Today’s blog is written by The Mazé Method Emissary Rocky Heron.
I sit writing this on the Narita Express train, which, if I managed to navigate correctly, is taking me into the heart of Tokyo, Japan where I will spend 2 days exploring the city for the first time. I have extended my trip to Japan for 48 hours, that I may have the time to see the neon lights, fascinating fashion, and historic beauty of this exciting city that until now has only existed in my mind as a far away dream on the other side of the world. I am excited! It’s my first time getting lost in a foreign city in about 8 years, and a much-needed adventure to invigorate and awaken my senses.
I arrived in Japan 6 days ago and was swiftly ushered to the prefecture of Shizouka to the Hanamako Hotel where I had the good fortune of offering a Yoga presentation and a handful of group classes at the Mega Event, a 6 day seminar offered by James Skinner, which takes participants through a multi step process to develop the skills and understandings to enhance all areas of their lives: health, relationships, business, wealth, and overall success. My presentation was offered on the day dedicated to health, and provided the attendees with an overview of the theory and history of yoga, as well as the opportunity to build and establish a sustainable practice. All this being said, I must admit I arrived to the event having no idea what to expect. Knowing very little about the culture and previous experience of the participants, I arrived with an open mind and an eagerness to be of value in whatever way I could. Now, on the other side of the event, I can honestly say that what I experienced blew me away. It was an experience for me like never before, and one that opened my eyes to what it means to be enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge.
The event kicked off on Friday night with about a 15 minute opening celebration, complete with costumes, group choreography, chants, fog machines, music videos, and pyrotechnics. Never before have I seen such a large group of mostly business professionals (around 300 I was told) engage in such joyful and almost childlike celebration. They were beyond excited to be in attendance of this life-changing event, and not once throughout my time there did I ever see their energy diminish. From what I understand, their culture does not often encourage such boisterous and carefree demonstrations of enthusiasm, and part of the excitement around the Mega Event was the opportunity it provides to give voice to a part of their spirit that is often suppressed. Through this cathartic release I witnessed a large community come together and celebrate with a sustained energy like I had never seen before. It was baffling, heartwarming, and a complete joy to behold.
By the time I offered my presentation it was 10:30pm local time on my second day in Japan. Still reeling from the effects of jet lag, my body was fully aware that it was 6:30am back home (the morning before), and I felt quite like a zombie running up on the stage to kick things off with what was supposed to be a 5 minute yoga demonstration of “some impressive, tricky yoga moves.” I know from experience that when I’m in front of a crowd that is hungry to learn and be entertained, that I can rally and find the energy I need, so I had some faith that I would not pass out from exhaustion during my first inversion. What I was immediately met with gave me a Shakti jolt stronger than any espresso I’ve ever had. The crowd was on their feet cheering, applauding, hollering and exclaiming their excitement and appreciation from the moment my feet hit the stage. Every arm balance, backbend, and leg hoisted behind my head initiating a cheer more celebratory than the one before. I was carried by the captivated audience’s audible joy and gratitude in ways I had never before felt.
I went on to present a lecture on the origins and foundations of yoga practice, followed by a full-spectrum practice complete with sun salutations, standing poses, partner assisted handstands, forward folds, backbends, with some seated pranayama and live music in Savasana. They willingly twisted and stretched their way into every shape I asked them to try, and regardless of their intensely expressive faces of agony during several sensory rich asanas, every time I asked if they “liked yoga,” applause, cheers, and thumbs pointing upwards erupted from the crowd. After the practice I left the stage, took a number of photos with the event staff, floated back to my room, and crashed. Meanwhile the attendees had another two hours of the seminar left for the day, making for a 2am end time! It was an experience for me like never before, and one that opened my eyes to what it means to be enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge.
The rest of my time at the event was a beautiful extension of the energy I felt on the first night. There are endless experiences and examples of the kind energy I witnessed and was given throughout my time at the Mega Event – more than I could articulate, as you can see, in a blog post of reasonable length. And while I still have yet to fully unpack and make sense of my whole time spent at the Hamanako hotel, I do know that I am leaving inspired by what it means to be innocently joyful in one’s thirst for knowledge and new experience. Regardless of how much you know, how successful you are, and how much wealth you have amassed, it is always possible to view life with fresh eyes. Why is it that it’s so easy to be skeptical and dubious of new information? Why does our bullshit meter so readily fire off when presented with anything that comes to us outside of our sphere of everyday understanding? I don’t know if I can flip a switch and suddenly adopt the childlike wonder and celebratory attitude of my new Japanese friends, but I am certainly leaving the experience with my heart full and willing to try. I believe that it is the attitude of curiosity, eagerness, and appreciation that not only creates positive results in one’s life, but also makes the flavor of life more sweet and stimulating. I was hired to present and educate at the mega event, but I ended up receiving and learning so much from the radiance of the attendees. It was an energy that needed no cultivation. They had it from the get go.
My train is nearing its destination of Shibuya in Tokyo. I will step off into what I understand is an exciting and sensational hub of the city. I don’t speak an ounce of Japanese and I have very little agenda. I fully anticipate on getting lost and couldn’t be happier about it. I am curious, eager, and appreciative to be here.
Domou Arigato, Japan. Here goes nothin…