It began with a drop. A small, steaming drop of sparkling perspiration. It started from one temple and softly trickled down my jaw line and landed on my mat. I could feel the energy rising from the soles of my feet up through my bent knees, my tucked pelvis, my lengthening spine, all the way up through my arms and shooting out of my finger tips. This was the first time I encountered the difference between Utkatasana and The Rocket® Utkatasana.
“People who say they like Yoga are lying, they can’t possibly like it!”
That was me maybe two years before my teacher training. Somehow between my first Yoga class at age twelve up to age twenty I had decided that I hated yoga. Why? I haven’t got a clue. I think I used to say it gave me a headache? Maybe I said that because my mum said that? I don’t know but for some bizarre reason I hated it. I was a boxing girl, weight lifting girl, body pump and Tabata style chick! People told me I needed Yoga and I laughed and rolled my eyes. Then one day I missed the class I wanted to take at the gym and the only other option was Yoga so I figured it must be better than nothing right? So I went, I did, and I was hooked.
I continued to practice various styles of Yoga for a while fairly consistently, not really knowing what the differences were, just attending classes where I could, when I stumbled into the class that changed my life. I think the shining moment, the “aha” moment that got me really hooked was my first ever Parsva Bakasana (side crow). I had been attending one specific teachers classes regularly, skipping my lunch breaks to be there to practice with her, so she knew me, in fact we were colleagues at the same gym, so she saw me often and was my teacher a few times a week. The day the magic happened was an interesting day. I was feeling somewhat unmotivated, in fact down right irritated, I entered the class feeling like I just don’t care. Then we got to Pashasana, the pose leading to Parsva Bakasana, and usually she stopped there, but that day she looked at me directly and without saying a word to me or anyone, she flew into the arm balance. And so did I. Just like that. That flying feeling, that strength, power, that freedom, nothing compared. That’s when I knew my body wants this. No… my body needs this.
A week later I had a class package to The Notting Hill Life Centre and ended up landing on Ashtanga Vinyasa. I went to the beginners courses and then the intermediate, I did two classes a day sometimes, I just couldn’t get enough. That’s when I knew, my MIND needs this. My soul, my spirit, the core of my existence needs Yoga. At this point I didn’t even know that Yoga Teacher Trainings existed! I was in awe of all these teachers guiding us and it never really crossed my mind to ask how they became certified teachers. So another colleague of mine was just browsing around the internet one day trying to find an exciting new adventure for her and her new hunky boyfriend and she brought up a Yoga retreat designed to train you to become a teacher… A four week intensive immersion where you come out a certified teacher?? WHAT?? So guess what I did when I got home that day?? GOOGLE! I knew I wanted to teach because I felt like if I can help guide people towards the magic that I experience from Yoga, then I am spending my time well. I wanted to positively impact my community and spread the awareness of this science of the mind. More importantly, I needed to fully integrate Yoga into my daily life on a level deeper than attending classes here and there.
Now, open up google and type in “Yoga teacher training” and see how many suggestions come up. I had NO idea where to start! So my first step towards this goal of becoming a teacher was talking to the teachers I followed around London. I asked every question I could think of and I got so many different responses! Most told me I should find a teacher that inspires me most and follow them on their teacher trainings, so I decided to start researching more and the more names I found the more hairs I pulled out of my head! So I scratched that thought and I decided that the first priority for a person like myself is to be in an environment that speaks to me, somewhere I feel comfortable. So I thought about beaches of Bali or the home of Yoga, India, of course, but it just didn't feel right at that point so I decided to search closer to home. That was when It’s Yoga Helsinki popped up at the top of my google search! And guess what?? They had a 200h Yoga Teacher Training coming up a few months later that would be held in a spa in Estonia surrounded by lake, forest, hills, and the cherry on the cupcake… I was still in time for the early bird pricing. YES!
I spent the following week researching everything I could about It’s Yoga. I found out the training was in Ashtanga Vinyasa. The training was a three week intensive as opposed to four weeks so in my research I found that It’s Yoga Helsinki also had a 50h Rocket® intensive starting the week after the 200h so I thought what the heck, lets hit two birds with one stone shall we? I didn’t know what The Rocket® was but it sounded cool! Ok, I was set, except… my parents… what would my parents say about their destined-to-be-a-famous-fashion-designer daughter wanting to become a Yoga teacher… Well, I took three deep breaths, and I called my mum, and before I even finished my long frantic explanation she had already said, “Yes, great idea, tell your father.” “Ummm…how about you tell him…” haha.. I did end up telling him, and to my great surprise and delight he also said yes right away. So there I was, all booked and ready for blast off! I used up my last remaining class passes at Notting Hill Life Centre, I quit my job, I gave notice on my apartment, and I proceeded to take apart everything in my life to make room for this new journey. It wasn’t until that first day, that first practice in the spa surrounded by oak trees and magic, that I really knew the meaning of the word journey.
I didn’t know what I had signed myself up for when the 200h training started. In fact, nothing could have prepared me. And sitting there in the circle surrounded by my fellow trainees and my two teachers, Jari and Salla, I knew that it wasn’t me who chose It’s Yoga, It’s Yoga chose me. I had read the websites, I had researched, I thought I did it all, but no. This training was made for me, I knew it, it can’t have been a coincidence that I stumbled onto the website and saw this training because everything I was learning, all the philosophy, it was all just so right. It was h-OM-e.
My first Rocket® practice was a life changer. I was so high, I knew instantly that I would be a Rocket head. What is this and how is it so good?! My second class… BLAST OFF! My third class… I cried. I cried buckets, from the first Pincha Mayurasana all the way to Savasana, I was sobbing. I always heard that people can get emotional in Yoga but it never happened to me before that day. That’s when the doors really opened. The doors to my heart and soul I mean. Doors that had been so tightly shut, with bolts and flaming swords and a dragon guarding the gates. The dragon flew away, the gates melted to the ground, the swords turned to candles, and the doors opened wide. I was free. And I have been free ever since.
It had been two years since I had promised to go and visit Salla in It’s Yoga Fuerteventura. Following my first training I taught Yoga mainly as a side thing, I wasn’t prepared to teach full time because I felt I still had so much learning to do. Now I know for sure that in 2015 I wasn’t ready to take the next step, to let go of my pay-the-bills jobs and pursue Yoga full time. I needed those two years to grow as a person, to really know what I wanted from life and gain some much needed courage. But two years later I was ready, so I made my thought a dream and my dream a wish and my wish came true on my twenty third birthday. My friends and family gathered together to help fund my next teacher training with Salla in It’s Yoga Fuerteventura. If you were to ask me now if I cried, even now my response would be tears. It was the most thoughtful gift I’d ever received. I booked the trip the following week and so the count down started.
In July 2017, my feet hit the sandy streets of Fuerteventura. The smell of the ocean, the heat on my skin and the love in my heart when I saw that little yoga cave Salla had built from the foundations up. She had always been one of my biggest inspirations of all time. That beautiful space was where I’d be sharing ten magical days with a group of seven other Rocket heads all teaching and learning from each other and ourselves. I was brought back to my roots already that first day. And every practice following, every journal entry, every It’s Yoga circle, every single moment shared with the group and my teachers brought me closer and closer to my true Self and one big leap closer to my goal of becoming a full time yogi and an It’s Yoga Trainer.
So you want to know why I love The Rocket® so much? Because it taught me that strength comes from within. Happiness, freedom, love, inspiration, it’s all inside of me. The Rocket® allows me to feel these feelings on the deepest of levels and to bring them out into the world to be shared with everyone willing to see the magic. While it started with a single drop of sweat and one deep breath, my journey consists of self reflection, healing inside and out, learning to love my body and my Self, building strength and balance inside and out. Most of all The Rocket® guides me through life step by step, right foot left foot, onwards and upwards, with peace of mind, inspiration and gratitude towards the It’s Yoga system, Salla Kärkkäinen, Jari Kauppi, Larry Schultz, Pattabhi Jois, Krishnamacharya, Patanjali, the Universe, and mySelf.
Today, I am a full time Yoga teacher based in Lausanne, Switzerland. I am teaching across the country, spreading the love of the practice through workshops, bootcamps, group classes and private events, learning from my students every step of the way. I took the decision to transition into a full time teacher against the advice of many, and I proved to myself that it’s possible. Follow your dreams. Trust your intuition. Let your breath guide you. Finally, one of the most life changing lessons I learned from Salla back in my 200h training was; when you get that feeling that nothing is happening, nothing is moving, sit back and breathe, because thats when everything is shifting. Enjoy the ride, trust the process, and smile.