Very last-minute I decided to join the last mysore class of Eddies workshop here in Helsinki yesterday morning. No expectations, just wanting to be part of the energy. The shala was hot and humid and I had a good practice until a small incident I Karandavasana that tweaked my ankle. It popped so loudly that for a second I thought that my ankle actually broke, making it somewhat difficult to pull myself together for the rest of the pose after I realized that no pain was coming, but fortunately nothing serious happened. Today the ankle is a bit tender and slightly swollen but I managed to practice today with just a few small modifications. Anyway, I got some good advice from Eddie on how to work on opening those tight hips and it felt really nice to be part of that energy in the shala even though it was also nice to practice just after the workshop mysore class, enjoying the “left over energy”, on Thursday, Friday and Monday. In the evening I also attended the Ganesha puja that ended the whole workshop. So just a little bit of Eddie for me this year but it was actually quite a good set for me right now. Maybe next year I’ll do the whole workshop again, we’ll see.
While the rest of the yogis in town listened to Eddie give a lecture and talk about yoga therapy I spent part of my day working at the yoga shop Joogakauppa Shankara where I work 3-4 times per month for some extra money. It’s a nice place to work at and people are usually always in a good mood when they enter. And today there was a lot of friends coming by in between Eddie’s classes, an added bonus to the job. The rest if the day was spent napping and taking apart my book shelf. I hate moving but OMG does it feel good to throw out a lot of old clothes and other old and unnecessary stuff. I’m going to try to remember that in the future when I feel the urge to buy something.
Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote something. 1,5 months exactly. It feels like not much has happened lately but at the same time there’s a lot of stuff going on. The biggest thing at the moment is definitely the upcoming move. Yes, we’re finally moving in together with my boyfriend. This is a huge (and somewhat frightening) step for someone as independent as me but after more than 3,5 years together it’s about time we try to live under the same roof. Moving in together means moving into a bigger apartment in a new part of town, a bit further away from the city center. It also means leaving the one bedroom apartment, located at a walking distance from the shala (how I’m going to miss this!), that I have loved living in for almost 6 years now. It makes me sad to leave this place and this neighbourhood. But hopefully the new neighbourhood will grow on us both and hopefully we will be happy in our new place. And as I’m currently living in an apartment full of boxes, my stuff almost all packed up, I can’t wait for moving day to come soon.
Eddie Stern is in Helsinki again for the third or fourth time. His course started today but I’m not participating this year, I can’t afford it. But it’s fine, I’m actually happiest practicing with my teacher right now. No need for anything more or extra. The one really good thing about being unemployed is that I have really been able to focus on my practice during the past months. And I can really feel the results of this. Of course this can’t continue forever, but for now I appreciate this opportunity to dedicate myself and my energy to the practice. My back is in better shape than in years, my hips are slowly opening more and more, I’m gaining strength and I’m finally able to do the lotus myself in Karandavasana. This in particular, getting the lotus in Karandavasana, is a huge breakthrough for me, something I wasn’t sure would ever happen. I managed it for the first time around a month ago and I still feel a surge of joy every time a manage to fold my legs into lotus. Landing Karandavasana is also so close but still not quite happening. But at least my legs touch down on my arms before my ass hits the floor. For the last month or so I’ve also been allowed to add Kasyapasana to my practice. It’s been really good to be able to do this as it really aids in the opening of my hips. But it’s definitely not an easy posture for me, I’m not that flexible. The third series asanas in general are not easy, at least not for me. They require a lot of strength, stamina and flexibility. But it’s remarkable to notice how much strength I have gained, both over the years and over the past months.
Anyway, this was a small update after a long silence. It’s always difficult to write after not having written in a while and it gets increasingly difficult as time goes by.
And, btw, Helsinki now has a great new vegetarian restaurant, OmNam, located in the same building as the Annankatu yoga shalas. Make sure you try it, they even serve masala dosas on Thursdays!
I spent last weekend in Århus, Denmark, visiting a very dear friend of mine. Århus turned out to be a nice place with a lot of super cute little houses. It reminded me a little of an English village, but in a larger scale. It was great to spend some time with Suvi, catching up on everything.
Suvi took me to the local yoga shala on Sunday. It’s always nice to have to opportunity to get a taste of the local yoga community when travelling. The teacher, Tanja Sofie, has recently opened a new shala, a nice space with lots of light and good vibes and I really enjoyed my practice there.
On Sunday we also went to ARoS, an art museum with a nice rainbow panorama thing on the roof.
Lovely sunshine on the roof
Århus from above
Monday was very foggy and possibly the reason for delayed and missd fligths. Thumbs down for the SAS service in Århus and the slow transfer service in Copenhagen, which almost made me miss the flight I’d been rebooked on after missing my direct flight to Helsinki but eventually I finally landed in Helsinki, 4 hours late, after a lot of waiting and a change in my flight plan that took me via Stockholm to Helsinki.
Really interesting discussion with Petri, take the time to watch it.
Last weekend the whole family met up in Stockholm (travelling from Helsinki, Turku, Vasa and Kokkola by plain and ferry) to celebrate my mum turning 60. It was a short but sweet visit, especially for me and Arttu who only flew in on Friday evening and had to leave on Sunday morning. But we had a great time and I’m sure we will all cherish the memory of spending this time together.
On Friday we had Lebanese food, it was delicious!
This weekend is much more low-key. Went to the movies yesterday and today I worked at the yoga shop for a few hours and later I took a long walk in the sun. I clearly do that too seldom (take a walk, that is) because come 8 pm and I’m beat. Too much fresh air. But I’m already looking forward to next weekend when I’ll be travelling to Århus in Denmark to visit one of my dearest friends, Suvi. Can’t wait for Friday to arrive!
What I love about ashtanga yoga is that it continues to challenge me. Most days you do your practice and keep working on different things and not much out of the ordinary happens. But then occasionally there’s the rare breakthrough in a difficult pose. And then you might not be able to do it again for a while but at least you know it’s possible. And when you’ve finally mastered a difficult pose it’s time to take it to the next level. It never ends. You’re never done.
Karandavasana has been and continues to be the biggest challenge in my yoga practice. Last night I dreamt that I almost lifted it on my own. Well, that might actually never happen and I still can’t even land it on my own but maybe it was some kind of omen. For almost two years now I’ve struggled with this pose and my tight hips, which makes doing lotus without the help of my hands very difficult. At some point it became possible to do the lotus the wrong way (left leg first) in headstand. Later it became possible to do it the right way (right leg first) in headstand, although this is still not possible every day. Recently I started being able to do the lotus the wrong way in Pincha Mayurasana and so I’ve mostly been practicing Karandavasana the “wrong way” when doing it without help. But slowly, slowly all is coming and today, totally unexpectedly, I was suddenly able to do the lotus the right way in Pincha. It was everything but a tight lotus but still, this is such a huge step for me, one that I thought was still a long time away. And I probably won’t be able to repeat it on Sunday, but maybe some other day next week or the week after that. With time the lotus will become possible more often, will hopefully get tighter and one day I might even be able to land the duck on my own.
Another huge challenge is my newest asana, Visvamitrasana (or Vasisthasana, there seems to be some confusion about which one is which of the two first asanas of the third series), which I’ve been working on for just over a week now. It’s a difficult asana and it’s killing my shoulders but with time also that one will get easier. That’s also one thing about ashtanga yoga. You might think that you’re strong or flexible or whatever but then comes the next asana and kicks your ass and you realize how weak you really are. It’s very humbling.
Laruga posted this perfect quote on her blog today and I just had to repost it. This is the essence of what I’ve been trying to tell myself lately. What I’ve been hoping to hear from someone else also in times of doubt. And there the words suddenly were:
“Here’s some very good news.
Right here, right now, in this moment, you don’t have to ‘figure out’ the rest of your life, no matter what anyone says.
You don’t need all the answers. They will come, in time, or not, or perhaps the unnecessary questions will fall away.
There is no rush. Life is not in a hurry. Be like the seasons. Winter is not trying to become summer. Spring does not rush towards autumn. The grass grows at its own pace.
The choices that will be made will be made, and you’ve no choice about that. The decisions that will happen will happen, events will unfold, but right now perhaps you don’t need to know the solutions or the outcomes or how best to proceed. Perhaps not knowing is a welcome guest at life’s banquet. Perhaps openness to possibility is a beloved friend. Perhaps even confusion can come to rest here.
And so, instead of trying to ‘fix’ our lives, instead of trying to neatly resolve the unresolvable and quickly complete the epic story of a fictitious ‘me’, we simply relax into utter not knowing, unravelling in the warm embrace of mystery, sinking deeply into the moment, savoring it fully, in all its uniqueness and wonder.
And then, perhaps without any effort, without any struggle or stress, without ‘you’ being involved at all, the true answers will emerge in their own sweet time.”