Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014!

It feels good to be in this kind of a setting and surrounding around this holiday season (although I do miss my family and even white Christmas I guess...).
The mantra in the end of asana practice "brings the practice to a peaceful end; sealing in the work done and offering the efforts of our practice to improve the state of the world". A part of the mantra goes: "Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu". May all beings be happy and free from suffering. That's what I'd like to wish the world this Christmas time!

Here are a few random photos of the past month:


There is a well in the yard from which the water is pumped to the house daily. So if not the luxury of hot water, we have the luxury of running water here. However, lately I've been looking down into a different kind of a well. The well of my mind that is. And I can tell you it's not always beautiful like this one, to look at...

I have been working on some pretty dark waters of my mind, since I'm doing quite intense backbends now in the asana class. Our past experiences are stored in our bodies and when the body begins to open up, the traumas etc. get a chance to come out. Sometimes the mind however isn't ready to let go yet and that might lead into even greater pain. One really needs patience, understanding and compassion throughout the process -nothing will happen by forcing or pushing. And here we come again to the importance of a guru, teacher. Having a trustful relationship with someone to guide you and to be there for you in your process. Ashtanga practice (and not only asana, as ashtanga means 'eight limbs') is a deeply purifying practice. The purification of your mind, body and spirit will lead you closer to samadhi; kaivalya; moksha; nirvana -liberation.

Liberation.... some goal, no?!:) I like my smaller everyday goals too, like going to the beach, and buying fruits at the local market, trying to communicate with locals in Kannada, the local language. I like this small village and our yoga pack here; I'm very grateful for all this. Even feeling grateful for my mind's murky waters, which by the way look a little clearer already:)

I recently read an interesting article about a study of gratitude as a major contributing factor to one's happiness. Today I'm particularly grateful for fruits, books, the ocean and the sun...


It's been over a month since I got here. Absolutely loving the place, the people, and this incredible yogic path that I'm on. There's so much to learn; humbleness, forgiveness and detachment -to name a few ego-reducing lessons... It's all super interesting to me and I have to say that yoga philosophy and stuff in Hinduism like Kali Yuga have never made this much sense to me...

I recently read a lovely book about Sri Pattabhi Jois as perceived by some of his students. To quote a part of the book; one of Guruji's first Western students, Chuck Miller, says:

"I think that the practice is a tremendous metaphor not just for an individual human but for all humanity in general. And that is personally what I see as one of the huge benefits of it. So much damage has been done from people trying to change other people but this gives you a chance to work on yourself and change yourself, come face-to-face with yourself, with your own aggression, to see how you treat yourself. And that is going to influence how you treat other people."

In addition to practicing yoga and reading books, I've been really enjoying this opportunity to get such a close look to a Brahmin family life (and in this case a pretty orthodox one...). Maybe particularly interesting to me since I myself have had a very dogmatic Protestant upbringing.

Everyday rituals -as well as the ones on special occations like Diwali- are beautiful.

Homa -a fire ritual


When I first saw Kill Bill, I fell in love with the part where the bride trains with the zen master. I suppose I was drawn to the idea of learning from a master; someone wiser than me, who could light my way.. Being here I feel like that dream is coming true:) I am humbly grateful for the opportunity to learn from my guru here. Grateful for the knowledge he passes on to me; the knowledge he has learnt from his guru. When ashtanga yoga gets advanced, you'll need to have an established relationship with a teacher you can really trust to guide you through the process.
Me and my Guruji
So I'm still sweating a lot every morning -bending, twisting, stretching and jumping, breathing. Once laying down in 'savasana' in the bliss of the final relaxation, you feel exhausted but energised. The world always seems like a little better place after the practice. However that's just the beginning of the real yoga. According to Bhagavad Gita: "Yoga is skill in action". Asana practice is very challenging, but so is applying the yogic way of living in your life. As my lovely oldest sister wisely put it: "We all stay incomplete. Isn't growing the point of life?" I think it's amazing, if in this common path of life, we could grow and learn together and from one another (not only from a zen master or a guru:).

A couple of pictures from the nearby beach, which is just perfect! No surf, but my soul simply rests there! It's my power place here, just love it, loooooove the ocean (or shall I say Krishna:)


It was sad to say goodbye to the paradise island and surf, but it feels good to be back to Hindustan and on the yoga mat for some serious training...
Yoga cikitsa=yoga therapy as the primary series of ashtanga is referred to in Sanskrit.

So here I am in a small Indian village living in yogagurukula. We are a few Western students here and we live in a separate building (on top of the shala where we practice), next to the house of our teacher and his family. 'Gurukula' refers to a residential school where the students live near the teacher. According to Wikipedia: "the word gurukula is a contraction of the Sanskrit guru (teacher or master) and kula (extended family).

I'm surrounded by this kind of beauty, just in front of the shala:

In Sri Lanka I got up before 5am for surf, here I get up at the same time for yoga. It's 2 hours of sweating every morning. My body and mind are slowly getting used  to it -even my back, which first felt really stiff after all that surf... From Monday to Saturday we do asana practice in the early morning, yoga philosophy and chanting later on in the day. It feels good to be totally immersed in the yoga world again. And particularly here in incredible India.

"Yoga isn't really about asanas, but about how deeply you can go into the Self as you practice."

And putting this blog post together was about how deeply you can go into blogging without losing your nerves... Hope to have better luck and longer nerves (a more steady yogic mind maybe -or better internet connection:) the next time... Ooooommm shanti shanti shanti...


Sri Lanka does not cease to amaze me - I'm privileged to witness this incredible beauty of nature here and lucky to share it all with lovely people. I've seen more elephants in the wild - what graceful animals! I've seen the most beautiful rainbow in my life while waiting for the next wave in the line-up, I've seen beautiful sunrises and the brightest full moon ever. I don't think I have words to describe it really. Just makes me feel so humble and grateful.

Early bird catches the worm! Headed to a surf spot at 05.10 this morning and had the most awesome surf against the odds (felt a bit strange last night and slept really bad)! Surf can be such a gamble, but "knowing the bitter allows me to appreciate the sweet":) I feel like all that I've learned during the past 2-3 years of surfing (on-off), is slowly coming together here. The session this morning was just incredible! Clean waves, long rides, beautiful sunrise. I kind of feel connected to something higher when I surf. It is simply amazing. Shukran allah!!! (The population in Sri Lanka mainly consists of Tamils, Sinhalese and Mulslims, Arugam bay being Muslim-dominated.)

I wanted to have a bit of a look around to also see a little more than Arugam bay:) Visited Ella, which is referred as being the most beautiful village in Sri Lanka. It sure was, but I missed the Ocean!


This one too surely keeps the doctor away.... According to Wikipedia: "Unless the coconut has been damaged, it is likely sterile. There have been cases where coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid in some developing countries where medical saline was unavailable."


From the concrete jungle to a real jungle! Been to Sri Lanka for a week now. I got a taxi from the airport to the other side of the country (busted -that's how middle aged I've become...). The distance is maybe 300km and took about 9 hours... I fell asleep on the way and woke up since we had stopped in the middle of the road. As I was wondering why, the driver went: "Elephants on the road, very dangerous!" And there were indeed two elephants on the road! (What a welcome to the country:) Fortunately they continued their way to the jungle and we got safely to Arugam bay.

And here I still am - surfing every morning at 6 o'clock, drinking coconut water, eating amazing food, hanging out with beautiful people and enjoying life! It's a lot like South India here in many ways and this tropical jungle is pretty amazing really. . Goes without saying that the surf (without wetsuit!) is just fantastic - happyhappyhappy:)


At the airport about to leave Singapore now! Sri Lanka here I come! Big thanks to my generous host, big thanks to this city! A few more photos of the last days in the city of which cleanliness I will surely miss in other Asian destinations.. Will miss the botanic garden!



This blog was born a few years ago when my beloved brother Lari-Antti and I took off to Asia by train from Finland. As I am now on some further Asian explorations, I thought I'd get back to writing! This time though I am not accompanied by my lovely brother and I seem to be too old and weary for travelling overland.... The plan however is to spend about a month surfing in Sri Lanka (as soon as I'm done with Singapura:) and a few months in India, practicing yoga in the southern part. I do miss Lari-Antti's company and feel guilty about the amount of air miles I'm racking up. However, I'm excited about this trip and happy to share it through the blog with anyone who happens to be interested in hearing about it!

 Thanks to my 'local guide', my dear friend Michael, I've really enjoyed my time so far here  in Singapore! 
Bye Europe, hello Asia!

"Malay legend has it that long ago, a Sumatran prince visiting the island of Temasek saw a strange animal that was identified to him as a lion. The good omen prompted the prince to found a city on the spot of the sighting. He called it Singapura (Lion City)."

Some serious work in progress:) -at the beautiful botanic garden!

Finally managed to get myself a sugar free iced matcha latte, yummy!!!!!! "But it's bitter!" said the salesperson. I loooove bitter:)
(As you can see I decided to chop my thumb along with the fruits for a lovely breakfast... didn't taste quite as good as e.g. the papaya below...)