Labor Land

Hello lovely readers!

I’m so inconsistent with writing this blog that every time I do make it here, I feel I have to address the issue. But whatever, you know, I mean, this is my hobby blog and writing is a hobby, an activity I enjoy doing, so at this point, it’s best to remove the pressure of this platform to be anything more than what it is. And anyway, I’m so grateful for all you 1,466 readers who are currently signed up here, yes I am, believe!

Now that I’ve worked that out for myself, I just want to say, “Hiiiiieeee!” I hope you are all well and enjoying yourselves. Spring time in Finland decided not to come this year, so I’ve been feeling a bit cheated, what to say of all those who soldiered through the full Finnish winter. Due to the timing of my pregnancy, we didn’t go to Mysore this past March since I would’ve been too far along in my final trimester for non-emergency air travel on the return flight. So, you know, one month less in Asia, yes, I guess on some level, the struggle has been real for me as well, lol…

Last fall I ambitiously set out to write a blog post a week and by October or so, that fell by the wayside, like a lone, abandoned mitten. At the start of the new year, I sat down with myself and did some serious reflection on what constitutes as a realistic amount of posts I can write for the upcoming year. I mulled over a monthly post and it pinched too tightly. I tried on once every three months for size and there was a bit more breathing room, but even then, the March month came and went and I was already behind on my lenient deadline. Still, I figure four blog posts in one calendar year, heck, even I can manage that.

But then…

I wondered if turning my blog into a vlog would mean a more consistent presence on my part? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to give it a try. And since I’ve been receiving some feedback and requests about yoga/pregnancy/motherhood from you good yoginis and yogis, well, mostly yoginis in this case, over the months, I figured I’d start by turning it over to you:

Comment below, send a message on my Ai Mami facebook page or email me with your questions/comments on what you’d like me to speak about when it comes to yoga, travelling as a yogi family, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, juicing, yoga pants, body image, self-care, mental well-being, entrepreneurship, life in Finland, race and identity, parenting, black women in comedy, food and diet, podcasts…you know all the subjects near and dear to my heart, with as much or as little levity and/or gravitas as the subject requires. The idea here is to have warm, supportive, real talk about life.

It might take some time to pull up a decent enough video, but it’ll be more motivating to have a specific task to work towards, especially when the social pressure is on a bit.

So lovelies, in case you didn’t know, I’m due to give birth in about ten days. Thank you to everyone who has been reaching out and sending messages of love and care. I haven’t had a chance to respond to all of them yet, as my mind, body and soul have already set sail to Labor Land, or the place where women go to retrieve the souls of their babies and bring them down to earth, but I just want you to know that I appreciate each and every one of you.

I can’t wait to here from you with your questions, comments and requests.

Om and so much ❤


Reflections of an ageing Ashtangi

The following post was written by my mother, Celia Nyamweru. Enjoy!

Ashtanga yoga is a family affair for me – I started practicing after my daughter, Wambui, began to share her life with the highly respected Ashtanga yoga teacher Petri Räisänen. In January 2011 they invited my husband and me to join them at Petri’s retreat on Koh Mak island in southern Thailand. I celebrated my sixty-ninth birthday the following July, when I was at my second retreat, the one run by Petri and his long-time friend and business partner, Juha Javanainen, in Houtskar, south-west Finland. Since then I have attended these retreats every year, usually for two or three weeks.  2016 was the seventh year of my retreats – and incidentally of my seventy-fourth birthday. As I’ve got older and stiffer, I have seen Wambui gain in skill and confidence, both as a practitioner of yoga and as a teacher. She and Petri are now the parents of a 2.5 year old son, Sesam – but I will come back to that later!

The way I have come to understand Ashtanga yoga, your chosen teacher is a very important person in one’s practice, the person to whom one turns for advice and by whom one is given permission to attempt new asanas. I consider Petri to be my instructor, but I only actually practice with him twice a year, during the Koh Mak and Houtskar retreats. During these retreats he makes time available for personal consultations, as well as running group sessions where he addresses people’s questions and demonstrates particular asanas. As his mother-in-law, I feel that I should keep a low profile in these sessions. I try to be very scrupulous about not bothering him with yoga-related questions when we are together at meal times or sharing family time during the retreats. I am a retired university professor and I know how exhausting it can be to run workshops and field trips when one is constantly bombarded with student questions! I am lucky to be able to turn to Wambui for questions about my practice as well – including reminding me of the Sanskrit names of some of the asanas!

During the months between the retreats, I practice at home. I try to practice five or even six times a week, most weeks, and I think this frequent practice is essential as one ages. We are all of us getting older – but obviously there is a difference between ageing from twenty-nine to thirty-four, and ageing from sixty-nine to seventy-four! As I practice, I am constantly aware of my body and how it is changing. I think I have a naturally flexible body, but my upper body strength leaves a lot to be desired. It took me about three to four years to get my legs into full lotus, and I am still working on it! But I find that much easier than Bhujapidasana and Kukkutasana, which remain distant goals.


Balance is said to be a challenge as one gets older, and I look with envy at other people’s perfect Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, though in fact it is the transitions within this asana that I find most difficult; once my leg is out in front or to the side, I can usually remain fairly steady. And in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, I find I can usually bind if I do so once my head is down, though I cannot bend forward with my hand already binding! In the transition from Kurmasana to Suptakurmasana, I find it almost impossible to bring my feet together, however hard I wriggle them. It is much easier for me to get out of Kurmasana and then go into Suptakurmasana as a new asana. I mention these details to show how I am constantly making concessions and taking small short cuts, which I assume will increase as the years pass. Petri and Wambui are very tolerant and understanding about this!

At the same time there has been progress; there are some asanas that I consider as the benchmarks or hurdles that I use to monitor my efforts. Marichyasana D is one of them (I’m sure I am not the only person who feels this!) I cheat a bit with this one, since I am much stiffer on the first side when one is twisting to the right. My first right hand twist I do with my left foot on the floor; twisting left I can put my right foot on my thigh, first time round. Then I turn back to the right hand twist again and this time put my left foot on my thigh – and I can usually bind, however inelegantly! Another benchmark is Sirsana, which I have been working on very incrementally for the whole seven years. I still need the reassurance of the wall in front of me as I go into the pose, and I still need to go up with bent legs rather than straight legs. But most of the time I do not need to actually feel my feet on the wall before I straighten my legs fully, and I am slowly trying to bring my straight legs slowly down to the floor as I come out of the pose.

Last July Petri suddenly gave me a few second series asanas, which came as a surprise and an added challenge. I had no time to read up on them or to watch anyone else doing them – I was on the mat and following his directions before I realized what was happening! Luckily I was able to consult with Wambui later and also refer to his Nadi Sodhana book for a sense of what I should be aiming at. I don’t think my Achilles tendons will ever allow me to proceed very far with Pasasana, but I am excited to be making tiny improvements in my balance in Bakasana. I take the precaution to put two cushions in front of me in case I plop forward onto my nose, as has happened several times.

Being retired means that I don’t have to rush anywhere after my practice – but during the retreats I find that family life makes some demands on my practice, especially in Houtskar. Juggling a busy professional schedule with care for their son Sesam is a huge challenge for Petri and Wambui, and over the last three years I have been able to make a modest contribution to this. At Houtskar Petri usually goes for his own practice soon after 4 a.m., and I would start my practice as early as possible (before the first group session that begins at 5 a.m.) so that I can be finished before 7 a.m. This allows me time for a quick shower before I take over watching Sesam from Wambui so that she can teach her class; we still have to make sure that each of us has time for breakfast! Later in the day things are slightly less hectic, but I have spent many hours walking with Sesam; first with him in a baby carrier, later in a stroller and most recently keeping him company while he plays in a sand pit.

As I get older, I worry more about injury. So far I have avoided serious injuries, though at times I notice bruises on my upper thighs, probably due to the pressure from Marichyasana B and D! I am extremely cautious with my legs, in particular my knees, moving very slowly in and out of the standing asanas. And when doing some of the seated asanas like Janu Sirsana, I give my knees a kiss now and then to thank them for being there for me! Yoga has made me extremely aware of my body and how it continues to change. I think that the main challenge over the last seven years is that I now find it harder to practice in the early morning as I wake up stiff and sore after the night’s sleep. I broke my left arm in 1999 and my right pelvis in 2009, and the residual stiffness from those injuries is increasingly making itself felt. By mid-afternoon I am warmer and more flexible, though I still find I practice extremely slowly. One of the challenges of doing Mysore practice in a group is the sight of younger people going through their practice so fast – I know one is supposed to keep one’s dhristi in all the appropriate points, but one can’t help noticing some things!

Being part of a group during the twice-yearly retreats means that other people also notice me! Over the years I have built up a group of ‘yoga friends’ from several European countries whom I meet at retreats, and many of them have given me tremendous encouragement about how my practice has developed. They notice improvements that I may not be aware of, since I feel I am always practicing at the limit of my ability. And last summer I also learned something unexpected from one of them; it seems that Petri has been using me as a source of inspiration for older people with remarks like this: “Celia started doing yoga aged 68 and look where she is now; no reason why you can’t do this at the age of 55.” I was a little surprised to find myself used as a role model in this way, but I have to think of it as a compliment! I am sure yoga will continue to be an important part of my own life, of my family life, and a help to me as I negotiate the challenges of living in an ageing body.


Guess who’s baaaack?!

Hello hello lovelies!

It’s been a minute; almost a year (but not quite) since I last wrote a post and let me tell you that I am super happy to be back! 🙂

Some shifts in daily life – kiddo in daycare and less time on the road, relatively speaking, open up some opportunities to write on a more consistent basis. Yay!

First off, let me start by thanking all you folk who’ve let me know that you, or someone you know, follow(s) my blog and have been asking when I will write some more. It means the world to me that people might find some value here as this is my main goal: to be of service; somehow; in some small way.

In fact, so committed am I to this that I plan to write a blog post weekly. I’ll be publishing new content on Sundays. I can’t promise to be perfect in this but I’m making this a priority of mine this fall, so do follow this blog and be part of the adventure.

Speaking of being part of it all, I’d like to open this blog up to the community, so please get in touch with me if there’s some topic concerning yoga, healthy, mindful living, parenting and all round general awesomeness that you are interested in exploring.

One last thing and don’t mind if I do… shameless plug alert… 🙂 For those of you living in/visiting the Helsinki region: Interested in some private, one-on-one Ashtanga yoga, Yin, and/or Pregnancy Ashtanga yoga classes? How about some massage by foot press? Comment below and I can DM you further information.

Don’t know what massage by foot press is? Never mind, I’ll be writing about it on my next blog post (coming this Sunday!) so stay tuned…

Stay well yogafam…Om ❤

my poetry on tumblr

I have long been thinking to breath life back into my blog…and I will. soon soon.

Just a quick post for now to let you know that I have very recently devoted my tumblr account for some of my poems. I’ve been intimidated by poetry for so long, not fully understanding what makes ‘good’ poetry. So I thought, right, that’s it. It’s been long enough…time to do what scares you and write some poetry!

Actually, all that and Warsan Shire. She’s inspired me to take up the pen. She’s powerful, this poet laureate of London town…

uhh, anyway, back down to my level…check out my tumblr page, let me know what you think and share some of your own favourite poets/poems with me.

Om big big ❤


Yoga. Sangha. Tampere. Oh My!

My favorite months to be in Helsinki are in May and August. It’s best to be out in a nature, preferably by the sea and a smoke sauna, at summer’s zenith. But May is like the fresh dawn of summer and August, its utterly pleasant dusk. The sun still lingering on in the capital…

May in Finland means three things for me: the Helsinki African Film Festival (HAFF), Eddie Stern’s workshop and Petri’s workshop in Tampere. It would also mean the World Village Festival, but, alas, since it always falls on the same weekend as Tampere, until we defy space and time, one does have to pick and choose where to be.

I’ll talk more about the cultural festivals going on around town in my Helsinki Happiness series a bit later on. But for now, let me turn my attention to yoga and the coming together of our sangha.

It is always such a joyful gathering when Eddie rolls into town. It was his fourth year in a row, and while I didn’t make it to practice in the mornings, Sesam and I did attend his afternoon lectures and a yoga therapy class, as well as join in the puja (a ritual of worship) and chanting sessions. It was especially lovely to hear the story of how Eddie learned to do puja, which basically involved a lot of self-study, deep passion and an interest in the task at hand. It was also a nice moment when he dubbed Sesam with a new name, “DJ Sesam…just you wait!” Yes! 🙂

The thing I appreciate and relate to most with Eddie as a teacher is his ability to think laterally (as I do) and to make connections, often between seemingly disparate subjects, while still remaining so deeply rooted and devoted to his Guru, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. All the information that he gathers, be it from physics, the latest research on brain development, or from the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, he ties back into yogic philosophy and the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali.

Here is an example. (*Please note: This is my interpretation of Eddie’s lectures. I have quoted and paraphrased him as best I could without changing any of the original content. Any mistakes are mine alone).

In order to cultivate long-lasting yogic traits, phrases like self-directed biological transformational and self-directed neuro – plasticity start with, as I have understood it, the daily practice of yoga. And in the case of Ashtanga yoga, starting with the method of tristana– posture (asana), sound breathing and gazing points (drishti)- one can change how one lives and behaves by stilling the mind and bringing our senses into better control. We can then observe that we make better choices (food and diet, for a start). Thereby, creating healthier habits (good sleep routines and a stable lifestyle), which leads to happier, more productive behavior and, eventually, towards a more peaceful character.

Sounds good, right? I mean, if we are to be perfectly honest with ourselves, who wouldn’t want all those things? Besides, where’s the harm in striving for these positive, uplifting qualities while trying to navigate through the Drama and spectacle of life. The drama of procreation; the drama of sustenance; the drama of expression. What to mention of the inevitability of death and the mysteriousness beyond?

A question Eddie posed was, “What is the role of fear in our lives?” As in, fear as a motivator. When we start from our collective negative bias, a bias needed for survival back in our hunter-gatherer days, we can see that fear was indeed an essential motivator (Better run from that hungry- looking creature with the big, sharp teeth or else it will eat me!). Today, for most of us,  basic physical survival in our immediate environment isn’t quite as urgent as this. However, we still learn faster, and sometimes better, from the negative (think about putting your hand on a hot stove) and the media heavily fuels this perspective, with such sentiments like If it bleeds, it readsWhile we see that it can be useful to learn from the negative in some circumstances, the trouble with the negative bias lies when we become habituated to it and we seek it out, thinking that our negative thoughts are right, the truth, the way things are. We become attached to the dark, shadow stuff, seeking it out and perpetuating our defeatist tendencies. Our self-sabotage. Or that of others.

With the practice of yoga and self-directed biological transformation, we can move toward a positive bias, which is not the same as projecting our good wishes and fantasies into the future. A positive bias means operating from a more present baseline. Being able to soak in simple goodness as it happens, without trying to make it last, without trying to relive it once it’s passed, without trying to bottle it up for later. It also means (and this is more difficult) being able to hold your center when things are not so pleasant; to behaviour, situations and circumstances you want away from you as quickly as possible. A positive bias can help us respond appropriately, in any given situation, with task-oriented competence instead of over-confidence.

It feels like we are working towards encrypting our genes so that they can continue on at a happier place, operating from a positive bias; rather than simply remaining programmed for survival alone, passing the same ‘stuff’ down the lineage, without refinement. Basically, it means trying not to keep repeating the same mistakes, as history has shown we are wont to do.

Eddie also recommended a short video called Power of Ten, a micro-macro perspective of the universe made in 1977. It’s great! I remember watching it in science class in high school and thinking it was pretty far out. I discovered a similar clip here (with Morgan Freeman’s resonant voice narrating) and here (with epic soundtrack appropriate for matters of cosmic scale). Choose accordingly.

I like the description one of the videos gave on quarks: may, theoretically, consist of “vibrating pieces of string.” My conclusion is that on the most micro and macro of levels (and everything in between), IT is all vibrating bits of information. IT is all trying to ingest, process, use and relate to other bits of information. IT is all trying to learn, communicate and convey something. Again, let’s choose accordingly to what information we ingest and use since WE are IT. Whatever IT may be. Okay, now I’ve totally confused myself. This wave (of consciousness) is going back into the ocean (of consciousness).

Once we bid Eddie a safe trip back to NYC, we left for Tampere.The highlight of the trip this year was discovering Minetti Jäätelö. Thank you, Mr.Minetti, for coming to Tampere in the 1920s and bringing this truly spectacular Italian gelato and sorbet with you. It was perfect for the remarkably hot weather we had before Finland resumed its familiar chilly, melancholic mist.

We also discovered Tampere’s marvelous stock of vintage and antique shops and flea markets. Not to mention that Seinäruusu wallpaper shop stocks the ever delightful and whimsical 1940sesque Dutch design label Pip Studio!

Finally, it’s always such a pleasure to spend time with the Tampere Astanga jooga jengi. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to give a few adjustments to some of you!

Here are the photo highlights from the month of May…

Lots of shoes outside the shala indicates something good is going on inside!

sangha gathers

 Juha sets up for an afternoon lecture


Petri doing what he does


The thought wizard casts out the net of knowledge 


Eddie and DJ Sesam rockin’ the same hairstyle 🙂


Ganesh Puja: the traditional worship of Sri Ganesha to invoke blessings at the beginning of an endeavor and to remove any obstacles we might encounter.


Mangala Arati: the auspicious waving of the light

Eddie holding up the light

Sesam listens attentively to Daddy


It’s nice to be able to bring Sesam to the yoga school and keep learning


Two old friends by the sea


And new friendships being made…Thanks Eddie. See you next year!


*Bonus pic! Julian graduated from Yläaste on the last day of May, 2014.

Congratulations Julian! Me ollaan ylpeitä susta! 

Julian gradution

Stay blessed and enjoy the life you live! Om! ❤


10 Things About Me

So before I get completely sucked into my new role as mama, here is the lowdown on what you need to know about me…

10. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya (November 29th, 1980) to a Kenyan dad and an English mum. I have some Danish roots too, about an 1/8th, thanks to my great grandmother. My family and I moved to America when I was ten years old and I spent my formative years there. I left the US when I was 26 and have been living abroad ever since. Wow, that’s eight years as an expat…time flies! I usually define myself as a Kenyan-American since these are the two passports I carry. These days I could add the phrase… “with family ties to Finland” in the mix. It gets even more specific if you include my mother’s roots, but let’s leave it at this for now.


My mother, father, big sister, Wanjiru, and me (Nairobi, circa 1981). Man, I wish I still had that apple. I loved it!

9. I have been a bookworm all my life. In addition, I was a dance and theatre geek in middle and high school. I took ballet and theatre classes at the university where my mom taught, St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY) and studied the aforementioned subjects at Emerson College (Boston, MA). I got bitten by the travel bug once I graduated in 2002, so I spent six months teaching English in Chile. In 2003, I returned to the US (Chicago, IL) and got my MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language). *FYI, studying linguistics is not the same as studying foreign languages…more on that later. In 2007, I went to a huge TESOL conference and job fair in Seattle and landed my first ‘grown-up’ job teaching English in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, aka., Abu Dhabi .



National Day Celebration at Emirates College of Advanced Education (Abu Dhabi, UAE; 2008)

8. My four years in Chicago left a huge impression on me. In addition to cobbling together part-time jobs like waiting tables and teaching kids, I went to graduate school, was a samba and Afro-Brazilian dancer and a member of an Afro-Brazilian martial arts group. My plan was to live in Brazil after grad school. I was also exposed to what I guess, for lack of a better phrase, is commonly called Urban Black & Latino culture, which, to this day, continues to shape a big part of my world view. This exposure started in Boston where I met and befriended many more African-Americans and folks from the African diaspora than was possible in high school. I was even a producer on a hip-hop radio show (88.9 FM WERS, for all you Bostonians out there. Somehow though Chicago struck me as way more dynamic and vibrant, yet still rootsy and down home. I was really sad to leave Chicago. So much so, that my theme song during that first, long, homesick year in Abu Dhabi was Kanye West’s song HomecomingThat song was on constant replay…it was like going to church for me.


Samba dancing at a “White Party” gig (Chicago, (2005-2006).

7. I was pretty stressed out in the Middle East, and not really feeling the vibe there as a young, single ‘Western(ized?)’ woman, so I went to different yoga workshops to find healthy ways to deal with my stress. Now, a word about yoga… I took my first yoga class in 1997 when I was studying modern dance at a professional dance program. I spent a year at a performing arts high school called North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston-Salem, NC). Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately (depends on how you look at it), I got injured and struggled to see that year through on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally. One day, I just so happened to see a flyer for a yoga class posted and checked it out. I liked it and when I next went home for the holidays, I snagged a VHS tape of Ali MacGraw teaching a hatha yoga class out on pristine white sand dunes in some desert. I remember doing that video in my dorm room on early Saturday mornings and feeling that there just might be a different, kinder way to relate to oneself….anyway, back to AD. My boss at the time, a lovely woman named Belinda, and I would keep running into each other at these yoga workshops around town. She soon started passing on info about upcoming workshops and one just happened to be an Ashtanga weekend workshop in Dubai…


Soul searching in Abu Dhabi (2009).

6. I took my first Ashtanga yoga workshop in Dubai in October, 2008. The teachers were Jeff and Harmony Lichty. I found it so profoundly helpful (although I couldn’t understand why at the time, all I knew was that I MUST pursue this sixth sense),that I stayed on in Dubai the following week and practiced Mysore with Jeff and Harmony. Seriously, Belinda has been the coolest boss, mentor and friend to share that flyer about the workshop!

Image This was my yoga gang, the B(e) Tribe. We would practice at Belinda’s apartment before dawn, go for a morning cuppa at Costa’s Coffee across the street, and then head off to our respective jobs. Belinda can also throw down in the kitchen, particularly with baked goods. Her speciality was Death by Chocolate cake for our birthdays! (Abu Dhabi; 2008-2009). 

5. After the workshop with Jeff and Harmony, I started doing self-practice in my living room. Some days I only managed a couple of sun salutations and a few finishing poses because I still felt so uninspired, lethargic and overwhelmed with things. Even on those days, when my practice looked so feeble on the outside, I felt like my own personal hero, because I had managed to wake up before the last minute and step onto my yoga mat!! If you knew me from back in the Richard Scarry days, you would know that I am not by nature a morning person. Add to that a demanding job in a stressful work environment in a lonely, stifling city and I wasn’t exactly springing out of bed every morning, bright eyed and full of vim and vigor. Anyway, I kept at it and by and by, the practice slowly began working its magic on me. Meaning that while things in my external environment were the still much the same, I began to feel less sedated, less defeated by my circumstances.  As soon as I could, I spent my holiday leave at Purple Valley Yoga Center, Goa where I studied with Nancy Gilgoff and Petri Räisänen. This was in early 2009. Then, over the summer break of that same year, I studied with Saraswati Jois in Mysore, and traveled to Europe for Sharath Jois’s (still Rangaswamy at the time) 2009 Helsinki workshop. Yes, there were positive sides about Abu Dhabi as well: endless sunshine, great holiday leave, convenient location for travel, and, hey now, I had a ‘real’ job with real benefits! 🙂


Feeling blissed-out and shanti in Goa… under the first-time-in-India spell (early 2009).


The New Shala, where I practiced with Saraswati Jois (Mysore; July, 2009).

4. During Sharath’s workshop in Helsinki, Petri and I met again, and this time, since he was not the ‘teacher’ and I the ‘student,’ we started dating. To be honest, I never saw that one coming! After the workshop, I had to go back to Abu Dhabi and finish my contract and Petri had to continue touring as a workshop teacher, so we decided to give things a try long-distance. We did that for about half a year and by then, I had finished paying off my student loans. For those of you who have not been educated in the  tertiary higher-education system that the USA has got going on, student loans are a huge financial responsibility/burden for recent college graduates. Once I was released from that obligation, there was less incentive for me to stay in Abu Dhabi, so I packed up and moved to Helsinki. Bold move?…Tell me about it! That was yoga’s doing as well!

Image Petri, Sharath and Wambui (Helsinki; August, 2009).

3. And so, for the past four tender years (2010-2014), much life has been lived. I am now based in Helsinki and find myself part of Sri. K Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga yoga lineage. Sadly, Pattabhi Jois passed away in May 2009, about two months before I first went to Mysore. It was my plan to pay my respects to him, even though I most likely wouldn’t have gotten to meet him in person. When I can, I practice with Sharath in Mysore and Helsinki. I feel privileged to have meet and studied with Eddie Stern for three consecutive years now in Helsinki. Every summer at the month-long yoga retreat in the west of Finland, I meet inspiring Finnish yogis and teachers, such as Måns Broo, Janne Kontala and Meri Tiitola. Måns is an inspiring story-teller and I started learning Indian philosophy with him. Janne and Meri, along with Eddie, introduced me to the yoga of sound and mantra chanting. Futhermore, through the combined efforts of Heidi Parviainen and the Helsinki Ashtanga yoga school, I got the chance to study with Vijaya Manja in 2013. I much appreciated his Yoga Sutra chanting and Indian Philosophy classes. Last, but certainly not least, I have studied Finnish folk and energy healing called jäsenkorjaus (bone-setting) with Petri as well as been trained in an Indian form of massage, Chavutti Thirumal, from Helen Noakes. I have been assisting Petri on his workshops and retreats throughout Europe, North America and Asia and began teaching a bit on my own as well at Ashtanga Yoga Helsinki in 2011. I also did a month-long substitution stint for Mikko Seppinen in October 2013, when I was five months pregnant, at Mysore Yoga Copenhagen. That was pretty cool! Petri and I got married on a Tuesday afternoon last year. September 24th, 2013 to be exact, and we are expecting our first baby together on March 7th, 2014. Petri has a fifteen-year old son, Julian, from a previous partnership. When all is said and done, the learning curve has been steep, and will continue to be, no doubt, but that’s life, right? Here’s to it!


Petri and I share a laugh (Great Barrington, MA; November, 2012). Image

Giving a yoga adjustment’s workshop (Moscow, Russia; October, 2011).


Back when Julian would still let us take his picture with us (Koh Mak, Thailand; January 2011).

2. Back to the riddle between studying foreign languages vs. studying linguistics. I am a native English speaker but come from a multilingual background. I use English for most things in my adult life, meaning I am rusty and/or equipped with a toddler’s proficiency in just about every other language I have studied/been exposed to: Swahili, Kikuyu, Spanish, Portuguese, and now Finnish. As long as I can make myself understood, I try not to sweat it too much. I love reading and, thanks to a daily yoga practice and simple yoga lifestyle, my nervous system has calmed down enough for me to begin my hand at writing. Hence the birth of this blog. I have continued putting my English skills and linguistic training to use by editing Petri’s primary series book, Ashtanga Yoga in the tradition of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois (Yoga Words, 2013) and I started teaching myself Finnish by translating parts of Petri’s second series book, Nadi Sodhana, into English, as I was getting started on the intermediate series.


Ashtanga Yoga: Yoga in the tradition of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois (Yoga Words, March 2012). You can find it on amazon and at the publisher’s website. It’s a beautiful book, if I do say so myself 🙂

1. Next stop….karma yoga, the householder stage of life, practicing the (gulp!) 7th series! The future is wide open…


My bump at seven months(Helsinki; December, 2013)


Aunty-to-be giving the bump some love at eight months (Koh Mak, Thailand; January, 2014).

Stay blessed and enjoy the life you live. Om!

Hello world!

Hi everyone out there in the blogosphere!

At the advice of wordpress, I am using this post to tell you why I started this blog and what I plan to do with it…

I am starting this blog right around the same time I am about to become a mother for the first time. That’s right, I am expected to deliver in two weeks and four days, expected date March 7th, 2014. Pretty exciting, yes it is!

What I plan to do with this blog is document my experience as a mother and hopefully to share useful stuff I am learning along the way. Now I know there is no end to the mommy blogs out there but there must be a reason for this, and I intend to find out what it is. In addition to being an expectant mother, I also do a bunch of other cool stuff, which I look forward to sharing with you too, in good time. And so, while I wait for my whole life to be completely turned inside out and upside down, I also present to you, my blog.

As my mentor and dear friend reminds me, until next time..plan tight and hang loose!