An interview with Maari, a yoga instructor and entertainer from Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture.

We asked Maari how to deal with stress.

We asked Maari how to deal with stress.

Maari is a yoga instructor and entertainer who was born in Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture, and has appeared in a large number of dramas and commercials. Maari learned about NVC when studying to become a yoga instructor, and says that by putting the knowledge she obtained into practice, she has made her own life easier.
The seemingly endless corona virus is causing a lot of stress and unease. With the theme of “Be kind to others and kind to yourself”, we asked Maari about ways we can help ourselves mentally in daily life, yoga poses that anyone can adopt easily, and her own favorite healthy food.


Q: What is the thinking behind NVC ?

A: I learned about NVC as a philosophy of yoga when I got my yoga teaching license. NVC stands for non-violent communication. Yoga has the principle of non-violence, where violence means not only actual violence used in a fight, but also verbal and behavioral violence. At NVC workshops, you can learn the skills needed to put the philosophy of “Be kind to others and kind to yourself” into practice.

Q: In this stressed-out corona society, there’s been a focus on mental help; do you have a good way of dealing with stress ?

A: The thing to do with everyday emotions like stress, anger and grief is to let them hit you, then brush them off. Not overreacting to negativity around you is important too. If a serious-minded person gets told “You’re always like that, aren’t you ?”, they might take the criticism to heart, and become more negative. If you can just say “Well, I guess that’s one opinion”, without getting defensive and denying the charge, you can get along without stress building up.

Q: Do you have any way of improving relationships with people you find difficult to get on with in the workplace or at school ?

A: Empathy is important. When somebody you don’t like says or does something, you can avoid getting irritated by thinking “Why ? What’s the reason behind that ?” If you hear a rumor, or a story that’s been edited by somebody, you shouldn’t just believe it immediately, but instead you should organize your thoughts by recreating the details in your head. If you go through the steps of observing and empathizing, you’ll find the number of people you find difficult or dislike will quickly decrease.

Q: Could you tell us some yoga poses that we could use to freshen up when we have a short break at work or elsewhere ?

A: There are the cow face pose and the eagle pose. You can do both of them sitting down, so you can use them while doing desk work or driving.

To do the cow pose, put both arms behind your back, and press your palms together in the area of your shoulder blades. If you can’t reach, it’s OK to grab a towel instead. This opens the shoulders outward, and is good for hunched shoulders and “smartphone shoulder”.

To do the eagle pose, cross your arms in front of your chest, and bring your palms together in front of your face. The main point is that your shoulders are facing downward, with only your elbows being raised. This is good for relieving tension around the collar bone and shoulders.

The cow face pose


Rotate the shoulders slowly

An interview with Maari

Grabbing a towel is OK

An interview with Maari

The eagle pose

An interview with Maari

If it’s difficult, you can just use your fingertips

Q: Can you recommend any energy food that you often eat ?

A: That would be the acai smoothie that I make myself for breakfast. Because it’s cold, I used to only eat it from spring to autumn, but it’s so good that now I eat it every day in winter too. I put in acai puree, apple juice, soy milk, a whole banana, and chocolate, and mix them with a juicer. If you have a banana at breakfast time, the melatonin is secreted at night, which helps you sleep well. If you do yoga and take moderate exercise during the day, you can sleep soundly, and there’s no problem in maintaining the routine, so you can stay healthy.

An interview with Maari

Maari lives and works mostly in Tokyo, but visits her hometown of Koriyama twice a year, in summer and winter. For any reader who would like to know more about NVC or try yoga, Maari offers studio lessons, streamed studio lessons that you can take at home, online yoga services, and workshops for the NVC course. You can check for the latest information on the bookings site or by following the official Instagram account.

Maari’s Instagram account