There are many ways to look at the coronavirus pandemic: it’s changing our lifestyles, our financial situations, and our social lives. New practices and terminology like social distancing, teleworking, and self-quarantining have become increasingly commonplace.
In this time of uncertainty and suffering, we can turn to some yogic philosophy for a bit of guidance.
Around 400 CE an Indian man named Patanjali collected and synthesized 196 yoga aphorisms (concise observations which contain general truths) in Sanskrit. Yoga’s ancient traditions, theories, philosophies, and practices were all compiled into Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Yoga Sutra 2.15 on suffering is applicable to the current pandemic:
Parinama tapa samskara duhkhaih guna vrtti virodhaccha duhkham evam sarvam vivekinah
Change, longing, habits, and the activity of the gunas can all cause us suffering. In fact, even the wise suffer, for suffering is everywhere.
What are the causes of duhkhaih (suffering)?
According to Yoga Sutra 2.15, there are four causes of suffering: parinama (change), tapa (longing), samskara (habits), and guna vrtti (the activity of gunas). All four forms of suffering, unfortunately, seem to be in action around the world today.
Change: Coronavirus has negatively changed the lives of many people, whether you are sick, have to work from home, or are keeping a safe distance from your closest friends.
Longing: Longing plays a role in our desire for this pandemic to end and our lives to be restored to normalcy.
Habits: During this pandemic, isolation is increasingly causing new and unhealthy habits for many people. Although necessary at this time, isolation can easily lead to an unhealthy diet and a decrease in exercise and motivation.
Activity of gunas: The final cause of suffering, the activity of gunas, is referring to the ever fluctuating balance of energies in your body. Coronavirus has caused a lot of imbalance in our daily lives. Our normal schedules have been thrown out the window, creating a lot of uncertainty.
The latter part of Yoga Sutra 2.15 states the grim but true concept that suffering is everywhere and everyone experiences it.
Suffering is unavoidable; however, there are tools, as laid out by the Yoga Sutras, that can be used to ease the pain of suffering. No matter the cause, the key to easing suffering is developing a clearer perception–equanimity. The more connected you are with your inner self, the easier it is to respond with composure and level-headedness in the face of negatively changing circumstances, inaccessible longing, and harmful habits.
What does it mean to develop a clearer perception–to cultivate upeksha (equanimity)?
Equanimity is a state of even-mindedness with a focus on balance that allows you to respond calmly rather than emotionally. It is described as a still mind.
How do you obtain a still mind?
Here are some tools that might help:
According to the Yoga Sutras, continuous applied effort, plus a
willingness to experience without being emotionally charged, will lead
to freedom from suffering. It is also noted that suffering can often
be the first step toward positive change. When something is negatively
impacting your life, you’re more likely to seek a solution.
When change happens, we cannot know in the moment whether it will
ultimately be good or bad. By understanding that the future is
unknowable and by practicing equanimity, we will be better prepared to
face suffering. Sometimes the only thing we can control is our
reactions, so let them be ones of calm, kindness, and compassion.
Last Sunday, we hosted a Clothes Swapping Party at Nami Yoga Studio! It was a huge success to say the least.
As a studio, we started being a bit more conscious about the environment and sustainability around the end of last year. We switched from paper towels to cloth towels to wipe down the mats. We introduced a water server at our studio to eliminate one time use of pet bottle waste. These actions heightened the awareness in both the students and the teachers. We were tremendously awed by the amount of waste we reduced in the course of a few months, and it was very visible!
As part of our sustainability work, Hiko (our most remarkable Sound Bath Master) suggested a clothes swapping party. She is currently on a resolution to not purchase any clothing this year. With her idea and the work of many of our teachers, we were able to host our first clothes swapping party.
It was our first clothes swapping party, and also true for most of the students who participated! We had no idea what to expect! And as yogis say, “have no expectation.” This turned out really well! Lots of people brought in clothes, and majority of the people took home clothes!
By doing clothes swapping, we found many benefits!
Aparigraha – Practice non-attachment
How many clothes do you have in your wardrobe that you don’t wear anymore, but still hanging there just in case? Aparigraha teaches us that we actually don’t need that new shirt that looks exactly like the other shirt hanging at home. By participating in the clothes swapping party, everyone had a good look at their own wardrobe and gave them a change to practice aparigraha! Clean wardrobe, clean start! On top of all that, it’s much easier let go of items when you know that it may end up in another person’s wardrobe to have another life.
At a clothes swapping party, there’s no price tag and there’s no budget. You’re more willing to try on items that you’ll never consider when you’re out shopping. Sequenced dress? Sure, why not. Skinny leather pants? Ok, let’s give it a try. Block colored puffer jacket? Yeah! If it’s free, take it home and give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, just bring it to the next clothes swapping party, and there’s nothing lost.
At a clothes swapping party, size doesn’t matter. There are more than just clothes. There are shoes, bags, accessories, men’s clothes, etc. You’re going to find items that suit you. On Sunday, there was a white coat/jacket that everyone had an eye on. It was extremely simple and chic. We all tried it on, and it was fun to see how one piece of clothing fits everyone very differently!! We had a mini fashion show, and countless compliments flying through the room. I can’t explain how much positive energy there was that day!!
What you don’t claim will go to a local recycling organization
Approximately one million tons of used textile products go to waste every year in Japan, of which 70% end up in landfills!! We found this fabulous organization called BRING, where they recycle used clothing to bioethanol and other products that can be used for sustainable energy.
Feedback from our students and friends
Please host this event again! Can we do it in the summer again?
Love the yoga clothes
There are so many clothes of such good quality
There are so many men’s clothes and I love them!
I got to mingle with different people from different industries
Thank you so much for hosting the clothes swapping
We’d like to thank all of you that participated in the clothes swapping party, and yes, we will definitely host this again. We hope that this event brought more awareness to simple things you can do in your community to live a more sustainable life. Let me also add, that these little things we do will save the world.
In India, there are 6 classical philosophical systems called Shad Darshana. Shad means six and Darshana means Philosophy. Yoga is one of the philosophical systems and has been formulated by the founder, Patanjali.
Other philosophies include:
ーNYAYA / VAISHESHIKA
ーSAMKYA / YOGA
ーMIMMAMSA / VEDANTA
(These words were originally written in Sanskrit, thus the spelling may differ depending on the interpreter.)
One of the scriptures of yoga is Yoga Sutra. It was compiled prior to 400CE by Patanjali.
The word Sutra translates to “thread” and each section of the sutra is tersely formulated. There are 4 chapters (or Padas) and 195 aphorisms (or Sutras). Each chapter has a theme and each aphorism is written in line with the various themes that gives us life hints, goals, realizations, precautions in a very simplified yet precise manner. The original texts were written in Sanskrit and have been translated into languages from all over the world. It is an essential guide book for those studying yoga.
In our Yoga101 Workshop, we are going to introduce a famous Sutra from the book.
Yoga is a Reminder
When I started practicing yoga, I thought I wanted to be better, I wanted to change, but in a vague manner. I didn’t know where to start. Neither did I have a specific plan. I ended up not doing much.
Once I started practicing yoga, and what I mean by this is not just the physical movements, but studying the philosophy, my view towards yoga completely changed.
It no longer became a hobby or an after-work lesson. It became a lifestyle. The way I perceived my thoughts, actions, and all aspects of my life started to change.
For example, why do we eat?
Is it to make us full? Or to satisfy our taste buds?
I realized that through my yoga studies, we eat because it directly becomes our energy source.
It sounds very simple and obvious, but bringing me back to the basics was what yoga taught me.
“How do we view the world?” is a big theme in the Darshanas I mentioned earlier.
This means to have a healthy mind and body, to be humane, and to enjoy life.
Why Yoga 101?
Through our Yoga 101 workshop, we want everyone to have and value their own practice. We want everyone to realize that moving the body is just one subject of the big picture. That there’s more to yoga. That is why we decided to share this workshop with everyone.
In the present-day society, we always seek for answers. It’s so easy to search about the yoga philosophies on google. However, reading it doesn’t become knowledge.
Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? Your parent or family or friend probably explained to you the steps and tips. Then boom! You were able to ride it! It probably wasn’t that easy. You rode it multiple times, falling over, and getting up again and again and again. You brushed up your skills over time through practice.
Yoga is just like riding a bike.
You learn the concept, and you put it into practice.
You probably read or heard all the benefits of yoga. However, the biggest benefit is to practice it yourself and feel it for yourself. Only then, you will be able to call it yours.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in the middle of my journey.
Whether it be self-care, lifestyle, or wellness, there’s different angles you can try to tackle yoga.
Dec 8, 2010 from 14:30-16:00
Excited to meet you all on the mat for the Yoga101 Workshop!
We’re super excited to announce a number of new deals on ticket packages starting this October, including a special student discount of 15%. Here at Nami Yoga Studio we believe yoga is for everyone- whether you want to continue your practice whilst on a tighter budget or are new to yoga and looking for a way to boost your productivity, mood and overall well being, we’d love you to come along and start yoga with us!
Life in the city can be busy, stressful and leave little time for self care, particularly if you’re studying as well. However, studies have shown that a regular yoga practice (even just once a week) can improve your quality of life and education in a number of ways. Stress and anxiety are common problems at university, with deadlines and exams looming yoga can calm the mind and help you get on with your day, as well as improve memory and attention span! Not only does taking time for yourself helps you to nourish and enjoy your body (whilst promoting self-discipline), yoga can also improve strength and flexibility— correcting that pesky desk posture. And lets not forget the benefits to sleep and immunity that’ll help you to achieve better attendance rates and most likely enjoy your studies to the max.
15% off every ticket:
Drop in (usually ¥3000) now ¥2550
5 tickets (usually ¥11,000) now ¥9,350
10 tickets (usually ¥20,000) now ¥17,000
30 tickets (usually ¥57,000) now ¥48,450 (starting from November 1st)
We look forward to seeing some new faces and practicing with you during your studies, namaste.
Please make sure to bring along your student ID to show for payment.
Last month, September 2019, we hosted our first Yoga Retreat ever. Our main goal was for the students to incorporate yoga into their lifestyle on a more regular basis. And by “yoga” I don’t just mean the asanas, but all aspects of “yoga” including breathing, meditation, and philosophy.
We usually perceive yoga as a physical exercise. The meaning of the word “Asana” is not known, even amongst people who seem to be practicing yoga on a regular basis. Asana is a Sanskrit word that literally means “seat.” Many people would say that it means “yoga pose,” right? And it’s not wrong. Originally, it was said that the only posture in yoga necessary was a comfortable seated position. Through time, the perception of asanas changed, but the ultimate purpose of comfortable seated posture for meditation hasn’t changed.
Although we didn’t want to stress people out with the technicality, we did want people to experience yoga as a lifestyle. Through this concept, we introduced kriya and pranayama techniques as well as various asana practices. We also conducted a cooking class on making ayurvedic brownies!! It actually turned out really well, and reminded me of India (where I actually ate it for the first time). We definitely didn’t forget to have fun!!
Ok, first of all, what do all these terms mean?!
In our yoga practice, we address Kriya as cleansing techniques. The purpose of performing the various cleansing techniques are to remove impurities and toxins in our body and to prepare ourselves for pranayama, and move the vital energy to the central sushumna (energy) channel, to attain moksha (or liberation).
There are 6 cleansing techniques in yoga, also known as Shatkriyas. “Shat” means six and “Kriya” means cleansing,
During our yoga retreat (and also during our monthly Kriya Cleansing Workshops), we preform Neti, Nauli, Kapalabhati, and Trataka.
“Prana” means breath or vital energy in the body. “Yama” means to control. There are so many types of Pranayama, but that can be for another blog! I want to point out that Breathing = Life. The reason I say this is because
humans can go…
without food for 40 days,
without sleep for 11 days,
without water for 3-4 days,
but can only go without air for few seconds ~ few minutes!! (This depends on your lung capacity).
A lot of people say “Yoga” when they actually mean “Asana.” As mentioned before, asana literally means “seat.” In the past, it was said that the seated position was the only asana needed to sit comfortably to meditate. In ancient text, it illustrates 84 asanas. Now, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of asanas including variations with crazy long Sanskrit names like Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana!
In Sanskrit, “Ayus” means life, “Veda” means knowledge. Ayurvedia is a medical science of ancient India incorporating diet, herbal remedies, exercise, meditation, breathing and physical therapy. Ayurveda and yoga are closely interconnected in terms of techniques used and the overall wellbeing of oneself. There are three types of Doshas which are Veta, Pitta and Kapha. Depending on which category you are, the diet differs and the treatments differ. I just want to point out that ayurvedic diet doesn’t necessarily mean vegan.
The concept of Yoga Retreat in Japan is relatively new. In a culture where taking days off of work is an unspoken taboo, where more hours of work means better reputation, where taking detours in life is seen as unsuccessful (TRUST ME, I’ve been there, done that) we want to slowly introduce the view that it’s ok to take time off for yourself and your wellbeing. We are starting to see a shift in trend and hope that more people view themselves as a priority going forward.
Our Next Yoga Retreat is coming up soon! Will keep you posted!
Hi this is Tsubaki!
Some of you may already know. We started our Kriya Yoga sessions on a monthly basis starting July, 2019! After performing our cleansing techniques, we enjoy herbal tea and recharge with our homemade energetic breakfast! Our next Kriya Yoga will be on Sat, Oct 26th from 6:30 AM! Please check our Events Page for more details!
Today, I’ll be introducing Carrot and Ginger Vegan Cake recipe, one we enjoyed in our previous Kriya Yoga.
Carrot and Ginger Vegan Cake!
① Ginger Batter
② Carrot Batter
③ For Both Batters
Looking for some refreshment this summer? Mugi cha (barley tea) is a typical choice in Japan, but there are many other healthy caffeine-free options. It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after yoga, especially during the summer heat. Drinking water-based beverages can help regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, protect your spinal cord and help your body eliminate waste. Try one of these easy do-it-yourself options!
You can add herbs, fruits or veggies to your water to infuse it with more flavor. Mint and basil work well. You can also add citrus peels or cucumbers for a fresh taste. It’s best to pick organic herbs, fruits and veggies for infusing, to avoid also leaching pesticides into your water. A great infusion option is lemon or orange peel, cucumber slices and mint.
Made from a brush-like plant from South Africa, rooibos is naturally caffeine free, high in antioxidants and may contribute to managing cholesterol, along with other potential health benefits. Rooibos tea is available in red and green versions. Red rooibos has a mild, slightly sweet taste while green rooibos has a stronger green tea-like taste. Both come from the same plant and are caffeine free. Green rooibos is unfermented, while red rooibos is fermented. Many brands are available at supermarkets. To make iced rooibos tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for around 5 minutes and then chilled.
Made from the honeybush plant, also from South Africa, honeybush tea is made from the fermented stems and leaves of the plant. Naturally caffeine free, honeybush reputedly helps with calming coughs and may provide other health benefits. Honeybush tea has a mild taste similar to red rooibos, but is often sweeter. Muji sells honeybush and lemon tea bags. Other brands can be found at stores such as Kaldi or Carnival. To make iced honeybush tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for around 5 minutes and then chilled.
Originally from Korea, corn tea is made by infusing roasted corn kernels. It is caffeine free and reportedly can help with digestion, is good for the kidneys and can help in lowering blood pressure. It has a very mild taste; some say it tastes like watered down corn. It is common in Korea to make a mix between barley tea and corn tea, which results in a drink that is a bit more flavorful than corn tea by itself but milder than barley tea. Typical ratios are 1/3 barley tea and 2/3 corn tea. Corn tea isn’t always easy to find in Japan, but Muji and Seijo Ishii does sell some. To make iced corn tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for 3 minutes and then chilled.
Generally served at soba noodle shops, soba, or buckwheat tea, can also be made at home. It has high mineral and antioxidant content and may help improve blood sugar control. It has a mild to strong nutty, earthy taste. Soba tea can easily be found in most supermarkets. To make iced soba tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for 3 minutes and then chilled.
This low-sugar lemonade recipe is easy to make:
Combine the lemon juice and the agave syrup in a large pitcher first and mix together well. Then add the water and mix once again. Chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately over ice.
It tastes best with freshly squeezed lemon juice, but if you need to use pre-squeezed lemon juice, you may want to use a bit less lemon juice or add more agave syrup, since pre-squeezed lemon juice tends to be more concentrated.
I originally found this recipe on goop, which has a good selection of healthy recipes.
If you’re looking for more ways to hydrate, Muji has a great selection of herbal teas and non-caffeinated drinks, some specifically adapted for cold infusion. In general, for making iced herbal tea, I find that using 1 tea bag suffices for 1 liter of water; you can use the infusion time indicated on the packaging as a guideline.
Happy hydrating 😉
Every Friday during my training in India, we did our yogic cleanses. We called it Kriya Friday.
To pass on the tradition, and for our students to deepen their yogic practice, we decided to incorporate that into our monthly schedule.
Our main focus is cleansing techniques. We are starting it off slowly by doing the classic Jala Neti and Sutra Neti (the two nose cleansing techniques). By clearing up the nasal passage, it helps remove impurities and dirt. It also has a significant role in improving the presence of the mind.
We move onto Kapalbhati. Kapalbhati is both a pranayama (breathing technique) as well as kris (cleansing technique). Kapalbhati is part of the ‘shat kriya’ which refers to the six cleansing techniques. It has the benefit of remove toxins from the body. Kapal means forehead and bhati means to shine. It also has the benefit of clearing the mind.
We also practice Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli, where it massages the internal organs and lower abdomen area, stimulates the digestive fire and removes toxins, indigestion and constipation. Yes, we know, it looks weird, but has so many benefits!
Trataka is also type of cleansing technique of the eyes. In the future, we hope to practice Dhouti (instestine Cleansing) and Vasti (Rectum Cleansing). Stay tuned!
Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
On a different note, we also serve homemade breakfast after this workshop. Due to high demand, we decided to post our recipe on our blog every now and then 🙂 ENJOY!
3 cups rolled oats or old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 cup bananas mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, honey, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and coconut oil.
4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined, do not overmix.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and the tops are slightly brown.
8. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to cool completely.
June 21st was International Yoga Day.
International Yoga Day was proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, in 2015 and was declared by the United Nations to raise awareness of yoga and health to the world.
Yoga was practiced worldwide on this day for the mind and body as well as for the wellness of the society.
As for myself, I participated in Lululemon’s event. The theme was “Yoga Changed My Life” where we practiced yoga for 60 minutes. It was an excellent opportunity to reflect back on the words, people, experiences that changed my life.
I was introduced to yoga on my first year as a new grad. My life was work after work and was devastated with the thought of it. I guess I was overwhelmed with the work environment and couldn’t think of anything else. One day, I found a yoga studio near my train station and jumped in. I loved moving around as a child and yoga sounded like an excellent option. Oh, how I LOVED savasana in that first class I joined. It seemed like I basically went to class for that (lol). Even now, Savasana is one of my favorites!
Yoga seemed to always normalize the chaotic feelings and anxiety that I had. My family even says, “you’ve changed since you started yoga.” I’ll leave it up to you to imagine how emotional I got before I started yoga. lol
The depth of change is not the focus. Coming onto your mat and quietly breathing will also bring change. “It’s a little easier to breath,” you may say, and that small change makes a big difference.
Let’s try to practice connecting the mind to the body.
I’m thankful for being introduced to yoga. Namaste.
The other day, I attended the 4-year anniversary pooja of this yoga studio I practiced at. Coincidently, it’s also my 4thyear practicing yoga. Over the years, I came to realized that I strongly cherish my yoga community. My yoga teachings are mainly based on my daily practices, and I receive tremendous support from this yoga community of mine.
That One Friend
It all started with my one friend who pulled me into practicing yoga in the morning before work. The moment I met this friend at a beer garden in Roppongi, I knew she and I had something in common. I wasn’t a morning person and it was extremely difficult for me to get into the habit of going to my morning yoga practice, but this friend always kept me on my toes. We would practice yoga in the morning before work. After work, we would reunite again to go to our favorite Thai restaurant. On the weekends, we would practice yoga together, followed by our favorite smoothie stand visits. It was a constant repetition of this, but this repetition was a very memorable and valuable time.
From Routine and Beyond
As our individual practice continued, our community also grew deeper and stronger. We would always meet at the same time, at the same place, with the same people. That atmosphere was extremely peaceful and helped us concentrate. I practiced my inversions over and over and over again with the encouragement of my peers and teachers. I was having the time of my life!
As I expanded my studies abroad, I felt like a child exploring the real world. The more I had exposure outside, the more gratitude I had for my teachers and community back home. NYC, Singapore, and India have all been inspirational. I wouldn’t have been there growing my understandings if I hadn’t had my experience back home, with my teachers, with my go-to place, and with my peers.
At Nami Yoga Studio
It’s been two years since I’ve joined the Nami yoga studio community, and I love it!
I was speaking to one of our students the other day. This student has been coming to our studio for 1.5 years now. He said he likes our atmosphere and the people. I couldn’t be happier to hear that. “See you next week at 8:30,” he said to his yoga buddy as he left the studio. The sense of community is definitely growing here!
Many of our fellow students are persistently practicing yoga while balancing their work and family life. That attitude and energy is remarkably inspiring.
My role as a teacher is to help everyone have a good relationship with yoga. I enjoy every moment, including out chai sessions at the end of class and our little chats we have.