Update January 2013: The article below being out of date, here are list of yoga studios currently operating in Kyoto that you might like to try:
Tamisa is recommended for its variety of classes and Mysore for Ashtanga Yoga. Many thanks to Nana H. for the recommendations.
Update October 2010: Ted is no longer available to teach yoga lessons in Kyoto as he has moved back to New Mexico! He can teach you there though!
Michael was kind enough to introduce me on Deep Kyoto a few weeks back, so it’s about time I introduce myself and Kyoto yoga. I ran my own studio up in deep Tottori before moving to Kyoto about four years ago in order to teach. The scene here is somewhat new, but is growing quickly. The Yoga Boom of a few years back went a long way in bringing awareness of yoga to the Japanese people. This was the third such boom here, and unlike the first two which introduced a more traditional Indian-style yoga, this one seemed to have originated with American yoga, including all its flash and fashion and celebrity teachers. Studios began to pop up monthly , many of which have already gone. The passing of the boom is actually a good thing, with the better teachers and dedicated students having stuck it out. Vinyasa-style flow yoga (AKA Power Yoga) represents the majority of what is being taught here, although other types are starting to make themselves known. Internationally known ‘master teachers’ are beginning to include Kansai as a regular stop, introducing their own individual perspectives, and bringing a much needed infusion to this still-young scene. In addition, the yogic lifestyle is definitely catching on, with associated trends such as diet, body work, and eco-friendly living getting much attention recently.
Most exciting for me personally is the local Indian music scene, composed of a handful of very active musicians. The majority pass the Winter in India, enjoying the mild weather while sitting and learning at the feet of their teachers. With the return of Spring they too have returned, eager to show their new chops. Flyers announcing upcoming gigs are everywhere. One large event in particular will be held over two days in June, at Myorenji on the 6th and at Kurodani’s wonderfully named Ei-u-in on the 7th. Most of this city’s local talent will be performing. Details can be found here.
As for my yoga, I teach an Iyengar-inspired style, after studying with Tias Little in my native New Mexico. Besides being licensed in his Prajna Yoga, I also hold licenses in the more spiritual and energy-based Sivananda system, as well as in Phoenix Rising Yoga, a style that attempts to bring awareness to the use of the body in everyday life. These styles, my associated training in Ashtanga and Thai Yoga Therapy, and years of Japanese meditation practices, all inspire my teaching. I do quite a number of workshops or events each month, including occasion collaborations with my wife Miki, a local Shiatsu practitioner. For information, please check my homepage.
I look forward to the growth of Kyoto yoga. A couple of teacher trainings have begun in Kansai this month, promising to give voice to a new generation of teachers who are sure to translate this ancient practice into their own, unique vernacular.
Posted by Ted Taylor