Ease into Winter with Japanese yoga
Posted by Katie Brown, 03-May-2021
Sarah Kearney is drawing upon her knowledge as a Shiatsu Therapist and Chi Yoga Teacher to help us transition into Winter. Here she shares her yoga journey plus what’s in store in her May workshop…
Why did you become a yoga teacher?
I first attended yoga classes in my twenties during university, and practiced yoga on and off for ten or so years. After working for NSW TAFE in Health and Recreation Curriculum Development for some time, I decided in 1996 that I wanted to have my own business in the world of natural health. I studied Shiatsu Therapy and started a clinic in Dee Why, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with a fellow student. Study in Shiatsu Therapy requires a lot of body movement and yoga studies as well as learning to provide Shiatsu massage. One of my Shiatsu teachers started a school in Bondi Junction called the ZEN Renaissance Centre just after I finished my course, where he wanted to teach the principles of Oki Do Yoga, applying meridian studies to yogic theory. I decided to further my studies there and by the year 2000, when I completed the yoga instruction course, I had begun to teach classes in both Bondi and Dee Why.
What’s your personal practice?
My personal practice involves constant mindfulness (I emphasise the word practice here!), attention to the environment around us as the seasons change, as well as regular asana, breathing and meditation practices. I try to put each practice into my day wherever there is a chance to do so.
How is Japanese Yoga different to Hatha Yoga?
Firstly it is based on the meridian system (the same system as acupuncture) and not on the Chakra system. It has its roots in ancient Chinese theory but was also practised in Japan.
The style I teach was inspired by the late Japanese zen yoga master, Masahiro Oki who blended Traditional Chinese Medicine with Hatha Yoga. Oki Do Yoga includes tapping and massaging with a lot of floorwork , but in my particular teaching I also incorporate many standing postures as well as flowing styles.
How can this practice help you connect with nature and the seasons?
It’s mostly about us being in touch with the changes of the seasons. We might not notice that in the winter a lot of us feel a bit lonely or things are too quiet or we have gone inside ourselves. You can use the energy of the kidney and bladder meridians in the Winter to help you feel grounded and present during this change.
What will the workshop focus on?
I’d like to let others know about the benefits of Japanese/Oki Do yoga perspectives. The practices support us in feeling more connected with the world around us as we are working with the same transforming energies in our bodies.
We’ll cover simple yoga practices that make a big difference to energy flow and state of mind. We’ll focus on balancing energies and the nervous system so the body can come back to its natural healing state and will work through a yoga practice that is felt on energetic as well as physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
What is your yoga teaching schedule like at the moment?
I teach nine classes per week (when I don’t have a broken foot – Sarah freakily broke her forefoot in February after a falling over the kids’ toys!) I teach both community and private classes. My classes are in Port Macquarie and Wauchope mainly, though I have taught in other nearby communities – Byabarra and Comboyne.
pic credit Tim Gouw at Unsplash