November 29, 2007
Owner and Head Instructor, Shizen Yoga Studio
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on November 2007
Why did you start practicing yoga?
I was going to the gym to “work out” my stress, but my mind would not rest even though my body was relaxed. A friend introduced me to yoga here in Tokyo in 1995, and my first class changed my life. The teacher kept saying, “Be present, observe and focus your mind on what your body is doing right now.” At the end of the class, both my body and my mind were relaxed, and I felt totally refreshed.
What else about yoga attracts you?
I have a body, a mind and an internal consciousness that I have become more aware of. The practice of yoga addresses the needs of each and integrates them to create a personal balance which I try to maintain in my roles as a mother, a studio owner, and a teacher.
What does yoga mean to you now?
It is a daily practice that I carry off the mat into the rest of my daily activities and interactions. When I started, my practice was mostly about the asana [poses]. But as I have matured, the philosophy, breathing and meditation now make up an equal part of my personal practice.
What do you think of yoga in Tokyo?
Tokyo is a city with its own dynamic and unique lifestyle, and while yoga is relatively new here, it is developing very quickly. Young women seem to have been the first wave attracted to the benefits of yoga. But as more people are discovering, yoga benefits everybody at any stage of life. This is why we try to reach out to a more diverse population by providing pre- and postnatal yoga, yoga for kids, and classes for more mature and less athletic people. We also offer classes in meditation, chanting, and other yoga practices that help quiet a mind overly stimulated by a busy Tokyo lifestyle.