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Grassroots Fundraiser Spotlight: Island Life Yoga and MOGAYOGA Masaki

Taniuchi is the founder of “Island Life Yoga” and a freelance yoga teacher who has completed the yoga alliance program E-RYT200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200), and RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher with completed 200 hours of teaching and advanced training of 300 hours). She offers various English/Japanese bilingual classes in Okinawa. She is a member of the accessible yoga movement and aligns with many yoga teachers to share the great potential of yoga. Check her out here.

Namiko Miyahira completed RYT 200(200 hours of yoga teacher training), and runs a home yoga studio called “MOGAYOGA” in Yomitan, Okinawa. She is also offering English and Japanese bilingual classes to small groups at her studio and provides community yoga sessions outside the studio regularly. View more here.

TELL: Masaki, can you tell us about Island Life Yoga?

Masaki: I offer regular classes and workshops for yoga teachers and practitioners, then teacher training. My passion is connecting people through yoga.

TELL: Can you explain the relationship between Mogayoga and Island life yoga?

Masaki: Namiko from Mogayoga was a graduate of my yoga teacher training and then I was hoping to provide her grassroots opportunities to teach yoga in a special place.

TELL: Namiko, Can you tell us about Mogayoga?

Namiko: I left my full-time job in June 2022 and took the opportunity to do a 200-hour yoga teacher training by Island Life Yoga led by Masaki sensei. I completed it in March 2023. I thought that doing yoga classes at home was a good start, so I started to teach yoga at my home studio in May 2023. By practicing yoga, I would like to help people who have a busy life to take a moment to breathe, observe themselves, and have a healthy life.

TELL: How can yoga support someone’s mental health?

Namiko: I think the most important thing is to BREATHE comfortably. I was too stressed at work and I left my job in a negative situation. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I couldn’t breathe well. That was so scary. Through yoga, moving your body and observing your breath helps you to know your mental health before the situation gets worse. Also, I think that yoga poses help you to make you positive. When you open your chest and reach your fingertips towards the sky, you can feel good and open your mind, which helps you to think positively. The body and mind are strongly connected.

TELL: What is accessible yoga?

Masaki: Accessible yoga is the movement and concept of reaching anyone at any stage of life. Some people hesitate to experience yoga practice because of prices or the atmosphere of the environment, some people may have the image of yoga that we need to wear a nice yoga outfit, or we have to be in shape, or to be flexible to start yoga. We would like to take out those stereotyped images and invite everyone to experience yoga.

TELL: What led you to combine accessible yoga with mental health causes?

Masaki: Yoga can work great for mental well-being and can bring lots of benefits and bridges between physical and mental health. I wanted to connect with them to offer something new.

TELL: What did you learn from doing the fundraising event? Do you have any advice for others who want to start their fundraiser?

Masaki: It might take courage to start something, but you would be surprised how much you get at the end by giving or creating those opportunities. Whether teaching yoga, beach cleaning, or anything that you would like to try out with the community, it may be the start of something great.

TELL: Thank you both so much!