Play, Practice, Learn


Linda Eifer of Simcha Yoga Beverly Hills

My first yoga class was a gift of the Shoah Foundation, a non-profit where I worked for seven years.  Listening to testimonies of Holocaust survivors, my body reacted. I had sciatica, shoulder and neck injuries, and carpel-tunnel syndrome. We were invited to try yoga as a means of dealing with the difficult stories we heard daily. After my first class, I never looked back. With help from many wonderful teachers, I healed my physical injuries and began a meditation practice. When my project at the Shoah Foundation concluded in 2003, I took my first yoga teacher training and began teaching. I taught at City Yoga for 10 years, and Ross Rayburn’s studio, YogaInsideOut for two years. In 2006, I became part of the team under yoga instructor, Jessica Jennings. With the Ob/Gyn staff at Kaiser Permanente Sunset, I participated in a group prenatal program called Pregnancy in Balance: Group Visits, Community & Yoga. For 15 years, my classes were at YogaWorks, MaYoga and SimchaYoga. 

Then Covid happened. As I already had a studio behind my home, I was able to smoothly transition to classes via Zoom. A quick trip to Best Buy for  a camera and large TV screen, and I was in business.

Today, classes are a mix of in-person and on-line. We gather in the studio as a group of friends. (Donations are always welcome.) I draw on nature,my experiences, literature, science, and current events to inspire my students to seek the parallels between ancient yoga teachings and contemporary life. 

I am especially thankful to have practiced and taught alongside many of my teachers, and I continue to be inspired by my students. Together we find new ways to joyfully express ourselves through yoga, where every class is a celebration of life.

Now a certified yoga instructor, (Anusara-inspired status) my training was in Anusara yoga. My teaching style continues to include a strong Anusara-based practice, though I have embraced the teachings of other respected yoga schools and teachers. As well as teaching a strong yoga practice, I am qualified and experienced in pre and postnatal yoga, therapeutics, senior yoga, and yoga for those who find themselves especially challenged. I love teaching beginning students, as well as those with a more advanced practice, and believe that we should all practice with a beginner’s mind.

A Life of Yoga, Art, Cooking…

Linda Eifer – Viewing Art from Tree Pose
(As borrowed from LACMA Docent Newsletter)

“An-8-hour day was completely taken up with the Holocaust,” she recalled. A perk of the job was the occasional yoga class – and she loved them. Yoga became an important part of her life, her husband’s and sons’. Today, she studies and takes class, and for over twenty years she has been teaching.

She practices and teaches Anusara Yoga – meaning “to be in the flow.” “One of the basic tenets of this style is that as a teacher, part of your role is to theme classes on personal, yoga-centric and universal levels,” she said. “You might share your experience in Sequoia National Park and how Sequoia trees support each other by reaching out and connecting their root systems, while emphasizing the importance of community, and our deep, intrinsic connection to nature.

“Then you think of how it might apply to art”. she continues. “The Nataraja, or Dancing Shiva, is one of LACMA’s most treasured and esteemed illustrations of Hindu art. It represents the cosmic dance of creation, destruction, transformation, concealment and revealment, all fundamental elements of the practice of yoga.

However, Linda’s story doesn’t start nor stop with Yoga. She married her childhood sweetheart after attending his Bar Mitzvah (yeah, there were some years in between). She was a Boy Scoutmaster. She is an accomplished cook and baker. She earned a space at an Italian cooking school in Northern Italy after writing an essay about her grandfather’s soup.

“Growing up in Los Angeles, I didn’t stray far,” Linda says of her life. “I’ve never lived farther than walking distance to Fairfax.” or LACMA. She attended Carthay Circle Elementary School, John Burroughs Junior High School and Fairfax High School. Her sixth grade teacher is now one of her students.

Lind went on to UCLA studying dance and literature. She worked for United Jewish Appeal, fund- raising and raising awareness on college campuses between taking student groups to Israel.

About her husband, Gary: “My parents and my husband’s parents were friends when we were born,” Linda recalls. “I was at his bar mitzvah…and our mothers set us up several years later.” She was 28, he was 29 when they married. “Together we camped and traveled, read books, practiced yoga, and went to every museum we could find,” her bio on the docent website notes. “My sons always said that if a park ranger or docent was talking, I would follow them anywhere.” Her husband died in 2006.

Linda Eifer

Linda has two sons, a daughter-in-law and a young man who became part of the family during Covid. All are avid yoga practitioners. She was the Scoutmaster for her sons’ troop. “I quit when they wouldn’t allow gay Scouts to take on leadership roles.” Her letter of resignation, based on her objections to a Supreme Court ruling, was published in the Los Angeles Times.

Other passions in her life include dancing, reading, cooking, baking, photography, camping and traveling. “My favorite place on earth is Sequoia National Park,” she notes. “Being there with family and friends fills my soul.”

In addition to practicing yoga with friends in her backyard studio, she takes her practice on the road, organizing trips that include Yoga, art ,nature and culture. “I do a lot of yoga related travel,” she said, noting her teaching stints on Crystal Cruise. Yoga is central in her life. The practice, she notes, is so much more than exercise; It is meditation, breathing and ethical values. She recalls a yoga teacher who said it very well, “How important is it to you that you put your ankle behind your head compared to who you choose to sit with at your dinner table?”