In a world that often seems to spin faster than we can keep up with, the pursuit of wellness has become a precious endeavor. As we delve into the realm of self-care and holistic health practices, the wisdom of ancient cultures shines through as a beacon of hope and guidance. Among these treasures, the wellness rituals of Japan stand out with their profound simplicity and timeless elegance.
At akiiko, as we drew inspiration from Japanese culture we discovered a treasure trove of everyday wellness rituals that promote tranquility, mindfulness, and overall well-being. These rituals are deeply rooted in ancient traditions, can help us reconnect with ourselves and cultivate a sense of inner peace amidst the chaos of modern life.
This understanding of simplicity, empowers us at akiiko, to find beauty in simple objects that you can add to your everyday routine. Whether it is a minimal tote bag to take to work or a practical hairband for your skincare routine.
What’s the secret sauce?
Japan is well known throughout the world for having a culture that blends tradition and modernity. Their beliefs are well steeped in their everyday life and now resonate with people all over the world for its minimalism and simplicity. A happy and healthy life is not a destination in Japan; it is a habit. Japanese culture has long transformed routine duties into effective self-care and self-cultivation rituals. What’s the formula?
The Japanese antidote to the fast paced lifestyle is in giving attention.
Giving attention to everything you do. Yes, EVERY SINGLE thing- bathing, walking, cooking or even the mundane task of drinking tea can be made into something we look forward to doing every day.
Well, that might sound extremely simple but not as easy to follow through. We currently live a life that is on auto pilot- one task to another, one problem to the next, one chore to the second. A life that is so caught up in the chaos and daily affairs, that we seem to miss the little joys, the little moments and are increasingly disconnected from nature and ourselves. Japanese culture has continuously recognised mindful living as the antidote to autopilot and the key to a happy and healthy existence.
So, let’s embark on the journey to explore some Japanese-inspired wellness rituals that can transform our lives.
Japanese Practices for Daily Rituals of Wellness
Shojin Ryori- It is a traditional Japanese vegetarian cuisine that originated in Buddhist monasteries. It emphasizes simplicity, mindfulness, and the use of plant- based ingredients. The dishes are prepared with seasonal vegetables, grains, legumes, and wild edible plants, focusing on clean flavours and minimal seasoning.
Shojin Ryori promotes gratitude, mindfulness, and a deep connection with nature, while providing nourishment for the body and mind. The key aspect as a wellness practice is mindfulness. The preparation and consumption of food are approached with a heightened sense of awareness and presence. Shojin Ryori offers a pathway to wellness that extends beyond the plate and encourages a more mindful and harmonious way of living.
A few resources to get you going and help with the prep work are these meal planners and recipe notes from akiiko’s range of aesthetic stationery
Weekly Meal Planner and the adorable recipe notepad helps you give the required attention every meal deserves.
Ikigai- ‘Iki’ means life and ‘gai’ translates to worth. Together it simply means, that which gives your life its purpose. It is quite similar to the French word “raison d’etre” meaning “reason for being”.
It can be said as the sweet spot where one's passions, talents, values and the needs of the world intersect. By integrating these elements into daily life, individuals can experience a sense of profound fulfillment, contentment, and overall wellness.
Kintsugi- It involves repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer. This ancient art form, also known as “golden joinery”, is all about embracing imperfections and finding beauty in the broken.
Kintsugi is more than just a technique; it carries deep philosophical and spiritual meanings. It teaches us to embrace imperfection, accept the transient nature of life, and find beauty in the flawed.
And as Po rightfully said, it helps to remember “The true hero is flawed”.
Kintsugi is the art of fixing things and transforming them into a unique beauty
Shinrin Yoku-Forest Bathing- In Japan, nature is revered for its healing powers. Shinrin- Yoku or “forest bathing”, is a practice that encourages immersing oneself in the soothing embrace of nature. By spending time in forests, parks, or gardens, it gives us a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the earth.
Shinrin Yoku or Forest bathing rejuvenates one’s soul.
As we stroll mindfully through the greenery, breathing in the fresh air and embracing the fresh sounds of nature, our stress levels decrease, and our senses awaken. Forest bathing revitalizes our spirits, boosts our immune system, and fosters a deep sense of peace and well- being.
Kokoro no taisaku-Mindfulness Practice
In Japanese ’kokoro’ means heart or mind, and ‘taisaku’ means solution. Together, they represent a mindfulness practice that nurtures emotional well-being. By dedicating a few minutes each day to quiet reflection, deep breathing, or meditation, we can cultivate inner peace and clarity.
Kokoro no taisaku encourages us to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings without judgement, enabling us to respond to life’s challenges with greater resilience and equanimity.
Kaizen- Continuous Improvement
This philosophy permeates various aspects of Japanese life. Applying this principle to our wellness routines, we can embark on a journey of self- growth and self-care. By making small, incremental changes to our habits, we can achieve lasting positive transformation.
Whether it’s adopting a healthier diet, incorporating regular exercise, or dedicating time to self-reflection – making small but continuous changes will have a major impact.
The minimal Journals and habit trackers from akiiko, are some resources that may help you get started and implement Kaizen.
Journal set with prompts and habit tracker
To quote Lao Tzu “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.
From the tranquil embrace of forest bathing to the delicate art of fixing broken pottery, the Japanese have woven a tapestry of rituals that nourish both body and soul. Their deep connection to nature and the profound appreciation for the present moment infuse these practices with a sense of serenity that feels like a gentle breeze on a hot summer day.
Being less reliant on dogma and more on ritualistic practices is what distinguishes Zen Buddhism. Instead of finding instant gratification or hoping for a turnover of events overnight, practice these calming rituals everyday- set time aside for this. Consistency is key. And with time and repetition, you will find yourself at your destination.
As we embark on this journey, we may find solace in the knowledge that the path to wellness is not a destination but a lifelong dance of balance, guided by the wisdom of the Japanese and the whispers of our own hearts.
Head on to www.akiiko.com to discover a wide selection of daily use products such as tote bags, toiletry pouches, storage baskets, stationery & morethat truly embody Japanese design inspiration, not just in terms of a simple, minimalist aesthetic but also in their embrace of the raw nature of eco-conscious & plant based materials.