Seek With Your Heart – An Interview w/ Certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Pia Lehtinen

If you have ever stepped on a yoga mat, may it be just recently or years ago, you have probably experienced that sweet flow of energy and happiness after a sweaty struggle with asanas.

There are days when you feel you are tapping into something bigger and greater than even life itself during the practice and then comes those ugly, sticky mornings when the whole body feels stiff and sore and you have an urgent desire to quit and stop the whole madness altogether!

Self- and life-transforming yoga practice seems to ask a lot of dedication and courage from its student, but everyone who has ever tasted the sweetness of yoga knows it is definitely worth it.

I got a wonderful opportunity to ask few questions about a balanced yoga practice from the certified ashtanga yoga teacher Pia Lehtinen. The first certified lady – and person – among the ashtanga yoga teachers in Finland!

Pia Lehtinen

You have been practicing ashtanga yoga for over a decade now. What gets you wake up 5 o’clock in the morning and roll out your mat every day?

Almost a decade, not over yet. It’s not so easy to explain, I just have to do it. Just like I have to wake up, brush my teeth, have a breakfast and so on. It’s not super fun all the time. It’s not like a good friend with whom you go to the party, it is more like a relative who is a bit annoying some times, but you still love him or her very very much.

What do you think are the most important key factors in building a consistent and safe yoga practice?

Time. Give yourself time. Don’t hurry with asanas or series. Your body and mind need time. Time to strength up. Balance is everything.

Many ashtanga yoga students are traveling to Mysore to experience the authentic Indian way of teaching yoga and passing on the tradition from teacher to student. How important role does traveling to Mysore regulary play in your yoga practice?

I just love Mysore. My teacher Sharath Jois is there and India itself is one hell of a teacher also. In my opinion everyone should travel to India. It changes you and your yoga practice forever.

Nowadays so many different types of yoga being out there, what would be your advice to someone who desires to begin practicing yoga but is confused by the variety of choices. How do you recognize a good yoga teacher?

Listen to your heart and if it doesn’t tell you whether your teacher is good or bad, then ask your friends or fellow yoga practitioners. If you seek, you will find just the right style and teacher for you. And if you want to skip that seeking part, just book your trip to Mysore!

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