Saori Funawatari found a place of calm, relaxation in her yoga practice, even in difficult times

  • NAME: Saori Funawatari
  • AGE: 39
  • OCCUPATION: Yoga teacher and practitioner
  • YOGA YEARS: 17

Why did you start yoga

I was curious. In 2002, when I first tried a class in a community centre in Chiswick, London with my friend, yoga seemed a new thing; not as many people were doing it compared to now. Now almost everyone has done a yoga teacher training, it seems. I tried more classes in gyms where I met a few teachers who inspired me and helped me to find a new me, or one that I did not know existed; I could do so much more than I thought possible. Around that time, I was doing competitive sports and injuring myself, so I wanted to stay fit in a safe way. Yoga seemed the best choice for that. Not only that but also after a practice I felt great and grounded, and wanted to come back to it more often, so I decided to commit to it more seriously.


How has yoga changed your life?

I found a philosophy that I never thought I would be interested in. I was introduced to this teacher training, which changed the way I looked at things and how I deal with situations. I practice this through asana and also in real life. It made me more patient, accepting, positive: no attachments, more forgiving about the past, to be present and not afraid of future uncertainty. I use practical tools from both Sutra and Buddhism philosophy; it’s very powerful. i.e. nothing is forever, good and bad times won’t last forever. It’s so true.

Favourite yoga haunts

Yoga teacher trainings and continuous learning. I love trainings, challenges, and continuing to learn and develop. I go away every year for a few trainings and am so privileged to do that; it is the best investment for my self-development. As Maty Ezraty told me: “Yoga asana never completed”…it is an endless learning and practice. And amazing to meet those gurus too!

Best yoga moment

When I finally get to the tricky poses and transitions I had been working on that had previously felt impossible. The more effort I’d made, the bigger the feeling of achievement. It strengthened my confidence and gave me a real boost. It then becomes so effortless with comfortable breathing as we move from asana to asana and while we hold a pose.

Anything else

When I am on my mat, I can let go of everything that is happening around me, accepting without reacting. I can pause and observe, let it be and flow. I feel more present and grounded in the moment. My body and mind connect with the breath, and I am nourished. My mind calms as I tune in with the breath and body, and release any negative energy.