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‘Temple Yoga’ class drawing in young women

Chunichi Shimbun

Inhale. Exhale.

The sound of deep breathing echoes in the Main Hall of Hongan-ji Nagoya Betsuin. The glittering golden walls in the Naka Ward temple contrast sharply with the bright red carpet.

Some women are doing yoga exercises to find relaxation in their busy lives.

An employee of the temple, Daishin Tanaka, 28, came up with the idea of holding yoga exercises in the hall.

“I would like young women to get to know the temple, too,” he said.

With the help of 34-year-old yoga instructor Akiko Sugimachi and other acquaintances, the first “Temple Yoga” was held.

In the dimly lit hall, 70 women in their 20s and 30s spread out their own yoga mats. First, they press both hands together in front of themselves.

With calming music playing in the background, for the next hour and a half they stretch their arms and cross their feet according to the instructions of the yoga teacher.

Tiny beads of perspiration form on their foreheads.

“The experience of doing yoga in a unique setting like a temple was a novelty. It was great,” said Machiko Ikemura, a company employee from Atsuta Ward, Nagoya.

She felt at first that yoga and Buddhism would make an unusual pairing, but that changed when she heard a comment from one of the participants: “Come to think of it, both yoga and Buddhism originated from India, right?”

This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published Nov. 19.