Emi Onishi

Meditation guide 
American Institute of Vedic Studies certified Yoga & Ayurveda wellness consultant

Tri Yoga instructor
Japanese tea ceremony practitioner

I am an Aries, born in Kyoto on April 1st.
I’m the type of person who puts thought to actions and loves new and exciting experiences.
In pursuit of my interests, I became a backpacker who traveled all over the world, and before I knew it, I had made a living as a yoga instructor, traveling between India, Europe, and Japan.

Il mio primo incontro con lo yoga

I first visited the holy city of Varanasi in northern India when I was 22 years old, when I saw a sign for a yoga class. The sign had a person in a yoga pose on the side of a narrow maze-like road full of cow dung, which is considered sacred in India. I was curious about the sign of the class, wondering “What does a pose like this have to do with spiritual practice?”

Out of sheer curiosity, I took my first yoga class there, which later led me to the path of yoga.

Although I was initiated into yoga, I did not fall in love with it instantly. As time passed I continued to travel.
In my mid-twenties, I was living in the countryside, surfing in Miyazaki, Japan when a group of fellow surfers became addicted to yoga.
The man I was dating at the time had also practiced yoga in India, and my yoga fever was finally ignited.

From that point on, every time I felt myself moving away from my centering, I encountered more and more problems as if something was telling me, “Emi! Wake up!”

“I had to go to India to deepen my yoga practice and regain my peace of mind.”

At that time, I was completely out of balance because I had broken up with the man I had fallen in love with so much.

Ritorno in India…
(Together with Iyengar Yoga teacher Rudra at the Yoga study centre in Rishikesh, a city in North India)

When I arrived in India, the first place I went to was Rishikesh, a city in northern India that is said to be a sacred place for yoga. I stayed in various ashrams (monasteries, dojos) and experienced various kinds of yoga.
I ended up staying with Rudra and Usha, who have been teaching Iyengar Yoga for a long time. I then took up a teacher training course at Swami Vivekananda Kendram in Bangalore, a city in south India. After that, I traveled around India and Nepal for several years and continued to study yoga in various places.

Misteri a Rishikesh
(My days of meditation practice with my Tai Chi teacher, David, at an ashram in South India)

When I had just started my long-term stay in Rishikesh, I met David, a Canadian man who had been meditating and doing Tai Chi for over 30 years.
I had never experienced meditation before, so I asked him to teach me.

He said, “There’s nothing special to teach in meditation, you just have to sit. Then, with your eyes closed, chant a simple mantra called Ma Om.”

I did as I was told, closing my eyes and chanting.

It must have been about five minutes later.
I felt a large mass of chi moving from my feet to the top of my head, and when it passed by my armpit, I felt sweat pouring out of it.
Then, when this mass of chi passed through my eyes, I blinked repeatedly at a great speed, and in the blink of an eye, tears started flowing from my eyes like a waterfall.

“What? What? I’m sorry, David. I don’t know why I’m crying, but I just can’t stop crying.”
David said, “It’s okay, don’t worry about it. Just let it be. He smiled at me.

Later that night, as I was lying in bed, I felt a large mass of chi moving through my body, just like the one I had experienced with David during the day. When the mass passed through my ear, I felt a pressure from the inside of my ear that made my ear hurt, just like when you feel a change in air pressure in an airplane.

I thought, “Maybe I’m going to die.”

Such anxiety crossed my mind, and I tried to turn on the light, but my body was in a state of sleep paralysis and I could not move at all.

The next morning, sleep-deprived and with a strange sensation still lingering in my body, I visited David to ask what had happened.
David, still smiling, said, “Oh, I think the kundalini may have awakened.” He said.

In yoga, kundalini refers to the life energy that lies dormant around the tailbone of the human body, and is believed to awaken towards the top of the head, where it is said to enrich one’s life.

When I first started practicing yoga, I wondered if such a thing could really happen to me, but my belief in the unseen world was strengthened by these occasional magical experiences.

The deeper I went into yoga, the more unnecessary things were stripped away and my life became much simpler.

For example, we naturally go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to practice yoga in the morning, and as our physical and mental senses become more acute, we prefer to eat delicate foods that suit our senses, and we naturally stop taking alcohol and meat. And the parts of me that had been filled with attachment to people, things, and food began to be supplemented by yoga.

It was like a journey back to the supernatural, with a feeling of inner strength and security, as if something greater was guiding me.

In Italia…

While I continued to travel to India, in the winter of my 29th year, I fell in love with an Italian man in South India, and that fate led me to move to Padua, a city in Northern Italy, his hometown. My new life in Europe began.
For five years starting in 2015, I ran the yoga space OJAS – Yoga & Ayurveda, sharing what I had learned in India with the locals.

(Meditation session held at Ojas in 2019)
L’incontro con l'Ayurveda

Each of us is very unique.

We are all different in age, gender, race, constitution, temperament, and upbringing.
There is no way that a commercially standardized yoga practice will work for everyone.
Yet, because of the diligence of yoga practice, practitioners deny themselves and strive for some obscure goal.

We are part of nature, and we can maintain a healthy body by working in harmony with the changing seasons and environment.
Ayurveda has given me such wisdom to enrich my daily life.
I had been so focused on practicing yoga, but now there was a change in me.

(With Dr. Frawley and Yogini Shambhavi at Lake Orta, Italy)

“I would listen more closely to my body and mind, to nature, to the earth.

I take care of the only me that exists here and now.

Not just on the yoga mat, but in my daily life, enjoying the changing seasons.”
I learned about Ayurveda from Dr. David Frawley and his partner, Yogini Shambhavi, who are world-renowned experts on Ayurveda and all Vedic teachings, including yoga and astrology.

Incontro con la cerimonia del tè

Before I found yoga, I was learning about the tea ceremony at a historic temple in Kyoto.
However, the place was too formal for me to enjoy, and soon I quit.

One day, many years later, I was treated to a cup of matcha at the home of an artist and yogi friend.
His world of tea was a fusion of yoga and art, and it was free and beautiful.

I was so inspired by his worldview that I started looking for a place to practice tea. And soon I found it.
By chance, a friend of mine whom I had not seen in 15 years introduced me to the perfect teacher for me. On the day I met him for the first time, he was waiting for me in the tea room.
“Welcome, you are exactly as I imagined you would be. I felt that you needed some nourishment right now, so I hung up a waterfall hanging scroll and waited for you today.”

I fell in love with him right then and there, and immediately decided to attend his classes.

Master Matsui belongs to the Yabunouci school, which is characterized by its slightly manly style, incorporating the wabi-sabi of Sen no Rikyu and the culture of the samurai tea ceremony.
He has been involved in Ikebana, the flower arrangement, tea ceremony, and antique business to hone his aesthetic sense. In addition, he is very spiritual.
For me, immersing my body and soul in the beauty of Japan with such an otherworldly teacher was incredibly enjoyable.

Musica classica indiana

I have always loved music, and I was particularly interested in the mantras that we chant during yoga practice. The Sanskrit mantras themselves have high vibrations, and when chanted correctly, they are said to purify our energy bodies.
The mantra is widely spread in Indian tradition, not only in yoga, but also in Ayurvedic mantra therapy.

One day, a friend introduced me to a North Indian classical vocal music workshop called Dhrupad. I had no idea what to expect. As I was doing what the teacher told me to do, I felt a vibration in my sternum and tears started to well up in my eyes.

“This is it, the sound I’ve been looking for!”

Whenever I encounter something beautiful or important to me, my body always reacts in this way, and I have lived my life using it as a guidepost. On the other hand, if my thoughts get in the way, I can’t feel it clearly and I feel like I’m going in the wrong direction.
Guided by the vibration of my heart, I completed a six-month course at the Conservatory in the northern Italian city of Vicenza.

As I deepened my singing, I began to feel my inner self opening up, as if the vibrations were going through my minute body.

(Six-month course at the Conservatory in Vicenza, a city in northern Italy.)
(At a music store in South India)
Il mio primo incontro con Mooji
(At a retreat in Portugal)

Mooji, an awakened man from Jamaica, is a disciple of Papaji, a disciple of the South Indian saint Sri Ramana Maharshi, who preached Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism). 

I knew about his annual Satsang (gathering of truth seekers) in Rishikesh, but after years of occasionally watching his videos, I opened YouTube one day to watch one of his videos.
When I watched the video before, nothing happened, but that day, Mooji’s words touched my heart and I suddenly burst into tears.

At that moment, I felt as if Mooji was calling me, and a few months later, I attended a retreat in Portugal. There were about 850 people from all over the world, young and old, men and women, gathered there to seek the truth.

The truth is simple, but the seeker of truth is complex. Mooji says. 

The reason why awakening is so difficult is because we keep going around in circles in our limiting minds.
We haven’t yet been convinced that we don’t have to do anything.
Instead of trying so hard to “be” something, we need to be aware of something deeper, something that is always there, something that is watching the daily movements of our minds. 
It is not something to be obtained by studying hard or practicing hard, but something to be realised by the grace of God, something that is already here.

Meeting him was a shocking experience that turned my world upside down. It was like finally coming home to the home I had been looking for for so long, a peaceful experience with the fragrance of silence.

Like the home I’ve been looking for

Inner Sanctuary

Based on what I have experienced through my life, I would be happy to help you illuminate the beautiful light that also dwells in your inner sanctuary.
We are in the midst of a great change.
The whole world is feeling the limitations of the material world, and we have the opportunity to reevaluate our way of life.
There is a deep sense of peace that comes from a place of inner awareness, a place beyond the ego.
I believe that true world peace will be born from the harmony that organically spreads from there.

Based on my own experiences and the ancient wisdom of India, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Indian classical vocal music, and Advaita Vedanta (meditation), I offer hints and lifestyles that will help you to live in harmony with nature in a way that is healthy and beautiful both physically and mentally, with inner tranquility.