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IJYA Teaching Certification

The IJYA is the first Japan-based association to offer Shin-shin-toitsu-do teaching certification to people living outside of Japan. This is important, because with the exception of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts (, no organizations outside of Japan can validly certify teachers of Tempu-style Japanese yoga (Shin-shin-toitsu-do). With so few legitimate Shin-shin-toitsu-do instructors outside of Japan, the Western public needs to be careful about whom they accept as teachers of Nakamura Sensei’s mind-body unification principles.

After the publication of Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation, a few misguided folks decided to promote themselves as teachers of Nakamura Sensei’s methodology, usually claiming to offer “Japanese yoga” classes. Unfortunately, they learned Anjo Daza Ho, Muga Ichi-nen Ho, Yodo Ho, and other methods from this book, without the benefit of a real teacher. Using Japanese Yoga as a practice guide benefits your health and well being, but the book doesn’t present all of the methods found in Nakamura Sensei’s Shin-shin-toitsu-do. Much more is needed to teach the public. At this point, all legitimate instructors of Nakamura Sensei’s methodology are certified by Japan-based associations, and instructors should be able to show proof of their teaching certification. (You might also want to ask who your prospective teacher studied under and what connection this person has to Nakamura Sensei.) If you encounter a teacher who cannot, or will not, show you such teaching certification, be cautious about studying with him or her.

Japanese culture is hierarchically based, and exponents of Japanese cultural arts are frequently ranked, with Japanese martial arts being the most well known version of this phenomenon. Most everyone is aware of how martial arts students are ranked according to “dan.” (Shodan equals first-degree black belt, nidan is second-degree black belt, and so on.) This approach, however, is used in other Japanese arts as well, and one can hold a dan grade in Japanese calligraphy or even the game of Go.

That said, teaching certification in the IJYA isn’t exactly equivalent to this “ranking” format. It’s closer to university degrees, and the levels of IJYA teaching certification are as follows:

Koshi: Lecturer

Jokyoju: Associate Professor

Kyoju: Professor

Koshi is similar to a bachelor’s degree, Jokyoju is equivalent to a master’s degree, with Kyoju equaling a doctorate or Ph.D. IJYA teaching certificates are printed in Japanese and English, featuring President Sawai’s Japanese calligraphy and seals. Each certificate is hand signed, in Japanese and English, by Sawai Sensei.

All of these levels require years of direct study under a certified teacher. For example, as of 2013 only two individuals outside of Japan hold full Kyoju certification: H. E. Davey Sensei with nearly 40 years of training and Kevin Heard Sensei with nearly 30 years of experience.

For inquiries about the qualifications of a prospective teacher, or for information about IJYA teaching certification, contact the IJYA HQ. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and offer advice. Just send email to

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