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Japanese yoga influencers offer peace of mind during difficult and lonely times

7 Comments
By Luke Mahoney, grape Japan

I'm likely not alone. From an anecdotal perspective, the popularity of yoga seems to be increasing in Japan in recent years. I've noticed more online influencers espousing the benefits of the ancient Indian practice as yoga schools crop up, and hot yoga studios find their way into fitness clubs.

Just as with Western online yoga instructors, Japan has its own squad of online teachers urging viewers to practice. Many incorporate mindfulness and stress management lessons into their videos. It's challenging to stay in shape these days. Across the world, many gyms are closed, while health experts advise caution to anyone visiting places where people congregate. It's perhaps best to be a little bit more creative with your workouts. Personally, rather than hit the gym, I've been taking out my yoga mat to stay safe while exercising.

Ritual advice. During unusual times, some mental clarity may be just what the doctor ordered.

Dealing With Loneliness

Japanese yoga influencer Mae Yoshikawa has been active online during the pandemic, encouraging followers to practice healthy habits, mentally and physically. As an increasing portion of adults in Japan live alone, her advice often focuses on dealing with loneliness.

Yoshikawa recently told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, "Being alone isn't the same thing as being lonely." The influencer encourages followers to "evolve into the next version" of themselves. She continued, "Some people can be 60 or 70 years old and have an open mind, while others can be 20 and be stubborn. It's not about age but habit. The key to breaking the habit of thought is to start small. For example, if you want to start yoga, start by touching your mat."

The yoga instructor advises students to consider several things: "What makes me happy? What makes me feel whole? Try to answer those questions in a way that doesn't require external conditions. It might be showering or cooking. It can be anything."

To help particularly stressed out yogis, Yoshikawa offered an online retreat. She reached out to disquieted residents, offering advice and answering meditation-related questions. She also provided a "heart reset" meditation on her Instagram feed. The guided meditation is particularly relaxing.

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Hitting the Mat

YouTuber and Instagrammer Arisa Kubota offers similar therapy. Here is her stress release meditation video, shot in front of an azure ocean.

Arisa was formerly a doctor in Japan, but she felt herself growing complacent. The influencer could foresee how her future would develop. While it was good, it was boring. So she set off to Canada to begin a new life. There she learned massage, and became interested in health and well being. That brought her to yoga and meditation, which she began teaching online several years ago.

She believes that yoga and meditation are particularly crucial during trying times. During the Australian fires, for example, she prayed for the affected people and animals through meditation.

Recently, Arisa has been uploading yoga videos aimed at beginners. These brief exercises are simple, gentle, and overall accessible—some can even be done in be. Here is a 15-minute yoga for stiff necks intended for beginners.

And here is a morning yoga routine that can be done in bed. While the auto-generated translations may be a little strange, the video is simple enough to follow even if you don’ speak Japanese.

Finally, the vlogger offers some spiritual advice here:

In short, she recommends finding what you like and what you are good at. People should focus on crafts and skills that encompass these areas and practice every day. She explains that there are many types of intelligence, such as people who are particularly articulate, good with numbers, musically gifted, and so on. It's essential to keep learning things that you are interested in while developing your talents. She also reminds people to take inspiration from teachers and other gifted practitioners. Write down who inspires you and why.

Maintaining Mindfullness

For some, meditation can be a powerful mood stabilizer. Indeed, there seems to be something about taking 20 minutes out of a hectic day to check in with yourself. While it may involve confronting uncomfortable emotions, from time to time, it can also help resolve troubling feelings.

On his YouTube channel, Pasaito advises viewers on Vippasanya meditation. The vlogger provides meditation lectures while offering guided meditation like videos. Recently, He is uploading a #stayhome meditation series that is gaining traction. He has also suggested how viewers can mindfully approach the current anxiety-provoking situation.

Paraphrasing, people on SNS have been particularly stressed out and critical of the government's actions related to the coronavirus. However, it's worth realizing that there is little anyone can do. We are effectively powerless and at the mercy of the virus.

Some people, nurses and the like, will be actively fighting the virus. But not everyone can do this. So we are all trying in different ways to move through this difficult time. Even if we don't agree with someone's thoughts or actions during this time, we shouldn't attack them. No one knows how things will play, so its best to keep an open mind.

Again, to feel relief, it's essential to realize that we are powerless in this situation. The people who like to fight will keep fighting, and who knows, maybe there is some good to this, for example, in motivating the government. It's everyone's choice how they interact with this common dilemma, but he will focus on his powerlessness in this situation. He feels this powerlessness is a common binding between all humans. We are all subject to this pandemic as well as many other experiences, regardless of our intention. Even by being born, we were effectively "made to live" by something outside of our control. The isolating effect of the current virus is similar, and perhaps it's best to "go with the flow."

Read more stories from grape Japan.

-- World’s top Virtual Youtuber Kizuna AI is getting her own company

-- A visit to Crayon Shin-chan’s BuriBuri Cinema Studio and his hometown in Saitama, Kasukabe

-- Getting your inter-generational groove on: Japanese jazz of the 1970s

© grape Japan

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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Awful. I clicked on a couple of those videos and they both included distracting background music. In the first, the woman was sitting on the beach and we had the sound of her voice, the waves, and then background music on top. Why? In the second I clicked on, a yoga video, more background music. Why?

In yoga the most essential thing is the breath, it is the breath that roots you to your body and to the earth. That is the focus. If you watch the world's most popular youtube yoga instructor, Adrienne, you'll hear no background music, rather you'll hear an encouragement to listen to your own body, and your own breath. And you'll hear the instructor's breath.

If I want background music (but why would I?) surely I can just play some myself?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow! Want to try yoga.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reckless

Wow! Want to try yoga.

You are probably looking for the Tantra version.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cringeworthy self indulgent rubbish. More you tubers trying to assert their importance.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The top picture shows that one should not have a thigh gap to do good yoga. Really?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I do daily mindfulness. I think that is about 40 something years.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A great idea. There's a lot of creativity out there and puts paid to the notion that all of YouTube is a cesspit of humanity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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