Today we’d like to introduce you to Mayuko Okai.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I knew as a child that my purpose was to help others – I wanted people to live happily and I felt that chronic and terminal illnesses prevented people from doing so.
In 2009, I moved to LA where I got my first job as a dietitian at the LA County USC Medical Center. I thought I’d work in healthcare for a year or so to get my feet wet and then explore into other areas of wellness. The sterile environment combined with routine work wasn’t my thing. I didn’t feel like I was helping these people. I often felt trapped in this life that I wasn’t supposed to be in. I always came up with new ideas and daydreamed of having my own business….but I eventually moved up the ladder, which was more stimulating and fulfilling. I ended up staying in healthcare for eight years, across several hospitals.
Along the way life happened, and I found yoga to have a place for me…but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was so therapeutic and emotionally healing. I went through yoga teacher training to understand the practice on a deeper level. And was it transformative! Reflecting deeply on the simple concept of truth, “satya,” awakened me.
Just months after teacher training, I came to a point where I could no longer stay in my career. I’d thought about quitting many times over the years, but this time the decision wasn’t even a question.
After I left my job, I started teaching yoga and coached people in personal development through yoga philosophy. I realized that I could truly help others through yoga. It’s how I found myself and I want others to have their own experiences – to start living their truths. I also discovered Intuitive Eating, which is a process that helps people heal their relationship with food and body. It’s an approach that I believe in and appreciate both professionally and personally. You listen to your body instead of diet culture. And light bulb! It only made sense for me to integrate yoga and intuitive eating.
Long story short, I’m now a wellness coach who teaches intuitive eating and yoga and it’s very rewarding.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say my life was smooth sailing from birth until I left my career two years ago…and it was too smooth to be true. I’m making up for it now by trying to navigate my way, exploring the wilderness outside the lines. Not taking the “secure” and accepted path. It makes my parents so uncomfortable. I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace and sometimes I feel like I’m headed nowhere. But I am. I’m learning to trust that everything will work out. It’s a fine line between surrendering and being passive. That gets blurry.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My mission is to empower women to do all the things they love and live their fullest expression!
I work with women who are struggling with their body image and relationship with food and want to become free. Through my private coaching, we go into much more than just food and body. It’s lifestyle, upbringing, relationships, everything that affects the way we eat and feel about the way we look. We explore and find what works. It’s not about what foods you can eat and not eat – that’s so prescriptive. Through our conversations I can come up with techniques that take them where they want to be. I’m way better at this than being a standard clinical dietitian. Plus, I love it!
There aren’t too many dietitians teaching this and what sets me apart is that I pull from my diverse background of dietetics, yoga, and reiki. And when I say yoga that includes yoga philosophy, which many people don’t teach except in teacher training. Collectively, they’ve become a powerful healing tool.
What I’m proud of besides my coaching is that I’ve also had the honor of being Marie Kondo’s private yoga teacher the past several months. She is someone who’s influenced me a lot through her work. I respect her so much as a fellow Japanese woman because as tiny, sweet, and humble as she is, she is gracefully powerful in her work. I’m so grateful to get to work with her.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I have a dream of opening a brick and mortar in the next few years in LA. A quiet place where people unwind and disconnect. There’s a place in the mountains of Japan that I’m in love with and gives me inspiration. It will be so zen and magical. So stay tuned!
- I have an upcoming workshop at Liberate Hollywood on September 8th on Intuitive Eating and chair yoga ($20).
- I also offer free discovery calls for my coaching program. If you’re a woman who resonates with my approach through intuitive eating and you’re looking for a way to heal your relationship with food and your body, then I would love to talk to you and see if I can help you on that journey!
- Website: www.mayukookai.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/mayuko_okai_yoga
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