Edit Blog Post
Published: February 4th 2010
King of the Ferries
Eric poses on the way to the Ferry Building where he leads tours and hiking yoga every day.
Healing the Schism
I arrived in Eric's apartment above San Francisco and he was ready to talk about his 2-day yoga conference. I had just finished a two-day conference on photonics at Stanford and didn't have much to say about Indium Gallium Arsenide VCSELS while Eric was ready share his yoga adventure. He told me how the yoga teachers liked to talk in ancient Sanskrit (and then have to translate the unintelligible) and then take an nice, group OOOHHMMMMM break. Eric said the yoga teachers (95%!w(MISSING)omen) loved the chanting while Eric wanted to understand what kind of release forms he should have his clients sign. The combination of New Age chantings with the real-world business of running a yoga studio was difficult to bring together. As the trantric yogis would say, there's a schism.
I don't know why the word schism sound so funny to me, but I'm sure it has to do with how well it rhymes with gism. Schism does a good job of describing the gap between the physical, logical world that I live in and the spiritual world where I long to be. Bringing dreams together with reality is a constant challenge.
Leading the Way
Here's an unsuspecting guy who got dragged out to a yoga class.
poem on the front of a glossy yoga retreat brochure sums it up the best:
Synch with the SOURCE
rise with the force
dance with rhythm
heal the schism
That's new age marketing for a real-world business of international yoga retreats.
Eric is trying to heal the schism between between doing what he loves (hiking and yoga) and making a business of it. He's on to something too and doing a great job. I did his yoga hikes both mornings I stayed with him and they kicked my ASS! Eric says his program isn't for beginners and he's right. I've been running 3 miles quite a bit and mixing it with Bikram's yoga in New Orleans and neither of these wore me out like Eric's 3+ mile hikes up the streets of San Francisco and doing very active yoga at 4 yoga stations.
Eric leads bus tours through the city every day and knows Frisco better than most because he studies it constantly. I can imagine Eric hiking and doing yoga in the gardens and hills of San Francisco and wanting to share the beauty and the exhiliration of yoga with others. Eric's enthusiasm for the
Eric rips through the city on his hikes. This is the Embarcadero Center that is the twin of the Rockefeller Center in NYC. Owned by no less than the Rocke.
city is infectious and he has really tuned into something exciting.
The SF Weekly Review might have said it best:
Eric Kipp may be brilliant. The spirit of San Francisco pulses quickly in his veins, because he is the creator of Hiking Yoga. It's exactly what it sounds like, you follow your charge up one of our butt-bustin' hills and your teacher hands out mats and you do yoga. The courses are chosen for their vistas as for their challenges, so city-proud fitness buffs be prepared to fall in painful workout love.
I'm really proud of him because he's doing what he loves and creating some good pocket change. He's healing the schism!
Atypical Yoga Hikes
Eric's main hikes are Saturday morning, but he also does them on Sunday mornings and in the evening. He hopes to add some weekday morning classes in some local neighborhoods as well. He thinks he did about 175 hikes last year and is going to have a groupon next month where he hopes to have several hundred people sign up for his hikes. A groupon is a group coupon where about 100,000 people have a limited time to
Up the Stairs
There is a 4 block long shopping mall in the Embarcadero Center that Eric lead us through.
buy a meal or activity at a nice discount. He's been featured in a Forbes online video and you can see that high-quality video here:
Eric meets at the Ferry building which is bustling on Saturday mornings because of the popular farmer's market. After everyone gathers, he sets off at a frantic pace. If you've hiked with Eric, you know what I mean because he literally hikes at about 4 mph - a slow jog for many. When I stopped to take pictures of him, they were usually blurry because he wasn't about to stop. I'd have to run to catch up with him and the group and have lots of pictures of their backs.
He has mapped out the city well and San Francisco has an amazing amount of back alleys and hidden gardens that Eric is excited to lead you up. From free fortune cookies in Chinatown to hidden murals at the art institute, Eric shows the hidden gems of the city by the bay and makes you feel like a local. You'll soon be noticing your breath has been taken away - as much from hiking the hills as from the scenery.
On the far edge of the Embarcadero Center, we had great views of the Transamerica tower.
We hiked 3.6 miles on Sunday and Eric has a killer iPhone app that tracks your distance, elevation, pace and calories burned. The app has an interactive map that shows precisely what roads and alleys you went up and down via GPS. Find out more on that here: www.runkeeper.com
San Francisco has multiple hiking tours and what separates Eric's hikes is the yoga. He takes the students to sweet overlooks and leads them through series of poses that get the heart racing even more while you try and synchronize your breath to the gyrations. He builds strength and incorporates stretches from chi gong in smooth transitions. He adjusts rookies, perfects veterans and throws humor in to help you forget the pain.
The combination of cardio from the hiking, strength from the poses and a little meditation comes together in a nice package. Eric says his main audience is women and American men only grudgingly go with their girlfriends. Foreign men join in, but it's a rare day when your average married male joins in. I bet the women like the social aspect of the hikes because
I ended up talking to everyone on the hike. Each yoga station
Through China Town
Here's Eric and his girlfriend Carina who manages to keep stride for stride with Eric in China Town.
mixes the group up so that you get a chance to twist with everyone.
He has staple stations like Coit Tower and the garden in the panoramic photo, but he knows enough gardens, basketball courts and open spaces to mix the locations up. I've been on 5 of his hikes now and none of them have been the same. The hikes end up at the Ferry Building and I'm usually ready for a nap while Eric has to run off and do his daily tour. He sets a hectic pace, but he does what he loves and his energy seems boundless.
I want to mention that his girlfriend Carina likes the hikes as well. She's a regular and keeps up stride for stride with Eric. She can bust out a solid Warrior 3 and other poses as the pictures show. She's very sweet and I've already spent some great time with her already.
I took a few pictures of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I went there on Eric's annual pass and had a nice exploration. I watched a movie of crazy Andy Warhol and took some fun
Eric has four yoga stations on his hikes and he's stretching here with Carina in the background.
That's all folks,
Tot: 4.049s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 4; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0244s; 3; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb