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B orn and raised in ‘The Shire’ of Sydney, Australia, I spent my 20s and 30s living, travelling and working from Asia to the Middle East.
Learning about other people and cultures has been a lifelong obsession.
And while all cultures fascinate me, a country that’s always had a special place in my heart is Japan.
I’ve been a bona fide Japanophile since I was twelve and started studying Japanese language at school.
At sixteen I went on my first Exchange Program to Japan and after that I was completely hooked.
Since then, I’ve become fluent in the Japanese language through study, 4 years of living in Japan and lots of grammar mistakes!
I’ve worked for the governments of both Australia and Japan- sharing my knowledge of Western culture with Japanese people and Japanese culture with non-Japanese people.
I‘ve achieved degrees- including a Masters and Postgrad degree- in Japanese language, Education, Japanese feminism, Asian religion, and Japanese yoga.
While I’m not Japanese, I see myself as a bridge between East and West.
Being a foreigner in Japan helped me see with fresh eyes the customs, habits and lifestyles that are different in Japan to the West and that allow Japan – even today- to have one of the longest life expectancy rates and lowest disease levels in the developed world.
And through my lived experience with a foot in both Eastern and Western camps, I can say with certainty that the secrets and wisdom of Japanese yoga are key to Japan’s long life expectancy and quality of life.
Spending time in Japan – a country so different to my own- taught me even though we’re all human, we have such different ways of living our ‘normal’.
There is no ‘normal’ –normal is simply what’s familiar to us.
Enter Japanese yoga stage left.
Japanese Yoga came into my life when ‘normal’ didn’t mean fun times.
At twenty, I’d just lost my mum to cancer and I was broken.
I’d already experienced loss when my dad passed away of a sudden heart attack when I was twelve.
Being orphaned at a young age sucked
I felt lost, sad, angry and in shock that the universe could deal such a blow not once, but twice.
Legally I was an adult, but emotionally I was still figuring out who I was and my place in the world- like all 20 year olds.
The death of my mum ripped the carpet out from under me.
Even though my mum had been really sick, it wasn’t until the very end that I gave up hope.
What kept me going through her illness was a faith that she’d live on and be ok, because it was too painful to believe I could become an orphan. And besides,
I’m a natural optimist
Losing my mum was devastating, but what had an even greater impact was her death annihilated my trust in the grace of life.
I lost all hope of having any future or relationships or chance of being happy - because I believed it would be taken away.
This is still something I still have breakthrough after breakthrough with today and influences a lot of my inner work
Back in those days, counselling wasn’t big in my family and I was expected to ‘get on with life’ and deal with grief in my own way.
It’s not surprising that I was attracted to the ‘wrong crowd’ – there was a lot of drinking, partying and not respecting my body.
Then one day – not knowing what to expect or even why I was doing it- I randomly signed up for a 6 week Beginners Yoga course.
Yoga took me to that quiet, peaceful place that’s always there. No matter what’s going on outside.
That first yoga spark opened the door to a whole new world.
I went on retreat after retreat for various yoga and meditation styles.
I saw healers, kinesthesiologists and shiatsu masters.
I enrolled in Tibetan Buddhism courses and became quasi-professional at attending weekend workshops.
At some stage between studying Naturopathy and Ayurveda, I began dabbling in essential oils.
And although I was still moonlighting as a hedonist, I’d found my therapy.
Yoga kept me sane.
Essential oils kept me grounded.
Around this time I heard about ‘Japanese Yoga’.
What’s Japanese Yoga?
It only took one class and I was hooked.
I’d found the yoga for me.
I’m not going to sugar coat it.
Japanese Yoga isn’t the easiest, breeziest, happy-go-lucky of yoga styles.
It may get you to ‘zen’ but not in the way you’re expecting.
In fact- it’s dynamic and tricky sometimes.
Japanese Yoga takes you a lot deeper into your body than other styles.
It shifts your state within minutes
The holistic connection of Japanese yoga with nature, the elements, seasons and wholefoods is unique and just makes good old-fashioned sense.
The poses change with each season and keep you engaged
They settle your busy mind with your endless to-do lists whirring around.
Unless you’re working on a specific issue (eg lower back pain, weight loss), no class is ever the same.
To teach Japanese yoga is an honour.
To teach Japanese yoga on Cammeraygal* and Bundjalung* Country is a privilege.
Teaching has been my way of connecting with people ever since I was a little girl reading to dolls in my bedroom and teaching them Math.
Ask any good educator and they’ll tell you this fact: teachers learn just as much from every encounter as their students do.
I love the exchange of energy that comes with teaching
While Japanese yoga will get you amazing results on its own, combining it with essential oils takes it to a whole new level.
Japanese Yoga + Essential Oils
The alignment between Japanese yoga and essential oils is remarkable.
Both tap into the body’s ability to self-heal on a cellular level.
Both acknowledge the connection between our emotional and physical states.
Both can be used seasonally to support the body all year round.
Through this alignment, the benefits of Japanese yoga and essential oils amplify each other.
They deeply transform your physical, emotional and spiritual connection with yourself and the world (for the better, in case you were wondering!).
Today and every day, combining Japanese yoga with essential oils can help you get out of your head and into your body and true self.
After class your thoughts are clearer and cleaner
You’re less reactive and more grounded.Thanks to Japanese yoga,
I have more energy and better health now in my 40s than I ever had in my 20s
And a fringe benefit is that my body’s in the best shape it’s ever been. Ever.
My warmth, humour, inner work and ‘realness’ uniquely shape how I share Japanese yoga.
I can’t wait to share it with you
Ja mata ne! じゃまたね！
*ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
My Japanese yoga studio and my online Japanese yoga programs are created on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. I acknowledge the Cammeraygal people as the traditional owners on this land. These days I find myself on Bundjalung Country in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. I recognise the lands I create, live and work on were never ceded and I pay my respects to Elders past and present. I hope my Japanese yoga teachings on Country can support the traditional custodians of this land now and always.
A little bit more about me:
I love reading, being in nature, speaking Japanese, onsen, homebirth, learning, teaching, making people smile, karaoke and cats.
I fell pregnant with my second child naturally at 45 years young which I attribute in equal parts to Japanese yoga and a miraculous gift from Grace. Following a healthy pregnancy, our ‘surprise-miracle’ Tara was birthed in a pool in the most beautiful homebirth (my other daughter, Maya, is also a homebirth baby)
I hate cigarette smoke, travelling facing backwards and injustices of any kind – especially injustices against children, mothers, elders, Mother Earth, one’s right to bodily autonomy, the disabled, the BIPOC and LGBTQI+ community, refugees and animals.
I fully acknowledge my world view is influenced -and limited- by my experience as a white, able-bodied, heterosexual woman and every day I seek to unpack and de-program my privilege and colonisation.
As part of my mission to be an authentic ally, I donate 5% of my earnings to Children’s Ground, an indigenous charity providing grassroots support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
I’m (re)educating myself through attending workshops, online courses, tours and reading books created by Indigenous Australians. I still have a long way to go – and I’ll probably never ‘get there’ but I’m on the path.
Won't you join me in Japanese yoga as we become better people- together?