SUN AND MOON YOGA

TEACHERS

Leza Lowitz

Leza Lowitz is the Founder and Director of Sun and Moon Yoga, which she opened in 2003 as an act of Seva. Leza is credited with introducing many styles of yoga in Japan, including Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Partner Yoga, Tibetan Heart Yoga, Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing, Community Charity Yoga, etc. She also helped spread the practice of Lovingkindness meditation in Japan.  Her desire was to make yoga accessible to as many people as possible, building community and trying to do good in the world.

For the past two decades, Leza has encouraged students to open to life and to devote themselves to helping others. She has trained thousands of Restorative Yoga teachers and mentored hundreds of yoga teachers. She has taught Academy-Award winning actors and directors, Grammy winning musicians, knights, soldiers, ninja, newscasters, famous comedians, and thousands of ordinary people. She has shared yoga at Google Japan, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Ritz Carlton Tokyo, Rakuten, Merrill-Lynch, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Goldman Sachs, Imagination, Co., Ltd, Beacon Communications KK, Mindshare Ltd., Unilever Japan, Efficiency Capital Advisors KK, Deutschebank, Citibank, Nestle, Temple University Japan, American Embassy of Japan, German Embassy of Japan, Polaroid, KAIS, ASIJ, Canadian School of Tokyo, and more. Leza has offered popular retreats in Japan, the U.S., Bali, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. 

Leza’s passion is Tibetan Buddhism, which she has been studying for 35 years. She graduated from a seven-year intensive program in Vajrayana Buddhism in 2013. She is also completing a two-year Mindfulness Meditation certification program with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, as will be certified by Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

Her mindfulness practice has supported her writing, and she considers yoga and writing to be life-saving tonics that offer a path to self-discovery, love, joy, creativity and community. She has written for the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, Yoga Journal Japan, Yogini, Yoga International, Elephant Journal, Shambhala Sun, wanderlust.com, Asana, the Manifest-Station, Origin, Mantra, Glomad, and the Japan Times. She has published 20 books, including the #1 best-selling: Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, Sacred Sanskrit Words (w/ Reema Datta), Jet Black & the Ninja Wind, a yoga memoir In Search of the Sun, and Up from the Sea (a young adult novel about Japan’s 3-11-11 disaster). 

Leza has taught writing at Tokyo University, Rikkyo University, and San Francisco State, and has presented at the Sharjah International Book Festival (UAE), the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, the Bali Spirit Festival, the Hong Kong Literary Festival, and the Japan Writers Conference.   Awards received from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, the California Arts Council, PEN, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, SCBWI, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission.

Leza is the proud mother of a teenage boy and two rescued wolf-dogs.

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Em Bettinger

While studying dance at The Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and Middlesex University, Em was introduced to yoga. During a dark period in her life, Em returned to yoga to make positive change. She walked through the door at Sun and Moon and knew she had found her sanctuary. She humbly bows to Leza Lowitz for guiding her over the years.

She is 500 hr Yoga Alliance certified and has graduated from the Centered Yoga foundation training, the Sun and Moon’s restorative teacher training and 100-hour teacher training courses, and David Swenson’s 40-hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Course.

Her own practice draws on Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, and dance. Em would like students to explore, release, experience inner and outer transformation, and have fun.

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Hatsumi Ishikawa

Hatsumi was born in Nagasaki. After working as a florist in Fukuoka for a decade, she moved to Tokyo. In 2003, she traveled throughout America for several months. A long-time ballet practitioner and exercise buff, Hatsumi discovered yoga at Sun & Moon in 2005 and quickly fell in love with it!

 

She became the Studio Manager in the fall of 2006 and appeared as a yoga model in the ACO YOGA DVD. She has been to Mysore, India where she studied Ashtanga yoga with Sri Pattabhi Jois and his grandson, Sharath. She continues her daily yoga practice and is also currently studying English.

Hiromi (Kitty) Thompson

Kitty has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 15 years in Japan and overseas. She’s been translating for many overseas teachers for teacher training and events for the past 7 years which helps her to gain a deeper level of understanding of the essence of yoga.

 

Kitty has completed the following teacher trainings: RYT200 (Association for Yoga and Meditation in India), Atma Jyoti Yoga in India 100-hour Teacher Training, Sun and Moon Yoga Anatomy Teacher Training, Bhakti / Nada Yoga Teacher Training, Omolulu Maternity Yoga Teacher Training, Bliss Baby Maternity and Postnatal Teacher Training, Ed Kids Yoga Teacher Training

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Kumiko Fukumoto

As an office worker, Kumiko Fukumoto discovered the powerful effects of yoga, which helped her heal stiff shoulders, eye strain, and counter work pressure and stress. While working full-time, she began to teach yoga.


Her Iyengar-yoga inspired classes feature deepening awareness of subtle body sensations through basic asana and sometimes partner work. With the smooth transition from asana to asana, students can comfortably practice asana, using props if needed.


Kumiko is a RYT500 registered teacher, is certified in Vivekananda Yoga, is an Anusandhana Samsthana/Japan Yoga Therapy Society certified Yoga Therapist, and completed several Restorative Yoga TTCs (with Leza Lowitz at Sun & Moon and other studios), and Injury Management TTC with Lisa Walford (Intermediate-Senior Iyengar teacher).

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Kiyomi Katori

Kiyomi works as a system engineer in Tokyo. In 2002, she suffered from stiff shoulders and back pain due to long hours behind a desk, and became interested in Ki energy work and Tai Chi to alleviate these symptoms. In 2009, she discovered yoga and to began to study Ayurveda. Inspired by the power of Ayurveda, she attained her Ayurveda Yoga Instructor and LifeStyle Consultant license.

She is also a Reiki practitioner, graduating from the Reiki Level 1 Training with Miles Maeda in January 2012 and completing the Level 2 & 3 in the same year. In October 2014, she completed the Reiki 1000-day Practice. She started to teach Reiki in 2017. 

In her classes, she is excited to share what she has learned and hopes to support her students in finding their own way, the way her teachers have guided her in finding her unique, individual path.

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Tamami Morooka

In her twenties, Tama began working at a major electronics manufacturer, but was soon diagnosed with a chronic disease due to stress. The effects of the medication she was put on led to depression and to an eating disorder. It was during this crisis that she took her first yoga class.


The effects were dramatic. She experienced a refreshing and peaceful feeling, and decided to deepen her practice. She explored a lot of yoga styles and studied in Maui, Ubud, and the holy place of yoga, Rishikesh, where she refreshed her body and spirit. She continued to seek yoga outside herself, then gradually realized yoga was inside herself.

 

Tama has completed the Japan Yoga Meditation Association TTC with Akira Watamoto, the Restorative Yoga TTC with Leza Lowitz at Sun and Moon Yoga, the Restorative Yoga TTC and the Restorative Yoga Therapeutics TTC with Tianne Allan. 

Yuki Yokota

Yuki began yoga in 2004 at Sun and Moon and other studios. At that time, she worked as an office worker at IBM and was suffering from the effects of stress and overwork.


When she met Sara Shivani, the founder of Venus Yoga, it was a transformative experience. Up until then, Yuki’s attitude was to “do as many asanas as possible.” Instead, she realized the importance of connection among women who tend to feel lonely and isolated in modern society. She understood that the feeling of being connected with each other could be a way of healing. This changed her approach to yoga as well as life. She is a certified Venus Yoga instructor.

 

Yuki visits Australia regularly to study with Shivani. She is Shivani’s assistant in workshops and TTC when Shivani comes to Japan, and has helped Shivani to organize Venus Yoga TTC in Okinawa as well. Currently, she teaches yoga at several yoga studios in Tokyo and offers a “Mommy Yoga” Community Yoga class in Yokohama.

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Yoriko Matsumoto

Yoriko started her yoga teaching career as an Ashtanga yoga teacher at Lotus8 in 2005 and facilitated numerous yoga events, workshops, and regular classes. She currently teaches yoga and mindful living in her hometown of Narita.


Yoriko is a longtime student of Ashtanga yoga with Ken Harakuma, Zen meditation with Genboku Takahashi of Tsukuba University, yoga, Buddhism and Psychology with Buddhist Nun & Therapist Yukie Nakajima.

 

She is a graduate of Sun and Moon’s Restorative Yoga and Yoga Therapy teacher trainings with Leza Lowitz. Lowitz inspired her to share her personal journey of overcoming severe depression through yoga. Her passion is sharing her journey with her students, and as a guest speaker at Tsukuba University and Hitotsubashi University, guiding others in their own processes.

Yoriko is a skillful and respected translator known for her accurate and heartfelt translation. 

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