Video Fitness

Live Yoga with Erich Schiffmann: March 15, 2005

Erich Schiffmann

Available as a CD on Erich's website ($15) or mp3 download at iAmplify ($2.95)

This practice runs 1 hour, 26 minutes and is comprised of the following poses in sequential order:

Meditation, Easy Cross-Leg Forward Fold, Arm Circles, Shaking, Standing Spinal Rolls, Standing Forward Fold with Sway, Squat, Heavy-Handed Dog Pose Vinyasa, Cat Pose Backbend Spirals, Kneeling Twist, Half Dog, Pause, Triangle, Cobra from Half Dog, Pause, Half Moon, Cobra from Half Dog, Pause, One-Legged Dog with Curve, Low Lunge, High Lunge, Pyramid,Toe Stretch Leg Stretch, Dog, Reclining Leg Stretch, Reclining Lunge, Reclining Lotus Preparation, Upward Facing Lotus, Freefom, Relaxation Pose, Meditation

If you like Erich’s Backyard DVD series, you will probably like this routine. It has all of the good qualities of his other media: precise, creative instruction and excellent sequencing. It is not as “tight” as his Backyard Beginners DVD because the practice is filmed from a live class and subject to a certain amount of unpredictability. This means that there are sometimes longer pauses as he moves among his students, so other poses have to be sped up to compensate for missed time. There was not a lot of preparation to move into Upward Facing Lotus, for example. Erich himself acknowledged this. In general, however, Erich is an experienced teacher, so the pacing felt just right throughout. His cueing is gentle and not as precise as Iyengar cueing, but lyrical in a way that helps me really get deep into some of the poses.

The practice has some of the drawbacks typical of live mp3 recordings. Sometimes you can hear Erich’s breathing rather loudly. A few times a student’s cell phone goes off. A few participants groan deeply in a few of the restorative poses and a few others call out comments at the instructor. This dispels the magic of Erich’s classes a little, since it seems a little like the students are eager for their teacher’s attention.

Yet there are advantages to the live format, too. The practice began with what Erich calls Opening #9. He gives nice, succinct pointers on how to begin practicing when you’re not in the mood and what he does to overcome this. He doesn’t make many side comments during the practice, but when he does, it gives the practice a feeling of intimacy and improvisation. I’m sure his live classes are really quite wonderful.

I purchased the routine through iAmplify ( It corresponds to the “March 15, 2005” Live practice available directly on Erich Schiffmann’s website. iAmplify offers the class as an MP3 download for a fraction of the price of the CD: $2.95. I think the price is right since the recording is echo-y and sparsely edited. Unfortunately, it is not chaptered and, if you purchase the practices through iAmplify, you’ll have to visit Erich’s webpage for a breakdown of the routines. Erich names his practices after the date of their recording. Iamplify tends to do this as well, but there are exceptions, which can be confusing. For example, sometimes iAmplify titles the routines “Advanced Yoga” instead of sticking to Erich’s date titles. There’s a reason for this. These routines really are advanced, often featuring partner work and handstands. The discrepancy in titles, however, makes it difficult to locate the routine on Erich’s website. But if you place the routine in the iAmplify cart, the date will usually appear, so you’ll be able to find the breakdown of the routine on Erich’s website.

Instructor comments: The same expert cuing and sequencing that Erich fans have come to expect. See review for details.


February 15, 2007

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