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Tomoko Nakanishi

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Tomoko was born in Hidaka, Hokkaido, in the wilderness between the Pacific Ocean and the Hidaka mountain range. From childhood she tended toward shyness, often suffering from neurotic gastritis. As her parents ran a family business, Tomoko was surrounded by adults and enjoyed listening to their conversations. Her mother introduced her to the Koto (the Japanese harp) and calligraphy at an early age. After graduating from high school, Tomoko moved to Sapporo, where she met a teacher who was fascinated with India. Listening to stories about India led Tomoko to share her teacher’s feelings for the country, its people and traditions, as well as inspiring in Tomoko a lasting desire to travel to India.

Tomoko spent some time as a sales and marketing professional in stockbrokerage firms and insurance companies. She experienced competition in the form of output quotas, she experienced complex economic relationships during the economic bubble, but she eventually came to realize that it was her human connection to other individuals that was more important than anything else.

Gravitating toward her own interests, Tomoko began to devote herself to aerobics, jazz dance, marathon running, swimming, and other physical activities. Running revealed itself to her as a space for mental balance. Her encounter with Valerie Andrews’ book “The Psychic Power of Running” confirmed her reason for running: “You will reach a place where you surpass your self into enlightenment. This cannot be understood in the mind, but it can be reached by the heart through the combination of Zen and exercise”.

In 2004, Tomoko finally made it to India. Backpacking with guidebook in hand from Varanasi to Kanniyakumari, Tomoko felt truly welcome India. She loved to interact with the people and was touched by their culture. Back in Japan, Tomoko entered cooking school and earned a chef license, building on an acquired appreciation for nutrition and food culture that greatly changed her perception of food in general.

Tomoko first encountered yoga through Bikram yoga, finding a strong connection to her marathon running experience. Her dedicated practice of yoga led her to complete the YogaJaya International Teacher Training, where she experienced everything she had sought in terms of peacefulness, calmness, emotional stability, awareness and transformation. Tomoko is certified as a YogaJaya Accredited Teacher (YJAT) and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. She is presently attending the Yoga Therapy Instructor’s Course under Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. Tomoko is dedicated to helping people who know nothing about yoga use it as a tool for healing and transformation.