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Meet Lifestyle Ambassador
Aya
Personal Trainer/ Body Tuning ®  Founder / as・i・am apartment Owner

Tell us about yourself.
After graduating college, I worked as an editor for women’s magazines such as “25ans” and “Figaro Japan”. Back then I visited New York and discovered Gyrotonics and I was totally hooked. That is when I can say my career path as a personal trainer opened up for me. I was fortunate enough to have clients in the entertainment and fashion industry as well as corporate executives;  all creative leaders and innovators in their industries. They came to my studio “as・i・am/apartment” located in Minami Aoyama and inspired me to publish my very first book “Executive Body Tuning” (Kodansha) in 2013.

Right after the Tohoku Disaster in 2011, I noticed that my clients’ needs had changed. They preferred simple exercises that could be practiced alone at home as opposed to training with huge machines. During that time I travelled extensively through Asia and Europe and started integrating yoga, breath work, meditation, Thai massage into my own practice. It was an opportunity to explore and search new methods that could be incorporated into my teachings. Many Western teachers with an appreciation for Eastern philosophy helped me to rediscover my roots and values as an Asian. The concept natural balance found in the co-existence of opposing elements such as strength and flexibility, certainty and surrender, stability and flow…I realized that this philosophy is what I wanted to integrate in my teachings. I thought there could be a way to teach handstand through breath work instead of using muscular force. That is how I came up with Body Tuning®︎ and I hope to spread the benefits of this to as many people as possible.

What influence has yoga had in your life?
My introduction to yoga was through Restorative yoga. From my own experience I feel as though Gyrotonics teaches you to “fly” where as yoga teaches you to “land”. Yoga has taught me to “land” and has helped me to ground. I am a sucker for savasana!

What are you currently into?
Hip hop dancing and tai-chi. Both are very similar.

Today, the “plastic ocean” is a global problem. The Japanese government is finally starting to take action. Do you notice any changes within your surroundings?
This may be very general information but I’ve heard that Starbucks has committed to stop using plastic straws and Patagonia has teamed up with industry partners to investigate the impact of microplastic pollution.

 “Plastic-free”and “Say-no-to-plastic” are commonly preached these days. How far have you explored this yourself?
I carry an eco-bag and water bottle. Whenever I go out drinking, I refuse a straw for my long cocktails. I avoid gum and candy that is individually wrapped in plastic.

“Sustainable”and “ethical” have become increasingly searched words via online shopping. How do you see fashion evolve?
I think sustainability and ethics are important. But don’t forget that clothes are worn. Clothes have the power to change the way we feel. A girl can feel like a princess by simply putting on a pretty dress. Clothing can change the way we feel and present ourselves. In somatic terms, it could be said that clothing becomes part of your peripersonal space. Our brain is able to recognize the periphery of the body, which means the clothing we wear becomes part of our own personal space. If clothing is part of my space than I would prefer to wear something I feel good in. If the pleasure of fashion is jeopardized by “sustainability” and “ethical” standards, than we need to rethink how we integrate that into our lives. I would like to see more fashion brands like yoq, where style and sustainability can both be enjoyed.

As lifestyle ambassador, what is your personal message to everyone?
Ethical and fashionable yoga wear will inspire you to move. When you move, there is joy. When you experience joy, that energy is shared with others. The act of self-appreciation is equivalent to showing appreciation to humanity and the environment.

Which pieces from yoq are your personal favorites?
The Yoga Bra Tops in all three colors. Not only are they great for dancing and workouts, I actually find they are great to wear for any occasion. In the summer I like to wear bikini tops as bras, but this year I am definitely wearing the yoq Yoga Bra Tops. They give you comfortable support. Sports bras tend to be tight and uncomfortable and I want to take them off right away but with the yoq Yoga Bra Tops I don’t feel that way. I’d wear them anytime, anywhere.
I also like wearing the Goddess Tank when I want to show my back.
The Maxi Playa Shirts in both colors will be a key item in my summer wardrobe. They are fashionable enough to wear in the city. They look great when styled with yoga wear, but they can be styled with basically anything. It is a versatile shirt dress. This season Maxi length shirts and coats are in, but they need to be in the right fabric for them to work.  I fell in love with yoq’s Maxi Playa Shirts made of Tencel™. The light, breezy fabric drapes beautifully and the dolman sleeve is chic. I personally like pairing it together with wide legged pants. This summer I look forward to wearing it with striped chef pants.
Basically I never wear one brand from head to toe. I mix and match different brands and styles to recreate a unique look, but it was eye-opening for me personally when I saw the Maxi Playa Shirt in Guava and Yoga Bra Top in lava paired together. I would have never imagined they would look so chic together and moreover great on me! 

 

Follow Aya(@ayance)on Instagram!

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