Yoga in the rice fields

This morning you will find me goofing around in the Bonichi Shimbun again. This time I’m not at my desk, but doing yoga in the rice terraces in my work apron and boots.

The article announces an event that I am co-hosting at Oyama Senmaida. For International Yoga Day, on June 21st, I’ll be teaching a outdoor session for 20 lucky participants which will also stream on Zoom. Would you like to join me? Register here:

I really like our local reporter, Saito-san. Before returning to his hometown last year, he worked for a big newspaper in Tokyo. He cares about good reportage. After he got word about the yoga class at Oyama Senmaida, we communicated via e-mail, then he came out for an interview and some photos. In another e-mail confirming details, his questions helped me to refine my registration form and to create the QR codes to access them. Great idea.

Me and Saito-san (with Asada-san in the background)

As much as I am slightly embarrassed to be in the paper twice in three months, I am really glad to participate in the community in a way that is interesting enough to be reported on.

I don’t know if a yoga class in the fields merits this amount of attention, but here is a translation of what he wrote:

Kristen McQuillin (58), a member of NPO Oyama Senmaida Preservation Society and yoga instructor from Hiratsuka, Kamogawa, will livestream a yoga class on June 21st, International Yoga Day, with the scenery of Oyama Senmaida as the backdrop. People who wish to take the class on-site (maximum of 20 people) and those who wish to take the class online via Zoom (maximum of 100 people) are being recruited.

International Yoga Day was decided at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Many countries, including Japan, agreed with the call made by India, the birthplace of yoga, that “yoga is the best way to create a peaceful society.”

Kristen started practicing yoga during university in the United States, and was also taught by experts in India. She came to Japan in 1999. In 2015, she moved to Kamogawa and started yoga classes alongside her work as an illustrator. During the long-term power outage following a typhoon in 2019, she held morning classes free of charge for her neighbors, then the COVID-19 pandemic led to her holding classes online, attracting students from all over the world.

She currently holds classes every day from 7am to 8am on a website called Satoyama Yoga Share, from her home near the Senmaida terraces. There are about 30 participants from Japan, the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, and other countries.

On the day of the class, participants will pose in the field near the parking lot at Oyama Senmaida terraces, with the beautiful early summer scenery of Oyama Senmaida terraces in the background. The purpose of the broadcast is also to introduce the view of the rice terraces to the world.

Kristen says, “I think the benefit of yoga is ‘connection.’ It’s not just about connecting with the people around you, but with yoga you also connect with your own body, mind, and breath. I hope that by syncing your breathing with the chirping of the birds, you can get a glimpse of that.”

The class will run from 9 am to 10 am on the day. It will also be available in Japanese. If it rains, the class will be streamed from a nearby kominka restaurant. If you would like to take the course on-site or online via Zoom, please contact the Satoyama Yoga Share Facebook page by June 19th.

Bonichi Shimbun, May 31, 2024

I love how nothing is incorrect in this article, though it sometimes makes me sounds more than I am. Yes, I practiced yoga in university but I was terrible and I stopped for a long time. The class will be “available in Japanese” as much as I can remember the correct verbs as we are moving through the poses. To be fair, I usually forget them in English, too…we’ll see how it goes. We can always focus on the chirping of birds.

Recent Posts
Mediatinker by MAIL

Join 33 other subscribers
Longer Ago

Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.