Tokyo Sanskrit Class!

Sanskrit poster

Japan, for me, is one of the most enjoyable places to teach. Japanese yoga students have a sincerity and openness that is truly inspiring. It was such a thrill to come to Tokyo and take students on their first swim into the ocean of Sanskrit. Prana Power Yoga Studio, located in the ultra-cool Tokyo neighborhood of Ebisu, known for its restaurants, is a really happening place. Naomi Hoshina, studio owner, translator, and my host extraordinaire, is fully committed to providing her students the opportunity to study with various teachers from around the world. It was a true honor to be a part of that.

Teaching with a translator is a very interesting experience. Since it is best to speak in shorter sentences to allow for accurate translation, every idea needs to be expressed in a way that gets to the heart of what I am wanting to convey. And yet, there are always the funny cultural differences that crop up. While I was explaining the first (and most prevalent rule) of blending sanskrit sounds — that “a” + “a” = ā, I used the example “baka” + “āsana” = bakāsana.” Ok, so that seems fairly straightforward. In Sanskrit, “baka” means “crane” so “bakāsana” is crane-pose. The thing is, in Japanese, “baka” means “a foolish/ stupid person.” So, when I used that as an example, it basically means “idiot pose.” Needless to say, the entire room cracked up. Welcome to Sanskrit in Japan!

After class on Sunday, I was interviewed by Yoga Journal Japan for their July issue. It should be interesting to see how that comes out. I was also photographed by one of Japan’s most well known photographers, a wonderful artist named Hiroshi Homma. Homma-san uses an 8×10 camera for his portrait work which reminded me of my good pal, NYC photographer Michael Halsband. Homma-san gave me a book of his photography as a gift to take home. Of course, the book is like a foot and a half tall! That was fun to lug around the airport. Thankfully, it fit in the overhead compartment on the plane!

Overall, it was an incredibly fantastic trip, filled with beauty and fun and the best 10 days of food that I have ever had the pleasure of eating. I got to meet some extraordinary people and make some new friends. Japan has always held a special place in my heart, but now it feels that it also holds a special place in my daily life. I can’t wait to go back again, hopefully in the Fall, and let the country work more of its magic on me.

Homma-san's awesome landscape photography book!

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