Ikigai is a Japanese concept that comes from ‘iki’, meaning life, and ‘gai’, meaning value. It is more commonly translated as a ‘reason for being’ or ‘purpose’, i.e. those things that make our lives worthwhile. Our Ikigai is a convergence of four different aspects of our being: what we love, what we are good at, what we can be paid for and what we believe the world needs more of.
For this month’s blog post, we decided to ask some of our team what their Ikigai is…
“The very idea of how ikigai Holistic came to be was through my own exploration of what my ‘ikigai’ was.
I knew I had a strong passion for providing a safe space for others. Working as a psychotherapist was a big part of this but I also had a deep interest in all things wellbeing related and felt guided to contribute to the community in some way.
At my core, my ikigai is listening, whether that be to others, to nature or to myself.”
Maria – Founder / Psychotherapist
“I guess, to sum it up, I’d say it’s being alive consciously; I have this inbuilt drive to be awake early, not wanting to miss any of the day.
Time is incredibly important, and I forever feel as though I just can’t get enough out of one day, hence I endeavour to consciously live my life, do things with intention and make the most of my time.
This can literally mean spending those spare five minutes cuddling my dogs or taking a moment when I see a nice sunset to pull the car over and actually pause to take it in for a moment.
It’s allowing myself time to have a coffee in the garden every morning. Channelling my energy into the things that bring me joy – like growing beautiful vegetables that I can share with friends. Lucky for me I absolutely love my job so feeling fulfilled and having a good work life balance comes easy.”
Sunni – Studio Manager
“I have always been interested in the power of developing self-awareness. I started writing journals at the age of nine (though my entries back then were mostly about food and what the cat was up to, rather than anything deep and meaningful). Journaling is something that I still do now; I find that writing about what I am thinking, how I am feeling and what is going on in my life is hugely beneficial to my mental health (there’s not so much cat news these days…but, admittedly, I do still write about food a lot).
I have always drawn and painted a lot too, again as another method of expressing my feelings and trying to understand myself better.
When I first discovered yoga four years ago, I fell in love with the way it encouraged physical, emotional and mental exploration. It will forever amaze me that how we behave on the mat can mirror how we exist off the mat, and also how yoga philosophy (however many years old it is) is still so relevant to our lives today.
Alongside running my yoga business, I am also currently training to be a counsellor; I hope that one day I will be able to share the techniques I have learned with others in order to improve their well-being and quality of life.
So, whether it be through teaching yoga/meditation, encouraging my friends and family to journal or paint, offering a listening ear or becoming a counsellor, my Ikigai is not only working on my own personal self-development, but also encouraging others to do the same; sharing these techniques I have learned and providing them with a safe space in which they can explore.”
Saskia – Teacher/Receptionist
“Without realising Ikigai came into my life about 17 years ago now.
I’d been practicing yoga several times a week, for 15 years; it was my ‘treat’ my way of letting go and staying healthy and connected whilst working in the world of Theatre in London.
When I had my first child I left my job as a costume designer and moved back to my home town of Whitstable. Big changes all around, but I recognised that the one thing I didn’t want to lose as I journeyed into motherhood was my relationship with yoga.
I now realise that when I say my relationship with yoga I mean my relationship with myself, self-understanding, development and kindness.
So, I decided to retrain to teach yoga, totally selfishly believing that by doing this I could develop my practice further and I could justify that time spent on ‘me’, whilst being a new mum. Three years training and another child later I began to pass on my passion for yoga through teaching and have been loving doing so ever since.
When I think about Ikigai I feel that my life as a yoga teacher brings together my passion for yoga and its teachings, with the value I put on self-care and kindness.
I love to teach and feel strongly that yoga isn’t about making the perfect shape, it’s about the individual. I’m happy to share my weaknesses with my class, always practicing with gratitude, while drawing out and celebrating the best in my students as we also remember to laugh, because we are not perfect.”
Liz – Teacher
“My Ikigai is ‘to care’ and, also, ‘to listen’. (Maybe that’s actually two Ikigai’s but I’m going to be greedy and have two as I think the two go hand in hand!)
From a young age I loved to take care of our pet cats as well as cooking food for my family, ‘nourishing’ them with lemon biscuits and rock cakes.
My desire to care for animals led me to work in wildlife conservation (for big cats mainly), work that is simultaneously fuelled by and fuels a desire to ‘listen’ to mother nature, acknowledge her needs and respond with caring action.
I still like to cook for others but, like my cooking repertoire, the ways in which I care for others has also evolved and grown. I work to be a good listener (which isn’t always easy) and to be there for loved ones. And, now, with yoga teaching in my life, I listen to my students and, I hope, teach in a caring way that empowers them to look after their body and mind.
Probably the hardest part of having an Ikigai that is ‘to care and to listen’ though is learning how to listen to my own needs and prioritise self-care. It can be tough but, happily, I’m on that journey and I’m getting better at it all the time.”
Chloe – Teacher
“My Ikigai is definitely based around yes, you guessed it yoga. Yoga is my passion, my part time vocation and profession and I have a strong desire to share it with as many people as possible who would benefit from it and in 2020, I would say that’s all of us 🙂 In yoga I find calm and it is this feeling of calm that I wish to pass on to my students.”
Jess – Teacher
“My ikigai is ‘to connect’. This year has confirmed how important inclusive, equitable connection is for wellbeing; connecting with ourselves, connecting with nature, connecting with family, friends and neighbours and connecting with the wider community. As a music therapist I connected with people through shared music making and as a yoga teacher I connect with others through sharing yoga and guiding people towards finding a connection with themselves.”
Joy – Teacher
Want to read more about how to find your ‘reason for being’? Why not have a look at our selection of beautiful books all about discovering your Ikigai, just go to our online gift shop.