Kripalu Japan Welcomes Ayurveda

Kripalu School of Yoga

In photo from left to right: Eriko, Toshiro, Larissa, Makiko, Yukimi

Kripalu Yoga is thriving in Japan! And Ayurveda is also taking hold, now that we’ve delivered the first iteration of Uniting Yoga and Ayurveda, a 300-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher Training module, at the Kripalu Japan studio in Tokyo.

Hosted in November by studio owner and long-term Kripalu teacher Toshiro Miura, and his wife, Makiko Miura, my first Japanese teaching experience had a true Kripalu feel. The beautiful studio is tucked into the winding streets of the hip Shimokitazawa section of Tokyo. An oasis above the bustling city, it feels like an extension of Kripalu Center—warm and welcoming, with a “Jai Bhagwan” sticker on the front door, studio shelves filled with cozy props, Japanese-made Ayurvedic self-care products for sale in the shop, and a foyer filled with heartwarming photos of Swami Kripalu and the Stockbridge campus. I felt at home immediately.

Participants in the module included students from all over Japan, eager to learn the Ayurvedic approach to yoga. In addition to information on balancing the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) through yoga practice—including adjustments for the seasons, times of day, seasons of life, and basic doshic imbalances—this module teaches valuable Ayurvedic self-care practices for the longevity and well-being of yoga teachers.

As with all Kripalu teacher trainings, we had fabulous Kripalu Yoga teachers assisting and creating a strong container to hold the intensity of the curriculum. Makiko taught several afternoon dosha-balancing sadhanas and review sessions. Yukimi Kawada, my primary assistant, kept the room orderly, beautiful, playful, and sattvic. I was blessed with an incredible translator, Eriko Hase; as this was my first time teaching with a translator, I was amazed at how quickly Eriko and I got into a rhythm. Having all trained at Kripalu in Stockbridge (Yukimi and Makiko learned Ayurveda from me there), this fabulous staff was wonderfully prepared to host this module. They are all wonderful representatives of Kripalu Yoga—on and off the mat.

Toshiro has been connected with the Kripalu community for decades, and is the only international Kripalu faculty who is currently teaching the 300-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training (KYTT) modules Teaching Pranayama and Advanced Asana and Guiding Meditation for Transformational Yoga Teaching. Thanks to his masterful teaching, students were incredibly well prepared for my Ayurveda module. Most of them had done their 200-hour yoga teacher training with Toshiro, and many had completed either the Pranayama or Meditation module with him, too. So, I was able to go really deep in morning sadhana with this strong, hearty group—often leading a two-and-a-half-hour dosha-balancing practice. What a treat to have a group of such dedicated, advanced, deep, and respectful students. It was so much fun weaving into sadhanas challenging advanced asanas from the other modules that Toshiro teaches, as well as advanced pranayama techniques, like agni sara. 

The final hour-long dosha-balancing practice-teach (done in small pods) was incredibly successful. The students eloquently and skillfully shared their new knowledge; I am so proud of them for working so hard! Toshiro and Makiko were very happy with the outcome of the module. As Toshiro said, “The Kripalu approach to Ayurveda is so unique and practical that I believe it helped students find deeper ways to express what they learned in their 200-hour training, along with the great and practical Ayurvedic knowledge.”

I’m grateful to Toshiro and Makiko for their support in bringing Ayurveda to the Kripalu Japan community. It’s wonderful to see so much growing interest in Ayurveda. Makiko did the tremendous job of translating the Ayurveda manual, PowerPoints, posters, quiz, and practice-teach assignment. She is an incredible teacher and Ayurveda advocate, and I’m excited to be mentoring her to eventually direct this training herself.

Though we didn’t have our much-loved Kripalu food, my staff showed me around the cute little streets of Tokyo each day, and I found lots of vegetarian-friendly Indian, Tibetan, and macrobiotic restaurants right near the studio.

I look forward to seeing how the Kripalu Japan studio spreads Ayurveda, and how the interest in Kripalu Yoga and Ayurveda grow over the years. And I’m looking forward to returning next year to offer the module to another group of enthusiastic students.

Find out about trainings and programs with Larissa Hall Carlson at Kripalu.

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Larissa Hall Carlson, E-RYT 500, MA, former Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, guides retreats, directs trainings, and provides Ayurvedic consultations across the country.

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