Farewell to Karl Erb

Karl_ErbOne of San Francisco’s finest yoga teachers, Karl Erb passed away earlier today after living with cancer for a number of years.  Karl was a fellow yoga teacher at Yoga Tree,  a part of the teacher training program and a friend.   The way he lived with—and smiled at, his cancer demonstrated just what an amazing yogi he was.

About a year ago, Karl called me to tell me his cancer had returned and that the prognosis was not good.  I asked him how I could support him and his answer was simple, clear and without hesitation.

“Let me keep teaching in the teacher training for as long as I can.”

Although he was not able to teach the physical practice he continued to be a guest philosophy teacher until several months ago.    His passion for yoga was so clear and unequivocal and it came though not simply what he taught, but also in how he lived and ultimately how he passed. So many people these days “do” yoga, but Karl “lived yoga” until the very end. Through his example, many of us were able to more fully grasp that yoga has never been about your handstand or your downward dog.

Thank you Karl for showing me that peace, compassion and a sense of humor are possible even when—especially when life is most challenging.


A memorial service will be held according to Karl’s wishes in September. Donations in memory of Karl can be made to Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Institute of Vedanta & Sanskrit.