Wednesday, February 27, 2008

three days in Tokyo

Tokyo was intense. It never ceases to amaze me how many people there are. You literally cannot go anywhere in the city without there being 50 other people in the same place. It actually seems more crowded than it did last time I was there in 2003. Which probably isn't a news flash, but back then I thought there were already too many people.

The biggest difficulty I found was that most restaurants still permit smoking and there is nothing that ruins a good meal more than a mouthfull of smoke as you eat your sushi.

We held a Zen Yoga workshop at the Sun & Moon Yoga studio in Meguro. Leza Lowitz was the host and we had a full house. I taught the new 5-Elements 10 Zen Qigong form I have been perfecting.
The next evening I gave a lecture and book signing at Good Day Books in Ebisu. Ebisu is where I did most of my Shotokan karate training back in the 1980's when the headquarters of the Japan Karate Association was located there. It is still the location of the Hoitsugan, the private dojo of Sensei Nakayama, though he passed away in 1987. Speaking of the Hoitsugan, I will be attending the 3rd Hoitsugan Seminars in the Silicon Valley or Northern California - March 12-16, 2008
More information here:

The final day of my time in Tokyo was spent at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan in Yurakucho. I met with Barry Lancet, Senior Editor of Kodansha International. We were joined by Sophie Hardach a journalist from Reuters news service and Kim Kyunghoon a photographer. They conducted an interview and photoshoot to be posted on their lifestyles site and made available to news agencies around the world.
Here is the link:

More soon, once I recover from my trip home.....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Land of Oz

The weather has been quite nice for most of my stay. The sun is so hot you can really only spend short periods in the sun before you burn.

Zen Yoga on the beach at sunrise is a wonderful way to start the day. I've had a lot of opportunity to reflect on a number of things.

I think that many people have a desire to be fit and healthy. The problem is that just having a desire is too vague. We tend to get caught up in living unconsciously and time passes. We then realize we haven't been living in a healthy manner. At this stage doing something for fitness becomes a chore. If we can keep ourselves in a mindful place and make mindful choices about how we treat our bodies we have a much better chance of getting to the place we really want to be.

Always start with conscious breathing and take it from there. once the body gets more oxygen into it there is a much better impetus for movement. Make your fitness routine a habit...not an appointment.

Off to Tokyo on Thursday....

in peace,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Walkabout in Australia

After a 24-hour trip, I made it to the land Down Under. It is summer here and about 84 degrees and sunny. I spent the first 4 days climbing in the outback mountains of the Great Dividing Range with my long-time friend and Zen Yoga instructor Paul Carney. I was lucky to swim in a couple of absolutely stunning rock pools beneath magnificient waterfalls. On one day we hiked and climbed for 7 hours and never saw another person. We did see hundreds of kangaroos however. Of course, I took lots of photos, but they will have to wait until my return to post them.

Most of the time was spent breathing in the amazing energy of the land and taking time to find that calm center within. It is really amazing what you can discover when you can disconnect from all of the distracting buzz of modern society. We really don't give ourselves enough time to do this.

Internet access is spotty, but I'll try to post again soon.

more soon,

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chinese New Year 2008

On February 7th 2008 we enter the Chinese Year of the Rat.

The Rat is the most opportunistic of all animals in the Chinese philosophical tradition. It is the first sign of the 12 animal cycle and signifies a time of new beginnings. It is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. It is an opportunity for new ideas, directions and ways of doing things. However, things that are begun during this year are likely to have long term consequences, so it is advisable for us to choose our actions wisely and focus on things that enrich the world instead of destroying it.

This Rat year is modified by the Earth element. The past two years have been Fire years (Boar & Dog) which have stirred things up a bit. The Earth element tends to bring a calming stability to things this year, just at a point when we need it. Unfortunately, the Rat has an affinity for the Water element which maintains a destructive relationship with the Earth element. All of this means that some dangers may lie ahead.

The problem with the Rat is that there is a selfish tendency to its nature that can undermine good intentions. The Rat can symbolize an aggressive, yet calculating, motivation towards money and status. In addition, this year will be a time of nervous energy and stress and we need to take responsibility to be aware of this. It will be easy to blame others for our own problems.
Another factor is that Earth is a sedentary element. We need to realize that inactivity can lead to problems. Be sure to get enough exercise and be on the alert for unwanted weight gains. Remember to Breathe!

The good news is that, being the beginning of a new cycle, this year offers a chance to begin walking a different path. Performing work that is spiritual in nature can have far reaching effect. We are getting close to a time when self-awareness is imperative for the evolution of our species. If you have been waiting for the moment to make some fundamental changes in your life, now is the time.

I wish you blessings of happiness and health along your journey…

Happy New Year!

Aaron Hoopes – February 2008

Author of Zen Yoga: A Path to Enlightenment through Breathing, Movement and Meditation

You are welcome to reprint this or pass it on.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Australia & Japan

I'm leaving for Australia on Wednesday Feb 6th. It is about a 19 hour trip and I will be arriving in Brisbane on Feb 8th (australia time). Then I'm off on a 5-day walkabout in the tropical rainforest with an old friend. No phone, no computer......!

February 22-25th I'll be in Japan and will be holding a Zen Yoga workshop at Sun & Moon Yoga in Tokyo on Saturday Feb 23 8:00-10:00am.

I will also be giving a talk and book signing at
Good Day Books
in Tokyo on Sunday Feb 24 6:00-8:00pm.

In addition I'm going to be interviewed by Reuters at the Tokyo Press Club while I'm there.

I haven't been back in either Australia or Japan for about 4 years and I'm quite excited about it.
Lot's of friends to catch up with.

I'll try and post some of my adventures here when I get a chance.

In peace....
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