10 Things About Kayoko Mitsumatsu & Yoga Gives Back


“Full effort is full victory” – Mahatma Ghandi

In 2006, Kayoko Mitsumatsu began to learn yoga asana and philosophy, and it hit her that she needed to use all her capacity to help others, especially the underserved women and children in India, the motherland of yoga. Kayoko was benefitting and feeling so blessed from the daily practice of Yoga, that she founded Yoga Gives Back with the mantra “For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.”

Yoga Gives Back is funding and empowering over 1400 underserved girls, women and children in India with microloans and educational scholarships. Education transforms these young girls who did not give up thanks to these opportunities. If not for these scholarships, these girls would have been forced into child marriage or human trafficking. Yoga Gives Back helps orphanages and marginalized populations with the opportunity to blossom and live to their full potential. The yoga industry generates an estimated 80 billion dollars yet impoverished mothers in India will never have a chance to relax by practicing yoga.

#1 I was born and raised in Tokyo and worked as a documentary filmmaker. I have also lived in Sydney (as a Rotary Club exchange student), Sao Palo, London (cultural attaché for Japan) and then moved to Los Angeles in 1991.


#2 I became a US citizen in 2008 so I could vote.


#3 I am definitely a morning person. I do my meditation first, then take care of my cat and then do my yoga practice.


#4 When I have free time, I go for a walk or swim.


#5 I love swimming, but I am scared of the deep ocean. I would love to swim with dolphins.

#6 I have a cat named Hanito who is 10 years old; he showed up as a stray on my doorstep 3 days after my cat Hana had died. They look like siblings.


#7 I have experienced gender inequality so I have a strong activism in me to advocate for gender equality everywhere.


#8 I would like to see equal opportunity – for all genders.


#9 The mission of Yoga Gives Back is to channel gratitude for yoga into action for giving back. We model the global practitioners’ gratitude into empowering women and children to build sustainable lives. $10/month changes lives there.


#10 In some rural areas of India, more than 50% of girls are married before age fifteen. Female literacy is still considerably lower than male literacy. However, women make the best poverty fighters. Women use their earnings not only to feed their families, but to improve their families’ quality of life as well as fund their children’s education, giving the next generation a much better chance to live out of poverty.



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Esteban Villanueva