What is Chika Yoga?
My name is Chika Shimizu (Ebihara). The kanji character for “Chika” means one thousand flowers. After I started practicing yoga, I began to familiarize myself with chakra, which are the very important energy points in the human body. One chakra is called the shahasrara chakra which means one thousand petals. After learning this, I felt that yoga and I were destined to be connected in this life. Learning more about this chakra, I discovered it is located at the crown of the head, and is known as the enlightenment chakra.
At first, I thought it would be too much to name my yoga practice after such a holy chakra but then in fall of 2015, I came across this gorgeous mandala (pictured above) while attending a yoga and meditation retreat in Rishkeshi, India. The beauty of the mandala compelled me to purchase it. Upon my return to my home in Ogasawara, I closely examined the mandala and it struck me that it looks like one thousand petals. Recently, I talked to my friend and she said that many people experience many small enlightments every day. After she said that, we agreed that “Chika Yoga” was the perfect name for my yoga practice.
I was born in October 27, 1967 in Tokyo. Before I got married, I was working as a childcare worker in kindergartens and orphanages. In 2003, I got married to Ryo Shimizu and began to work alongside my husband running our two businesses: eco-tourist accomodation Pelan Village and sea kayaking tour service Pelan Pelan Sea Kayak Club. I have two children and I have taught yoga classes on the island for thirteen years.
I first encountered yoga when I was 29 years old living in Tokyo. Immediately afterwards, I moved to Chichijima, Ogasawara and at that time, there were no yoga teachers living on the island. I began to try to teach myself. One day, I found out about a famous surfer/yogi Sakamoto couple who lived on Hachijo Island nearby. I wrote them letters expressing my desire to learn surfing and yoga from them. After five years, I have been to Hachijo Island many times to learn surfing from the Sakamoto couple (especially from Chie, who I am proud to call my mentor). Noboru Sakamoto was one of the late renowned Kazuo Banba’s disciples. I learned a lot of yoga from videos and books by Banba.
After that, my friend reccommended that I try Ashtanga Yoga. I earned a Hatha Yoga teacher’s license from Ken Harakuma. My friend, Chiho Kazuyama, is a great yoga teacher as well as my soulmate. She still continues to influence my yoga practice and way of life.
In 2008, Fuku Iida, another yoga teacher, began to make trips to teach at Chichijima. Every time he visited, I learned a lot of new yoga poses from him. His yoga philosophy really resounded with me and I felt that this encounter with such a wonderful yogi was a miracle. I learned from him and received a yoga certificate from him. Swami Veda from swami rama ashuram in India highly commended Fuku. Fuku began to form a tight bond with this particular Ashram, visiting it every year. In 2015, I visited this Ashram with Fuku and several other yoga practitioners. Fuku’s life seems to fit perfectly with his yoga philosophy.
After meeting him, I have come to realize that yoga is more than just the poses but also includes all of life. There are many teachers who can teach many poses but there are not that many teachers who can talk about yoga philosophy or how to live purely. This deeper way of teaching is called Raja yoga. His way of talking is always very easygoing, humorous, and full of rare nuggets of wisdom. Fukuiida is a 70 years old male yoga teacher who runs his own practice called Space-Be on the outskirts of Tokyo in Akiruno. He spends most of his time travelling around the world teaching yoga. Every year, Fukuiida visits Ogasawara for 10 days.
Chika Yoga is the name of my yoga practice, influenced by many wise yogis. Surrounded by beautiful island nature, the yoga can help you to slowly release your mind and body. Through yoga, you can realize your true potential and return to your pure self.
In yoga class, don’t force yourself to do too much. Please accept your level. It is most effective to feel good rather than to stress yourself out with difficult poses. I try to make each class available for all yoga levels. Please adjust difficult poses to your level. Little by little, yoga will make a big impact on your life. This will slowly build your happiness levels. I hope Chika Yoga can build your personal yoga practice.
Recently, I have begun to include satsanga in yoga classes. In these open community discussions, we share our personal thoughts around a single topic. People peacefully listen to others’ stories and as a result, realize things about themselves. If you share your truth then that will release pressure from your mind. It is really rich and popular now.
In Indian, Yoga means Oneness. If you lay down on the beach and do shavaassana, as soon as you melt into the ground/air/ocean, then you can become one with the Earth. You will feel the connection with the entirety of life. If you live in this mindset, then there will be no war, environmental problems, domestic violence, and personal problems.
A lot of gratefulness for deepness and wonder of yoga.
om-om-om santi hi
Chika shimizu 25.jan.2016