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
I met Kari on my travels in Pai, (Thailand). I was so lucky to have the chance to practice with her on my morning sessions. Kari showed me with a few words and gentle adjustments the way to open my heart. But more valuable to integrate & strengthen that open heart. Kari is an authentic,natural born teacher who shares her experience from deep down in her beautiful heart! Everlasting gratitude."
I had the distinct pleasure of studying yoga and taking classes with Roger and Kari in Madison for around four years. I learned volumes! As another student put it, their method of teaching is like the “philosopher’s stone” applied to yoga. Classes were both insightful and delightful on account of Kari’s whimsical sense of humor. The vibe was intense and focused yet without taking anything too seriously. We had fun while devoting ourselves to precise alignment. I highly recommend their Iyengar-style technique and Kari‘s personal teaching style!"
I have known Kari for a number of years. She is unequaled in her dedication to using yoga as a vehicle to understand her place in the world and make an impact in the lives of those she encounters. She has a deep knowledge of the workings of the human body – derived from her personal practice and her many years of teaching. She approaches each individual as a unique person and treats all with respect. Besides that, she has a great sense of humor and an assured yet gentle manner."
Kari Tomashik is a true and kind teacher of Eischens Yoga. She has taken Roger Eischen’s groundbreaking work much further. Kari is both a very clear communicator who can help the uninitiated and experienced practitioner to learn about their body/mind/spirit, and an experimenter who keeps her ego out of the way of her focus on the learner.