LEZA LOWITZ is the director of Sun and Moon Yoga. After decades as a successful freelance writer, editor, and university instructor (Tokyo University and Rikkyo University), she came to the realization that her hectic lifestyle was burning her out, and that she wanted a more spiritual relationship to the world. Was there a way to “do” less and “be” more? Was there a way to heal oneself and re-connect with herself and others in the world? Looking for answers, she took her first yoga class in 1989. Five years later, she began to study with Veera Wibaux, an Iyengar-trained French mime, and in 1996, she began intensive study with Jill Minye, a powerful Kripalu teacher.
Lowitz began to teach in 1999, and became certified at the White Lotus Foundation in 2000. Since then, she has studied with many amazing teachers. Among her main influences are Ganga White and Tracey Rich, who pioneered the art of Yoga Vinyasa flow, Jill Minye, Max Thomas, Steve North, Simone Simon, Gaye Abbott, Shiva Rea, Georg Feuerstein, Ted Lafferty, Yvonne Jacques, singer Gina Sala and Dharma teacher Amy Skezas. She has also completed teacher trainings with Shiva Rea and Srivatsa Ramaswami in Vinyasa Krama, and Paul Grilley and Suzee Grilley in Yin Yoga. Lowitz has been to India twice to deepen her yoga studies. In the 1990s, Lowitz was Director of the Dillon Beach Yoga Circle and Manager of the Yoga Research and Education Center (YREC) and studied yoga philosophy, history and scripture with scholar Georg Feuerstein, YREC’s founder. She taught at Asana Yoga and wrote for Yoga Journal and other publications. Through Yoga, Leza rekindled her long-standing interest in Buddhism, meditation and Eastern philosophy, which she first encountered as a teenager in Berkeley, California, and which she maintains to this day. Her interest in healing and serving others (Seva) led her to study more about the subtle energetic body. She took many master courses with Roselight and graduated from the Light Body Training, learning to work with the subtle energies of the body. Lowitz is also a certified Level II Reiki practitioner and studied Qi Gong with Master Xi Jing Li and has completed basic Thai Yoga Massage training with Jonas Westring. She is a registered instructor with Yoga Alliance Asia Pacific and leads workshops and teacher trainings internationally.
While running Sun and Moon Yoga, Lowitz continues her work as a writer, seeing the creative path as one of healing, teaching, evolution, and divine inspiration, much like yoga. She has published twenty books, including the best-selling book, Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By and Sacred Sanskrit Words (with Reema Datta), Jet Black & the Ninja Wind, Here Comes the Sun (her yoga memoir), and Up from the Sea (A YA novel about the 3-11-11 disaster in Japan). She is also an editor of Buddhist and spiritual books for a major publishing house in Tokyo. Her yoga classes are inspired by many schools and influences, delighting in a non-dogmatic, healing and creative approach that is deeply rooted in Advaita (non-dualism). This interplay of the physical, spiritual, devotional, intuitive and creative is a reflection of her belief that life is a work of art that is always expanding and evolving, and that our birthright is freedom, bliss, and union with the divine. She encourages students to open to life and then to devote themselves to helping others. To read an interview with Leza, please see:
ACO was born in Nagoya, and graduated from Aichi University with a degree in Economics. She also has a degree in Psychology from Portland State University. After studying Hatha Yoga at a yoga studio in Japan, ACO studied Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Power Yoga, Raja Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga and various types of bodywork at many studios and workshops throughout Japan and internationally. In addition to teaching yoga in bilingual, she supervises TV, magazine and Yoga websites, and she is committed to teach asana, yoga philosophy and dietary education
She is recognized as a leading Vinyasa Yoga instructor in Japan and many yoga instructors are inspired by her teaching and her flow sequence creativity. In recent years, she focuses energy on spreading Yin Yoga and ageing care yoga.
After over 20 years experience in teaching yoga, she has created her original method “Tensegrity Yoga.” Interweaving various knowledge in her body work experience, she has been developing the approach to unlock one’s potential stability and make more balanced state of “ki”. She also lead the Tensegrity Yoga TTC in various cities in Japan.
* Tensegrity Yoga is a registered trademark of ACO.
SHOGO OKETANI (Self-Defense/Ki Energy Healing and Power) was born in Tokyo and graduated from Keio University with a degree in Philosophy and Literature. He studied Judo and Kendo from childhood, and began studying Karate as a teenager. Later, he received his black belt from the Gensei School of Karate in Tokyo, where he also taught Karate. (He is a Third Degree Black Belt). He also studied North Shaolinquan Martial Arts from the Japanese master Ryu Meiko who was born and grew up in Taiwan.
In 1995, Oketani moved to Northern California, where he worked as a freelance translator, poet and fiction writer. He worked in the high-tech field and taught translation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. With Lowitz, he received a fellowship in translation from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature from the Donald Keene Center at Columbia University for their translations of the poetry of Ayukawa Nobuo (Kaya Press, 2006). His deep understanding of Buddhism and martial arts philosophy, combined with his love of language and words led him to write Designing with Kanji: For Surface, Skin, and Spirit (Stone Bridge Press), co-authored with Lowitz. He moved back to Tokyo in 2003, when he and Leza opened Sun and Moon Yoga.
He recently collaborated with Leza on a young adult novel, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind (Tuttle, 2013,) which has been optioned for featured film production.
HATSUMI ISHIKAWA (StudioManager) was born in Nagasaki. After working as a florist in Fukuoka for a decade, she moved to Tokyo. In 2003, she traveled throughout America for several months. A long-time ballet practitioner and exercise buff, Hatsumi discovered yoga at Sun & Moon in 2005 and quickly fell in love with it! She became the Studio Manager in the fall of 2006 and appeared as a yoga model in the ACO YOGA DVD. She has been to Mysore, India where she studied Ashtanga yoga with Sri Pattabhi Jois and his grandson, Sharath. She continues her daily yoga practice and is also currently studying English.
Em has always been fascinated by the body and movement, and exploring how far the body can go.
She studied contemporary dance at The Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and Middlesex University, gaining a B.A (Hons) in Dance Performance. It was while studying dance that she was introduced to yoga. Em returned to yoga when she hit a dark period in her life, and wanted to make positive changes. She walked through the door at Sun and Moon and knew she had found her sanctuary. She humbly bows to Leza Lowitz for guiding her over the years.
She has been a dedicated practitioner for several years and has immersed herself in the study of yoga with frequent trips to study with her primary teacher Paul Dallaghan, Centered Yoga. She is a graduate of the Centered Yoga foundation training and having attended advance trainings is 500hr Yoga Alliance certified. She is currently working towards her 1100 hour advanced training. She feels blessed to have studied with Paul’s teacher Sri O P Tiwari, delving into the teachings of pranayama as taught at the Kaivaldhama Yoga Institute.
She is a graduate of the Sun and Moon’s restorative teacher training and 100-hour teacher training courses. She also graduated from David Swenson’s 40-hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Course and has studied Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley. She is also trained to teach pre-natal yoga.
Her own practice draws on Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and dance. Em would like students to explore, release, experience inner and outer transformation–and have fun.
Her second passion is nutrition, for yogis and non-yogis. She follows a high raw-vegan diet and has recently trained as a Holistic health Counsellor and runs nutritional courses in Tokyo.
For more information please check em-yoga.com
Since 1994, Tomo traveled around Japan as a snowboarder, then discovered yoga in 2004. She has been practicing yoga for 3 years at Sun & Moon, and wants to continue to live and grow with yoga. Through her practice, she noticed that she changed everyday, and she learned the importance of being in the moment. Her hope is to inspire others to enjoy yoga through her classes. Her intention as a teacher is to set a meditative enviroment in which people can observe their own subtle changes. Tomo attended her first 10-day Goenka Vipassana meditation retreat in 2005, graduated from the 2007 Sun & Moon Restorative Yoga TTC, and completed the 200-Hour Sivananda Yoga TTC in the Himalayas in 2007. She is a certified Yoga Instructor registered with Yoga Alliance and has attended four Vipassana meditation retreats. Completed Basic Maternity Yoga Teacher Training with Maternity Yoga Association of Japan, 2011.
Miles Maeda has been a teacher of yoga and meditation for the past 14 years. He has developed practice centers in Chicago, San Diego, Portland and Long Beach, and has worked with students all over the world. Miles specializes in the practical application of yoga in daily life, creating with his students intentional focus in health, education, creativity and community.
Miles’ comprehensive training encompasses the evolving styles of yoga as they have existed on the planet over the past 18,000 years. His intensive studies range from the classical Indian yogas (Hatha and Kundalini Yoga) to the East Asian traditions (Tao Yoga) to the ancient schools of Central Asia (Tibetan/Bön Yoga, Tantra, Sufism). He continues to enrich his education and experience through modern movement systems like Pilates, GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®.
As an educator, Miles offers teacher training through the World Evolution school of yoga as an E-RYT/RYT 500 certified teacher with Yoga Alliance. His current classes and workshops introduce the rich diversity of yoga styles and provide useful applications for practice in every day life. Ultimately, as a teacher, Miles’ goal is to be an example of what he teaches as well as to create opportunities for students to deepen their own experience, understanding and connection to practice.
ETSUKO ROE (EKO)
Etsuko Roe (Eko)’s first yoga teacher was her mother, with whom she practiced yoga daily together with her family. While living abroad and traveling around Asia, her practice dropped off, so she recommitted to Yoga. Through yoga injuries, she reevaluated her approach and begin to see that everyone has a different experience of the same pose because we have different bodies. At that time, she was introduced to Yin Yoga with Leza Lowitz in 2006, and completed the first Yin Yoga TTC with Paul Grilley in Japan through Sun and Moon Yoga in 2007. This teaching is the foundation of her approach to yoga asana. She also graduated from a 100 hour TTC with Paul in the US. In 2009, in India, she studied Yoga Therapy at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, and took an Intensive YT Course at the University of Vivekananda (SVYASA) in Bangalore. She also studied Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater, Leza Lowitz, and Cyndi Lee. She is currently studying Tibetan Heart Yoga and Partner Yoga. It is her hope that yoga will help you feel your brightness, completeness, inner peace and Smile, and connection with other people and the world. It is her belief that Yoga helps foster world peace through individual inner peace. Etsuko is certified in Yin Yoga, Akhanda Yoga (Classical Hatha RYS200)、Restorative Yoga、and is trained in Tibetan Heart Yoga（Series 1 & 4 with Ted Lafferty, Series 2 with Yvonne Jaques), and Thai Yoga Massage (with Jonas Westring). She is also a certified Reiki Therapist and Laughter Yoga Leader.
Satomi enjoyed her longtime career as an office worker, even though it was often stressful. A strong desire to lead an authentic life led her to leave her career and embark on a new life. She was surprised to discover that even after she’d quit her job, her stress remained. Physical and mental discomforts plagued her for years–until she discovered yoga, which helped her to understand the mind-body connection and led to her recovery. Yoga helped her to find balance, so she decided to become a yoga teacher to help others discover the happiness and well-being she had felt. She feels it is her life mission to support people leading an authentic life. Besides teaching yoga, she works as a life coach and operates a consulting/event business for well-being called “Growth & Wellness.” Satomi has completed a 200-Hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training Course, and is a graduate of 20-Hour Yoga Therapy and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training courses at Sun and Moon Yoga. She is also a graduate of the Yoga Therapy Training at The Yoga Room with Judy Crupp, Trauma Approach Yoga (TAY) Teacher Training at UTL, and the Medical Yoga/Senior Yoga and Menopause Support Teacher Trainings at Luna Works. In 2009, she completed CTI Japan Coaching Training.
You can find her on FB at: Growth & Wellness
HISAKA was born in Osaka. She began practicing Shaolin Kung Fu with her father, a Shingon Buddhist monk, at the age of three–practicing Sun Salutations as the warm-up at their Dojo. As a child, she practiced yoga and the martial arts before she even knew they had names.
At the age of 18-24 she studied TA (Transactional Analysis) which became the basis of her self-development and self-transformation. Later, she worked at Amanamana, a Tibetan Art Gallery in Hiroo, where she deepened her knowledge of Tibetan singing bowls. She went on to guide many yoga instructors and spiritual healers in the use of Tibetan singing bowls.
Through close observation of her students, her goal as a teacher is to help the student to be deeply at ease in the mind and body and enjoy yoga.
She has practiced yoga at Sun and Moon with Leza Lowitz, Ted Lafferty and Masaaki Nakajima.
RYT200 certified yoga teacher (completed Ashtanga Vinyasa TTC with Rupali Embry & Tania jo Ingraham)
Completed Yoga Studies Institute Tibet Heart Yoga Teacher Training, Series 1-4 (total 80 hours)
Completed Yoga Studies Institute 20-Hour Yoga Sutra Course
Completed Yoga Studies Institute Professional Adjustment Course
Completed 40-Hour Full Practice Series with Masaaki Nakajima
Completed Sun and Moon 20-Hour Restorative Yoga Teacher Training Course with Leza Lowitz
Completed Mantra Yoga TTC (Level 1) with Anandra George
Completed Motoyama Method Meridian Exercise Intensive Seminar
TA Psychologist (studied at Osaka TA Educational Institute, completed TA101, TA Advance (70-hour), TA ad ad (126 hour))
HIROMI KITTY THOMPSON
Kitty, a former international flight attendant, started to practice Yoga after being introduced by friends. She has attended classes and workshops in Japan and overseas, which has had a great influence on her. Kitty has been teaching Yoga for the past 11 years and translating for 5 years. Kitty looks at Yoga as an essential part of her life and she continues to explore to deepen her experience and knowledge.
Kitty incorporates the essence of Yoga into her daily life and appreciates the little things that bring happiness to everyday life, while maintaining the balance between her work and being the mother of two young children.
Kitty takes a holistic approach to yoga, and incorporates the lesson learnt through her experience translating for, and practicing with numerous magnificent teachers.
MAYUMI FUJITA was born in Tokyo. She began to practice yoga to improve her health while working as a display designer at an interior decorating shop. She realised she was overworking and placing stress on herself, and that yoga practice combined with breath and movement brought a more balanced state of mind. She appreciates the beauty of yoga, its gentleness to the mind and body, and its message to “just be yourself.” She chose to become a yoga instructor to share the beauty of yoga.
IHTA certified Yoga Instructor
JPAS certified Aromatherapy practitioner
Completed 20-Hour Restorative Yoga TTC with Leza Lowitz
Mayumi Blog tous les jours (In Japanese)
Practicing yoga fills me up with love towards myself and the world around me. I hope that restorative yoga can bring you the same or even a lot more. Most of all, everyone deserves some relaxing and quiet time in their busy days. See you at the studio.
Yoga Alliance 200H Teacher Training 2013
Sun and Moon Yoga Studio Restorative Yoga TTC 2013
Sun and Moon Yoga Studio Yoga Therapy TTC 2014
HARUKA TAKAHASHI (Staff Interpreter/Translator/Teacher)
Haruka was first introduced to bodywork through osteopathy. She started practicing yoga on her own, and further cultivated her practice after the March 2011 Earthquake with a RYT200 TTC. Having learned literary translation from an honorable translator, she then began professional yoga interpretation. Haruka sees translation as an integral yoga practice and is passionate about serving as an energy channel and transmitter between teacher/author and class/reader.
・ITM Thai Yoga Bodywork Level4
・Leza Lowitz Restorative Yoga 20-Hour TTC
It is always a pleasure to work with translator Haruka Takahashi. Beyond the technical skill of accurate, intelligent and engaging translation, Haruka has a positive attitude and a caring quality that she brings to the work. Haruka understands that translation is a yoga in itself, and this shows in her work. From her meticulous research and preparation before even beginning translation to her focus and mindfulness in the moment of interpretation, she exhibits true yogic discipline and presence of mind. We always have a lot of fun together as well. For these reasons, I can recommend Haruka Takahashi as a yoga translator without reservation.
ELIZABETH PAPPA, a Floridian, was first introduced to yoga in 2009 by her aunt. She quickly fell in love with the practice. After moving to Japan in 2014 as an English teacher, daily yoga helped her deal with the challenges of living in a completely new culture. She decided to pursue her 200hr yoga teacher training in Ashtanga with David Lertsin in Thailand. After completing her training, Elizabeth has been teaching weekly Vinyasa flow classes in Tokyo. She loves: spending time with her family, traveling, dogs, and laughter.
After graduating from art school, Mayo began a career working in the fashion industry for an apparel company. Later, in pursuit of a more creative career, she became a product planner/designer and PR representative for a bicycle manufacturer. Eventually, stress from personal issues and overwork led her to yoga, which helped her transform her life both physically and mentally. She hoped to one day share the amazing power of yoga with others, and began to study yoga seriously after getting divorced and starting a new chapter in her life.
“Teaching is learning. I see my students as my teachers,” her teacher once said. This idea impressed Mayo, and made up decide to start on the path of teaching and sharing yoga. Currently she teaches at several yoga studios and fitness clubs in Tokyo. She is grateful for the support of her teachers, yoga friends and the yoga community.
She remains deeply committed to her yoga practice and to deepening her learning. In her classes, she hopes to share the beauty of yoga that she has experienced and the importance of finding one’s own authentic path in life.
- 2015 Studio Lotus 8 certified Yoga instructor
- 2015 Completed Rolling Restorative Yoga TTC with Sara Shivani
- 2015 Completed 32-hour Ashtanga Yoga TTC Basic level with Ken Harakuma
- 2015 Completed 20-hour Restorative Yoga TTC with Leza Lowitz
- 2016 Completed Venus Yoga TTC with Sara Shivani
- 2017 Completed 20-hour Maternity Yoga TTC with Kitty Thompson
As an office worker, Kumiko Fukumoto discovered the powerful effects of yoga, which helped her heal stiff shoulders, eyestrain, and count work pressure and stress. While working full-time, she began to teach yoga.
Her Iyengar-yoga inspired classes feature deepening awareness of subtle body sensations through basic asana and sometimes partner work. With the smooth transition from asana to asana, students can comfortably practice asana, using props if needed.
Kumiko practices with and assists Dominica Serigano and Keiko Okuno. Also she studies Yoga Therapy with Keishin Kimura and has completed trainings with many teachers from abroad such as Marla Apt, Lisa Walford, Gabriella Giubilaro, Ramanand Patel, etc..
Kumiko will be teaching in Japanese with minimal English.
- Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana/Japan Yoga Therapy Society certified Yoga Therapist
- RYT200 registered teacher
- RYT500 (in progress)
- 20-Hour Restorative Yoga TTC with Leza Lowitz, Sun and Moon
- Restorative Yoga TT Level 2 at Under The Light Yoga School
- Injury Management TTC with Lisa Walford (Intermediate Senior Iyengar teacher)
Kumiko’s blog (in Japanese)
GUEST TEACHERS/TEACHER TRAINING FACULTY
Lauren Peterson is a nationally recognized yoga practitioner, yoga model, and teacher living in Malibu, Calif. She is one of the few advanced (Fourth Series) Ashtanga yoga practitioners in the U.S. Lauren had the privilege of studying with and assisting Chuck Miller for over 10 years. In addition to her open asana classes, she also started a yoga program designed for women struggling with eating disorders. She has been featured in many magazines such as Yoga Journal and Cosmopolitan, and on television in the PBS series “Healing Quest.” Lauren is the creator of “The Yogi’s Companion,” a yoga practice CD, which was chosen “Editor’s Choice” by Yoga Journal. She is honored to have modeled for a Yoga asana book including Rodney Yee, Richard Freeman and Patricia Walden, as well as in and on the covers of yoga calendars and magazines. Her client base includes many entertainers and athletes. She sees yoga as a lifelong journey with incalculable benefits.
Catherine Harper-Tee has been practising yoga for nearly fifteen years and teaching since 2006. She gave up a very different and hectic life as a corporate lawyer to explore her passion for yoga. With a background as a runner and triathlete, Catherine was naturally drawn initially towards the more dynamic forms of vinyasa flow yoga and the traditional practice of Ashtanga, which still shapes her personal practice today. She has been fortunate to study with and be mentored by some wonderful teachers over the years including Leza Lowitz, Tarik Thami, David Swenson, Richard Freeman, Eileen Hall, Natalia Paisano, Simon Bourg Olivier, Clive Sheriden, Kino MacGregor, Shiva Rea, Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank, Ed Clarke and Louisa Sear. Graeme Northfield, one of the first Ashtanga teachers to be certified by Sri K Patthabi Jois in Mysore, India, has been her main teacher since 2007. Catherine became Yoga Alliance 200 hour certified in 2006 with Louisa Sear and the Yoga Arts team in Australia. While teaching, she also studied at North Sydney Yoga undertaking a traditional three year Ashtanga apprenticeship with Angelika Knoerzer. Catherine then studied with Sri K Patthabi Jois and Sharath Rangaswamy in Mysore, India, and completed David Swenson’s Ashtanga Intensive Training for Teachers. She currently holds Yoga Alliance EYRT 200 hrs and 500 hours certifications and is a UK certified Advanced Personal Trainer. Catherine’s classes contain a mixture of all her influences, but are mostly playful and fun. She encourages her students to explore their perceived limitations and to laugh, to try, to experiment and to enjoy each of those precious moments.
Since 2010 Catherine has travelled around the world teaching yoga and meditation, nutrition and personal training. Her time is currently divided between the UK, Isle of Man, Japan, the US, South Africa and Europe.