Yogi Trip to Japan III: Yoga Environment

madoka kasahara

MK_Yoga_Environment.jpgFor those of you who have been following my blogs, you know that during my recent visit to Japan, I decided to find a yoga studio so that I could continue to practice my yoga.

This particular yoga studio that I went to has two practice rooms on the 3rd and 5th floor of a building in downtown Sapporo. It’s actually located in the center of downtown, so there were many people in business suits and work clothes.

I visited the studio on a weekday in the middle of the day. On exiting the elevator on the 3rd floor, I saw that the door to the studio was open. The studio was right in front of me – the hallway was so narrow that all I had to do was take three steps and I’d be inside the studio!

I took off my shoes, walked past the front desk and went into the practice room. I expected to be in a tatami room, but instead entered a room with a very clean and shiny hardwood floor. The room itself wasn’t big; there were shelves by the wall to place yoga supplies such as yoga mats, and you could also store your personal bags and clothing after changing. Since there was no way of creating another room in the small building, the studio staff had improvised by putting a curtain in the practice room to create a temporary changing room before the class started. Because space is a premium in Japan, the Japanese have learned how to utilize small areas to their maximum effect, thereby creating a more efficient and effective use of space.

After changing my clothes, I looked around. Since the room was small, there really wasn’t much to see. There were windows on two sides of the wall, one completely covered by the grey wall of the next building. From the other window, I could see a building with a car park – and I could also see people working. So while it was good to have a lot of windows, the view wasn’t attractive and the room itself had a claustrophobic feel.

I completely understand that this small room is typical of a yoga studio in Japan. But having lived in the U.S. for a while now, seeing the studio in Japan has given me a greater appreciation of how spacious and soothing our yoga studios are in the U.S. I’ve found it a very interesting experience to see how different cultures have managed to adapt their yoga studios and practices according to what they have available.

[tags]yoga in Japan, yoga studio, yoga practice room, yoga environment, japan trip, yoga class in Sapporo[/tags]

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