Day four has come and gone. I finished my full day with a Japanese bath. For those of you that have never had a Japanese bath I will explain the pure exquisiteness of the experience. (This one is for my bath junky friend Christina).
I know we all have bathtubs at home so you are wondering what the big deal is. A bath is a bath right? WRONG. You see, the Japanese take something that already exists and refine it until it is the best in the world. The Japanese see the bath as something more than utilitarian – it should be an experience unto itself. You usually bathe at night. You first wash and scrub the whole body clean. You then step into the deep tub, which is neck high in luscious hot water. The temperature is just right. Very hot at first, and then as it sinks into your bones, it becomes perfect- taking all the stress and tension out of your muscles. My bath water actually flowed over the sides of tub to cascade over the tile floor. The whole floor of the bathroom is like a shower so this caused no problems. It was the height of decadence. This was more than a bath; it was the art of bathing.
In yoga we call this refinement Shri- beauty. As most of are teachers in the room in Tokyo, we can all do the basic postures but John was taking us to a new level today. Not harder poses- just basic poses where we started from the main principles and built up a part at a time until we were refining our fingers, our eyes, even our mouth. I was thinking the Japanese of all people would get this lesson. Mika–san did the best demo- she had the face of royalty as she sat in her twist and John placed a block on her head like a crown. It just balanced there perfectly as she came out of the twist- regal head and soft beautiful face to the end. I really think she is one of the best teachers here in Japan.
I thought about my back bends in the tub today. I pushed the back of my head into the edge of the tub to release the tension in my shoulders more. I realized that I forget that shoulder loop starts in the mouth- I get so focused on getting my shoulders back that I miss a key component. No wonder it takes years to get certified in Anusara Yoga- it takes years to practice and embody all the information. John got me to demo drop backs today- yes- the stiff girl did the drop back demo. And I have pictures to prove it! I felt so safe when John helped me go back- it was such an amazing feeling. Remember how I mentioned on day one he zeroed in on my upper back? Well he said to me that first day “Yeah- we will break that open this week” and he pushed on the stiffest part of my upper back. I wasn’t scared- I was excited. You know when you have an itch you can’t scratch? Well my upper back is like that. I feel that if I can just get it to bend the right way or a certain way it will crack right open and release. Well after he dropped me back he started to adjust me to allow for a greater opening. It felt so good. I wish I could get somebody to do that to me every day for a month- my back would be like butter!
The other interesting part of my day was after yoga class. Mr. Smith from the plane (his name is actually Scott) emailed me and invited me to a function at the Canadian Embassy. (How posh!) The CEO for Lululemon Japan would be there and I could get an introduction. The funny thing was I had very little dress clothes with me and my “nice” top was actually from Lululemon. Talk about a poster child for the company!
I haven’t been to the embassy in years and I forgot how beautiful it is. The function had fabulous food and I was given a chance to meet the CEO of Lulu- who also was in all Lulu clothing. A sea of black suits surrounded us and we stuck out like typical Vancouverites. No one even batted an eye- I love the Japanese for that. Other high-level business people joined our conversation and before I knew it I had something in common with everyone around me. One guy worked with an old friend, another sold the same product as my husband, and another was doing business with the owner of Studio-Yoggy- whom I had just met on Tuesday at the training. I don’t know if was just all the backbends today but I really felt in the flow today. They all thought it was so funny I was a flight attendant and a yoga teacher- they all thought I was in sales- or I should be. Many of them wanted to know if I wanted a job!
I guess I am in sales though. When I teach yoga I have to sell my theme- I have to get people to buy my philosophy. It’s nice that what I have to sell is refined and beautiful- satisfaction guaranteed. And so far no one has asked for a refund!