Be Yoga Japan Instructor, Ryoko Hashimoto

Ryoko Hashimoto interview photo

Translator: Taylor Cazella

Ryoko Hashimoto

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • Certified ISHTA Yoga Instructor (RYT500)
  • Certified ISHTA Yoga Maternity Yoga Instructor

I came across yoga while working as an employee in an office environment. Not listening to my body, I became ill at times and did not know how to deal with my stresses, sometimes becoming withdrawn. My mind and body were out of sync and doing yoga allowed me to address that disparity. I have tried various styles of yoga but currently enjoy ISHTA for addressing the individual’s unique needs. In my class, I try to keep in mind that yoga is for each unique individual while teaching pranayama and alignment. By emphasizing this, I hope that each person can appreciate something unique and special about themselves and their experience just as they are. I very much enjoy teaching yoga classes which addresses not only the body but the mind.

To start, can you tell us a bit about your upbringing?

I was born in Tokyo, and I was raised in Tokyo. Because they ran their own business, I grew up always seeing my parents hard at work. When I was a student, I was totally engrossed in playing the saxaphone for the brass band. Later, after working as an adult for about 5 years, I became a yoga instructor.

What sort of effect has yoga had on you, personally, and your lifestyle?

The effect that yoga has had on me that I’m most happy about, would be that I’ve come to know: “It’s good to positively affirm oneself.” Until that point, while I was interacting with various people and aspects of society, I was always trying my hardest to conform to the notion that someone had created that told me: “You must have this,” or “You must do this.” And I lost sight of the question: “Who am I, really?” While doing yoga, I arrived at a point where I was able to think, “There are many sides to me, but I’m ok just the way I am.” And with that, I’ve been able to live with a sort of ease and comfort.

How exactly did you switch over to taking training classes for the purpose of teaching yoga so that you could learn teaching methods in detail?

While practicing yoga, of course, many beneficial changes occurred in my body, but the state of my thoughts and feelings shifted dramatically, and it became much easier for me to live well. It was at that time that I thought, “I’d really like to study yoga in depth,” and I knew there were study methods known as instructor training courses. At first, the thought that “I want to become an instructor,” was not very strong. It was from the idea that “I want to study yoga in depth,” that I resigned from the company I was working for at the time, and I enrolled in the instructor training course.

What does the act of teaching mean for you?

I think that being allowed to have a yoga class, is like “playing the role of guide to a journey of self discovery.” A class instructor is there to be a guide so that people can come to know themselves better through various experiences–breathing, holding poses, meditation.

Please tell us about the style of yoga you teach.

I’m in charge of classes based on Ishta Yoga. The classes that I really like to conduct are ones in which great attention is given to alignment (how the body is used in various poses)–but not only the body is taken seriously, thoughts and feelings are considered as well.

What is your greatest pleasure in being a yoga instructor?

The thing I am most pleased with is my students being happy just for the sake of being happy. Even if I can’t express it well in words, when I see my students purely experiencing that feeling of, like, “Ah, that feels good… that was really great… ya know what, I’m great too,” that’s when I think “I’m glad that I’m a yoga instructor.”

See the Original Interview

(In Japanese, no subtitles.)