Sunday, September 02, 2012

Stay Like a Local on the Big Island of Hawaii: Massage and Yoga with Yuki Agoot

Yuki teaches yoga and offers massage services at her beautiful studio in Kailua Kona on The Big Island.
In Shenzhen, there was a culture of massage for health, and it was so affordable that I adopted a monthly massage habit. To keep it affordable when I came back stateside, I started frequenting massage schools, where you can usually get an hour long student massage for around $40.

Then, a friend introduced me to the lovely Yuki Agoot, who was running a special promotion for teachers. I had never had a regular masseuse before, and it completely transformed the experience for me. Suddenly, my massage experience was consistent and I knew what to expect during each visit. Yuki took the time to ask about my body, what areas needed work and what my stress level was like. Her expertise became obvious to me when I arrived with a lingering cold and she gave special attention to releasing muscles around my shoulder blades, lungs and throat that completely cleared my lymphatic system. I could actually feel the drainage happening and could breathe freely for the first time in weeks.

Yuki's massage methods are also informed by her interest in yoga, which made me curious to try her alignment yoga classes. Listening to her describe mountain pose deepened my understanding of a simple standing posture that I thought I "knew" already. She brought our attention to the four different points of the foot, and encouraged us to balance our weight across each of those points equally while imagining becoming one with the earth beneath you. Try it and see what it does for your awareness and presence in this moment.

Yuki has been my masseuse for over two years now, but more than that, she has come to be a kind of spiritual mentor. She is a living, breathing example of a grounded, centered, open hearted human who gives something back to the world around her.

If you live on Big Island, or are here for vacation, go see her. Her studio is located near Costco above Ceviche Dave's. Inside, there are beautiful dark hardwood floors and a sweeping view of the ocean. Pilates machines and balance balls line the walls. Her private massage space is softly lit, with massage certificates in bamboo frames on one wall, and full color anatomy illustrations on the other. Yuki asks how your body is, and you have a chance to talk about what you would like from the experience. She slips out so you can undress and get on the fancy electric table, which she adjusts depending on what part of your body she is working on. The music is soft and thougtful- never cheesy, just soothing. Yuki's massage is thorough with special attention to tense areas that resist movement. I usually drift in and out, and when it's time to get off the table, I arise feeling revived for whatever is next in my life.

Thanks for all the help staying in the moment,Yuki. Namaste!

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