Yumi Kaneko is a special person. I am so privileged to have her as a friend and constant source of inspiration. She and her husband, Leon, are exceptional yoga teachers and good friends. I have traveled with them to Japan on a couple of occasions to practice yoga in places I never thought I would go from snow covered mountain monasteries, onsen retreats, meditation with Zen Buddhist monks in Kyoto, Mt, Kurama where Reiki was born, just to name a few, and of course our trip this year to India where we stayed, practised and learned with her Guru in Pandashwara.
Yumi is a Yogini in the true sense of the word. She lives her practice day to day, moment to moment. If you have ever been to any of the classes that she or Leon teaches in Brisbane, you will agree that they have a special presence, and their devotion to practice is inspiring and contagious.
Yumi regularly keeps up to date with her students via email, and I thought the last email would be great to share as a blog. She explains the yoga of sushi, and shares a lovely film with us you can curl up and watch on a rainy day. Visit their website.
Hope this e-mail finds you all well and peace.
This morning at the hall, I could feel the lovely change in the season. It was still dark and cold, but there were plenty of signs of new season's arrival.
When I arrive at the hall just before 5:30am, I open up the gate, put the heaters on (in winter), light the candle and inscent, salute to the lord Shiva statue and then start chanting. This has been my rituals in the morning for the last couple of years. While I am chanting, the fellow yogis and yoginis start to arrive and start practicing one by one. As I chant, I can hear them breathe and feel their moves. This morning, through the different senses that I have got- the touch of the pad-lock, the smell of the inscent, the vibration of the chanting, the sound of everyone’s breath, the feel of the floor with my toes, the position of the sun out of the window- everything was telling me that the spring is around the corner:)
When I left the hall, I remembered this incredible film called “Jiro the dream of sushi”. It is a documentary of this sushi master in Japan. Jiro was only 9 when he started working at the sushi restaurant in Tokyo. He is now 89 years old and still rolling sushi (rolling may not be the best English translation but in Japanese, we don’t say make sushi but say ‘roll or grasp’ sushi). Up to now, that’s the only job he has done in his life and that’s the job that he fell in love with. In the documentary, you will see his life so discipline and living this super routine life- doing same things over and over for more than 40 years. Some people may think ‘why’? ‘Try new things’, ‘Explore the world’, ‘Explore life’. But all he wanted in this life was to make the sushi in his dream.
Watching him rolling sushi in the film, you can see he is not just rolling the sushi with his hands, he is rolling them with his whole body, senses, and heart. He is the observer. He observes everything with all the senses that he has got and finds what will make the best sushi. He can feel/see/taste the tiniest details of the sushi. In order to do that, it requires the routine- doing the same thing over and over. That’s how he became the SHOKUNIN (master).
In the practice of yoga, we do the same thing over and over. We chant the same thing over and over. We take the same asana over and over. We may fall. We may feel pain. We may feel joy. We may feel sad. Whatever we feel or happen, we just repeat, and OBSERVE within ourselves, because that’s the way to master this path (like Jiro mastered his sushi rolling) and get closer to our true SELF.
Anyway, when I watched this film, I just wanted to take a bow to this incredible SHOKUNIN.
If you have time, please watch:
Jiro’s dream of Sushi
Love and smiles,
YUMI and LEON xx