Meet Yayoi Matches | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

An avid dancer and nature lover, Yayoi is all about mindfulness in her classes and continues this throughout her everyday life, she shares her tips and tricks.

Aug 9, 2022

Meet Yayoi Matches | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ
Meet Yayoi Matches | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Pocket rocket and multi-talented Yayoi Matches, joined the SALA schedule last year bringing her bubbly sunny self and burning Mat Pilates and Barre classes with her. An avid dancer and nature lover, Yayoi is all about mindfulness in her classes and continues this throughout her everyday life, she shares her tips and tricks.

Hey, who are you? What do you do and where do you live?

Hello, I’m Yayoi! Half Japanese and half Kiwi living in Auckland, working in the fitness club after many years of training and working as a dancer around the world.

Why and how did movement become such a big part of your life?

I had the energy to burn, and a passion for performing arts, so I found my way into the dance world which very quickly became a big focus in my life and took me into the profession.

Yoga and Pilates were something that helped immensely during my career, not just physically with conditioning and rehab, but for my mental state and well-being partially working in a tough, disciplined environment. Educating myself, eager to learn how to heal and understanding the immense importance of a healthy mind and head space took me on a powerful journey and opened up opportunities for a new pathway moving forward.

Do what you love and stick to what you’re good at, from here you’d only want to share it.

How would you describe your classes?

I aim for my classes to be a challenge for every single person in the space physically and mentally. Accept all that is right now, surrender, and be available to open up to the present. I focus on breathing with movement and wish for everyone to have fun.

What drew you to teach at sala?

I practised a lot of yoga during my time overseas and when I returned home everyone was raving about Sala. So I went to my first class taught by Sarah and connected so deeply to her teaching. I remember feeling a sense of relief knowing there was a space that made me feel at home again. Love you!

Your favourite thing about the sala community?

Everyone is awesome and I love being able to make new connections and reconnect to past connections. Lots of good and real chats.

What’s your favourite SALA class?

Eridani and Sarah’s yoga.

What’s your go-to movement to elevate your mood?

Grooving out in some random space or going for an early bird trail run.

What are your pre-class rituals?

Hydrate the mind, zone in, and take some calm, slow breaths so I’m conscious of the energy I’m about to give. Connect to the playlist, and welcome everyone with a presence. Most importantly remind me to spark people’s energy, respect however they’re feeling, and just make them feel good, a sense of accomplishment and achievement. That’s the goal.

From the ashes of hustle culture, self-care is on the rise. Why is self-care so important? And how does movement facilitate this?

You learn so much about yourself when there’s a challenge to face and I believe physical challenge strengthens you mentally and deepens your conscious self that enabling us to listen within and take care of our wellbeing and what truly is needed to perform and be our best.


What other practices do you live by that support your mindset and mood?

  • Nature alone gives me mental space and clarity.

  • Journaling and reading.

  • Meditation and stretching.

  • Breath work with Tayla White.

  • Calling friends and family, helping out and giving.

  • Detoxing, keeping hydrated, and reminding myself a lot live from kindness and that love begins within.

What’s your favourite song to move to?

It’s constantly changing and I love all genres. Some good ones - are ’Let’s Dance’ by M. Ward and ‘Because it’s in the Music’ by Robyn. ‘Bahamas’ is a vibe.

How do you motivate yourself to get moving when you’re low energy?

I always remind myself that I’m mentally drained rather than physically so I’ll go for a nature walk to clear my mind and refresh. This is also a sign telling me I need to detox the body.

If it’s gotta be done now I tell myself ‘discipline over motivation’ and ‘this is a piece of cake’ but mostly I don’t let whatever needs to be done get the best of me.

Any movement essentials you can’t live without?

Just your basic walks and rolling out/stretching.