With its combination of strength, stamina and flexibility, there are very few forms of exercise that gets your body into peak physical fitness like yoga. Having originated in India, the discipline has spread throughout the world and it continues to grow in popularity, with one 2016 study showing that 20.4 million Americans practice it, up almost 20% from 2004.
If you are one of the many millions who prefer posing as a mountain to climbing one, or for whom their favorite type of dog is the downward variety, living in Nagoya should not preclude you from continuing the pastime. There are many yoga schools in the city, a few of which hold classes in English*. So, whether you are just a fresh faced new ‘warrior’ or someone for whom the ‘wounded peacock’ holds no fear, you are likely to find a studio that caters for you.
*Be aware that at the schools listed below not all of the instructors speak English, so it is a good idea to contact them ahead of time to confirm your needs.
Near Hisyaya Odori subway station is the yoga and pilates studio, Energy Body. As well as Ashtanga and Hatha yoga classes, there are various courses that focus on breathing, energy flow, mother and baby yoga and even belly dancing courses. If you want to get your energy levels up before a day of work, try out one of their early morning classes. Not all instructors speak English, so check beforehand.
For those of you who like it hot, the Sakae branch of the Bikram Yoga school should be right up your alley. While the originator of this studio, California based Bikram Choudhury, is considered somewhat controversial, his style of yoga continues to be extremely popular. Though practicing yoga in a 40 degree Celsius (104F) room may sound like torture to some, many devotees of the style swear by its ability to aid in flexibility and improve postures with no warm-up needed. Some courses are conducted in English. Enquire to find out when.
Another Sakae yoga school with a couple of English-speaking instructors is My Soul 8. With views overlooking Central park, this studio is as relaxed as you can get considering the hustle and bustle of the central location. Catering for all levels from beginner to advanced, you can study various yogic styles including Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa.
As well as the above yoga centers, if you are comfortable with Japanese – or perhaps consider the form of the body to transcend language, here are a couple more places you might want to try.
In a light and airy studio in Nishiki, Yoga Studio Haano offers Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes for all ability levels.
In Meieki you can find Hot Yoga Loive [sic], a class for – you guessed it – practitioners of hot yoga. There are classes for all levels, with five different programs.
For a list of a few other yoga spots in the city, check out this page on the always excellent kikuko-nagoya.com
By Mark Guthrie