The Yogini from Japan Who Found Her Love and Calling in India

By Aya Anandamayi, 32, Delhi

Born in Fukuoka, Japan, I got my LLB from Osaka University, and also studied at Texas as part an exchange program. While there, an Indian friend introduced me to the concept of ‘Om’ and the practice of yoga.

After returning to Japan, I joined Sony Corporation in their marketing division, and spent time travelling between Japan and France for work.

A very inspirational teacher of belly dance whom I encountered in Tokyo then introduced me to the idea of ‘Shiva Shakti’. Seeking the path of spirituality, I travelled to California to study yoga at Sivananda Yoga Farm there.

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Aya teaching yoga in Gurugram

For almost one year, I devoted myself to the serious, disciplined practice of yoga in the US and Vietnam, before finally moving to India.

I worked for a Japanese firm in Gurugram while volunteering to teach yoga classes. As destiny would have it, I met my future husband, who is the founder of Namah Shivaya Yoga School. Everything matched – our interest and our aspirations.

We set up Namah Shivaya centres in Delhi and Gurugram to add to the existing teacher training programs in US and Mexico. More than 950 students have graduated from our centres so far. We also run a foundation to educate underprivileged children in Delhi.

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Aya at the Namah Shivaya Centre in Delhi, where she educates underprivileged children. The teacher in the picture (right, back row) herself studied here as a child. 

The teacher training course changed my life, so I have made it my mission to spread the light of yoga to others. This is the ancient wisdom I sought, and finally found in India.

First published in the February issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here.