Special Content

This is from a project which was created for social media content for Shiseido. I shared basic yoga poses you can practice at home! Enjoy!


hirokoyoga x Shiseido‘s Ultimune for Happy Skin

For the last month of this year 2015 (I know, I can’t believe it either!) what better way to end the series…with poses to RESTORE.

Restore Staying healthy is not always about being active and moving. It’s all about balance. When we get the best night’s sleep, we feel refreshed the next day like a new person.
This series includes Savasana, what some of my students tell me is their “favorite pose”. And I’m sure they are not the only one:)

If you have time, start in a seated position, elongate the spine toward the crown of your head and find a comfortable place to first, close the eyes. Tune into your breath. Put all your thoughts away in a box, wrap it up,  and leave them outside for now. Clear the mind. Follow your inhale, and your exhale.
1) If you can, go through some poses that suit you from the series below.
2) Bridge Pose– Lay on your back. Bend the knees and separate them hip distances apart. Heels are right under the knees, closer to the sit bones. (When you lengthen the hands alongside the body, the tips of the fingers touch your heels.) Press the palm of the hands into the ground and lift the hips up. Careful not to compress/hurt the lower back. Imagine, LENGTHENING. Lengthen the tailbone toward the back of the knees.
This may be as far as you go, but if it feels okay: slowly roll the shoulders in toward the spine so that you are coming on to the outside edge of your shoulders. Interlace the fingers. Press the forearms, upper arms firmly into the floor, letting your hips lift up, and chest towards the chin. Keep the knees parallel. Make sure you don’t lock the throat, lift the chin up slightly. BREATHE. Take a few breaths, and VERY SLOWLY lower the hips one vertebra at a time
3) Savasana (corpse pose)- Lay on your back and straighten the legs. Make sure that the areas of the body touching the floor are even on both the right and left side. Find evenness. Symmetry in the body can help get you into an even more relaxed state. The back of the head is also evenly distributed on to the ground. Feet are slightly separated and the toes flop out naturally. First place the hands on the belly. Close the eyes.
shiseido_yoga-19Feel the breath with your hands. Then release the hands to the sides, palm side faces up, alongside the body. Let go. Let go of any tension. Surrender your weight into the floor beneath you. Let the body melt into the ground. Remember that breath and focus on just the breath. Relax the toes, heels, calves, knees, thighs. Hips, stomach, lower back, back, ribs, chest, shoulders. Hands, arms, fingers. Release the neck, chin, cheeks, nose, back of the eyes. The clench of the teeth, and the forehead. Let go of all tension. Notice not only the outer, but the inner organs relaxed. Then the mental state calming down.
This pose is always the pose that ends a yoga class. and ideally, this pose induces sleep and prepares you into a good sleep. It reduces stress, anxiety and is nothing but restoring. You can even incorporate it into your day when you are feeling wiped out. Take 10 minutes, lay down for Savasana and rejuvenate. As the year comes to an end, many of us like to reflect back on the year–what happened, or what didn’t. Was it a stagnant year? or one of change? Whatever it was, your are “exactly where you need to be.” We all experience different life stages and movements in life. Sometimes a year could be full of unexpected surprises and drama, or sometimes it could be so normal you felt bored. In any state, that exact experience is meant to be there. It’s what connects you to a greater whole, and definitely leading you to where you want to be. As they say, “forever is composed of nows“. So let’s always stay present, and make the most of the now. Stay in tune with your inner self, and live & let live!
Find out how you can boost your skin’s protective power with Shiseido Ultimune at http://www.shiseido.com 


We’ve reached the 4th of the series! Up next is ENERGIZE.
Every-body is different, and we are unique in our own way. On top of that, the season, time of the day/week, how you slept the day before, or what happened at work….can all affect your current state.
Some days our bodies are pleading for some rest, and sometimes it needs a boost of energy. Especially if you happen to be in a continent where it gets cold, it’s more challenging to get moving. Surprisingly though, (after a sip of my morning drink) a few poses can get the blood running and mind refreshed, helping you maintain a “feel good” state:)
I couldn’t express it better from experience, that even a 5-10 min. practice is eye-opening for the mind & body.
These poses not only energize, but strengthen. The legs in these standing poses stay strong, and the core lifted. In addition, they are great hip openers to loosen up some tightness. Feel the benefits in all areas with balance in mind.
First, start in a seated pose, and take a few breaths in, few breaths out. Let all your thoughts aside and focus on this breath. You can start with a few arm/ankle/neck circles, and (scroll down) to warm up with some cow/cat and downward-dog if time allows. When you are ready, come to stand. You can start with just two or three of these poses, at your pace.
1) Warrior 2 – Open the feet wide apart so you are facing the long side of your mat. When you lengthen the arms to the side, the feet are under the hands. Make sure the hips, head, toes are all facing the same long-edge of the mat. Now, turn the right foot 90 degrees so that the toes point toward the front edge of the mat. Next turn the left toes in slightly so that the foot. If you were to draw a line from the right heel, the line would meet at the center arch of the left foot (heel-to-arch stance). Notice that the upper body and hips want to turn toward the front edge of the mat, but try to maintain the hips parallel to the long side of the mat.
Slowly bend the right knee to 90 degrees (to your capability, always). Make sure the heel is right under the knee, and the knee points toward the second toe. Keep the left thigh engaged and root into the left heel. Both sides of the body stay long. Arms are lengthened out to the side. Broaden the collarbones and shoulders relax. Gaze over your right hand. Hold for 5 breaths. Slowly straighten the right leg, lower the arms, and go on to the left side. Same procedure.
2) Extended side angle pose – Again start from the right side. From Warrior 2 pose, slowly bring your right elbow on to the right thigh. Lift the left hand up toward the ceiling, feeling the opening of the right side of the body. Slowly bring the left hand up and over the head, creating a long line from the heel of the left foot to the tip of you hand. Keep the legs strong, and press into the right elbow to keep the right side of the body nice and long too. Repeat on the left side.shiseido_yoga-11
3) Triangle – This is one of my favorite poses. When you practice again and again, you will start to feel a sense of open-ness. Imagine opening up like a big starfish. Stand in the same position as Warrior 2. But this time, keep the legs straight. Create the heel-to-arch stance. Slowly, as if someone is pulling your right hand, hinging from the top of the thighs, tilt the body to the right. Bring your right hand on the shin or thigh (wherever you can reach without rounding the back, but not the knee!) and keeping the side body long, lift the left hand toward the ceiling. See if you can turn your head to face toward the left hand. Anchor the feet and notice the weight being dispersed in all directions, making the body feel a bit lighter. Breathe. Inhale and exhale. Go on to the left side for symmetry.
shiseido_yoga-124) Twist in chair pose– The infamous chair pose known universally, exists in yoga too. It may not be everyone’s favorite, but done right-it’s as energizing as could be. Standing with the feet together, slowly drop the hips. Make sure that the belly is lifted, and bring more weight on to the heels. Despite dropping down, see if you can invest in lifting through the crown of the head as well. Bring the hands to a prayer position and keeping the hips where they are, twist from the lower belly and spine and bring the right elbow to the outside of the left thigh. Press the hands together and as you do, lengthen the spine and twist a bit more. Breathe, and soften areas of tension, aka shoulders, face, teeth…repeat on the left.shiseido_yoga-13
5) Low lunge– This one is especially great if you sit in a chair for long periods of time. From Downward-facing dog, step your right foot in between the hands. Make sure the right knee is right above with the right heel. Untuck the left toes and drop the left knee to the mat. Slowly, without arching in the lower back, lift the hands up toward the ceiling. Bend into the right knee, but keep lifting the hands up and the belly away from the right thigh. Gaze up. Relax the shoulders and breathe. Return to Downward-facing dog at your pace and go on to the left side.
When you are finished, lay on your back for a rest, and even out the breath. Come back to the first sitting position and close the eyes. Notice the difference from when you started just a few minutes ago.
“There are some things that you only learn through experience. I’m learning everyday…”
Find out how you can boost your skin’s protective power with Shiseido Ultimune at http://www.shiseido.com

Today, I am updating my 3rd post of the Ultimune series, RESIST…and  my first post from PARIS:)
I have just relocated and enjoying the refreshing change of environment,
as well as immersing into this wondrous city!
It is all worth the work and effort, but in reality…moving is a TASK. It’s a process to get ready pre-departure, and then to get accustomed post-arrival. While exploring the city, people and some cheese & wine, and pastries in between, my daily yoga practice has kept me grounded and peaceful mentally and physically.


The change of seasons is always a time you need that immune system working, and this series of RESIST is great for that purpose. I usually practice in the morning time, but after a day of walking a city–these poses (with deep breaths) feel great to stretch out the muscles and balance out the body.
1) Cow pose – come to all fours, (the “table top” pose: shoulders above wrists, hips right over knees). Keep your hands open wide and press firmly into the floor, so you avoid slumping into the shoulders. In this pose, feel the stretch and movement of the spine. Tuck your toes, INHALE, as you press into the entire palm of the hand and lift the chest forward, and let the spine arch gently.

shiseido_yoga-62) Cat pose– un-tuck the toes, EXHALE, let the spine round toward the ceiling, pulling your belly gently toward the back (Like a cat doing a big stretch). Flow through Cat and Cow for a few rounds.

3) Downward-Facing-Dog pose– This is the peak pose, and ideal pose in yoga to stretch out all muscle groups of the body. Bring your hands slightly (approximately the length of one hand) forward of your shoulders. Inhale, and on your exhale–tuck the toes in, and lift the hips up and back. Press firmly into the entire hand, roll the upper arms out. Press the top of the thighs back. Heels reach back toward the back edge of the mat. Knees can be bent, depending on you’re capability that day (everyone and every moment is different!). Breathe and notice whats happening in the body in the pose. (Try to) Disperse your weight equally throughout the entire body.

4) Child’s pose– Exhale and sit your hips on o the heels. Un-tuck the toes (big toes touching) and knees wider than hip distance. Extend the spine and place your forehead on the ground and relax with the arms rested forward.

It’s great to see yoga is all around this ciy too! You can keep updated on new information on my instagram or facebook: @hirokoyoga
Happy Ultimune day and happy yoga for well-being…and glowing skin!
Life is a Journey, Not a destination.

Find out how you can boost your skin’s protective power with Shiseido Ultimune at 


I’m quite sensitive to the climate and subtle changes in the air. Maybe it’s being in tune with nature–or maybe that’s just who I am:) Either way, changes in environment, affect me mentally, physically and hormonal-ly–and having struggles with these ups & downs is what has also gotten me closer to yoga.Protect

For anyone though, the ever-changing world can be a tough place to be at times. So, lets do the best to keep an open heart and stay strong, with first, these simple poses to PROTECT:

1) Cobra pose Lay on the belly. Hands come next to the chest. Inhale-As you push into the hands, peel the chest off the ground, just using the UPPER BACK. Shoulders come away from ears, shoulder blades in. Hug the elbows together. As you lift, keep pressing into the front of the feet. Two points: 1-Avoid compression in the back by trying to LENGTHEN the back, not arching. 2-Draw the chin in a bit and feel the release in the back of the neck. Exhale, and lower the body and relax:)shiseido_yoga-1

2) Cobra pose interlaced This time, a variation of the above Cobra, but feeling more opening in the chest & warmth in the shoulder blades. Interlace the fingers at the back, and lift. Same points to keep in mind. Breathe into the collarbones! Reach the hands back toward the feet, and IF it feels good, lift those hands a bit toward the ceiling. Exhale, hands stack in front of the forehead for a release:)shiseido_yoga-2

3) Upward-facing dog Keeping those toes un-tucked, again on the belly. Moving on from Cobra, bring the hands down lower, below the chest. Shoulders stay away from the ears. Now Inhale, press into the hands and push the floor away, as if you’re coming out of the water for a breath. Lift the thighs this time. Reach the chest forward and up, buttocks lengthen back.shiseido_yoga-34) Plank to Chaturanga Plank pose engages the core, and Chaturanga challenges the core strength. Again, on the stomach, bring your hands under the shoulders. Then, straighten the feet back, tuck the toes in, so that the whole body lifts away from the floor. You want to imagine being in a straight line here. Belly drawing in, and lifting up keeps the pose firm.shiseido_yoga-4

If your arms feel strong, you can shift the body forward of your hands slightly, and as you bend the elbows back lower again, in a straight line. Please do drop the knees if necessary. Same difference:) shiseido_yoga-5

Even though I try to take care of myself as much as I can,there are moments in life when life brings you surprises and the unexpected. So, it’s always good to be prepared for these moments with a sturdy core and immunity, to be ready for anything that comes your way, accepting it in a calm state, without reacting (too much, at least!)

Remember, any time during the day, stop for a moment. Notice the breathe. Stay with it, steady and even:)

“Life is not a race, it is a gift. Enjoy it, don’t rush through it.”

Find out how you can boost your skin’s protective power with Shiseido Ultimune at http://www.shiseido.com 

Here’s more on YOGA to incorporate with your daily use of Shiseido’s Ultimune!


For me the allure of this product was that it “boosts the power of your skin to protect itself”. (Yes, apparently the skin has an immune system too!) –and the Shiseido team brought to my attention that it optimizes the 4 powers of the skin to:

1) protect, 2) resist, 3) energize, and 4) restore

Yoga is beneficial for well-being in all aspects, but upon hearing this, certain poses lit up in my mind–ones which especially suit these keywords.
Setting themes & intentions with your practice always work positively,hand-in-hand.
Try them out while you set your focus on these monthly themes.
Watch out for new themed updates on Ultimune days:)
(and message me if you have any questions!)

But before that…some poses to WARM-UP

Activate the body in the morning by increasing circulation-and start the day on the right foot, and end it on one too! See how you feel (mind and body), before and after.

Step 1: A few prep poses like neck and arm circles, plus a few deep inhalations and exhalations in a sitting pose of your choice (a chair is perfect too!)

Step 2: The poses below with steady, even breaths

1) Raised hand pose Stand in a standing position hip distance apart with your arms alongside the body. Maintain the spine long, and check bottom-up: the center of your heels align with the hips,shoulders, & ear lobes. Start bringing your attention to the body. INHALE, slowly open and lift the arms from the sides, and reach the tip of your fingers toward the sky. Try straightening the elbows, relaxing the shoulders. Remember, root down into the feet but reach way up, letting the chest lift. Breathe. Steady your gaze. This is a moment to get your mind focused and prepare for the day, or “log-off” for your night sleep.shiseido_yoga-152) Forward fold Bring the hands down to your sides, and EXHALE, fold forward from the hinge of the hips. Let the upper body relax and hang. See if you can bring your hips over your heels. (Most of us need to lean forward just a bit- feels a little like you’re toppling over!) If your hamstrings feel tight, (believe me, not just you!) Bend the knees to any extent! Hands catch the outer ankles or calves, and relax those shoulders.shiseido_yoga-16

Again, breathe. Go deeper with your BREATHING. Finally drop the head and let the head hang, feeling the release in the back of the neck. This lets the blood flow into the brain for the morning, and very calming at night for the nervous system. Slowly lift from the heart with a flat back, or just roll up one vertebra at a time like a rag doll… depending on your capacity.0801-116

3) Standing heart-opening pose In standing, interlace the fingers at the back and feel the chest lift, as you bring the shoulder blades together. The priority is to move the shoulders away from the ears, then lift the hands upward if accessible. It’s easy to arch in the back but remember to draw the belly in and up (don’t forget that core!)-and draw the tailbone down (if you had a tail-that would be where it’ll be) toward the heels. Breathe into the heart, and across the collarbones. Steady and even:)shiseido_yoga-17

I think there is always a time in life (or every other day) that we compare ourselves to someone else or something we don’t have–meaning clearly that our attention is going outward, instead of inward. The media nor the complex society we live in doesn’t help. There will always be distractions, but peace can be found anywhere, anytime as long as we have the intention to be there. So let the breath awareness cultivate mind-body connection.

Yoga emphasizes the aspect that no single person is the same. It brings out the best of each person’s uniqueness…to its max! Boosting that inner radiance, results in what we often hear as the ‘glow’ (i.e. “The girl is glowing!)”). You will feel it, and others will see it, too 🙂 Now you’re prepped- Stay tuned for the first theme, yoga to PROTECT, and more!

Find out how you can boost your skin’s protective power with Shiseido Ultimune at http://www.shiseido.com 


Yoga For Shiseido ULTIMUNE… coming soon!

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