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Michihiro Sotomura

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Originally from the countryside region of Morioka Iwate, Michihiro grew up looking at the skies and playing in mountains, rivers and snows, often going mountain climbing and skiing with his father. His grandfather passed on to him a love of reading books and of traditional calligraphy. Despite getting involved in swimming, baseball and soccer in his early teens, Michihiro never really liked competitive sports and turned more to skateboarding and snowboarding in his latter teens. He got into hip-hop after dropping into a music shop by chance with some friends. He was amazed by the way DJs combined various sounds to improvise something completely new and different, immediately deciding to try his own hand at the art of mixing and making music.

Michihiro’s adventure with music began with hip-hop, but as he experienced a greater variety of music, he moved into more abstract sounds that needed no words: ambient and electronica that reflect the flickering of human hearts, and minimal techno and dub that move each cell in the body. Concentrating on connecting sounds just by sensing the feeling on the dance floor requires intuition, creativity, imagination and a keen ability to observe. For Michihiro, the interconnectivity between such moments, communicating with people without words, and sharing music, is the main attraction of being a DJ.

Michihiro soon began to crave doing the same things in nature, finding his way to his first outdoor festival at the “Hotaka Mountain Festival”. At 1500 meters above sea level amid an open-minded crowd dancing freely as one within a non-structured musical environment, he reveled in an ambience that made him feel united with all living things. Michihiro’s life has since been greatly influenced by the ideal of people connecting without words through smiles and chance encounters at just the right instant… At the moment when the body is moved by the sounds and one begins to dance, when one no longer thinks about how to move, nor simply repetitively moves without awareness, Michihiro experienced a release of mind and body that he had never imagined before. That experience brought him to a realization that in essence, time does not exist and that there is no real separation between people. His desire to pursue such sensations led him to move to Tokyo, and to become deeply immersed in the dance scene and in organizing outdoor events.

However, faced with a continual requirement of earning money to go out dancing in Tokyo, Michihiro began to feel a real disconnect between his daily life and being on the dance floor, leading him to start questioning his own lifestyle, asking himself whether it might be possible to merge the two in a sustainable way. It was just around that time that Michihiro found YogaJaya and met its director, Patrick Oancia. As his thoughts were already very much in line with Patrick’s life vision, Michihiro decided to try practicing yoga at YogaJaya. The fact that YogaJaya was not stuck to one tradition of yoga opened the door Michihiro studying yoga from multiple perspectives and to integrating his lifestyle with yoga. This unifying concept captured Michihiro’s heart, giving him a sense of pure enjoyment in the form of a free non-dogmatic style of appreciating yoga. For Michihiro, enjoying life has always been an important consideration, given that he believes that one can learn much more if a learning process is enjoyable, rather than seeing things only in terms of being either positive or negative.

Through his daily practice at YogaJaya, Michihiro found that practicing yoga brought him sensations very similar to those he experienced while DJ-ing and dancing. At the same time, such a structured nurturing of physical strength inevitably led him to continuously observe his own mind, allowing him to seek and achieve calmness in daily life through a true mind-body connection. At last, Michihiro realized that it is indeed possible to integrate all aspects of one’s yoga practice in daily life.

In 2009, Michihiro graduated from the YogaJaya International Teacher Training at the YJA300 level, and he is now a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. His training and holistic yoga practice has given Michihiro a realization that we often judge and conceal things out of fear, and he now understands that thinking too much only about the future or the past severely limits one’s present-day possibilities. Also his yoga experience of sharing time with others in the training has made Michihiro realize that accepting people with an open heart while sharing and connecting with them not only generates personal growth, but also leaves one with the feeling of having enriched one’s own life. Based on all of these realizations, Michihiro feels himself to be evolving in the right direction to finally be able to pursue his own full potential in life.

Michihiro aims to share not only his yoga learning from the mat, but also his life-learning off the mat, connecting everything together in a way that promotes coexistence with all that exists, from the visible to that which has no physical form at all.