Ken Kiriyama

Japanese-Danish, born 1976. Founder and teacher, KYMA – Kiriyama Yoga & Meditation Academy.Ken Casual Portrait

Ken has a background in martial arts and co-managing a natural foods restaurant in Brazil. He has been practicing yoga and pranayama since the age of 16 and was initiated into meditation in 1993, at age of 17. He has travelled the world extensively, especially India and Australia, to deepen his studies and practice and spending periods in retreat for intense training. He is a direct disciple and student of the great meditation Guru Maharajii (1916-2008) from whom he received Guru mantra in 1998 in India.

His yoga and meditation teachings are authentic and also unique, in the sense that he is commited to share the essence of the wisdom teachings which ultimately has quite profound effects. Simple, practical and efficient for the busy modern person. The approach is a synthesis of the most practical and effective training methods he has practiced over the past 20 years. Ken emphasizes on an intense, still and profound practice combining asana and movement, meditation, pranayama and bandha work, concentration, self-enquiry and philosophy for the optimal synergetic effect. His mission is to inspire people and help in their process of transformation and self discovery. He is also a freediver athlete and instructor in Apnea Academy under Umberto Pelizzari. He is using his specialty in pranayama and meditation as the foundation and preparation for freediving. He teaches Yoga, meditation and freediving internationally as well as giving lectures, workshops and seminars.

A short story

As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the body-mind connection and the quest for ”something” beyond the apparent and tangible world. Something of a deeper nature than our physical dimension and experience. Somehow I have always liked the nature of being intense, experimenting and exploring, not only in the field of yoga but in most endeavours and undertakings.

The quest and body-mind journey commenced with martial arts training when I was 11 years old. We would do Zazen (”just sitting”) meditation before and after training as a means to relax deeply and harness internal strength and focus. Then we would transform that into external power, speed and fluidity in the physical training. It was interesting to feel the improvement of the physical and mental condition through hard training, continous focus and mind discipline. Interestingly these qualities are similar to the ones found in traditional yoga. Hence, one might see the connection between yoga and martial arts. It was also here that I initially got curious about meditation.

By the time I was 16, my martial arts training had become quite intense, spending 3-5 hrs a day and skipping homework from school for the love of the physical conditioning. I had also become increasingly vulnerable to overtraining not getting enough time for recovery. At that point I discovered yoga, pranayama and deep relaxation and started using these after each training session. The depth of relaxation was incredible as well as the increased ability to have a sustained focus and concentration. But even more amazing, was the sense of total ease and effortlessness after the yoga. Combined with the energy, power and speed of martial arts, a very wide range of dynamic possibility opened up– from absolutely zero activity in deep relaxation to the most dynamic and explosive activity imaginable!

It was at this time I initially got curious about health and nutrition and often had some adventurous visits to the local health food stores. I would explore and inquire about the interesting products I found and soon I discovered Ayurveda. Suddenly I was cooking on my own, using these age-old principles. I was still living at home and my mother thought my new eating habits were a bit odd. Of course she wouldn´t cook ayurvedic food or eat it for that matter! So I was forced to cook for myself. And I felt better, healthier, more energetic. I started using many different approaches from Ayurveda such as self-applied massage (abhyanga) at 5 o´clock in the morning, eating ghee and flushing the nostrils with salt water before doing breathing exercises (later known as Ujjayi and Bhastrika pranayama). All these led to further curiosity about the philosophy and practice of Yoga and meditation. And ever since that time, its been my central path and work. I still feel delighted and inspired by the many different ways of practicing. Each day and moment we practice, we can feel totally free and renewed, seeing things in a new and fresh light, opening up to better and more life supporting possibilities. Its my wish  to bring this kind of perception and experience to people and Im committed to that.