Asahi was developed about twenty years ago by a group of professional health and medical experts, including a geriatric and internal medicine specialist and a mindfulness trainer.
The ancient mind-body traditions, such as tai chi and chi gong were used as models in developing Asahi. Although these ancient practices are very popular around the world today, the Asahi developers felt that the traditional arts have aspects that aren’t congruent with the modern viewpoint of health exercise. For example, the old practices are often difficult to learn and they are rooted in traditional Chinese health beliefs that may seem strange to modern practitioners. Getting down on the floor to do yoga poses can also be a problem for many people. Asahi is designed so that all the movements can be done standing up.
Asahi is made up of easy movements and its health benefits are backed up by modern scientific sport medicine research. Since Asahi is designed to be as simple as possible, it is accessible for people of all ages and in all states of health, even for those who have never exercised before or for those with weight issues.
Asahi strengthens the legs and develops balance. Practicing Asahi increases metabolism and boosts immunity to illness. It can also help with general health issues, such as pains in the back, shoulder and neck areas and is a natural way to relieve the psychosomatic symptoms caused by stress.
Internal medicine and geriatrical specialist Yrjö Mähönen has been largely responsible for the the medical research related to Asahi. Mähönen has appeared on several health-oriented television programs and has become the personification of asahi: "Asahi-George".
Ph. Docent Timo Klemola has written several books on the connection between physical training and mental training. Klemola was a key person in planning the first training programs and publishing the first documents written about Asahi Health.
Professional coaches Ilpo Jalamo and Keijo Mikkonen drew from over forty years of experience coaching budo. Both men actively contributed to the development of the form and content of the Asahi exercise series. Both Mikkonen and Jalamo have black belts in karate.
Ilpo Jalamo has practiced Chinese tai chi for more than 40 years. Previous to the development of Asahi, he was responsible for importing and introducing several types of Eastern physical training programs that were previously unknown in Finland. He has also authored several books on martial arts.
Asahi in Finland
The first Asahi exercise groups began at the Lauttasaari Sports Center in Helsinki in 2005. Now there are over 700 trained Asahi teachers, who have started groups in all parts of Finland. The groups consist of all sorts of people: old and young, men and women, those who wish to keep up or improve their health, those who are recovering from a disease or injury or have certain special needs. Even top notch athletes practice Asahi as a well-rounded restorative routine after a hard workout.
New Asahi teachers are trained at regular intervals and all four of the developers still actively participate in training programs in their own area. In the same way as yoga has developed to include many approaches, new angles on Asahi are developing also. Mähönen and Jalamo are the head teachers in the Asahi Nordic training program, which adheres to the classic original principles of Asahi. Asahi Nordic is a registered organization, which operates in cooperation with Keijo Mikkonen’s Lautasaari Sport Center and its Asahi center.
Asahi Nordic Association
Asahi Nordic ry is the only Asahi association operating in Finland. The main goals of the association are to deepen and broaden the research on the health effects of Asahi and to provide a broad professional teacher training program.The Asahi exercises may resemble movements from other sorts of calisthenics, but the principles behind each movement go much deeper than they might appear at first. The Asahi Nordic training program specially emphasizes these deeper principles.
The head teachers Mähönen and Jalamo’s conviction to these principles can be seen in the Asahi Nordic’s charter:
All who are interested in practicing or teaching Asahi can become members of the Asahi Nordic Association. The organization offers the teachers excellent training to maintain and develop their teaching skills. By becoming a member of the association, active practitioners and teachers become part of the movement to spread this practical fitness method throughout Finland and abroad without commercial interests. Promoting health is our united goal.
Joining is easy when you choose the “join” option on this website. As a member you will stay connected to the Asahi network, receive the most current developments through membership newsletters, receive medical hints and advice, and will be qualified to participate in member-only training programs.
Asahi Nordic is a registered trademark. Only certified Asahi teachers are allowed to teach Asahi.