Japanese culture honours seasonal change. Japan has five seasons: summer, autumn, winter, spring and tsuyu—the rainy season. The Japanese pay close attention to the blessings of each season, and Japanese yoga poses change according to the time of year.
Japanese yoga is underpinned by the theory of the five elements, and the idea that different energy channels, or meridians, in the body correspond with certain organs.
In the early 1900s, Nakamura Tempu spent time in Nepal and India studying traditional yogic practices. He combined traditional yoga with five element theory to create shinshin-toitsu-do—Japanese yoga.
Japanese yoga teaches four basic principles to unify the mind and body:
- use the mind in a positive way
- use the mind with full concentration
- use the body naturally
- train the body gradually, systematically and continuously.
Shizuka Ryokan is hosting a Japanese yoga retreat in September 2019.