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Yoga Changed My Life
2019.7.3 | Tsubaki

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.

After graduating from university, she started her career experiencing various professions in PR, Media, and IT.
As she became passionate about the effect of yoga both on the body and soul, she decided to deepen her understanding through teacher training at UTL. She began to provide her own yoga training as an instructor to help people discover an overall sense of well-being.
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Teaching In Japan: Reflection On A Reflection
2018.5.24 | Karen Kim

I am now in my thirty-fourth year on the planet.  The number ‘3’ in Chinese culture sounds similar to the character for birth and is considered to be lucky, in part because there are three stages in a man’s life; birth, marriage, and death.  According to that thought, I am in my second stage of life and it certainly does feel that way.  I’ve already abandoned career number one as a professional dancer, and I made a big shift in movement career number two as a fitness instructor when my husband and I relocated to Tokyo, Japan.  I was fortunate enough to seek out many studios and begin working at two of them; one being Nami Yoga in Akasaka Mitsuke.  While my husband remains working for the same company, I have in a way, started over completely fresh.

 

I find Japan to be an inspiring and highly spiritual place.  The functionality of everything is basically better from the way Japanese queue, to the trains, to the way they so mindfully cross the street.  Everything has a distinct flow and rhythm to it.  While you can never blend in or entirely assimilate as ‘gaijin’, there is much to be learned.  I found that when living in Japan 2010, I operated as a better version of myself for the most part (minus the happy hour cruises), especially because there is very little tolerance to operate in other ways.  I am finding this to be the case this time around, as well.

 

This brings me to the “why”… I’ve been told to start blogging many times but it never seemed the right time.  I’ve always had MANY jobs, MANY friends, and muchfamily to visit.  I was frequently judging and rolling my eyes at the twenty somethings who thought they had learned all there is to learn about life and wrote about it like they were Carrie in Sex And The City… And then I started to burn out.

 

I had been working six to seven days a week in fitness in NYC, and for the first few years of that I was also juggling being a bartender/waitress somewhere in the middle.  While it is very normal for a New Yorker to work these hours, I started to reach my max.  I frequently felt uninspired even though I loved my jobs, my clients, and my life.  Everything I cooked in the kitchen felt like a disaster, and nothing seemed more appealing than a two hour nap between jobs during the day.  At one point, it got so bad that I would lay down and see how long it was physically possible to sleep, and that’s when I got out of bed and began writing blog number one, which evolved only into three.

 

Now that I’ve found a job teaching in Japan I feel a stronger sense of purpose.  I’m happy when I finish work, and I feel rewarded when I see that there are people in my class after seeing it empty for so many weeks.  I’ve been given a gift to start over here.  I draw upon my past experiences in NYC daily to teach the very best classes I can, but overall, I have started fresh.  I take the afternoon not to nap (most days), but to explore this diverse country.   My best day trips are two hour journeys outside of Tokyo.

 

My husband is aspiring to great heights in his career, and I have been given the opportunity to move in support of him and design my own future from scratch.  I considered starting over entirely, but I do feel that movement related work is my life’s path.  This feeling is only enforced as I find more and more work here in Tokyo surrounding movement and yoga.  While I’m completely unsure where this path ultimately takes me, I’m continuing to immerse myself in the Japanese culture and honor three things as frequently and as well as I can: silence, reflection, and moderation.  These arethree things that seem most basic, yet are very sporadic in my recipe for daily life.  As a yoga instructor, you would think meditation is part of my morning ritual, but for me, it is not.   With daily reflection, silence where I feel typically inspired to judge, and moderation in work instead of overload, sleep will be a reward for a day well spent versus being its focus.

 

As I reflect and edit this post for its new purpose on our studio blog, I see that I have made the smallest bit of progress in my goal for silence, reflection, and moderation.  Being that I am only human, I’ll take it!  Have you made a vision board or started jotting down your goals?  It’s fun to check in and see how far you come.

Karen Kim specializes in yoga, barre, and Pilates mat.  Karen has a Bachelors Of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Education from Towson University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Before teaching fitness, Karen performed professionally on cruise ships, regional theatre, at Tokyo Disney Sea, and starred in several magic shows around the globe. Following her 500 hour certification at YogaWorks NYC under Jeanmarie Paolillo, Karen went on to receive certifications in BarreWorks under Pilates rockstar Holly Jean Cosner and Lisa Greenblatt (creator of Nice Pipes Apparel) and 40 hours worth of restorative yoga teacher training under guru Jillian Pransky.
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