Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 3 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 27th, 2005

They sell Rice Dream organic rice milk and Eden organic soy milk as well as other Japanese brands of organic soy milk. They have various grains including pre-cooked packages of brown rice. If you are putting together an earthquake disaster kits a few packages of pre-cooked brown rice may be worthwhile. They last for a year or so.

Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 2 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 26th, 2005

Some of the items for vegetarians you can find at Bonraspail which are really worth knowing about are: 4 different kinds of Tasty Bite pre-cooked Indian Curries, some vegetarian, some vegan. They are delicious. Amy’s chilli. Various brands of vegetarian burgers. Sanitarium (San-Iku) vegetarian sausages made from gluten. Alishan and Sanitarium TVP and dried soy protein.

The Alishan Mung Bean Chips are not cooked with oil. They are baked. The only ingredients are mung beans and salt. They are a great source of protein and surprisingly yummy!

They also have organic dried beans such as chick peas and lentils.

Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 1 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 25th, 2005

Bonraspail sells fresh organic fruit and vegetables and a wide range of vegetarian items. They carry many high quality items from Alishan Organic Foods.

They also sell bento lunches and dinners made with brown rice. A rarity in Tokyo!

They are located in the basement of the Hill Top Garden complex. If you come out of the Meguro JR Line exit and turn to the left, go down the stairs out of the station. You will see a Starbucks. Just by Starbucks there is a down escalator that will take you to Bonraspail. Ph:03-6408-8467

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 7 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 23rd, 2005

There is also a community room available for rent at quite reasonable prices. All kinds of classes and exhibitions are held there. Art classes and exhibitions, ikebana, yoga etc.

Kiyoe Kiuchi teaches yoga classes there. She also teaches yoga classes at a café in Fuchu with a similar concept. I haven’t been to her class but a friend of mine says she is a wonderful teacher. She can be contacted directly about yoga classes on 090-2448-0960 or email kiyokyoga@yahoo.co.jp

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 6 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 22nd, 2005

Upstairs they have a “Box Gallery”. Various artists and craftspeople “rent a box” (¥2400 per month) space to put their goods on sale. Bears Well is an interesting concept for sure. It has a warm, nurturing atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 5 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 21st, 2005

Joe, the chef who is from Thailand is definitely open minded enough to cater for special requests. The food is so reasonably priced I sometimes feel embarrassed at how much I get and how little I have paid for it. I hope they can stay in business!


Joe teaches Thai cooking lessons and Thai vegetable carving lessons at the café.

A 2 hour cooking lesson or carving lesson is ¥2500. He also teaches the Thai language at ¥2000 per hour.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 4 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 20th, 2005

The café is owned by architect Noburu Iijima and Kazufumi Ootomo. The natural materials Noburu Iijima uses in his buildings is displayed in the café. He uses special materials made of earth to cover walls. This is of special interest to people with allergies as they are non-allergenic and made of a natural kind of earth which is good for the environment.

All the products on sale are fair trade goods. They also sell a Japanese catalogue of fair trade goods that sells a huge range of items.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 3 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 19th, 2005

Another typical non-sense experience I had recently was in a tempura restaurant in Kamakura. Took a friend from Australia down to Kamakura to see some temples and the Daibutsu. Got to about 7pm and we were a little peckish. Wanted to give my friend an experience in a Mama and Papa type authentic Japanese restaurant. So of course there was no vegetarian set…goes without saying. I chose the prawn set and asked if they could not give me the prawns and give me an extra piece of pumpkin or green pepper or something. Nope! No way. Spent a good 5 minutes trying every which way to get my way – but to no avail! AND we were the only two people in the restaurant – wasn’t like I was going to fry the chef’s brain because he was so busy and didn’t have time deal with a special request. Things like this just blow my mind. I’ve been living in Japan for 14 years and I’ve learnt to accept a lot of things, even concluded the Japanese way of doing some things is better in some cases – but I don’t think I will ever get this mind set. It is like you are dealing with a public servant from hell or something! So anyway my friend got a culture lesson as well! She kindly ate my prawns and gave me some of her veges.

I know I am supposed to be talking about Bears Well Café here – my point is that when you have one of these days where you feel like you’ve been trapped in an elevator with a public servant from hell, overwhelmed by how a lack of common sense can make even simple things so difficult – the Bears Well Café is the perfect antidote.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 2 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 18th, 2005

Sometimes Japanese rules really get to me. The other day I was at an organic store (that I will introduce next week). It has a lot of vegetarian food and I wanted to take some photos to let people know what kind of products they have. No matter how I explained to the manager that I would be helping his store by letting people know about it, he would not allow me to take photos without a “shome” – official signed certificate – in Japanese. I tried to explain how harmless what I was doing was – but no go! I explained that it would cost ¥3000-¥6000 to get someone to translate the shome into Japanese and that this seemed like a waste of money to me. His response was “you are in Japan”. Lucky he told me ’cause I was sure I was in Hawaii. ; ) Watch out for my daring and “illegal”, incredibly exciting photos of vegetables next week!

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 1 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

August 17th, 2005

Get your heart and soul mended at Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café. I have to say this is possibly one of the friendliest places I have been to in Tokyo. It is heartwarming to go to a place that is so community and ecologically minded. Everyone from the owner to the chef are totally welcoming, and even open to crazy foreign ideas. A rarity in Tokyo!

Bears Well Café is near Gakugei Daigaku Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. It is an ecological shop and café that sells a wide range of fair trade goods. It is refreshingly foreigner friendly in the frequently icey big city (that I love). The food and drinks are VERY reasonably priced. They have their very own Thai chef (from Thailand).

If you have one of those days where you try to “break” a completely non-sense “rule” in Japan, or possibly a whole set of rules. If you are feeling downhearted, or even like crying – head down to Bears Well Café and I assure you your heart will be restored.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 7 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

August 14th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7: Everything’s going great! I’m healthy, I like my job and I do yoga every week. Where do I go from here?

Reply: Fantastic question! I often contemplate this question myself. The answer is as wide and as varied as there are people in the world. Ask 100 yoga teachers and they’ll each tell you something a little different.

Yoga Life
I believe living your life in a way that is balanced and flowing is one way to continue growing as a person and as a yoga student. Educate yourself about the yogic way of life, question everything and seek to do no harm and to help others.


Yoga Garden yoga studio

If you practice yoga in a studio every week, try to incorporate what you’re learning there into your daily life. Build a regular practice at home and try to spend a few minutes each day in quiet meditation. Even a few minutes each day spent contemplating the breath or listening to your inner wisdom can help create a lifetime of stillness and openness.

These are my recommendations. What do you think will help you create more space, peace and wholeness in your life? In the world? Start there.

About Gwen
Gwen Bell is co-founder and an instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). She teaches challenging and relaxing Vinyasa Flow classes to students of all levels. You can reach her by email at gwen@yogagarden.jp and find out more about the studio at www.yogagarden.jp. She is an inquisitive student of life and appreciates any feedback and questions you may have about yoga.

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 6 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

August 13th, 2005

Day 6 – Q6: When I try to fall asleep, my mind is filled with worries and nervous energy. Is there a connection between yoga and good sleep?
Reply: Most of us suffer from insomnia from time to time, and there is a proven link between a regular yoga routine and relief for chronic fatigue. Before lying down to go to sleep, try doing relaxing or restorative yoga and meditation.

Sleep Yoga Flow
Begin in Corpse pose, with the entire back resting on the floor, the chin slightly tucked and the eyes closed. The arms and legs are relaxed and the heart area is open. Bring the knees to the chest and squeeze them towards you with your arms wrapped around the legs. Inhale, then exhale and roll over onto your right side. Yawn. Stretch the legs out and remain on your side. Bring the left arm straight out in front of the body. With an inhalation, rotate the arm up towards the head, exhale and continue bringing the arm around, in essence making a gigantic circle with the arm. Inhale; the arm comes back to center. Breathe slowly and mindfully as you make these circles. Then use the left arm to roll back into Corpse pose. Repeat on the other side, allowing the arm to hang in the places that you feel tightness. Breathe into the tight areas, and allow the breath to relax and tension in the shoulders.

When you’ve finished the shoulder rotations (1-2 minutes on each side), roll again onto your back and take the arms out into a T-shape at shoulder level. Lift the knees toward the chest and on an exhale allow the knees to drop slowly towards the floor. The head rolls gently to the side opposite the knees (the knees drop to the left, the head to the right). Close the eyes. Breathe and allow the body to relax in this pose before coming back to center and repeating on the opposite side. Take 5 minutes rotating between right and left before relaxing again in Corpse for 5-7 minutes, visualizing the body softening and sinking deeply into the floor/bed.

For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, read this article on the connection between yoga and sleep.

I highly recommend Gwen’s classes. She is an amazing teacher. To find out more about Yoga Garden see their website www.yogagarden.jp or email Gwen at gwen@yogagarden.jp

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 5 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

August 12th, 2005

Day 5 – Q5: I’m moving to a new city to start a new job. I have a lot of anxiety about the move. Are there any yogic breathing exercises will help me prepare for this major change?
Reply: During a major change, such as moving to a new place or starting a family, our tendency is to want to hide out or get away from it all. When I moved to Japan I had to force myself to pack up boxes, close bank accounts and say good-bye to old friends. It sucked, but change is an inevitable part of growth. So let’s take a look at a breathing exercise that encourages balance.

Again, find a quiet, comfortable place in which to practice. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and take a few complete breaths; depending on the amount of time you have, you can center yourself for 5-10 minutes. Breathe deeply into the belly and each time you exhale allow the out breath to lengthen. Our tendency when we get nervous is to use our reserve area, the top 20% or so of our lungs, and we breathe in a shallow and quick way. Completely filling the diaphragm saves the reserve area for times when we really need it, like running from a bear during a camping trip. (I hope you never have to!)

Alternate-Nostril Breathing
The best explanation I have heard for this style of breathing comes from Bri. Maya Tiwari’s excellent, The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Ayurvedic Healing.

“Block your left nostril with your right ring finger and pinkie, and inhale through your right nostril. Then block your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through your left nostril. Continue alternating right and left nostrils for approximately ten minutes. Be sure to always inhale through the same nostril from which you just exhaled. As you become more adept, you can work your way up to inhaling for eight counts, exhaling for sixteen.”

Regular practice of alternate-nostril breathing calms the mind, centers the body, balances the emotions and grounds you, all of which will be of tremendous help during a major change in your life.

I highly recommend Gwen#s classes. She is an amazing teacher. To find out more about Yoga Garden see their website www.yogagarden.jp or email Gwen at gwen@yogagarden.jp

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 4 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

August 10th, 2005

Day 4 – Q 4: I’m having trouble making a big decision. How can yoga help?
Reply: How we deal with a so-called big decision is usually a reflection of how we deal with so-called small decisions. Next time you’re making one of life’s many small decisions, to pay in cash or charge, for example, notice your physical and mental states. Does your breathing quicken? Do you feel anxiety when you have to make a minor decision? By noticing the daily decisions we make and making them in a decisive, openhearted manner, we are paving the way for making sound, clear-headed “big” decisions in the future.

Decision-making Meditation
When dealing with a big decision, find a place in your house or in a safe place and sit comfortably, either in a chair or in a cross-legged position with the hands resting on the knees, palms facing up. Begin by taking a few deep breaths, centering and calming the mind and noticing how the body and mind feel at the present moment. Allow the problem you are facing to arise naturally and sit with it. Notice whatever feelings come up and allow them to arise without judging or categorizing them. Explore all sides of the issue and if you begin to feel anxious, go back to “1″ and take ten or more deep breaths.

There are no hard and fast answers to making a big decision, but by listening carefully during meditation and daily yoga practice, we can make the process of making a decision easier. Cultivating stillness in meditation allows decisions to arise naturally. Although a decision may arise during our workday or while we’re out shopping for groceries, we may not be able to listen at those times. During meditation we give ourselves the space and time we need to listen to our bodies’ intuition and to allow decisions to arise naturally.

I highly recommend Gwen’s classes. She is an amazing teacher. To find out more about Yoga Garden see their website www.yogagarden.jp or email Gwen at gwen@yogagarden.jp

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 3 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

August 9th, 2005

Day 3 – Q 3: I have an interview this week and I’m nervous. Can yoga help me face my fears?

Reply: Yoga is an excellent tool for managing anxiety. Before an interview you may feel nervous about your own abilities, the company to which you’re applying, or change in general. Start your yoga practice by specifically identifying what you are nervous about. It may help to do a short visualization exercise to see yourself giving a stellar performance during the interview before you start your yoga practice.


Mountain Pose

Yoga for Balance
When you feel off balance it helps to do yoga poses that bring the body back into a balanced state. Start in Mountain pose, with the feet about shoulder width apart, the toes angled slightly towards one another. Lift all of the toes and then place them gently back down. Lift the kneecaps slightly and engage the thigh muscles. Find your center of balance here; the spine is elongated and the shoulder blades drawn together. Tuck the chin slightly and visualize a line from the ears, down to the shoulders, and continuing to the heels. If you have a floor-length mirror, check your alignment in this pose.


Warrior 1

From here, step the right foot back as far as you comfortably can, coming onto the ball of that foot, moving into Warrior 1. The left knee is bent. Sink down toward the earth with both legs. Imagine yourself growing roots into the earth with your feet to help bring stability to the pose. Once you feel stable, reach both arms up overhead toward the ceiling. Reach with the fingertips; relax all tension in the shoulders, feel the curve in the lower back. Breathe deeply in this pose for 5-10 breaths and then repeat on the other side before doing Warrior 2 and returning to Mountain pose. These poses, coupled with deep breathing before, during and after the interview can help calm the body and mind, and prepare you for taking a giant, warrior-like step forward.

I highly recommend Gwen’s classes. She is an amazing teacher. To find out more about Yoga Garden in Motomachi, Yokohama see their website www.yogagarden.jp or email Gwen at gwen@yogagarden.jp