Nathalie and Meditation

JPEG image-9B984E98C0E2-1Nathalie Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York, decided to learn how to meditate on a day she was so joyful that she needed nothing more of this world.

Soon after that joyful day, she began to meet a series of strong meditators.  Her first meeting was at a Tibetain center with Lama Yeshe Losal who had meditated in seclusion for many years in the forest and also more than once a 49 day meditation in a dark enclosed box (most humans go crazy after a few days).  Nathalie later returned to that Tibetain center to meet Yeshe’s elder brother, a lama and doctor, named Akong Rinpoche.  Both brothers started the first Tibetain monastery Samye Ling Monastary in Europe in Scotland in the 1970s.  Knowing little of the Kagyu school, Nathalie later took Ken Holmes 3 year on-line course on Tibetain Buddhism.

After the meeting with Yeshe, Nathalie was intrigued at the capacity of the human mind to go beyond previous boundaries.

Soon after starting a meditation practice, the tsunami, nuclear and earthquake shook Japan and Nathalie to the core.  Having had repeated dreams about a tsunami ever since she was little and a great love for the Japanese, the event moved Nathalie profoundly and a deep desire to go to Japan to be with the Japanese was born.

About 10 days after the tsunami, Nathalie met her principal raja yoga teacher in Europe and a series of teachers who were to assist her to meditate and to go to Japan.

Today Nathalie is the Director of Beyond Our Best a movement that began in Japan after the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear incident and focuses on using crisis to re-invent ourselves silently.  She began this movement with a 90 year old Belgian philosopher, Dr. Paul Briot.

Nathalie’s intensive yoga practice focuses on raja yoga daily for the last seven years with her teacher who has practiced for over 60 years (and whose humility is such that he selects his own students and does not share his identity).  She also practices Yoga Advanced Practices (AYP) taught by an American yogi Yogani who teaches deep meditation in a manner so effective and simple that anyone can learn.  “AYP is most effective for those who want to have a profound effect but have limited time and a family-work life,” says Ishizuka.  There are of course very other effective forms of yoga, but this one comes naturally to me, is profound, and is accessible to all.  Nathalie is an AYP contact for coaching, retreats and training in Singapore and continues to practice with a small handful of individuals the raja yoga of her main teacher.

Nathalie is fortunate to work with geniuses in a variety of fields including yogis.  “I am infinitely small compared to any of these people,” says Ishizuka.  When it is not possible for Nathalie to accompany someone as far as she would like, she seeks out the people who can.  “I am not an expert in highly specialized fields nor fluent yet in Japanese, but when I lack the answers or the expertise, I am good at finding, meeting, and working with those who do,” says Ishizuka.  “I am also very lucky.”

To help people at whatever level they may be, in addition to her central practice of raja yoga, Nathalie has studied several forms of meditative practices.  In Singapore she follows the cleansing and pranayama techniques of Nikam Yoga in an Indian temple, private lessons of hatha yoga with Vikram from Rishikesh and has been fortunate to learn from Sadhguru‘s trainings in Singapore, Malaysia and India.  She also tested and admires the efficacy of a few Kriya yoga practices from the Bihar school found in Yoga and Kriya by Swami Satyananda Saraswati but has not found a teacher in this school.

“Sadhguru is able to energize a space in a manner I have never experienced before,” says Ishizuka, “and makes me realize how little I know.  I think he is an advanced Kriya yogi, of which there may be few in this world.”  Nathalie began to discover Ayurveda and pranayama with a formidable Nepalese yogi and doctor Nirmal Raj Gyawali in Tokyo and continues to learn from the Ayurvedic Dr. Pinky Kamut in Singapore.

Nathalie was introduced briefly to Soto-Zen thanks to the kindness of a Japanese monk Chudo Yamamoto.  Intrigued by China, Nathalie met just before leaving Tokyo a great Qigong master, Shu Seika at Arisugawa park and will study with a  Tao and Qigong master, Mantak Chia in January.  Moved by two Catholic sisters of Bethlehem in the Catskills, Nathalie feels at home in the silence of their monestery and in awe of their their inner beauty and joy.

Having met profound individuals from different paths, Nathalie recognizes that there are many paths to the human spirit and there is much she does not know.  Her strength is joy and her ability to help individuals do what they love most in a way that can benefit themselves and others.

She continues to learn from many and considers herself a novice in all things.  “I am just like everyone else — and in no way do I consider myself a teacher.”

“You can’t teach meditation,” says Ishizuka.  “You can only share it.”

While learning and pushing herself sometimes too hard these last seven years, Nathalie wishes to be the change she wants to see in this world.

“I hope to live fully and bring a glimpse of inner silence to this world each day.  My teachers have showed me that it is possible to experience serenity and balance in any context but also the capacity to act in the world more lovingly, more effortlessly and far far more effectively,” says Ishizuka.   “Let’s begin there.”

May our path be steady, may it be joyful and may we move far beyond the best in all of us.  Together.