I’m not sure that what I was doing was actually Japanese Yoga. Technically I did Yoga, in Japan. I didn’t speak any Japanese and was rescued by a woman in Yokohama who happened to be a Yoga Teacher (Follow the link to see the original story) and offered to have me attend one of her classes titled Brain Yoga. She had acted very surprised that I had never heard of that type of Yoga before. Has anyone reading this blog heard of this type of yoga?
I’ve been a student of Yoga for the last 10 years (currently in my 200-hr Teacher Training program) and have tried many types of Yoga all over the States and different parts of the world, I’ve always learned cool new poses in each type of class and thought this would be a cool gauge to see how much I can do with minimal communication. Needless to say, I was excited! But also Super Nervous. What if I have no idea whats going on and end up sitting in the back with a blank face? What if I’m two poses behind? What if I look totally ridiculous? As fate would have it I WOULD look totally ridiculous, so would the whole class.
I invited my sister since I was there in Japan visiting her and she spoke a little bit of Japanese so maybe she could assist me if I got totally stuck. This was her FIRST Yoga class so I was really excited for her as well.
We showed up a little late, American Style. All things Japanese are proper so our class waited for us and greeted us before we got started. (We felt terrible for this) It was my sister and I and three other middle aged ladies. The class started with some tummy slapping (like a drum roll on your belly) and windmilling our arms from side to side with intermittent changes to tempo and strength.
Then it got interesting.…..After we were warmed up we we yelled… hard from the diaphragm. We went onto some aerobic style stretching with more tummy slapping in-between. At one point we were playing with the energy between our hands; A Tai Chi Exercise of creating an energy ball and then we wiped off all the energy from our bodies onto the floor.
Then it got even more interesting……we went into this hilarious partner stretches and “massage” where we took turns hitting each other lightly from the shoulders (in a forward fold) down over the back, butt and legs. This was hilarious, to me and everyone else. I STILL laugh about this move. Being lightly slapped all over my body in a yoga class or in my regular life is not something I am used to and from the other ladies faces, I assume the same went for them.
Then it got even MORE interesting….The Yoga Teacher had us sit for some floor stretches then blasted the song You Raise Me Up by Josh Gorban. Where we did some interpretative seated floor dancing feeling the music.
Then it was relaxing. After a few more floor exercises which was a gateway for some warm tummy compresses and essential oils in our hands, one had peppermint and the other lavender.
Then is was so Japanese. Once the class was over we all sat in a circle and discussed our favorite poses over some nice green tea. Since again, I speak ZERO Japanese I just mimicked the body slapping using the floor as my example and said I really liked it and kept bowing. (Why I was bowing I have no idea).
The teacher gifted me a book, in English titled The Call of Sedona, which takes place in (you guessed it) Sedona, Arizona. It’a about a Journey into enlightenment and I am honored to have received such a gift. It’s a pretty dense book and since my Yoga Teacher training studies I think I’ll be able to follow it with a bit more clarity.
I really can’t tell you what type of Yoga I did or what to compare it to. It felt like Tai Chi aerobics. We did not do any Downward facing dogs or triangles or even one Vinyasa Flow. In fact, all of this was new to me. I am so happy I accepted her offer to come back and take a class- I nearly didn’t for the fear of looking ‘silly’. Turns out, I think her goal was to have the whole class feel silly haha in the best possible way.
I have written her emails in thanks, but no response yet. Perhaps in time I can go back and study her Yoga ways.