Yoga for Health in Kameido
Published: December 22, 2020
Amid these uncertain times, the need for relief from daily stress and increased healthful exercise is greater than ever. Little Lotus is a yoga studio offering both these benefits and more. On a recent autumn morning, we dropped in for a chat with studio owner and principal instructor Ms. Kaori.
Located just north of Kameido station on the right-hand side of Meiji Street, Little Lotus’ building is entered via a short flight of steps between two restaurants. It’s easy to miss as this stretch of pavement is thronged with people day and night. The studio is on the fourth floor.
The space is large and airy with a high ceiling. In mid-morning the sunlight streaming in through the windows created a warm, comfortable environment.
Ms. Kaori was born and raised in Kameido. “I still live near here,” she explained. “I became interested in yoga many years ago and studied in Byron Bay, Australia, where I gained my professional qualifications. I worked as an instructor for several years, then went freelance about ten years ago. I decided I wanted to open my own studio, here in Kameido. We found this space and began Little Lotus in January 2019.”
The resourceful Ms. Kaori lived in London when she was a student, an experience that stood her in good stead as the demanding course in Byron Bay was conducted in English. “It was tough as I had little knowledge of anatomy in Japanese, never mind English,” she said laughing. She also worked at a yoga centre in Byron Bay, New South Wales, as support staff for the teacher training Japanese students there.
Little Lotus offers a wide variety of classes. Classes are 90 minutes with a maximum of five students in each class. All yoga mats are cleaned with alcohol after every class and students must bring a bath towel to place over the mats and blankets.
“Our students range in age from early thirties to mid-seventies,” said Ms. Kaori. “Men are very welcome but most students are active ladies, with many seniors. They are very sprightly and supple people, many of them attending sports gyms and doing other sports too.” Little Lotus uses the ticket system and prices are very reasonable: single 90-minute classes are 3,000 yen, with four for 9,000 or 10 for 20,000 yen. There’s a trial ticket set of three for 4,500 yen that must be used within one month.
The style of yoga taught by Ms. Kaori and Ms. Yoko, the other instructor (a former professional dancer), uses a variety of props, including chairs, surprisingly heavy wooden blocks, blankets, and the wall ropes. Although the wall rope exercises may look somewhat daunting, they are straightforward and highly recommended for those suffering from text neck or rendered round-shouldered by modern office work. “Our yoga poses are selected so that anyone of any age can do them. They aren’t so difficult and we also can adjust them for each particular individual. It’s very flexibility is the great advantage of yoga,” explained Ms. Mitsui.
Aside from the basic classes that teach the asanas (poses) one by one, there are all levels of classes for more advanced students, flow yoga, body yoga, and pelvic stretch classes.
As befits the current age, Ms. Kaori offers online classes too. The advantages of yoga aren’t all just physical either, as regular practice soothes the spirit, reduces stress and relieves anxiety. And that’s something we could all do with right now. If you’re in the Kameido neighborhood just drop in for a chat or sign up on the web site. Happy yoga!
Story and photographs by Stephen Spencer