@ap_paper on Instagram
What first drew me into Ayaka Matsumoto’s world was her spartan aesthetic sensibility, demonstrated by her feed @ap_paper on Instagram. Pared down yet elegant, effortless yet composed – a hybrid of the imperfect Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy and casual-cool restraint of Parisian style. More interestingly, what lies beneath the yoga practitioner’s picturesque world is a serenity that permeates everything she does, from the purity she aspires to in her skincare regime to the type of travel destinations she favors. Her quiet strength is something yoga has gifted her with: Every gesture of hers is created with gentle consideration, a thoughtfulness that has much to do with intent as it does with physically living in the present moment.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ayaka Matsumoto. I am 31 years old and I was born in Ishikawa prefecture. I started out my career in fashion retail, and decided to move to Tokyo when I was 20 years old. As I discovered the world of yoga, I became an independent yoga adviser at age 28 and in April of 2017, I launched my own atelier in Jingu-Mae. Right now, I’m shuffling back and forth between Ishikawa and Tokyo, giving yoga lessons and conducting lifestyle workshops.
“Yoga saved my life when I was in the busiest and most exhausted stage of my life, both mentally and physically. The Shavasana pose especially, allowed me to have some ‘me time,’ where I was able to clear my head from all the external thoughts.”
Can you share with us how you started AP Yoga?
Since starting yoga, it has become the center of my life. It’s nothing special, but everything I do on a daily basis reflects the mindset and practices of yoga.
My Instagram account is @ap_paper. “Ap” comes from my nickname “Ayapi” and I wanted to create a “newspaper” that I get to publish content on so I took snippets of my daily life and started posting on Instagram which is how @ap_paper was born.
From there, I wanted to teach yoga so I studied to get a certificate to become a yoga advisor and AP.yoga was born. Yoga saved my life when I was in the busiest and most exhausted stage of my life, both mentally and physically. The Shavasana pose especially, allowed me to have some “me time,” where I was able to clear my head from all the external thoughts. After diving deep into the beauty of yoga, I felt the urge to learn more and teach more! So I went to India to expand my studies.
What inspires your work?
My inspiration and motivation for work comes from learning. No matter how old I become, I always want to learn and be a student. To absorb new information is to evolve, and there are so many clues and tips hidden in our daily lives. Yoga enables you to use all five senses, so you become more aware of your surroundings.
“My inspiration and motivation for work comes from learning. No matter how old I become, I always want to learn and be a student.”
What is your skincare routine?
For skincare, my number one rule is to moisturize and to cleanse properly. I do a double-cleanse so that I remove all the excess dirt in my pores. This is important so that all the nutrients are absorbed deep into my skin and it’s not just staying on the skin’s surface. I also massage my face regularly to enhance metabolism.
What do you do for self-care, to nourish yourself?
Regarding self-care, I like to travel a lot. It is important for me to distance myself from familiar grounds and explore different parts of the world. I also like going to bedrock spas and bathhouses.
“Regarding self-care, I like to travel a lot. It is important for me to distance myself from familiar grounds and explore different parts of the world.”
What are your favorite travel destinations within Japan?
My favorite place to visit in Japan is Kyoto. It’s the kind of place where the essence and culture of Japan is most prominent. Tea, Japanese confectionary, food – everything is an art piece! Whenever I visit Kyoto, I feel like I’m going to an art exhibition.