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Maki Nagayama

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Maki was born and grew up in the countryside of Yamaguchi Prefecture surrounded by rivers and rice fields. Although not especially athletic, she enjoyed playing sports until dark almost every day. A change of schools unfortunately led to a difficult time at junior high school, where Maki was violently bullied by fellow students as puberty made things even tougher.

Maki turned her focus to the rhythmic gymnastics club, taking part in an Interscholastic Athletic Meet and the National Athletic Meet. Despite attending an all-girl school, the teachers nicknamed her “hustle boy” and she assumed the role of a team leader. When Maki graduated from high school, she went on to study education in college. She maintained her concentration on dance, keeping up her interest in her own original dance styles, in jazz dance and in ballet.

Maki has never stopped dancing. In Tokyo, she joined a modern dance studio run by Keiko Takeya, becoming a staff member three years later. She began her work there by teaching a beginners class in the Martha Graham technique, as well as instructing children in ballet.

In 1993, Maki began collaborating in performances with Thai and Indonesian artists, along with other Japanese actors and dancers. She performed on stage in six venues in Tokyo, Thailand, Indonesia, Germany and Spain. In 1998 and 2000, she visited India for another series of collaborative performances, visiting five cities on tour and performing various dances.

As she became more heavily involved in performance, Maki started feeling somewhat overwhelmed by various private and public matters.

Quitting her dance company job in 2003, she switched to performing solo and doing choreography for others. Maki had long taken an interest in Yoga, but she had merely been mimicking what she had seen in books. She started to take Yoga lessons, including Yoga for maternity, finding a world of deep calmness in Yoga in marriage and pregnancy. The experience led her toward a serious study of Yoga.

Maki gave birth to a son in 2006. By 2008, she had graduated from the YogaJaya International 200-Hour Teacher Training and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the International Yoga Alliance. The Teacher Training taught her the great value of diversity. She still remembers her teacher’s words: “the deep and diverse background of yoga reveals itself only gradually, through daily practice and awareness. To communicate to others what one has experienced, one must look calmly into one’s own inner universe, appreciate its limitless potential, and then develop both the body and the mind”.

Maki sees Yoga as offering her the chance to endlessly continue challenging herself. She sees Yoga as both a journey of discovery, and a pathway to a new sense of balance.