What a week – I still feel jet-lagged from two back to back trips. While I was in Tokyo last week though I decided to go to my first Japanese Anusara Inspired class. I surprised my friend Misato Tomiyoshi ( Top of the photo) I had met in November at John Friend’s teacher training in Tokyo. I had watched her do a demo teaching at the training and knew she would probably teach a wonderful class- and she did!
I checked out Studio Yoggy’s Iidabashi location for her Inspired class. The funniest part was when I walked in Tomoko Oda was there- another Inspired teacher and friend who lives in Osaka. I had no idea she would be there- it was a nice surprise.
Misato does not speak much English but even if you don’t understand Japanese you can feel what she is saying. She started with a clear centering and explaining how “no matter our level when we come to the mat we all start at the same place- the same line. Beginner or seasoned practitioner our only difference as we move through the practice was how deep we would refine the poses. Our experience was equal no matter our outside abilities.” Great theme.
I have to mention the invocation. Everytime I do it in Japan it is so much better than here. They are soft and harmonious- no off key or overly loud voices. I wish I could get my class to sound as good!
She took us through a nice warm up with a great transition I took home. Bhujandasana with your toes tucked under to chattarangadandasana ( Cobra to pushup). Kidney loop and outer spiral were so clear in this transition- no doubt about the power of lift that the tailbone action can give you. Pure integration. Not so sure if my students liked it as much as I did last night! lol
We went straight to handstands after warm up – which didn’t go so well with me and my jet lag ( we practiced at 3:30 in the afternoon which was 11:30 at night for me- wee bit dizzy and weak). Madoka- another teacher I met in November- and I helped each other and I was blown away to discover she speaks perfect English and she used to live in Canada! She has sat and listened to me struggle through so many conversations in Japan. I would be searching for the right words and she would maybe throw in a word in but never switched to English. I guess she figured for the sake of others around us that only speak Japanese, we might as well stay in the language- or she doesn’t want me to lose face by “translating” for me. Either way it is such a Japanese thing to do.
After a few standing poses we went to backbends and then to seated- I liked that. I find backbend practice at the end hard. For me back bending takes an enormous amount of energy, and I am pretty zapped by then. I may borrow that as well! Misato has good observation and she caught my tendency to not work my shins in the seated poses-twice! Oops!
We ended with another centering and a beautifully long savasana. All in all well worth the 3000 yen ( $30 Canadian) for the drop in. I thought of it as a teaching experience rather than just a class and that helped justify the price. They have multiple class passes for much better rates. The Studio Yoggy is also part of LOHAS– Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability- so the studio highly promotes green living, sustainability, and recycling- something not very predominant in Japan yet. The other thing that Madoka informed me about was Anusara now had a Japanese web site- www.anusara.jp. It is so great to see the growth of Anusara in Japan and around the world.
Thank you again Misato and Madoka for such a wonderful afternoon of yoga- hope to see you in June! Arigatou gozaimashita. Mata yoroshiku!