How did you first start yoga?
I actually started yoga in December 2006 in Japan to lose weight! (laughs)
In Japan, is yoga as popular is it is here in Singapore?
Hot Yoga is very popular in Japan! Most Japanese women do not frequent the gym like they do here in Singapore.
What type of yoga did you start with?
I started with Hot Yoga, then moved to Ashtanga as I found it a little more challenging.
Was it your intention to teach?
Not exactly – the more I practised yoga, the more curious I became. This naturally led me to my first teacher training course, then another, and another! So with each teacher training I completed, my interest in yoga continued to grow.
* Makiko was juggling a full-time job at the same time. Her first class was at Wabisabi in Orchard Hotel, where it was then located. There were over 20 students and she was (she says!) very nervous. No hint of that now! She had been asked to step in for a class. One thing led to another and she took the plunge to move here. Yoga has expanded her horizons both literally and figuratively.
What type of yoga do you teach at Wabi Sabi?
Mostly Hatha and Ashtanga. We also offer Maternity Yoga, Baby Yoga, and Yoga for Back Pain.
* Excerpt on ‘Baby Yoga’ from www.wabisabi.com: Yoga can be an enjoyable activity for a new mother and her baby to participate in together. It is also an important bonding exercise – mother and baby can learn about each other and fall in love with each other, through gentle touch, soft movements, and slow music.
During most yoga classes, parents learn about baby massage in detail. They learn the benefits of soft touch for the baby, whilst they massage the various parts of the child’s body, including the legs, feet, hands, body, back & face.
Do you teach only in Japanese? Or can non-Japanese students join your classes too?
I teach in both languages, so both Japanese & non-Japanese students can comfortably join my classes. I speak in English first, and then translate each pose into Japanese.
How is Wabi Sabi different from other studios? Do you keep your classes small?
Yes, our maximum class size is 12. We really value small classes and individual attention.
I hear you provide a room for kids to be babysat if necessary. That’s great; does Wabi Sabi cater more to mothers?
Yes, on Wednesday and Friday mornings, we provide babysitting services here in the studio. I think it’s important for mothers to spend some time alone, away from the baby, even if it’s just for one hour. It helps them concentrate on their practice, and calm their minds.
What’s your secret to looking so youthful? Please share!
I’d say my yoga practice, and being a vegetarian!
So you’re vegetarian as well. Do you feel that your body feels different after you started being a vegetarian?
I attended a workshop with Sri Dharma Mittra in New York City (NYC), about two years after I started yoga. He told us each to try vegetarianism for just 3 months. After 3-4 months, I suddenly felt very light.
*Sri Dharma Mittra is a teacher’s teacher based in NYC. He is one of the yoga world’s most influential masters.
Do you ever get stressed? What do you do to unwind?
Apart from yoga, which is my main means to destress, I also enjoy surfing, photography, and flower arrangement.
What are your plans for your yoga practice? Is there a certain area of teaching you’d like to focus on?
I would really like to explore Yoga Therapy; using yoga as a tool for rehabilitation. I have experience working in hospitals, and I really believe yoga can help patients in their recovery process. The class would focus mainly on breathing & relaxation techniques.
Finally to round off: you’re wearing a Wellicious top & bottom; what do you like about it?
I love the high quality material, and how soft it is!
*Touch The Toes carries Wellicious, a London-based brand, ethically made with the best organic & sustainable fabrics.
Tell us about other elements of Wabi Sabi. I know you provide lot of different workshops outside of just yoga!
We are trying to attract people to their senses. I believe all people are on a personal journey to find solutions, and they look everywhere, especially to religion and God. Eventually, they figure out that the answers lie within. However, every path is different, and people, usually, out of all their five senses, they have one enhanced sense. And that sense will speed them to their destination.
Most people get ‘scared’ of the holistic / alternative lifestyle, probably because they don’t know much about this area. What would you say to them?
Healing only takes place when the individual is willing to heal. Wabi-Sabi offers many types of therapists and treatments that are ready to facilitate a healing environment and experience. It is possible to relieve tensions or blockages with Jin Shin Jyutsu, or energize and cleanse with ayurveda. Clear your thought waves with a BARS treatment, or remove your fears through hypnotherapy. Open and strengthen the body with yoga therapy, or rehabilitate old traumas or injuries with a bodywork session.
No matter what ails you, Wabi-Sabi can help connect you to the right treatment at the right time. Come in today for a consultation, and be ready to start healing.
*Mishal (a Wabi Sabi director) was too shy for pictures so unfortunately there are none of him!