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Asako Ota

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Asako spent her younger years in a city by the sea in Chiba, growing up highly sensitive and cheerful. She became interested in preventive medicine in high school, leading to her to attend the International University of Health and Welfare, where she studied physiotherapy. With more than a decade of professional experience as a physiotherapist, Asako also has a license as a respiratory therapist and a nursing care manager. She works at the general hospital in Nakameguro, Tokyo, providing physiotherapy to patients with cerebral, vascular, bone and joint diseases.

In university, she studied kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, as well as a wide range of specialized subjects including psychology, pediatrics and sports medicine. She also became deeply engaged in music, snowboarding and skimboarding.

Asako began her career as a physiotherapist at the Teikyo University Faculty of Medicine, working with neonatal infants and patients with terminal diseases. She also did respiratory therapy in intensive care units and participated in designing and building artificial limbs and braces. In retrospect, the first asana she ever saw was when a patient suddenly began to dance in the rehabilitation room. She understood the deep connection of yoga through body movement through this.

After some years in her profession, Asako experienced a period of extreme self-denial and self-doubt. To create more time for inquiry and to live a less speedy life, she changed her job to a public disability center, handling home physiotherapy for daycare and incurable diseases.

Asako found a similarity in physiotherapy and yoga, combining her experience in uniting the body and mind. She also felt an awakening of the inner senses, starting to get deeply engaged in yoga. She did further studies into the Feldenkrais Method, Thai Yoga Bodywork, and yoga workshops that linked the asana to physiotherapy in a way that Asako could apply in her clinical practice. Further interest led Asako to completing YogaJaya International Teacher Training, certified as a YogaJaya Accredited Teacher (YJAT) and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance.

Asako was also greatly inspired by Clive Sheridan after attendeding his Mitake Mountain Retreats in 2008 and again in 2009. She is also learning Juniyana Yoga from Shuji Makino, allowing her to better understand the mind and how to gradually achieve personal freedom. Asako believes in the power of practice that allows one to become more aware and to transform oneself, yet at the same time, she knows through her experience that if a method is inappropriate, it can be potentially damaging to both the body and heart. She aims to continue finding ways to use her life experience in many ways not restricted to a professional discipline. Asako spends most of her holidays traveling abroad in Asia and Africa, and in Japan in the Kumano and Ogasawara regions.