The Amayori Sento — Mindfulness


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Creating Ryokan-Style Comfort In Your Home

One of my greatest hopes with Amayori is that it will pique your interest and inspire travel to Japan. Should you ever make the journey, I highly suggest spending at least part of your trip at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). The hospitality at these establishments is unlike anything else. From the second you arrive, it’s as if your every desire is anticipated and cared for before it even crosses your mind. Below are a few of the subtle, small touches that all contribute to a harmonious stay. I love to incorporate these into my home, especially during the holiday season. Seasonal Flowers and/or Art: Most ryokan rooms, and Japanese homes for that matter, have a special outlet called...

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An Easy Weekend Morning Ritual

Little moments of tranquility can have such a rejuvenating impact on our lives. There are so many ways to make everyday moments more beautiful and mindful. All that’s required is a bit of effort, creativity, and intention. I love to read after I meditate and exercise on weekend mornings. I just sit on my couch for 30 minutes or so and read whatever book currently is holding my attention, or I pick a random book and just dive in. What makes this moment go from “reading on the couch” to a weekend ritual is this: Tea: I always make a cup of tea to sit down and read with. Tea stops us and takes us out of the day-to-day. I...

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Taking Care: Nurture the Body, Nurture the Soul

Think about a busy morning. There are certain things that we do without fail before beginning our day. Some of these things include brushing our teeth, taking a shower, applying face care products, etc. One of the areas that often gets put aside when we have less time is our bodies. In my late 20’s, I shared an apartment with a woman who was the quintessential California girl. She was “all-American,” pretty and natural. She always looked fresh and glowed with happiness when she smiled. We were living in San Francisco, which is usually overcast and chilly, so were thrilled to visit her family in a warmer part of California for a chance to go swimming. When we got to...

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The Legend of Empress Kōmyō

From Japanese bathing culture, there is one woman whose name I have come across again and again: Empress Kōmyō. As with all women, there are many facets to her life story, but I have been particularly intrigued and inspired by her connection and influence on bathing. A true empress and thoroughly elegant woman, Empress Kōmyō was known for her great beauty and equally for her compassionate and charitable nature. Hailing from the aristocratic Fujiwara clan of the Heian era, she was a devout Buddhist and was remarkably humble. It is said that she was devoted to personally bathing the poor as an act of charity (bathing or sponsoring baths for the poor was often done by aristocrats of the day)....

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How to Take a Japanese Bath at Home (Part 1): Setting Up

Japanese bathing isn’t just about its amazing skin and health benefits. Above all, it is about mindfulness, deep relaxation, and letting go of your cares of the day. One of the things that struck me most upon my first Japanese bath experience was the vibe. There is something magical about the water, the scent of hinoki cypress (a wood often used to make Japanese baths), the minimalism – all of these elements create a sensorial experience that allows one to connect with themselves on a level that they never thought possible. One of the most important parts of a relaxing bath is setting up beforehand. After doing this a few times you may find that your bathroom changes entirely. This...

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