“Un” Luck around Rutland

by Kazuhiro Ohashi

Two weeks ago Ohashi and I had a great ski trip in Vermont. On this trip we were able to reconnect with our good friend Jesse Labow who we met in December last year at Ohashi’s 4-day practical course held at Integral Yoga Institute in New York City.  Jesse came all the way down from Vermont to practice Ohashiatsu® / OHASHI Method® with our dedicated COIs, all the wonderful students, and of course, with Ohashi himself. Before the course started Jesse took a private tutorial with Ohashi. From that tutorial and throughout the course, I could see Jesse was not just simply giving bodywork, he was enjoying the act of giving. In a phrase, he was “feeling it” — the connection where you are not doing, you are not working, you are simply being. You are enjoying the act of giving, the state of being.

Jesse practices his neck technique at Integral Yoga this past December. Our smiling COI Marco Beghin observes.

I was happy to meet and talk with Jesse during the course in NYC. Right after the New Year Jesse emailed Ohashi asking if he would come to Rutland to teach him more OHASHI Method techniques.

As Ohashi puts it:

Last year, December 2016, one young gentleman came all the way from Vermont to take my course in New York City. I believe and I heard that he enjoyed my class very much. This year, January 2017, this young man sent an email directly to me saying, ‘Ohashi sensei, I am a very good ski instructor in Killington, Vermont. I want to teach you how to ski. In exchange for this service, I want you to give me private Ohashiatsu lesson when you come to Rutland.’

My instinct told me, ‘Why not?’

I replied to him, ‘When I teach tutorial, you need a couple of people with you, otherwise it’s boring and not so much fun. You don’t learn anything. Why don’t you get some others? Mr. Jesse, why don’t you organize a course in Vermont? You know lot’s of massage therapists, bodyworkers, practitioners. Please, get lots of students for me to teach. You can keep the tuition and take me and Kazu skiing as your guests. Ok?”

I think this was more than Jesse expected to take on, but he agreed, eager for the opportunity to work with Ohashi again and to take a new step in his professional career.

A little more than a month later, Ohashi and I were up in Rutland and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the job Jesse did registering students, finding a place to hold the course, and all the other small details he thought of that made a big difference in the success of the course.

When we arrived we stayed at Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast. This traditional and beautiful B&B, run by Jesse’s mom Susan, was the perfect accommodation for us.

Ohashi and Jesse outside the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast

Later that day we visited the course site. Jesse’s friend, Dimitri, in his great generosity agreed to host the course at his residence — a beautiful house in Rutland full of light. After talking and discussing the next day’s workshop, Ohashi and I had dinner with Jesse and his wife, Hahn, at their residence.

The next day Ohashi and I arrived at the course site at 9am. Jesse was already there setting up and making sure things were ready for the students when they arrived.  Ohashi taught a wonderful  workshop on his unique Healing Scarf Technique. Ohashi says:

Someone at the class asked if my Scarf Technique is good for people who have suffered a stroke. My answer is yes – but you must give very gently, and only if they agree. It is an effective way for loosening up muscle tightness.

Thank you to Lisa Marie Donohue, MA, LMT at Thrive Center of the Green Mountains for this question.

Thank you to Dimitri for this beautiful class room space.

Ohashi demonstrates Healing Scarf Technique

Jesse and his wife prepared not only a great healthy breakfast for the students, but also an exquisite meal of Japanese rice balls (Onigiri), miso soup, and other delicious vegetarian dishes. All free of charge! By the way Jesse and Hahn run a catering business — Good Karma Kitchen. Please check them out if you are in Rutland.

Good Karma Kitchen provided good eats at Healing Scarf Technique workshop.

More deliciousness. Thank you Dimitri for the sweets.

Everyone was well fed and happy to have Hanh prepare a special meal for them. They were ready for more of Ohashi’s special scarf technique the rest of the afternoon. After the course Ohashi gave six sessions in Dimitri’s treatment room. And we finalized our night with a visit to a local Chinese restaurant suggested by Hahn.

Our special guest inspects the massage tables.

Great job! Congratulations to all the professional therapists who attended Healing Scarf Technique workshop in Rutland, Vermont.

Hara Hound.

Thank you to Marjorie Pivar and Sarah West at Shiatsu School of Vermont for the happy horse.

The next day Ohashi and I drove over to Jesse and Hanh’s house. Hahn had prepared an amazing traditional Vietnamese breakfast. There was a spicy noodle soup, a special type of omelette among other pickled fare. It was the perfect food for a long day of skiing. Then we all drove to Killington Ski Resort. There we met up with Susan – Jesse’s mother. Our hosts described the day as one of the best days for skiing all season. Ohashi and I had not been on the slopes for sometime, but we quickly got back into the flow of things. Ohashi loves skiing. It helps him practice his cross patterning. He skis from the hara, always keeping low for balance. We were able to keep up with our expert hosts. Both Jesse and Susan are instructors and had some great tips for us to improve our technique. Our hosts left us in the early afternoon and Ohashi and I were left to ski on our own for a couple of hours. Ohashi commented:

Next day 28th of February Tuesday, Jesse, the young man who arranged this trip, took me to Killington Mountain and paid for everything. Jesse is really a great ski instructor who taught me lots. That was my best skiing experience in the last 20 years.

On the slopes. Epic selfie by Jesse.

Ready to ski!

Frozen falls on the slopes.

After packing up our gear we met with our long time friend and COI Diedre Seeley for a late lunch at a Japanese restaurant. She lives in Killington Village and has a successful massage practice there, Mountain Dove Wellness. It was great to catch up with her and to be in her energetic presence. By the way “Happy Birthday Deedee… belated. Diedre is always available for Ohashiatsu® Sessions via email and at New Life Hiking Spa starting May 15, 2017.

That evening Hahn prepared an “official” dinner for us. It was really a special evening with our friends. This time Susan joined. Hahn really outdid herself with this feast. We were treated to a plethora of traditional Vietnamese dishes, all vegetarian, all delicious. I personally enjoyed the fried tofu with chili paste. Ohashi loved the saki selection and I think we all enjoyed the the apple cobbler with ice cream that Susan brought.

Saki selection.

Delicious!

Vegetarian Vietnamese dinner at Jesse and Hahn’s place.

The next day it was time to leave Rutland. Ohashi visited the maple syrup distiller next to the B&B. I packed and we said our goodbyes to Rutland. For the rest of the day Ohashi, Jesse, Hahn and I wondered the aisles of the famous Vermont Country Store, sampling to our hearts content.

Ohashi and Jesse pose outside The Vermont Country Store.

Ohashi and Hanh check the foggy hillside.

Yes, Tab at The Vermont Country Store!

One last photo before we go.

As we ate with Jesse and Hahn before we traveled back to New York Ohashi had this interesting piece of information for us:

Life is always a big surprise. Life is always full of strange luck. I didn’t plan or expect anything, yet everything worked out beautifully. This is great luck! In Japanese the word for luck is ‘un’. The Chinese character means you are bringing yourself to where the luck is. So let’s prepare for the Luck which may happen in front of you. Is there anyone who wants me to come to give tutorial? If so, I’m well prepared!

“Un” in Japanese means Luck. In this Chinese character the man brings his cart to where the luck is.

Finally it was time to say goodbye to our hosts. We couldn’t have asked for a better ski vacation. And we look forward to visiting Jesse, Hahn, Susan, DeeDee and the rest of our friends up north again.

Cover Story: Behind the Original Cover of Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu

Jimmy Fallon’s recent DYI comedy sketch on his Tonight Show featuring the original cover of Ohashi’s book Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu, published in 1976 (and still in print), got us thinking about Ohashi’s dear friend, the ballet dancer Ivan Nagy. One of the great names in the dance world, Mr. Nagy was on the original cover of DIY Shiatsu spoofed by Mr. Fallon.
DIY Shiatsu

Ohashi first met the charismatic ‘danseur noble’ of the ballet world, Ivan Nagy, a few years earlier in Washington DC. At that time, Mr. Nagy, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre company, was receiving global admiration for his regal and gallant style, generating many cherished partnerships with most of the celebrated ballerinas of the time, including Margot Fonteyn and Natalia Makarova. Silver medalist of the 1965 International Ballet Competition at Varna, Bulgaria, Nagy first appeared in the US as guest artist for the National Ballet of Washington in 1966. From there, he danced with New York City Ballet before joining the American Ballet Theatre in 1968, where he remained for a decade.

In October 1972, Ohashi was working at the Watergate Health Club in Washington DC. Mr. Nagy and the American Ballet Theatre company were staying at the Watergate Hotel while in performance at the Kennedy Center. Ohashi gave such memorable treatments to the entire dance company, that soon his practice was in demand throughout the dance world.

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One year later, Ohashi had moved to New York City, organizing the Shiatsu Education Center of America on 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the forerunner of the Ohashi Institute. One day he received an emergency call from the dancer. While in rehearsal at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Ivan Nagy had injured himself and was in a great deal of pain. His scheduled performances with the famous ballerina Carla Fracci were in jeopardy. Ivan asked Ohashi to please come and give him treatment to relieve his pain. Ohashi grabbed his bag, and hailed a cab to ride the 10 blocks uptown.

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With Ohashi’s successful treatment of his acute pain and muscular fatigue, within 24 hours the beloved dancer was back live on stage performing with the dreamy elegance and the phenomenal style that so many of Nagy’s partners adored. During that evening’s performance, Ivan Nagy received a 20-minute long standing ovation.
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Grateful for Ohashi’s therapeutic proficiency, Nagy insisted that Ohashi had saved his career. He asked, “Ohashi, what can I do for you in return?” Ohashi replied, “Ivan, my new book is coming out soon. Will you be the model for my meridian charts?” Nagy agreed. He was the model for the 18 meridian charts and appeared on the book’s original cover. Recently Ohashi remarked, “The contents of my book, Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu were ‘mediocre,’ but Mr. Nagy’s body was so beautiful that the book became a smash hit. You see everybody thought they could have a body like his if they bought my book.”

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Both of their careers flourished and some years later after Nagy retired, he would complain to Ohashi that when people stopped him on the street, they asked him if he was the guy in Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu. “Ohashi, I am a world famous dancer but people only know me for your book.” Ivan Nagy died February 22, 2014 in Budapest. He was 70.

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Muscles & Meridians & Sedation, Oh My!

When muscles are “tight,” this tightness may cause an excess or blockage of energy within a meridian (energy pathway/acupuncture line). Conversely, a blockage or stagnation of energy within the meridian may cause tight, or hypertonic, muscles. By sedating the meridian, muscles will relax. By sedating the muscle, the meridian may open, releasing the blockage of energy. You can see the interplay between energy, energy meridians and muscles. But it goes deeper.

Muscles and/or meridians in a hypertonic state over a longer period of time can cause misalignment of the spinal vertebrae, as well as other major health disturbances. George Goodheart, D.C., founder of applied kinesiology, believed that hypertonic muscles were usually caused by meridian imbalances, especially the Triple Heater meridian (which is associated with the thymus and thyroid glands, which are always involved in stress reactions). As an example, Goodheart said, “If the liver has a disturbed energy pattern, this disturbance ‘overflows’ into a muscle associated with that energy pattern [pecs and rhomboids].”
Muscle Meridian Chart
There are many way to approach this: Applied kinesiology, massage, myofascial release techniques, to name a few. You could work each muscle involved with a particular imbalance, although that might take time. Or you can sedate a meridian, thereby “working” several muscles at once. For instance, Triple Heater meridian encompasses the Gracilis muscle – which works with the Sartorius and hamstrings to help bend the knee; the Soleus which flexes the foot and lower leg; and the Gastrocnemius, which works with the soleus. Here, with one meridian, you are affecting more than five muscles.

You can also use acupuncture release points. Here you need to remember the sedation point of the meridian and or insertion points of the muscle. And if one set doesn’t work, you need to remember what meridian may control or feed the affected meridian, and work on those control points. That’s a lot to remember.Yu-Points-Chart

Another possibility is using the Yu or Shu acupuncture points on the back. These points are associated with different meridians which are associated with certain muscles (see chart). Consequently, you could sedate the Triple Heater point on the back (located between Lumber #1 & #2), and affect the gracilis, sartorius, hamstrings, soleus and gastrocnemius muscles; as well as the thyroid – all with one point.

In Ohashi’s Muscle Meridian Sedation DVDs), he shows how to easily do this without fatigue on your body, or having to remember a myriad of acupoint combinations. He shows body distortions – for example, a foot that flops to one side shows outward rotation of the leg, which could involve the sacrum or lower back. Rather than list points to work and where they are located, Ohashi simply shows how to position the body part to easily access the required Yu, insertion, or sedation point(s). Remembering where to position the leg to access specific points on the back is easier than remembering individual or combinations of trigger points.

Ohashi also demonstrates how differences in the size of the giver or receiver can prove challenging. Using pillows or body positioning, he shows how to easily remedy these issues for more effective treatment without strain on the giver’s body.

There are three volumes for Muscle Meridian Sedation DVD series. Volume 1 encompasses Upper Back Sedation, Hip Sedation with Healing Scarf Therapy technique, and lower Lumbar Bi-Lateral Sedation. Volume 2 continued Upper and Lower Back Sedation in a variety of positions, and introduces Shoulder and Foot Sedations. Volume 3 includes Neck Sedation in sit-up and supine positions; lumbar sedation, and Thumb and Wrist Sedation.

You can find these DVDs at Ohashi.com. And you can see sneak peeks of the videos on YouTube’s OhashiInstitute channel.

Celebrating 25 Years in Italy!

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Celebrating our Silver Anniversary in Italy!

 It is hard to believe that Ohashi started teaching his Ohashiatsu®/Ohashi Method™ in Italy more than 25 years ago.  From a small class of 12 in 1987 in the town of Rivoli to having more than 39 Certified Ohashiatsu® Instructors (COI) and Consultants (COC) in Italy is astounding, and humbling.  There will be a series of workshop in Torino and Aqui Terme and a big party in Torino.  But first a little history.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ohashi’s story, he came to the U.S. in the 1970s, and while studying English at Howard University practiced shiatsu at the Watergate Health Club in Washington ,DC. where he began to develop a famous clientele. He soon decided that he wanted to teach and that it would be better to be located in New York City. In 1974 he founded the Ohashi Institute (the Shiatsu Education Center of America), which was one of the first schools in the U.S. to offer a program in shiatsu and oriental healing.  He also published his first book, Do It Yourself Shiatsu (1976),

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which was quickly translated into foreign languages, including Italian.  Because of his book, one day a young macrobiotic teacher from Torino,

Imagewho had read it, showed up at the Institute. That was around 1986.  His name was Alfonso Crosetto. He returned to Torino to open an Ohashi Institute in that city and offered the entire Ohashiatsu program. In the beginning, Ohashi sent Certified Ohashiatsu instructors from Germany and the U.S. to teach in Torino until there were enough graduates to train as instructors.

One of the first was Germana Fruttarola, who also became the sponsor of the program in Torino and worked tirelessly to promote the program in Italy.  Soon after came Silvia Rossi, who still heads the school in Milan;

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and then Siegrid Maidorn in Rome,

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who taught and sponsored for many years.  These early instructors were followed by many others, who teach in almost every region in Italy. There are now 15 towns and cities where courses are offered.

Q: Ohashi, what’s your favorite Italian city? 

Ohashi: “This is the most difficult question that I must answer. The reason why is so simple. I love any place in Italy – all the regions, small towns and big cities, because the Italian spirit and love of life is everywhere.

However I shall always have fond memories of the many times I taught in Mergozzo, a small village near Lake Maggiore. There were always beautiful mountain flowers in bloom and the village residents were friendly. I taught many Advanced II retreat courses there in a wonderful small hotel whose owner spoiled us with his wonderful cooking.”

Q: You have given many Ohashiatsu treatments all over the world in the last 40 years. Did you have any famous Italian clients?

Ohashi: “Yes, Signore and Signora Giovanni Agnelli.

Signore Agnelli was the chairman of Fiat, a very important company in Italy that helped it recover from World War II.  The family was well respectd in Italy.   “In 1993, Dr. Henry Kissinger referred Mr. Agnelli to me in 1993.  Our instructors in Torino, Domenico Bassi and Gianpiero Bellini, helped me set up appointments at his residence in Torino.. When he and Mrs. Agnelli visited Rome and New York, which was often, I would give them Ohashiatsu treatments.  I continued his treatments for the rest of his life.  I will always be amazed by his elegancy in life. Never before or after, has anyone greeted me in such an elegant manner. I learned a lot from him about how to treat people in my life.”

Q: From your teaching experience all over the world, do you see any significant differences between Italian students and other students?

Ohashi: I do not see any big difference between Italian students and others in terms of studying and practicing. Most of our Italian students, especially our COIs and COCs, are committed to giving their best.  But I found that around 1995, at the same time that Italy joined the “Euro system,” Italian students became more punctual. Before the “Euro,” Italian students were unreliable about coming to class on time. They had their own “Italian time.” But after the “Euro” they became very punctual and “time effective” people. Since I am a very time-conscious man, I noticed this change immediately.

Ohashi is looking forward to seeing many students and newcomers in Torino for this celebration and in his courses. He will be teaching Yoga & Ohashiatsu, Ohashi Method for Pregnancy and Birth, and his Oriental Diagnosis course, October 18-21.

There will be students from the Ohashiatsu programs in France and the Netherlands as well, to participate in the Oriental Diagnosis course. “We are planning a big party in Torino on the evening of October 21. I am looking forward to see all of our students, graduates, instructors and consultants, and all of our many friends.”

Join in the celebration!  Join us for these wonderful teachings!  For more information on Ohashi Method™/Ohashiatsu®, log on to Ohashiatsu.org.  For information on the workshop, see the blog post below, or log on to Ohashi.it.

 

 

Beautiful Movement

We had a wonderful Practical Course at Integral Yoga Institute last weekend.  Seventeen students came from all over the world to study Ohashi Method.  Because this was a very intimate class with only 17 students, each and every one of them was able to receive touch directly from me at least three times.  They very much enjoyed it.

It is wonderful to see beginners and professional bodyworkers alike improve and change how their bodies move.  When your body moves right, with less effort and greater efficiency, your whole self feels better. This is particularly important for bodyworkers who give so much of themselves. But it is important for everyone.

Poor posture causes many physical pains. With poor posture your muscles are stretched all the time. This makes them feel sore and tired because they are working when and in ways they don’t need to be. Poor posture means you are working against gravity. Using gravity and being in tonus (relaxed alignment), means your posture will improve. When we teach the Ohashi Method (or Ohashiatsu), we teach students how to use gravity and their Hara ~ your center of being, movement and strength ~ which many now call your “core.”  When you learn to move from Hara, your body moves with less effort ~ in everything you do ~ and more efficiently.  When you move from Hara, your whole life improves and becomes easier.

Some students took short videos during the course so you may see them on YouTube soon. There are already many videos to be seen there of our instructors and of me teaching around the world. We have our own channel on YouTube, “ohashiinstitute” which we will soon be expanding. So I hope you all enjoy!

On Monday, Bonnie and I will fly to Valencia, Spain.  Valencia is like a small Paris because of the beautiful architecture of the older section of the city. There I will teach Healing Scarf Therapy, Emotional Problems and Meridian Therapy, and Oriental Diagnosis, from May 3-6.  I will teach in English with translators, so if you want to fly over and join us, we would be so happy!

Health & Peace,

                               Ohashi

For more information on studying the Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu, log on to Ohashiatsu.org, or Ohashi.com.  You may also LIKE our fan page on Facebook.