Honoring Roger Eischens

Where Awareness Goes, Energy Flows | Yoga Chicago

When I met Roger, he practiced every day that I knew him. Roger taught many students and yoga teachers the Art of Practicing Yoga. Roger was original, unique, creative, brilliant, intelligent, kind-hearted, generous, innovative, inspirational, motivated, helpful, caring, intense, highly-skilled, and funny. 

Roger Eischens, 1941-2004  “It is what it is.” 

Yoga master Roger Eischens, 63, transitioned on December 15, 2004, at the home of a close friend in Madison, Wisconsin. His body had succumbed to lymphoma, which he had lived with for almost three years.

While teaching yoga for more than 30 years, Roger had also taught physical education and coached athletics at Wayne State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He held masters degrees in kinesiology, developmental psychology and human biology, and he treated many athletes who came to him with injuries when they could find no other relief.

Roger’s studying and teaching of yoga led him to Pune, India, to learn from B.K.S. Iyengar. He returned every year for 15 years, each time staying for three months. Roger often participated in the classes for Indian students since he felt he could relate to their culture and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the Indian perspective on the unity of body, mind and spirit.

Several carloads of devoted friends and students from Chicago attended Roger’s memorial service, which was held in Madison on December 18. William Hunt said he had never attended a memorial service where he had experienced so much joy. “People told stories and gave tributes to Roger one by one for an hour and a half. People talked about the depth of his mind. He could talk about anything. Highly intelligent, very impressive. The loss to the yoga community is strong.” On the program was a photo of Roger, with the caption, “It is what it is”–a phrase Roger used often.

Many students expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to study with Roger. Susan B. Noel says, “For me, the breadth and depth of Roger’s understanding of human beings living in bodies is unsurpassed.”

What Lynn Pigott will miss most about Roger is “his ability to look at everything (including yoga) in a unique, fresh, and unconventional way.”

Diane Dombeck says, “Roger taught me a lot about alignment and resistance as they relate to the movement of energy in the body; but more importantly, he taught me about the learning process and what it means to be an effective teacher….I was continually engaged by his interpretation of asana, philosophy and world events.”

Roger and Kari Tomashik, his teaching partner of many years, gave several workshops each year at Lakeside Yoga Center in Evanston–the last one in early December, 2004. They were a good team together; now Kari will continue the teachings at Lakeside and elsewhere. Kari says, “Roger will live on in many of us. There are quite a few people who have a good understanding of his teachings and will carry on his legacy.”

— Sharon Steffensen, YogaChicago

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