One Man’s Journey – Part 3

We left off in Part 2 with instructors branching out to teach around the U.S., including Maryland. Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Amherst, MA; Honesdale, PA; and in Westchester and Long Island, NY.

Globalization

By the 1990s Ohashi had witnessed many changes, especially in Japanese/American relations. When he first came to the US, very few Americans ate sushi. By the 90s, there were hundreds of noodle shops and sushi bars in New York City alone. Japanese management techniques had been incorporated into the curriculum of business schools and the yen was at an all-time high.

Ohashi saw an interesting phenomenon that he called “international cultural catchball.” His view was when an element of a culture travels to a different environment, it is ingested and changed. Ohashi saw that happening with shiatsu. “Once quantity develops, quality changes,” Ohashi says. “Sometimes the more popular something becomes, the less value is placed upon it.”

It was clear that the decision to differentiate his technique from traditional shiatsu was a correct one. More and more, the supportive relationship of the giver and receiver, rather than the technical knowledge, became an important component of Ohashiatsu®. “My technique and philosophy is not only for American and Japanese – it is for everybody. It is universal and that’s the reason people from many countries come here to study. They need it and enjoy it. It has become a part of the globalization phenomenon.”

Ohashi’s dream of teaching the “Ohashiatsu…Touch for peace” philosophy to the world was beginning. In 1990, the Institute was contacted by the Psycho-Political Peace Institute (PPPI) to help in its project to introduce psychotherapeutic and holistic modalities to the citizens of the newly disbanded Soviet Union. That Ohashi in Russiayear the Institute helped sponsor 12 Russian doctors and therapists who were coming to New York for a month. During that time, they studied Ohashi’s Oriental Diagnosis and Ohashiatsu Beginning I. They were so impressed that they invited Ohashi to come to Russia. A year later, Ohashi taught these two courses to 100 students in Russia.

Five years later, the Ohashi Institute again partnered with PPPI. This time to assist the village of Bakuriani in the Republic of Georgia, which had been a world renowned ski resort where the USSR Olympic teams trained. The breakup of the USSR left Bakuriani a desolate village with polluted drinking water, no heat, and electricity available only after 11:30PM. There was only one doctor in town – one who had trained with Ohashi in the US. The Institute sponsored Vasil Jioev, who worked as a massage therapist at a hospital. Vasil completed the Ohashiatsu curriculum in one year and, when he returned to Georgia, donated one week per month working in the refurbished Bakuriani Hospital.

“Ohashiatsu is something amazing. With massage therapy, it’s just bones,  

muscles and tendons and maybe a person somewhere in there.

Ohashiatsu is about the human being. Not just the physical,

but the psychologicaland the emotional –

it’s so deep – it’s about the universe. Now I can sense that deep place

inside the person and hope that I can touch it as well.”

~ Vasil Gioev.

Ricochet

In 1992, Ohashi returned to Japan to teach, and during one weekend more than 80 people came from all over Japan to hear him. Understanding human nature, Ohashi instinctively knew that when people study something that is already part of their own culture, they tend to take it for granted. So, Ohashi taught the Japanese students in English through a translator! The students said that by hearing a Japanese subject taught in English, they discovered a different angle to what they already knew and enjoyed a different dimension of comprehension. Once again, Ohashi fulfilled his mission – he added another level of understanding to human nature through his modality of touch communication.

RefinementBeyond Shiatsu

As the Ohashiatsu program continued to grow worldwide, the Institute increased its focus on refining the curriculum and standardizing the training so that the course material could be taught the same way around the world. In this effort, the many senior instructors who had trained at the Institute or in Europe contributed to this process.

During the 1990s, Ohashi began to refine his published work by writing a new book that captured the true nature of Ohashiastu. While most other books and instructional videos focused on the benefit of the receiver, how to deal with the receiver’s problems, they hardly said a word about the giver’s well-being, the giver’s consciousness, the giver’s reward. When published, “Beyond Shiatsu: Ohashi’s Bodywork Method” was the only book that focused on maintaining and improving the giver’s movement, posture and well-being.

“Priority must go to the practitioner,” Ohashi states emphatically.

“When you give Ohashiatsu, you are regenerated and energized

because of the way your body moves,

because you are enhancing your vital Ki (life force energy),

and because you are meditating while you are working.

This book and Ohashiatsu will help the giver preserve his or her body

so that he or she can continue this wonderful work for many, many years.”

Teach a Man to Fish

Ohashi believes that people need to take responsibility for themselves. Clients need to take responsibility for improving their health, students for their own learning, and instructors for their continued learning and financial well-being. Ohashi wanted instructors to be self-sufficient rather than rely on the Institute for their livelihood. Thus, in 1995, the Institute established an outreach program allowing instructors to teach anywhere they liked, without having to set up an entire school. Result: the Institute could access different niche and geographical markets and more and more people could be introduced to the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of Ohashiatsu.

The New Millennium

With greater and great technological communications advances, Ohashi is concerned about human well-being. “The more technology advances, the more people are becoming isolated. You don’t have to contact another human being to get what you need to survive – you can do everything over the Internet. But people need people. We need human interaction, human touch. The more technology, the more touch we need. I call this “High Tech/High Touch.”

Society has now embraced “alternative” knowledge and modalities. We continually hear about a “new” therapy, but, of course, we know that these “new” therapies are what philosophers, monks, healers and indigenous pCircle of Energyeoples around the world have known for centuries.

Ohashi developed a series of videos for students. With the advent of the DVD, Ohashi created a new series that addresses the public at large. A new e-book will be published soon. He continues to travel around the world teaching his courses and new instructors. To date, Ohashi and his instructors have taught in the US, Canada, Italy, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Bali, Belgium, Costa Rica, Israel, Burkina Faso, French Guinea, Russia, and the Netherlands. In 2015, Ohashi will introduce his modality to students in Melbourne, Australia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Zagreb, Croatia.

As more and more people look to alternative modalities for their health and well-being, the Ohashi Institute and the Ohashi Method®/Ohashiatsu® are ready to provide the world with more instructors to teach people to help themselves. And Ohashi’s techniques, method and teaching will continue to emphasize communication and synergism between two people, on the self-development of the giver, as well as the receiver, and on harmony for both.

Ohashi is like

One Man’s Journey

The Beginnings

Wataru Ohashi was born in Hiroshima, Japan, in June of 1944. Even though he and his family lived in the rural area and were not in the city when the atomic bomb fell the following year, they did not escape the ravages of war. He was born prematurely and malnourished because of this mother’s poor health. As a baby he was fragile with a weak constitution. Then, at less than two years of age, his short life was threatened by dehydration from cholera, which spread through the town where he lived. Many children his age died. Because no Western-style medicine was available, his family turned to Oriental medicine The ancient healing art of moxibustion, commonly called “heat acupuncture,” saved his life. He still bears the round scars of the moxa burned directly on his skin, on CV 46 and BL 23. He regards these scars as “Seals of Life.” This early childhood event set the direction that Ohashi’s life would eventually take — one of a career in healing, although that path would not show itself until he had explored other options.

Ohashi attended Chuo University in Tokyo, where he majored in American literature. At the same time he became interested in the type of healing that had saved his life and decided to take a course in shiatsu. He was also interested in going to the United States to experience African-American history, literature and the civil rights movement that he studied at university. In spite of his family’s objections he made plans to go there after graduating from college.

Thus began his journey in 1970 to the United States. A journey that would take him much further than he ever dreamed at the time. He spent two weeks on a boat to reach California, and then another week by Greyhound bus to reach the South, where he enrolled at Tougaloo College, a predominantly African-American college outside Jackson, Mississippi, to improve his English. He later transferred to Howard University in Washington, DC, but studied for only 6 months, as he found living in Washington, DC, offered many different kinds of education that interested him more. To support himself, Ohashi fell back on the old healing techniques he knew and started giving shiatsu sessions at a health club located in the Watergate complex. Among his clients were then US Attorney General John Mitchell and Governor William Egan of Alaska.

Ohashi and NagyOne day, Ohashi was called to the Kennedy Center where the American Ballet Theatre was rehearsing. Their principle dancer, Ivan Nagy, had injured himself and was in a great deal of pain. Ohashi gave Nagy a few sessions and within two days the dancer was back on stage. And so began a long relationship between Ohashi and the dance world. The connection was so strong that Ohashi soon moved to New York City to be close to his new-found clients and friends.

The Growing Years

“Where do ideas come from?” A profound question. Usually, it’s a small group of people, not necessarily connected, that influence a “movement.” The human development movement of Hippy Ohashithe 1970s was just beginning when Ohashi arrived in New York. Without realizing it, he became one of the people in the US who would have such an influence. Many of today’s ideas about healing and alternative health began with this “handful of people” who were exploring a new lifestyle. Ohashi’s ideas and teaching can be found in many modalities.

He knew that giving sessions one-on-one would only get his health message to a few. Recognizing that teaching was the way to get information out to many, in 1973 Ohashi started the Shiatsu Dojo on the upper west side, with two “secretaries” who wanted to study with him and help him establish his school. They helped him to understand English, how to maneuver through city and state bureaucracy in order to incorporate the school, and with registration and promotion.

Within two years, Ohashi was so busy with students and clients that he outgrew the small space where he started. He needed to look for new space. He took out a map of New York and made aNew COI square extending from 60th Street to 50th Street and from 7th Avenue to Lexington. His assistant exclaimed, “But, Ohashi, that’s the most expensive area! You can’t afford it!” “I can’t afford anything,” Ohashi calmly replied. “So I can’t afford not to be there.” Within ten days, in 1974, Ohashi moved to 55th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in the prestigious Midtown district. It was the second floor of a midtown brownstone. There he established the Shiatsu Education Center of America, which he founded as a nonprofit organization.

Needing instructors to help him, he decided to start training his students to teach. His first instructor was Pauline Sasaki. In the summer of 1975, Ohashi obtained a ride with one of his students to travel to a yoga retreat in upstate New York. A young woman along for the ride was in the publishing field and would later become his wife, Bonnie Harrington.

Ohashi and BonnieOhashi first published a 5×4-foot Meridian and Tsubo chart in 5 colors (the colors of the Five Elements), which received a design award. He had already started writing Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu, which was published in 1976, and is still in print. Soon this book was translated into German, French and Italian, and organizations started to invite Ohashi to teach in Europe – first to Eschweiler, Germany in 1977; then to Switzerland the next year, and soon after to Italy. His book and those of other American writers were introducing Europe to the human potential movement. Within a few years, Ohashi began sending his American instructors to teach the entire curriculum. Soon Europeans started traveling to New York City to study the entire program. Ohashi was living up to his name, which means “Big Bridge.” Western Europeans were traveling west to study in America, and Ohashi was traveling east to teach in Europe. Many were crossing the bridges that Ohashi built.

This was just the beginning: next month we’ll discuss The Evolution of how Ohashi transformed shiatsu into the entirely new, elevated form we know now as Ohashiatsu®.

Healing Touch for Yoga

How Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu® Can Bring a Healing Touch for Yoga that Students and Teachers Will Love

Ohashi assists Ambria in stretching

Ohashi assists Ambria in stretching

By Ambria Mathew, Founder, Zoga Yoga

While many Yogis worldwide embrace an holistic approach to health and wellness, utilizing Ayurveda, massage, reiki, crystals  and other modalities, the Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu is especially effective to combine with Yoga practice. Developed by Ohashi sensei over 40 years of teaching and practice, his method combines stretching muscles and meridians together as part of a treatment. These meridians or energy lines are similar to the Nadi lines spoken of in Yoga, which we want to keep energized for well-being and health.

For many people who practice yoga, their precious tools may include their yoga mat, a copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and perhaps the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. I would also recommend Ohashi’s latest DVD as a valuable tool because it combines two modalities in an easy to adapt-format, for both private students and group class situations.  It also provides an excellent introduction to Ohashiatsu® for those Yogis eager to explore this beautiful modality of holistic bodywork, and a great visual as to how they could possibly combine it with the Yoga Practice.

Ohashi yoga Ambria4

Assistance for bridge pose

Learning various stretches and pressure points will help sedate muscles, and allow the flow of prana.  While I am grateful to have completed and graduated the Ohashiatsu Program, I realize some people may want something they can use with private yoga students, or even themselves. The best investment would be the newest Ohashi Method™ DVD (you can find it at Ohashi.com) that takes Yoga students and teachers on a journey through basic stretches that relate to meridians in the body.

ABOUT AMBRIA

Ambria is an International Yoga and Ayurveda Teacher (ERYT), certified in Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Pre/Post Natal & Kids Yoga. She has taught and shared her teachings for over 10 years in the United States, Canada, and India. She is the founder of Zoga Yoga, a Yoga Alliance Registered school that provides private Yoga classes, workshops, teacher instruction, and retreats. To learn more about Ambria and Zoga Yoga, visit her website at zogayoga.com

Crawling for Adults

Many of us know that babies’ crawling stage is a vital step in their development.  But did you know that crawling can help improve health for adults?

Because we depend so much on our linear-thinking and computer skills in today’s technological society, we aren’t developing both sides of our brain.  We primarily rely on only one half of our brain – the left side, which controls logic, math, language, reading, reason, analysis, detail, short-term memory, repetition, and structure, to name a few.  Right-side brain activity – individuality, creativity, emotions – is actually discouraged in our culture.


When the brain is balanced, both sides communicate and we are able to perform different types of more tasks easily.

Without continually developing the right hemisphere of our grey matter — which controls creative thinking, rhythm, facial recognition, long-term memory, emotions and dreams — we may miss out on “big picture”, have trouble piecing ideas and concepts together, and lack vision. When the brain is balanced, both sides communicate and we are able to perform different types of more tasks easily.  It helps in problem solving, creative thinking for ideas and projects, and reduces mental stress.

Another potential problem in our modern lifestyle is that muscle tightness, and some say even trauma, can also interrupt the connections between the right and left brain, which may result in poor coordination of spinal muscles (which may lead to joint and vertebrae misalignments), and even allergies.

Cross-patterning exercises can help alleviate the symptoms of trauma, and, perhaps more importantly, can improve our overall performance at work and play, greatly improving our quality of life.

You can find some formal re-patterning or cross-patterning exercises, or why not just do it the old-fashioned way?  Get down on the floor and crawl around.  What will you gain?  How about the benefits of:

• Balance of the right and left brain hemispheres
• Improved coordination & spatial awareness
• Left/Right hemisphere brain balance
• Reduced stress
• Emotional balance
• Improved memory
• Improved mental clarity
• Improved vision
• Stimulation of the lymphatic system
• Better flow of the cerebral spinal fluid

• Spelling, writing
• Reading & comprehension

Crawling feels wonderful on the back, brings you a little more down-to-earth, and your young children or pets will love you for it!

And if you want to add to your crawling experience, take an Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu course near you!  This unique form of bodywork uses crawling, or cross-patterning, as the backbone (pun intended) of its movement techniques.  So while you’re having fun taking an Ohashi Method course and helping yourself with cross-patterning, you can make your friends and loved ones feel great, too!

For courses in the US, log on to www.ohashiatsu.org, and LIKE us on Facebook . We hope you join us soon and learn to crawl toward better health!

JAPANESE KNIVES (HOCHYO). Part 1 – Swords in the Kitchen

When John Steinbeck, the famous American novelist, came to Japan for the International Pen Club convention, he bought several Japanese cooking knives as souvenirs.  I’ve always been curious to know why Mr. Steinbeck was fascinated by these knives.  He may have been impressed by the quality of Japanese knives, or by their sharpness, or perhaps he was amazed by their variety.  Since he has passed away and since I can’t find any clue in his writings, I don’t know what prompted him to buy these knives.  But I sometimes evaluate people by what they buy as gifts from foreign countries, and I am impressed that John Steinbeck didn’t buy cheap Kimonos or cameras or pearls for souvenirs.

Japanese cooking knives are first of all of extremely good quality and, secondly of great variety.  Part of our cultural heritage is swordmaking and this traditional skill has inspired Japanese cutlery. The Japanese sword is a symbol of Japanese Samurai culture. In past centuries, when one looked at a sword one could tell to whom it belonged, his social status, his ability as a Samurai, something of his swordmanship, and also of his spirituality.  Samurai always competed to possess the best sword which encouraged swordmakers to improve the quality of their work.  Because swords were so important, swordmakers kept the secrets of their technology among their family or disciples.

One of the greatest secrets in the process of making swords is the temperature of the water used in tempering the blade.  Again and again, the sword is removed from the heat, hammered and immersed in water.  The precise temperature is what gives durability and sharpness – so each maker kept this secret to himself.  Occasionally a new apprentice or a stranger to the workshop would pretend to fall and in doing so would stick his hand in the water.  The swordmaker had the right to chop off his hand there and then.  The same kind of secret technology is now involved in Japanese knife-making since we no longer need swords for fighting.  Each Japanese knife maker is proud to put his own name on his knife; as if it represents his spirit in material form.  When a Japanese chef is permitted to open his own restaurant, after grueling years of apprenticeship, and be his own master, he is given the best quality knives as a symbol of his craftsmanship, his spirituality and his dedication, as if they were the sword of a Samurai.

Every morning a Japanese chef sharpens his knives as if he were sharpening his cooking abilities.  Japanese food such as Sashimi is so simple – just sliced raw fish prepared with no sauce or dressing; because of this it is difficult to impress with your cooking expertise.  Slicing is the only preparation and how you slice can be evaluated at the first bite of sashimi.  Next time when you go to a Japanese restaurant sit in front of the Sushi Bar.  After the first bite if you have the courage to say to the chef, “You haven’t sharpened your knife today; though I find your raw fish very fresh, the cut is dull,” the chef will respect you and give you the best quality food.  The importance of the knife is great; such a simple factor, which cannot be camouflaged.  When a chef moves from one restaurant to another he always brings his own knives; he is attached to them as if they were a part of himself.  When he retires or gives up his franchise he will allow his disciple or son to use his name and restaurant and will generally give his knives as a symbol of giving his own self.

~  TO BE CONTINUED

Next time:  Variety of Knives

 

Cooking Fried Rice: a Little Enlightment

 This is a wonderful recipe which I cook in the wok. The wok is my favorite tool! With a wok you can deep fry, sauté, boil and even steam. And this is my top secret – I cook a very beautiful smoked fish with a wok.

If you have a very good wok – heavy, big and well seasoned – you can make fried rice. Try this recipe. After you’ve made this recipe a couple of times, then read this next sentence:

Did you make this fried rice three times? I believe you made a mess.

This is my advice…

First, burn your wok until it is smoking. This means you cannot make good fried rice with aluminum or teflon coated or an electric wok. You need a gas burner with at least 2000 BTUs. After the wok smokes, wipe up the inside with a paper towel to clean out any previous leftovers. Then add your vegetable oil and as soon as possible add your ingredients according to the time it takes to cook each ingredient. For example, add the onion and ginger first. If you don’t organize your ingredients in a chronological cooking order, you will make a big mess.

Second advice – when you are frying rice, always hurry up; always move your body, shaking your back with the wok over a high flame. Keep all your ingredients ready and at hand. Never look for salt during the cooking.

Final advice- If you are very impatient in your life, cooking with a wok is the best teacher for you.

If you aren’t always relaxed or a little enlightened – don’t cook with a wok. 

FRIED RICE Recipe

2 cups rice, cooked and cooled

¼ lb. chicken, raw and diced

1/3  lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined

½ onion, diced

Green of one leek, broken (but not cut) in 2 in. lengths

1/3 leek, chopped coarsely

¼ lb. cooked (or canned) bamboo shoots, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 ½ tsp. soy sauce

1 ½ tsp. dry sherry

6 Tbls. vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten lightly with pinch of salt

Salt

Mix soy sauce, dry sherry and leek greens. Marinade the chicken in this mixture for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbls of oil in wok and stir-fry chicken over high heat until tender. Drain and set aside.

Rub shrimp with salt, wash and drain, and sprinkle with salt again. Heat 1 Tbls. oil, and stir-fry shrimp over high heat until color changes. Remove.

Heat 1 Tbls oil, and stir-fry onion, mushroom, bamboo shoot, and carrot over high heat. Add chicken and shrimp to vegetables, mix and divide into two parts.

Heat 3 Tbls oil and stir-fry leek briefly over high heat, pour in egg mixture and scramble. Remove half of scrambled eggs to plate, leaving half in wok.

Add 1 Tbls oil to wok, heat again, and fry half of cooked rice over high heat until grains are separated, stirring constantly. Then add half of vegetable-meat mixture, and stir well. Add soy sauce and salt to taste. Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Combine in serving dish and serve hot.

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.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Image

Today, Wednesday, April 18,I will go to the Brooklyn botanical gardens to see the Cherry blossoms– the Japanese ritual of Sakaru.  Then I go on to Integral Yoga Institute to teach my Practical Course tomorrow.  ~ Ohashi

The Japanese cherry blossom tree, better known as Sakura, holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese. If you do not already know, Sakura bloom in early spring around Japan starting in Okinawa and run north to Hokkaido. In times gone by the short life of the Sakura blossoms symbolically represented the life of the samurai, meaning that life was beautiful however short. The aforementioned symbolism still holds sway in the heart of many Japanese.

Viewing Sakura, cherry blossom is a spring ritual for most Japanese. Visit at day or at night during the spring season any shrine or park for various hanami, blossom viewing activities which include traditional dances, lantern lighting, and food and drink.