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Eric Schwarz


Private Yoga • Group Yoga • Meditation • Coaching • Retreats • Thai Massage

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Eric Schwarz


Private Yoga • Group Yoga • Meditation • Coaching • Retreats • Thai Massage

ABOUT ME

Eric Schwarz is an American yoga teacher and life coach based in Western Australia.

While I’ve only been at it for a short while, I’m best known as a yoga teacher.  In the years before, I worked for the federal government, first as a cognitive scientist at the United States Department of Defense and later as a Strategic Planner at the Department of Agriculture. The image others have of me is not developed by years of tenure in a career or specific path - if this was the case, people would perceive me as an ex-bureaucrat.  As a yoga teacher, the radiance of authenticity shines brightly, and the demonstrated raw aliveness leaves a powerful impression.

In 2012, after a series of misdiagnoses - including arthritis, fibromyalgia, a heart attack, and a few others - my father was diagnosed stage IV metastatic bone cancer.  In looking at the bone scan, we saw a few dots of an irregular color.  I thought this was the cancer, but it was in fact the few places where the cancer had not yet spread. A specialist at M.D. Anderson in Houston told my father, “This will shorten your life.”

“Shorten his life?” I wondered.  It took me a moment to realize the doctor was saying my father would soon die.  It wasn’t two months later, as originally predicted, but a year and a half.  During the period of time in which my father received one misdiagnoses after another, showing no signs of improvement, my intrigued colleagues had one question after another about his mysterious illness.  When I revealed it was cancer, the questions stopped.  They behaved as if I was dying, too.

Arguably, I was.  Even before the diagnoses, there was a deadness in my eyes, a malaise, from somewhere deep and internal.  I was barely living, let alone thriving.  A man of action, I remembered a book a classmate in grad school presented on, On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.  After observing and interviewing thousands upon thousands of patients at the end stages of life, Kübler-Ross concluded that patients are extremely aware of their situation, and the best way to be of service is to acknowledge the truth of dying and meet them exactly where they are. The two weeks following were the most difficult of my life, much harder than when he actually died a year and a half later.  I grieved the loss of my father on the front end and I was able to be with him, now in a manageable state of grief, for the rest of his shortened life.

After his life inevitably ended, I returned to Washington, D.C. and used my two weeks of bereavement time to reflect and organize my life.  On my first Monday back, I submitted my two weeks notice.  I unceremoniously told my partner, “I want to quit my job and become a full time yoga teacher.”

Without missing a beat, in the most loving and casual way possible, he replied, “I think that is a good idea.”  

His death did not turn up the volume on the primordial will to live, but instead cut through all of the noise that drowns it out.  And so began my quest to live.

As a fledgling yoga teacher, I knew the spiritual practice was important, but I was having too much fun teaching arm balances and making cool playlists to care much for it.  I felt in my body than ever before, definitely on my way to living and thriving.  I no longer had to take cold showers in the middle of winter before work to cool off from the panic attacks I had at the idea of going into an office where I felt rejected and dulled.  The more time I spent with yoga, the more I came into contact with brilliant and dedicated teachers.  The heaviness of my previous lifestyle became smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror, and my mind opened to the teachings of this philosophical system.

Today, teaching is less about arm balances.  I integrate two firmly held beliefs into every class I teach:

  1. You are worthy of being seen and heard.  There is nothing more precious than to give the gift of listening.  Through listening, we cultivate compassion, and through compassion, we nullify judgement and anger.  We make decisions from a place of love and wisdom, rather than fear and impulse.  We rise to our authentic selves.  In my classes you will be seen and heard, and with this practice you will do the same for others.  Krishnamurti said, “to pay attention means we care, which means we really love.”

  2. Your body is a strong and capable gift, and it knows exactly what to do.  For millions of years, our species walked the earth barefoot, climbed trees, moved in tribes, gathered food, slept under the stars, woke with the sun, and adapted to seasonal rhythms. Did anyone teach us these things? Much of this knowledge lies dormant in our bodies.  Many innate human qualities are unexpressed in a lifestyle of chronic sitting, processed foods, furniture, footwear, and screen addiction.  I’m not suggesting we revert to a pre-agrarian lifestyle, but that the denial of our unexpressed biomechanical advantages is not benign.  In my classes you will learn to move naturally, creatively, and embrace the full potential of your body.

My classes are breath-focused and always begin with extended centering and/or meditation.  I am an E-RYT-500 and offer deep gratitude to my many teachers, particularly Natasha Rizopolous and Chanda Creasy.


TESTIMONIALS

“I learn something new every time I go to Eric’s class. His teaching is refreshing and he’s not afraid to take risks, while keeping you safe and at ease. If I were to boil a description of his classes down to two words–no easy task–they would be peace and adventure!”

— Anna Franklin

“Eric is an extraordinary teacher and it has been a privilege to be in his class. He has broadened my understanding of yoga by a wide scope and introduced me to so many new aspects of yoga.”

— Alexandra Sherman

“One of the things you realize when you take Eric’s class is that he connects with each yogi and yogini. He cares! Yoga is a physical practice but it’s also so much more. When you practice with Eric, you know that.”

— John Lipold

“Every opportunity I get to practice in Eric’s presence, I feel a sense of calm and peacefulness—-his hands on approach allows me to really focus on my breathing and being in the moment of the practice”

— Vong K


COACHING

When coaching, I use the Co-Active Model, a tried-and-true approach that provides a powerful process for engaging with others and is supported by current scientific research.

The program is built on the cornerstone that we are all naturally creative, resourceful and whole and that we all possess the capacity for knowing what is best for ourselves.

From this place, the Co-Active Coach comes from a place of authentic being, listening and encouragement, to uncover the best in oneself and others.


RETREATS


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