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The Origins of Japanese Yoga

Dr Masahiro Oki 100th Anniversary – 8th November 2019 Master Oki (1919-85) was Japan’s preeminent 20th century yogi.  He was first immersed in Indian yoga in 1938 and stayed at Mahatma Ghandji’s Ashram in 1942.  in 1958 he established the Japan Yoga Foundation which initiated the popularity of Yoga in Japan. Master Oki’s remarkable life led to the creation of Oki Yoga, the unique, holistic teaching that integrates, among other things, aspects of Indian Yoga, Chinese Yin Yang Theory, Tibetan wisdom and Zen and Shinto practises. 

The Mishima International Oki Yoga Dojo opened in 1967 and the Shimoda Dojo in the 70’s. During that time Master Oki sent some of his senior students to live and teach in the West including Hirotoshi & Barbara Sakai, Takao Nakazawa (1951-98) and Masako Kunino (1938-2019) to Australia.  American teachers Daniel Weber and Marcea Klein moved to Australia from London in the mid 70’s and opened the Sydney East West Centre. 

They also organised the original visits of Master Oki to Australia in the 70’s and 80’s. Master Oki hosted the IYTA World Yoga Convention in Japan in 1980 which drew more than 8,000 attendees.  The three month “Life Encounter’ International Seminar was held in 1984 at the Mishima Dojo with participants from may countries. The breadth and depth of Master Oki’s teachings and his invitation to self research and service continues to inspire individuals and groups in more than 20 countries. 

Most of the Japanese style yoga’s practised in Australia today trace their origin back to aspects of Master Oki’s work. Oki Sensei authored scores of books in Japanese on yoga and natural healing and about ten of these have been translated into English and other languages. A special celebration was held at the India Embassy in Tokyo on 8 November to honour Master Oki’s life, his connection with India and contribution to yoga worldwide.

(Written by Peter Masters @ Peter facilitates yearly cultural trips to Japan which includes visiting and practicing unique Okido Yoga at the Family Yoga School.  For more information contact


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