It’s no secret that Yoga is one of the oldest and best ways to keep both your body and mind healthy. Life in Osaka can be fast paced but increased peace, flexibility and balance are just some of the huge benefits you will gain from adding in routinely yoga. Yoga has a reputation for being relaxing, which it certainly is, but it will also push you towards your edge. What you do on your yoga mat will directly translate to all other aspects of your life!
Whether you’re a traveller looking to unwind after exploring temples and shrines or an Osaka local wanting to up their fitness game, you deserve to find the best place to unroll your mat. Osaka is home to a fantastic variety of yoga studios that will surely meet your specific needs. Interestingly, Yoga culture in Japan is unique from other places and there really is a focus on offering a plethora of specific options for people. From a classic Vinyasa flow to trendy hot yoga, Osaka doesn’t disappoint and all you need to do is to choose from a fantastic variety of options!
DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA
Vinyasa flow, hot yoga… men’s Yoga? Maybe you’re wondering where to begin. Before figuring out what studio looks the best to you, you might want a quick rundown of different yoga styles. There are so many different types of yoga that offer a variety of different benefits to different people. Here’s a rundown of a few really common styles.
Vinyasa yoga is the most common style offered at yoga studios in Japan. It is the typical “workout style" yoga class that you probably pictured all yoga to be. Classes are very fast paced and very fluid. Vinyasa teachers design their flows (sequence of yoga poses) around transitions between different “asanas” (yoga postures). Linking breath with single movements is the core principle of a vinyasa class. Fun, upbeat music is common and Vinyasa Yoga is awesome for those who aim to push their physical limits.
Ashtanga Yoga is also quite common at studios and is gaining increasing popularity. This Yoga style also links breath with movement but is different from Vinyasa because the sequence of asanas never changes. Ashtanga does the same poses everytime and requires full body strength. Great for those who love routine and enjoy easily measuring their progress!
Bikram Yoga is once again a highly common yoga style. This style is done in heated studios and was created by Bikram Choudhury. Like Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga is also a set sequence of asanas. 26 poses in a studio that’s heated will give you a fantastic workout and you’ll engage muscles you didn’t even know existed!
Speaking of heated studios, Hot Yoga is next on this list. Just like Bikram yoga, hot yoga is done in a studio that is heated. Hot yoga refers to any style of yoga done in heated conditions (not just Bikram) and is intense! This yoga style is often a hit or miss with most people so it’s worth giving a go. Just make sure to hydrate tons before, during and after class as you will be sweating a ton!
Restorative Yoga or Yin Yoga is a more gentle style on the body. The focus of class is not to “build heat” but rather counterbalance the heat you’ve already built. In other words, class is all about relaxing and resetting the body. Yoga is all about balancing opposites and we often just focus on the movement of our bodies. I find Yin Yoga to be differently challenging because of the elongated holding of poses and stillness. Perfect especially at the end of the day, Yin Yoga is beneficial for literally everyone whether they practice other yoga beforehand or not.
Hatha Yoga is a broad, general term that most yoga classes fit into. Specifically though, Hatha Yoga classes typically focus more on the basics of yoga and teaching introductory asanas. This is really great for beginners who want a slower and more in depth introduction into different yoga poses.
Why practice yoga over or with other types of workouts? Well, it’s simple. There are just so many benefits to practicing yoga. Physically, practicing yoga will improve your flexibility, strength and balance. Mentally, however, it gives you all these things too. There is no right and wrong in yoga, and the focus is just on appreciating what your body can do in that moment. Stress management, lowered anxiety and mental calmness have been cited by so many as outcomes of regular yoga practice.
Yoga is also applicable for anybody! Yoga’s versatility is why it’s so amazing. You can easily scale yoga down or up to meet your fitness level thanks to adjustments and modifications. Even if you’re an elite athlete, yoga can help you cross train and ensure you’re training both sides of the body evenly. Yoga also forces you to stretch while you strengthen which will aid in preventing injury and speed up recovery.
1: VANCOUVER SKY YOGA STUDIO OSAKA
Vancouver Sky Yoga Studio is guaranteed to fulfil every Yogi’s wildest dreams. Located in Osaka City, the studio offers a bright open space and accommodates all levels with it’s plethora of Hatha and Vinyasa style Yoga classes. Boasting a “Canada feel”, the studio aims to be a space for anyone and everyone. Very advanced classes are offered at the studio so it's great for all experienced yogis! All beginners are welcome, however, and even children are encouraged to come practice alongside their parents!
However, the most unique aspect of Vancouver Sky Studio is actually their English language classes. English group lessons are held on site and if you also attend a yoga class, an English class is free of charge! (Good if you are a non-native). Additionally, Vancouver Sky Studio is extremely foreigner friendly. You will find classes in both English and Japanese, a specifically translated website and even special price packages for travellers. Also, the studio is extremely accessible via foot, subway or bus and is only a few minutes from Umeda, Hommachi, Shinsaibashi and Namba. You are guaranteed a smile when you practice yoga at Vancouver Sky Studio! It will surely be a highlight of your time in Osaka.
USEFUL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Mats are provided for free! There is no registration fee or membership. Weekly schedule (English classes specified) can be found online. Classes are booked directly via their website. Make sure to book before showing up to reserve your spot!
2: WAVE YOGA STUDIO OSAKA
Another high quality yoga option in Osaka is Wave Yoga Studio. Also located in the heart of Osaka City, Wave offers the perfect getaway to focus on self care. With locations in both Tokyo and Osaka, Wave Yoga has made their mark as a place worth your time. On top of just regular classes, in-studio Yoga Workshops are quite common and so are Yoga retreats to eye opening destinations like Hawaii and New York. Most classes are conducted in Japanese. English support is available, however, if requested upon class bookings.
What makes Wave Yoga Studio so special is their dedication to tailoring a class to it’s students. Wave Yoga offers 7 different levels of classes, ranging from gentle beginner morning yoga to a fiery, intense New York style Vinyasa flow class. The studio even has certain classes tailored to accommodate the specific needs of children, pregnant women and men. This studio is perfect for Osaka residents who are looking to drastically improve their yoga practice over time. Growth is their #1 plan for you and you will not regret it!
USEFUL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Mats are free of charge! Weekly schedules can be accessed online. Wave's website uses "Coubic" to book classes. Contact the studio if you are looking for a class conducted in English.
3: ZEN PLACE YOGA STUDIO OSAKA
Zen Place Yoga Studio has 4 locations in Osaka Prefecture, notably a location in Umeda and in Shinsaibashi. If this convenience alone isn’t enough to encourage you to give it a try, then perhaps their heated studios will. A popular contemporary spin on traditional yoga, hot yoga has taken the fitness world by storm. Hot Yoga promotes release of toxins, increased circulation and muscle relaxation among many other benefits. Zen Place Yoga studio is where you get a chance to try the newer heated yoga practice found all over the world right here in Osaka!
Zen Place Studios are also a great option for those in Osaka (and other parts of Japan) looking to experience other forms of fitness classes. Classes go beyond just yoga - try out pilates or high intensity training (HIIT) at their various other studio locations.
USEFUL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Rented mats are free of charge! A Shower room is also available for use. Classes are booked through a form submission or via phone call. Aim to arrive 20 minutes before class.
4: SPIRIT YOGA STUDIO OSAKA
Last but certainly not least is Spirit Yoga Studio located near Umeda in Tenma, Osaka. Spirit Yoga Studio was the first studio in western Japan to be accredited by Yoga Alliance. Classes available Monday through Sunday, Spirit Yoga will absolutely support making yoga practice a consistent part of your healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the studio has a fantastic yoga vocational school for anyone wishing to push their practice even further and obtain a RYT 200 Teaching Certification under the eye of guest lecturers from all over the world.
“Enjoy Yoga” is the Spirit Yoga’s simple concept they live by and the studio definitely strives to help do just that. Spirit Yoga allows you to choose from a huge abundance of various yoga classes (with ranging levels, of course) as well as also offering the highest level of facilities. Multiple spacious floors, Yoga blocks, Yoga blankets; you name it - they’ve got it.
USEFUL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Reservations and payments are made online through “Coubic". Online payments may be cheaper for certain packages. In person payments can also be made.
Clearly, there is no shortage of options in Osaka for you to get your sweat on through Yoga practice. Osaka offers not just multiple studios but high quality studios. Each of the studios listed above (Vancouver Sky Studio, Waves Yoga Studio, Zen Place Strong Yoga Studio and Spirit Yoga studio) offer multiple levels that will gently welcome the beginner and challenge the experienced. Each studio also offers regular Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) courses and alternate/ amended teaching methods as we navigate restrictions regarding COVID-19.
It’s so important to give different styles of yoga a go. Sure, you may find the perfect fit immediately but for many it can be a trial and error process. With anything, like trying on clothing or trying new foods, we practice open mindedness and yoga is no different! If Vinyasa Flow to loud music in a heated studio isn’t your cup of tea, another yoga style will be!
As dedicated Yogis have said, what makes yoga so worthwhile is it’s versatility in that truly anyone can and should do it! So why not carve out an hour just to focus on giving your mind and body time for healing and rejuvenating amidst the colourful and high energy backdrop of Osaka.