October 30 , 2015 / 5 minutes, 31 seconds

What’s in a Name? The Meaning of Kodawari

Author: Annette K. Scott

meaning of kodawari

In Japanese, the word kodawari roughly means “a sincere, unwavering focus on what you’re doing, with a goal of making it perfect, while simultaneously knowing that perfection is impossible and that the work itself is most crucial.”

Kodawari is often used to describe the sort of individual that spends a lifetime devoted to his or her craft.

Attention and intention in any transformative practice, yoga being one of many, must go hand-in-hand in order to develop conscious competence. Attending to one’s chosen task while being guided by an established intent, or in other words being mindful and responsive to the present, is a delicate balance worthy of a lifetime of practice.

In the endeavor to live a deep and meaningful life I was driven to create a space that by it’s very nature, invites us to dive into our practice(s) and collectively move into what mythologist Michael Meade calls the three layers of human experience and on through to transformation.


Meade defined the first of these layers as the social layer: “Hey, how’s it going?”, “Fine, how are you?” Most of us spend a vast majority of our lives here on this relatively superficial level…caught in endless loops of mostly trivial inner and outer chatter.

The second layer is where our more difficult emotions such as grief, anger, rage, envy and violence reside. We often try to avoid this second layer because as humans, we have a preference (hey, who wouldn’t?) for the sweetness of the third layer which is where deep soul contact, true intimacy (with oneself and others) can be experienced. But Meade sagely points out that you can’t go from layer one to layer three without actively going into and through layer two. And yet, culturally we rarely have a space where we are invited to drop in and process what’s there in that second layer.

So, here’s where Kodawari comes in…when guide by the wabi sabi philosophy that nothing is finished, nothing is perfect and nothing lasts, our practice can connect us with spirit and soul through the body. It can generate positive transformation in our lives – we can become saturated with a sense of communion and meaning. Over time, our practice diminishes the sense of being distinct from everything else while we grow in vitality, awareness and health. Life should be sensuous, imaginative, healthy and creative, rather than just getting by and earning a paycheck…

Kodawari Cards

Therefore for us, as Kodawari teachers and practitioners, our task and intent is to provide a safe and nurturing environment with ongoing support and recognition of your intrinsic wholeness and wisdom. We’re here to point the way to health while you simultaneously engage in the deeper process of self-directed discernment. We provide the sacred space for you to have a safe encounter with what’s most vulnerable within us all.

Your focus as students and clients is to open, align and enter into a trusting state of connection with yourself. So come and join us on this actionable journey of acknowledgment and focused self-discovery.

Your practice will give you a chance to explore your physical unfolding and when you’re ready – your emotional growth, intellectual refinement and spiritual awakening. Invest in your inner and outer strength, and in the deep work of self-love and sustaining health.


The collective result of our work? We can celebrate meaningful, healthy and balanced lives. We will bring more beauty to the world and collectively uplift others around us through our actions. While this is the blueprint for a life’s path, the journey and joy is actually in treading it.

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