The physical health benefits of practicing yoga regularly are well known. This ancient form of exercise can help improve muscle strength and range of motion and reduce pain, but for Eriko Tsuchiya, owner of Serene Yoga Studio in Tokyo, the mental benefits are just as important.
Eriko began teaching yoga in 2011, but she’s been practicing yoga since 2005. She turned to the practice in lieu of medication to better manage the stress and anxiety that came with a demanding career as a mechanical engineer as well as starting a family. Yoga provided her with the tools she needed to calm herself mentally and physically while also helping her to step back and examine her own thought process and the need to be in control that was contributing to her stress.
She currently offers basic Hatha yoga classes as well as yoga therapy in her studio, which she opened in 2014 in Omotesando. Yoga therapy involves the use of different tools and techniques to modify poses and allow the body to build strength and flexibility while aiding in recovery from injury and disease. Classes are a maximum of eight people, with private and semi-private sessions available. Her teaching style is very much an open dialogue to allow her clients to get the maximum physical and mental benefits from the practice.
The atmosphere of Serene Yoga Studio in Tokyo is perfectly in line with its name and every aspect of the space was chosen in consideration of the five senses. With large windows to let in plenty of natural light and minimal furnishings, there is little to distract you from your practice. Tsuchiya designed the space to be a retreat where her clients could leave their worries at the door and focus on themselves and their individual needs. No judgements. No pressure. You won’t find a single mirror in the studio, which further prevents clients from comparing themselves to others. She uses music to set the mood and aromatherapy to customize the environment to what her clients need. All equipment is provided, with mats and props by top brand easyoga.
All of these aesthetic decisions serve Eriko’s larger goal, which is to create a welcoming community space that feels more intimate than larger studios. Students are encouraged to communicate openly with each other, building relationships and even assisting in improving English or Japanese language skills.
Appreciating the differences in each other, Eriko believes, is key to breaking down barriers and fostering connection, which is her ultimate goal with Serene Yoga Studio in Tokyo in addition to introducing more people to the practice of yoga. No matter where you’re from and whether or not you have any yoga experience, just come as you are.