be very regular in my yoga rotation.

Instructor comments: You can't do better than Erich Schiffman

Jane C


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