You are currently viewing What Is Japanese Yoga Called – A Look into Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do

What Is Japanese Yoga Called – A Look into Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do

In this post, we shall discuss what is Japanese yoga called and other topics related to the latter. Today’s yoga is mostly aligned with Western culture and beliefs. However, in Eastern countries, there are specific practices that line up with their distinct religious beliefs and traditions.

In Japan, yoga is known as Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do. Do means way or path and Shin signifies an enlightened mind. For them, yoga is not just seen as a means to improve health and well being. Through regular practice, it can also be used as a tool in the quest for spiritual enlightenment.

What is Japanese Yoga called?

As mentioned, Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do is the Japanese name for yoga. A few years ago, an expert in this form of yoga authored a book that was instrumental in raising awareness about it.

This movement is considered an art and a science by Japanese experts. In fact, it is even referred to as an ‘aikido’. The word Shin means ‘mind’ while Shin-toitsu implies ‘harmonizing mind and body’.

Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do (SST) offers a unique experience. It fuses the ancient tradition of yoga with some martial arts techniques. SST was popularized by Japanese martial arts teacher Koichi Tohei, among others.

SST has many similarities to Taichi, another popular martial art that helps practitioners find harmony between their body and mind by reducing stress and improving breath control, relaxation and posture.

Nakamura Sensei

It translates to “The Way of Mind and Body Coordination.” This type of yoga may have been introduced by a man named Nakamura Tempu Sensei in 1920s. He was known for his amazing focus, memory, health, and physical strength.

The founder of Shin-Shin Toitsu-Do was Nakamura Tempu Sensei who was born in 1886 in the Saitama Prefecture. He was born into a Samurai family with 400 years of history, but his family had fallen on hard times by the end of the 19th century. Because of this, Nakamura Sensei’s father wanted his son to take over the family business despite his son’s desire to become a Buddhist monk.

He traveled to Kyoto, Japan at the age of 16 where he became an apprentice to Zen Master Shaku Soen Sensei at Engakuji Temple in Kamakura, Japan. He became a monk at Engakuji Temple at age 18. During this time he studied Chinese, Sanskrit and traditional Indian culture as well as Buddhism. He also began studying martial arts like Karate, Aikido and Judo which were quite new forms at that time.


Nakamura Sensei had studied Buddhism before he developed Shin-Shin-Toitsu-do. He had also traveled to China where he learned Qigong or Chinese breathing exercises. With his knowledge on Buddhism as well as his experience with Qigong, he went on to develop Shin-Shin-Toitsu Yoga.

Japanese Yoga is an Eastern philosophy aimed at teaching students how to relax their mind and harmonize their body through movements and breathing. It is different from other yoga styles in that the main focus of this practice is unifying the body and the mind.


In addition to being known as Japanese Yoga, it is also called “The Discipline of Coordinating Mind and Body” and “The Science Of Living In Harmony With The Universe.” The system involves stretching and breathing exercises that are meant to increase health, relaxation, and vitality. The basic idea is that when your mind becomes perfectly still, you will be able to exist in harmony with the universe.

The Japanese Yoga Tradition

Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do is derived from two Japanese words: shin and toitsu. Shin means “mind” and Toitsu means “oneness”. So shin-toitsu means “wholeness of mind” or “collecting your mind”.

The suffix do (pronounced as daw) means the way or path. Therefore, Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do means “the way of collecting your mind and unifying body and mind together”. However, in the West, Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do is more widely known as Ki Yoga or Ki Yoga practice.

The word “do” which means way or path is a common term used in many Japanese martial arts and spiritual practices. Shin-Shin Toitsu-Do uses techniques of relaxation and meditative breathing to achieve a state of harmonization and balance between mind and body.


The main focus of Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do is mindful awareness. The word “Mindfulness” gets thrown around a lot in yoga classes today, but it’s very much at the heart of this practice. By being aware of the movements you are making during your postures and your breath, you can bring your attention to the present moment – living only in the now.

Not only does this focus help with mental health and stress relief, but it also helps with physical health because when you’re mindful of your movements, you will be more likely to execute them properly without injury. It’s especially important for beginners who may not have enough experience to know how their bodies should feel in different postures.

Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Do is often practiced alongside other styles of yoga such as Hatha or Vinyasa flow techniques.

Imagine you are standing in front of a cool glass of lemonade. You can see the ice floating up to the top, you can smell the refreshing scent as it wafts over to you and you can feel your lips curling into a smile and your taste buds responding to the promise of coolness. You know what it is before you take a sip and confirm your guess. This is how Japanese yoga works; by activating your sixth sense.


How is Japanese yoga different?

Japanese yoga is one of the newest forms to emerge. It’s based on traditional Indian yoga, but has some differences that have made it grow in popularity in recent years.

As stated, Japanese yoga is based on Indian traditions but has its own spin on things. For instance, Japanese yoga emphasizes breathing as a way to calm the mind and body as well as to increase energy levels and focus. This type of yoga also focuses on posture and balance rather than flexibility or strength.

The distinctions between Japanese yoga and traditional yoga revolve around how Japanese practitioners view the body and its use in maintaining health and combating illness. In this method, they focus on using certain techniques to strengthen the immune system while relaxing the mind and increasing flexibility in the body.

SST or Japanese yoga focuses on the idea that mind leads body. In addition to this, there are four main principles one must follow in order to practice this form of yoga:

  • Avoid waste of energy in everyday life by keeping your body stable (particularly your head and waist)
  • Be calm and confident at all times
  • Always keep a smile on your face! Smile with every part of your being – not just for appearances but so that you are truly happy inside too
  • Use correct breathing techniques

Japanese yoga emphasizes the spiritual and philosophical sides of the practice. Among others, modern day yoga or western counterparts is more about the physical elements, such as postures and poses.

Combination with Other Countries’ Practices

Japanese yoga is a Japanese style of yoga that combines Western and Eastern cultures by combining elements of traditional yoga with the principles of Zen.

It’s sometimes called Zen yoga because it emphasizes mindfulness, or zazen. Zazen means “seated meditation,” and it’s the core of Zen Buddhism, a practice that emphasizes meditation, personal transformation, and spiritual growth.

It encourages practitioners to focus on the moment instead of worrying about the past or future. It also uses breathing exercises to help you relax and focus on your breath during asana (posture) practice.

Mental, Physical, and Emotional Training

In modern times, Japanese yoga has become a form of mental, physical and spiritual training. The practice takes place on a mat on the floor with the use of a blanket for stretching and cushioning.

Japanese yoga focuses on simple postures that are safe and easy to learn. Participants are encouraged to work within their own limitations and avoid pushing themselves too hard. Those who cannot perform a particular stretch may perform a modified version instead.

Hatha Yoga and Japanese Yoga

While yoga is not a native Japanese creation, it has been done and observed by people in the nation for hundreds of years. The practice was brought to Japan from China in the sixth century, and has evolved since then into a variety of forms. When it comes to Japanese yoga, there are two major distinctions: one is the physical practice and the other is the philosophical or spiritual.

Hatha yoga and Japanese yoga are often confused because they have some similarities, but there are distinct differences between the two. The most important difference between hatha yoga and Japanese yoga lies in their different philosophies.

Hatha yoga emphasizes body control, meditation and breathing exercises to bring about enlightenment, while Japanese yoga emphasizes posture as a means to heal the body and relieve pain. Because of this, Japanese yoga is practiced differently than hatha yoga; rather than striving for enlightenment through self-realization, it is used as a tool for health improvement.

The Benefits of Japanese Yoga

Regular practice of shin shin-toitsu-do can improve your overall health and well-being, because it helps you maintain a relaxed state of calmness while enhancing your awareness of your own thoughts and actions. Practitioners learn how to focus on the present moment by looking within themselves.

Unlike other types of yoga which focuses mainly on physical aspects, Shin Shin Toitsu Do teaches students how to use their mind and body together to achieve harmony and a calm state of mind.

The word Shin means “mind” or “heart”, while Toitsu means “unification”. The goal of this practice is to help individuals develop mental balance through physical exercises and meditation. By focusing on this focused energy, we can bring relaxation and calmness to the mind and body, thus bringing it into balance.

By staying calm and relaxed, the body will be able to heal itself naturally without relying on medication or other substances. Some people even choose to learn this as a way to manage their stress and depression, while others do it as a form of exercise to stay healthy.

The philosophy of Shin-shin Toitsu Do is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which states that we are all born with an innate life force called “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). This Qi flows through our body via pathways called “meridians” (which are like rivers), and when there is too much or too little Qi in a particular area, pain or illness can occur.

The practice of Shin-shin Toitsu Do helps to regulate the flow of Qi in the body by moving it away from areas that have excess Qi towards those that need more Qi, thus balancing the amount of Qi throughout the body. This helps to prevent illness before it occurs and aids in healing after injury.


Shin Shin-toitsu-do also has many physical benefits for those who practice it consistently. The exercises are designed to help people develop coordination, flexibility and posture. They can also reduce stress in the body, improve circulation and increase energy levels.


The Japanese yoga tradition offers a lot of different options. You can get something as stripped down or complex as you need. But whatever you choose, Japanese yoga is going to give you some great benefits no matter what your activity level.

The overall benefits of Japanese yoga for improving flexibility, and for relieving stress, are clear. However, it is not a sport practiced in fitness clubs around the world, as it is likely to be at this time in Japan. Only when Japanese yoga becomes more universally practiced will it truly become a worldwide phenomenon.

In the end, Japanese Yoga is like any other form of physical exercise, as both are meant to increase one’s mental and physical well-being. No matter what your practice consists of, though, it should always be geared towards achieving a sense of self-fulfillment that transcends the confines of our mundane world.

Yoga may even become the foundation for future discoveries about life and living, and what a wonderful adventure it would be if we could all share in that journey together.

Leave a Reply