An Interview with Yoga Master Aram Raffy

All the way from London, Aram introduced a phenomenal Yoga workshop to Niseko this summer.

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Interview with Aram

Experience Niseko: Could you give us a brief introduction on who you are and what your background is?

Aram: My name is Aram. I was born and raised in London, but I'm of Armenian origin. I was an architect for a while, but now mostly just a Yogi.

EN: When did you first get into yoga and why?

Aram: A friend of mine took me to some classes initially. I'd just had a big knee operation and wanted to do something safe and was quite curious. I remembered we did a lot of deep breathing exercises that made me feel quite good. I felt very awake afterwards. I got into it more seriously a couple of years later after I injured my knee again.

EN: Which teachers did you have, and how did they inspire you?

My current teacher, Stewart Gilchrist - I've been practicing with him for over ten years now. His energy and passion for the practice is the main inspiration for what I do now. Doug Swenson, who I also trained with, is an amazing Yogi and a great example of the benefits of living well and practicing yoga over many decades. Otherwise, I find teachers everywhere I go! Everyone has some different ways in how to teach or inspire.

EN: What is special about the ‘’Astanga’’ yoga you do?

Aram: Astanga translates as 8 limbs which encompasses a lot more than what we see as just a physical practice. It's sort of a blueprint for self realisation! It can translate to a method for living a little more harmoniously with others and the world around us. The physical practice we do is quite gymnastic, lots of deep breathing which we connect to movements and postures. There's a lot of meditation, too.

EN: What made you come to Niseko?

Aram: Chris Pickering. He's a very good friend of mine who now lives and works here managing HTM. He invited me over. I'm very glad he did!

EN: What makes Niseko so special for you?

Aram: It's a beautiful place. I love mountains and getting to spend some time with a daily view of mount Yotei looking upon us - it was spectacular! Getting to climb it even more so! The people here are lovely, and it's a fantastic region and culture.

EN: How does Yoga fit in with Niseko?

Aram: The setting is perfect. It's a great place to practice getting back to your own nature while being in Nature. A very active community here, too; there seemed to be quite a few keen Yogis in the area. The mountains are a great place to move higher in these practices!

EN: Do you have plans to come back here?

Aram: Definitely! I'd love to come back. Maybe next time when there's some snow. I can't wait.