You have variety of Yoga classes available in Okinawa

By David Higgins

If yoga is an important part of your life, and if you’re anything like me, the first thing you do before traveling anywhere is check out yoga opportunities at your destination.  You may think Okinawa would not have a lot of yoga prospects but, surprisingly, it has quite a few.  From beginners to intermediate, to yoga practiced by the seaside, on the beach, or even yoga practiced on a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) board, if you look hard enough you can definitely find a yoga class on Okinawa that is the right fit for you.

There are many ways to practice yoga – even on a stand-up paddle board.

In order to find the type of yoga that appeals to you, you sometimes need to try a variety of classes first.  Sometimes the very first yoga class you take ends up being the style you enjoy the most.  Some basic yoga types are Hatha, Hot, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Restorative.  Depending on your needs, any one of these could work for you.

Hatha Yoga is slow and gentle.  This is usually the class that most beginners try first.

Although Hot Yoga can be physically demanding due to the fact that the class is practiced in 105°F heat with 40% humidity, the class focuses on alignment and moves quite slowly, with poses held for one minute or more.  This also can be good for beginners.

Restorative Yoga is another class great for beginners as it only involves a small number of poses.  You will hold these poses for an extended period of time (sometimes up to 5 minutes) and focus on breathing.  Restorative yoga is best practiced at night.

Vinyasa Yoga is sometimes called Flow Yoga.  Poses run together in a smooth way but there is not as much rest between poses as in Hatha or Restorative.

Ashtanga Yoga is definitely more challenging yoga class.  It is sometimes called Power Yoga and focuses on strength and is quite physically demanding.

There are a variety of classes held on Okinawa:

Yoga Instructor Rebecca Cohen offers classes at the Risner Fitness Center and Sports Complex on Kadena AB.  Classes are also open to non-SOFA status individuals.  Rebecca offers beginner to intermediate level classes as well as private instruction.  She also has started SUP yoga, which is a combination of yoga practiced on a Stand-Up Paddle board.

Shanbio, located along the Sunabe Seawall in the same building as Bella Napoli Pizza, is a combined spa and yoga studio.  The yoga studio is located on the 5th floor with stunning view of the East China Sea.

Yoga by the seaside class is offered on Sundays at 7 p.m. by Yoga Instructor Marujun (Junko Nakazono).  Classes are conducted at Uminchi Seaside Park at Maezato 1931, Itoman City.

Ryukyu Therapy Yoga Studio gives opportunities to practice many types of yoga including Vinyasa yoga, Sivananda yoga, Basic Pilates, Morning “Kikou” yoga, and Pelvic yoga.  The studio is located on the third floor of 10, Shuri, Ikehatacho, Naha-shi, which is approximately a 10-minute walk from Monorail Shuri Station, in front of “Ryutan Ike (Pond)”.

Whichever yoga class you end up choosing, know that you are choosing one of the best ways to stretch and relax your body, and also taking some time to build and enhance your mind-body connection.