On a recent Wednesday evening at Studio M& a well-accomplished musician and composer guided listeners on a meditative journey as he played lilting tunes on the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute.
The performance was just one of the soul-soothing experiences Mabi Mogami, owner of the new-wave yoga studio, has implemented to carve out a place of calm and rest in the backstreets of bustling Harajuku and Omotesando.
A Global Meditation Retreat
Akin to entering a Zen garden or a temple, once you step inside Studio M& you are sheltered from the heat and the noise outside. The adventurous Mabi designed the studio herself, working with others to realize her idea. She operates her studio to create an international and global atmosphere, as she herself studied and practiced yoga around the world for more than 15 years.
Most importantly, Studio M& fosters freedom when it comes to yoga and meditation lessons, or as Mabi likes to call it, “off-the-mat yoga.” Flexibility of not just body, but flexibility of the rules, and encouragement of self-expression are what makes this studio a truly enjoyable experience.
Instructors always lead small groups. The student–teacher relationship is one of friendship and comforting guidance, and lessons are beginner-friendly. You can even consult with the instructors at Studio M& for tailor-made yoga sessions suited to a specific purpose you might have. For instance, Mabi, a rock climber herself, recently taught customized yoga sessions suited for fellow mountaineers.
Apart from that, you can simply follow their online calendar for guest instructors that offer something different, such as recent English-language meditation session led by a Pragmatic Dharma practitioner.
Studio M& has a fluid concept – it’s calm, borderless and free. In that spirit, it’s on brand that they offer their space for rental, 24-hours-a-day, to anyone who wants to host an event or a lesson. They are striving to become a gathering place for an art community, and they have already organized several music events.
Marking World Yoga Day
Declared unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2015, World Yoga Day is rather recent, but long overdue. The 21st day of June is the longest in the year in the northern hemisphere, adding great symbolism to the day. Studio M& is celebrating by hosting a meditation event free for a limited number of lucky Tokyo Weekender Insider’s Club members. Doors open at 19:00 for a quick tour of the studio and some warm-up stretching before the main event.
Participants are encouraged to leave their worries behind as they walk down the stairs and into Studio M&, focusing on movement, stillness and the five senses in a space safe from everyday anxiety. Two guest instructors will give three separate trial sessions of sound and music meditation.
Often an instrument associated with meditation, the gong activates the left and right side of the brain while soothing the body into a meditative state. While initiating personal wellness and healing, at Studio M&, it encourages community building. Following the teachings of a well-traveled entrepreneur and pioneer of gong meditation, participants will try their hand at a 30-minute session.
In harmony with the cove-inspired interior of the studio, guests will also participate in a Singing Bowl session. The dulcet harmonic tones of the Singing Bowl elicits the same soothing sensation as the sounds of nature, such as chirping insects or the babbling brook.
Studio M& will offer participants a chance to experience the benefits of a voice meditation session and a session with the Japanese bamboo flute – the aforementioned shakuhaku. The instrument is recognized, along with the sitar, as a soothing instrument used to accompany meditation sessions in studios around the globe.
• Learn more about the World Yoga Day Insider’s Club Event on our events listing.
• Learn more about Studio M& by visiting m-and-studio.com/english
Photographs by David Jaskiewicz