Be Yoga Japan Instructor, Tomoko Kobayashi

Tomoko Kobayashi interview photo

Translator: Taylor Cazella

Tomoko Kobayashi

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • Certified ISHTA Yoga Instructor (E-RYT500)
  • Certified ISHTA Yoga Maternity Yoga Instructor
  • Certified ISHTA Yoga Restorative Yoga Instructor
  • Teacher Training Course Senior Instructor

Tomoko worked as aerobics instructor for more than 15 years, and was a professional athlete for 10 years. During her time as an athlete she tried several different training methods to improve her physical abilities, one of them was yoga. She discovered a deep stillness inside her that she couldn’t find in any other trainings, and fell in love with the energy and deepness of yoga. Tomoko wants to share the wonderful qualities of ISHTA Yoga–a style that holds the individual in high regard–with many more people.

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

My home town is Osaka. I was born and raised in Osaka.

What was it that gave you the push to get started in yoga?

Previously I was doing something called sports aerobics. The techniques you use in sports aerobics are similar to yoga poses, so I developed an interest, and that’s the push that got me started.

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

I think that, more than ever before, occasions in which I have “my mind wavers” or “my mind is uneasy” have become fewer. Moreover, even if seemingly depressing things come up now, with thinking based on yoga or philosophy, I don’t really get all that depressed.

How many years have you been teaching yoga?

This is my 7th year since I started Ishta Yoga. I’ve been teaching yoga since 2007.

Could you talk to us about Be Yoga, and also how it relates to you?

I really like the teachings of Be Yoga and Ishta Yoga, and I’d like to take part in it for as long as possible. Presently, I’m responsible for contacts regarding the teacher training course.

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?

Originally I was teaching aerobics. The fitness club I was teaching at decided they wanted to pick up yoga as well, and that was my motivation to take yoga training. With that I had an interest, and so I decided to take Be Yoga’s teacher training course.

Can you tell us about Be Yoga’s Teacher Training Course?

Currently, we’re holding 200 and 500-hour teacher training courses. With the 200-hour course, students will be able to give general–or what you might call beginner-level–instruction. With the 500-hour course, students will really accumulate lots of experience, and learn about Asana (poses) and philosophy in a bit more of a professional way. If a student receives certification from Be Yoga’s 200 or 500-hour course, they’ll have received a certification they can use throughout the world by registering themselves with the American Yoga Alliance.

What does the act of teaching mean for you?

I teach with the feeling that I am “transmitting” rather than “teaching.”

Please tell us about the style of yoga you teach.

The school that we teach from is called Ishta Yoga. Ishta means “individual,” so what we’re offering is a yoga that fits each unique person.

What theme do you keep in mind when giving yoga instruction?

First and foremost, it’s to convey a yoga that bears aspects of safety in mind. Yet of course, we conduct our classes so that students can experience, not only the aspects of safety, but also the comfort of yoga.

What is your greatest pleasure in being a yoga instructor?

As an instructor, I’m not really sure what my greatest pleasure is. We conduct classes more so with the aim that, not only can our students get healthy, get strong and do yoga, but also so that they can find something worth living for. If they can do that through yoga, I’m happy.

What sort of plans are you setting up for the future?

I don’t have any big plans, but I’m going to continue to practice the style of Ishta Yoga. Even small things would be good. If I can keep on living my ordinary happy life, I think that would be great.

See the Original Interview

(In Japanese, no subtitles.)