If you're a fan of yoga and minimalist aesthetics, you should go and follow Mai Izumitani's instagram feed.
A combination of yoga asana and her work as a ceramist, Mai's work intertwines yoga and ceramics to channel the essence of mindful living.
We spoke to Mai to find out a little more about her yoga journey, how she got started and how her practice has evolved over time as part of our yoga practice, your story series.
Tell us about your journey into yoga – why did you get started and what keeps you returning to the practice?
I stumbled across my first yoga class when I was 16 and wanting to get more flexible. My practice was sporadic for a few years until I realised that the more I went back, the more it evolved into a place of self-exploration and discovery.
Every wobble, face plant and fall that were all once triggers for my frustration, are now humbling lessons and the building blocks to the support system that yoga now plays for my overall well-being.
What benefits has yoga given you beyond getting flexible and stronger?
A strong sense of self. I learn so much about my body inside and out every time I step onto the mat in the 10 years I’ve practised . And I don’t mean what poses I can and can’t do - I’ve learnt how I react to certain challenges, how my energy differs from day to day, when my mind wonders and where it wonders off to. Yoga becomes this tangible practice that reflects what life can throw at you. By getting to know myself on the mat, I can constantly work on the quality of my being when I step off the mat.
Image credit: Mai Izumitani / Ken Lams
Has your yoga practice helped you cope with life in lockdown? If so how?
Yoga has become my coping mechanism to come home to myself - I see myself turn to it whenever I feel restless or need to let go of anything negative within me. As soon as I move and connect to my breath, I reconcile with myself and instantly feel reconnected to my own body. Teaching wise, live online classes has brought me so much joy and interconnectedness to my living room in such isolating times.
How has your practice changed or evolved since you began your yoga journey?
My body is naturally leaning towards a softer, slower practice at the moment. Sometimes I find myself flowing through fluid hip-opening movements. Other times, it’s simply a child’s pose, listening to my breath in complete stillness. Perhaps it’s a calling to slow down and find strength in softness.
Do you have any other wellness rituals or routines that help you?
I love blitzing out a barre or spin session to get the endorphins high and release stale energy. Otherwise, I am consciously making time to enjoy slower mornings with a matcha latte and a book, rather than a ‘wake-up-and-go’ mindset.
Where can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram or my website at www.maizustudios.com. I'm also leading live and on-demand classes via Psycle and soon on theyogalibrary.co . I'm also currently uploading some free IGTV flows which are super accessible for everybody.
Head over to our YouTube channel to try this 30 minute grounding evening yoga flow led by Mai.