Yoko -- an intro
I've been teaching yoga since 1996. I teach weekly public classes at Nest Yoga on Piedmont Avenue, Oakland and The Yoga Room in Berkeley (NOTE: I'm live-streaming four classes per week, during the shelter-in-place for Alameda County. Check the Teaching Schedule for details.)
Hello. My name is Yoko Yoshikawa. I'm an omnivorous reader, a mother, stepmother and a second-generation Japanese American who speaks and reads Japanese. I write poetry and essays. We have a well-loved tuxedo cat named Fez.
Before the shut-down, I was teaching as many if not more one-on-one private sessions as public classes per week. I enjoy working with students closely. I try as a teacher to step into each session attentive to what the student needs in the moment. I listen closely. Observe and respond creatively.
I've taught yoga philosophy in the Piedmont Yoga Studio's teacher training program, worked with women prisoners in a minimum-security prison, and taught the staff at The Yoga Journal. I've worked with mothers with toddlers, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities.
Reflections on Live-Streaming & Video-Recording Yoga:
I start class with my laptop propped on a low cabinet, headstander and cardboard box. For down-dog and other poses, I move the laptop to an office chair and wheel it around for optimal close-ups. Once, I picked up the laptop and turned it practically upside down to focus on my feet. That did NOT work!
We improvise and learn new skills, while we live cheek-by-jowl with family that we love but don't want to see 24/7. We miss friends, dinner parties, theater, live music, bookstores. We have good days and bad ones. And that is if we're fortunate and not dealing with unemployment, possible eviction, police brutality, and outright hunger.
I feel grateful and lucky to be able to teach. To see longterm (and some new!) students, dedicated to Yoga and willing to log on with me.
At the same time, I am aware that this format doesn't work for everyone. If you don't have a good internet connection. Or a digital device that is bigger than a cell phone and more portable than a desktop computer. If you don't have the room in your house or the props you need at hand. Not to mention the time, the privacy and the mental / emotional bandwidth.
I'm working on short yoga videos -- my daughter shoots the video, my husband provides tech support and all the equipment (tripod, SLR, I Phone X). The results are vintage Yoko and (I hope) charmingly amateur.
With a video, a student can get up from the desk, walk away from the dinner table -- and just follow along. Twenty minutes, a few props -- and she/he/they can feel refreshed, vitalized. Restored to some semblance of physical ease.
Two venues will stream the videos:
- Lifelong Medical in East Oakland will offer the videos to its clients -- mostly African American and older women, some with significant physical limitations.
- Nest Yoga on Piedmont Ave is building a yoga video library that will make videos available to its regular clients for a fee.
I'll keep you posted. If you are interested and would like to pre-view a video, fresh-off-the-I-Phone, please email me!