Welcome to Zenways Yoga and Meditation
Zenways runs training courses for people who wish to teach yoga and meditation grounded in Buddhist philosophy and psychology and the East Asian (Chinese and Japanese) approach to body energetics. The Zenways (Japanese Zendo Kyodan) branch of Zen was established in the UK by Julian Daizan Skinner in 2007 after many years of Zen monastery training.
Graduates of our yoga teacher training are active in gyms and health clubs throughout the UK as well as universities, companies and other institutions. Our courses tend to be in the total-immersion, intensive style. The Zenways style of training teaches you to develop a yoga expression that is authentic to you and based in three main principles:
“First of all, we must sit with the spine erect, not leaning left nor right, forward nor backward. The nose must be in a vertical line with the belly button and our ears are to be in level with our shoulders.”
By practicing Zen yoga we therefore prepare the body for comfortable upright sitting. Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki teaches that we can then carry this alignment out into all activities of our daily life:
“So try always to keep the right posture, not only when you practice zazen, but in all your activities. Take the right posture when you are driving your car, and when you are reading. If you read in a slumped position, you cannot stay awake long. Try. You will discover how important it is to keep the right posture... The state of mind that exists in the right posture is itself enlightenment.”
One of the reasons why correct posture is so emphasised is because it powerfully influences both our mind-state and our energy. Underlying Zen is a conception of the human system as an energetic phenomenon. This energy or ki is seen as something that can be enhanced or depleted. Moreover the courses of energy flow are not random but follow particular directions and routes called “myaku” (Jp.); or meridians. This energy has two basic dimensions – one that influences our health, wellbeing and emotional state, and one that takes us beyond any particular state to a condition of non-dual awareness – the place of enlightenment.
Energy and consciousness are inextricably linked – when we change our energy, we change our consciousness and vice versa.
One of the traditional Japanese names for yoga is do-in, which translates as “guiding and stretching”. Through the yoga practice we stretch the body and energy routes, and guide the energy in beneficial directions and thus enhance our wellbeing and expand our awareness.
The third principle of Zen yoga is the application of awareness or mindfulness (Japanese, “nen” 念). The Buddha is recorded as saying, “There is one thing that leads to happiness in the present and liberation in the future; and what is this one thing? It is mindfulness of the body.”
The most important Zen master in the last 500 years, Hakuin Zenji had a saying that "Buddhas are like water and ordinary people are like ice". In Zen yoga practice, postures and movements are used to bring the body into focus so that we notice tightnesses and restrictions. The student then brings their non-judgemental attention to these blocked or closed areas, and it’s this simple awareness that causes the ice to begin to melt. This further enhances our alignment and energy.
An ongoing commitment to students
On top of gaining a qualification for a new profession, students typically find the training to be life-changing. The School aims to help students continue to develop their practice and teaching and runs a variety of ongoing cpd trainings throughout the year. Most years we take a group to Japan for intensive study. As an active member of the Independent Yoga Network, we’re also able to keep students up-to date with the latest national and international Yoga news and developments.
Founder, director and principal teacher: Julian Daizan Skinner
Zenways, 2D Camberwell Grove, London, SE5 8RE