CALM TALK 09 Delivering Abundance to Those in Need | Ryoko Saito (Meditator, Yogi)

Meditator and yogi Ryoko Saito offers tips on how to incorporate meditation into your life.
  • Photograph:MOMOKA OMOTE

Ryoko Saito speaks slowly and calmly, choosing her words carefully. She speaks slowly and calmly, and one gets the impression that this is the result of her nearly 15 years of yoga practice and the meditation she has deepened since then. At an event held in collaboration with HERENESS and KINTO, a lifestyle product company, she held a meditation workshop called "Tea Meditation," using tea as a starting point. We asked Mr. Saito for his tips on how to incorporate meditation into daily life in a natural way.

Saito-san, who used to lead a life without exercise, started practicing yoga at a gym he happened to visit. After repeating yoga several times, he felt a distinctly different sensation of breathing and mental conditioning.

I had never been able to focus on my body before, but after yoga, I felt a great sense of physical stability," Saito said. I also felt a sense of calmness and serenity in the parts of me that were overly hungry or overly eager to do something.

The yoga switch flipped on Saito, and he immediately felt a desire to deepen his practice. But that was in 2008. At that time, there were only a limited number of places where one could specialize in yoga.

At that time, there were very few places where you could do yoga," Saito said. I wanted to do just yoga, not part of a workout, so I found out there were places like yoga schools and started there. It's a school that trains yoga teachers, where you learn not only yoga poses, but also physiology, philosophy, and so on.

But I went there without much experience, so I couldn't really put it into my mind after just one class. Through that, I came to see what kind of yoga I wanted to do, so I decided to go back to school again."

The direction of yoga that Saito felt she wanted to pursue was one that would help her to regulate not only her body, but also her mind. She looked for a place where she could learn the philosophy and other aspects of yoga to achieve this.

On the other hand, Saito also said that it is easier for beginners to get into yoga if they approach it from the body.

In the beginning," he said, "I didn't have a detailed awareness of my body, so I started with my muscles, my bones, and my body outside, and then I started doing yoga as if I was getting in touch with my mind. I think of it as a kind of introspection and deepening from the poses. For those who have never practiced yoga before, I think it is a good idea to start with body asanas for newcomers because it is an experience of getting in touch with feelings in the body and with the body, which is something you have never known before.

As a yogi and a meditator, Saito also shares the appeal of meditation. He says that yoga is a way of life, because it is inherently an integral part of yoga.

The steps of yoga are first an attitude of life called yama-niyama, then yoga postures (asanas), and finally meditation. The yoga postures are said to be there for the meditation. But I don't know if I am doing the meditation or not.

I took a course in Vipassana meditation, which involves 10 days of silent meditation, and I studied a mindfulness workshop called "Search Inside Yourself," which is offered by Google. I started learning because I wanted to communicate what I couldn't see to others.

Make meditation a part of your life

As Saito-san says, it is true that invisible meditation gives the impression of being difficult. How should beginners tackle it?

Saito said, "It is good to start by creating an environment that is easy to meditate in, making it regular, and sitting in it. That way it is easier to feel the daily changes, and it might be easier to see if you did it today.

Making it a habit seems to be one key point. However, it is still difficult to eliminate distractions and feel that you have done the meditation.

Meditation is also about noticing what you are not doing," he says. Meditation means awareness. If you are aware that you are distracted and keep thinking about something, then you are meditating. You can't empty your head unless you die, I think (laughs). So it's okay to be thinking."

What kind of changes has Mr. Saito experienced as a result of his meditation practice?

I have been able to think objectively. I think I have been able to think objectively. I used to do things that weren't me when I was busy, or I would do them spontaneously, but I feel that I am now able to do things that are closer to my true nature.


Now, Saito is teaching yoga and meditation through a variety of workshops.

Saito says, "I don't really like to teach. I like to share my experiences of meditation and yoga. Rather than teaching in a classroom, I like to work with companies and other organizations to create events.

I think that even if I can concentrate on meditation in a certain place, I can't really use it in my daily life. I came into contact with the idea of Zen through my study of meditation, and I began to study tea. I started to study tea because I thought it would be nice if I could convey to people how mindful they can live their lives by drinking tea in their daily lives. Even drinking tea can be an opportunity to pay attention to yourself, such as "What do I want to drink right now? I do this because I think it can create a timing that enriches our lives.

In a world with so much information, we asked Saito about his vision for the future.

I feel that art, yoga, and meditation are now only available to those who are affluent. Overseas, I feel that there are many opportunities for children and people in need to experience these things for free. I hope that I can convey this to people who are already rich, but who don't have enough, or who have never had the chance to know about this kind of wealth before.

Ryoko Saito

Interested in the human body and the invisible mind, she began to systematically study YOGA in 2008 and started working through YOGA in 2014. Since then, she has studied mindfulness meditation and has been active in brand tie-ups, event appearances, and offering mindfulness meditation to corporations and healthcare.

Currently, through "voice meditation" using somatic work and "tea meditation," which uses the space and time of "tea" as meditation, which she began learning through meditation, she teaches calmness and serenity, awareness of the blink of an eye in the daily unconscious, opening the body and mind generously, receiving, and feeling the touch of the outside. The creed is love and compassion.

Her creed is love, compassion, and understanding of others.

Completed Center For Mindfulness SR-401-8W, Massachusetts State University

Search Inside Yourself (Mindful Leadership Institute)

Completed Vipassana Meditation 10-day course