Purna Yoga

Purna yoga has a very special place here at Inside Out Helsinki. It’s one of my (Emilie McDermott) favorite spots in the city, and what keeps me coming back and loving living in Suomiland’s capital. I discovered the place when I had just moved to Helsinki in October 2013. At the time I was looking for a yoga studio that would help heal my weak right knee, and also get a proper workout. What I discovered was a lot more.

Located in the Kamppi neighborhood, Purna Yoga Helsinki, is not your average « come in, come out » yoga studio. Right away, upon entering the studio, you feel you are being taken care, both spiritually and physically. There is a sense of well being and utter peacefulness. The instructors take their time to talk to you, and you get a real authentic feeling of community.

What I love is the small number of students during the yoga classes. There are never more than 10 or max 12, and that is very important to me. I have bad memories of supposed yoga classes in Paris, where there were more than 25 students. Having a small class allows instructors to pay special attention to you, and also get to know you and your capabilities throughout their classes.

The class always starts with a special meditation and spiritual session, where we focus on redirecting our energy and on allowing it to flow. One of principles of Purna Yoga is to not make a distinct separation between body-mind-soul, but to work with all three of them. This is a very important part of the lesson, as it allows you enough time to get prepared for the more “physical” aspect of the yoga lesson, and leave your worries and everyday concerns at the doorstep. The second aspect of classes focuses on Asanas, and Pranayamas (breathing exercises).  The instructors I work with are always very attentive to our movements, and correcting us gently throughout the sessions to make sure we aren’t harming ourselves or misaligning our poses. My teachers are mainly founder Tove Palmgren and Nicola Moberg. Both are amazing. I particularly like Tove’s philosophy on yoga:

“No matter where you live, yoga is one of the oldest methods of self-improvement on the spiritual, mental and physical level. It has existed for thousands of years. Simply that should speak for itself. However, much today is called yoga, which more resembles gymnastics or other forms of physical activities. People confuse asana with yoga. Asana is only a part, a small part of what yoga really is.  Purna Yoga is special because it addresses all aspects of life. It consists of asana (the physical exercises) and pranayama (breathing exercises), a special dynamic meditation (Heartful meditation), nutrition and applied philosophy (adapted to modern life) and lifestyle.” 

After over twenty years of teaching Ashtanga yoga, Tove Palmgren’s path in Purna Yoga started when the studio she then co-owned ended up hosting Aadil Palkhivala (aka founder of Purna Yoga) for a 5-day workshop. About a year later, she left the studio to her business partner, and went to Bellevue, WA, USA, to start her teacher training in Purna Yoga. Upon returning to Helsinki she created Purna Yoga Helsinki. 

Practicing yoga at Purna Yoga Helsinki, has helped me not only completely heal my knee, but confront my first Finnish winter, and was one of the factors in my falling in love with this city.

=> Inside Out Helsinki “coup de coeur” :  instructor Nicola Moberg teaches special pre and post natal classes, where you can come with your baby :).

The last part of the classes are done on the yoga wall, and help realign your spine, and hips, and work without gravity. This part is very special, and extremely helpful as a dancer, when dealing with different body “issues” (e.g. lower back or knee pain).

=> Good to know : Purna Yoga also hosts teaching sessions. They will be hosting for example a 200 hour teaching session in June. The studio also hopes to complete the first ever 500 hour teaching session with founder Aadil Palkhivala and his wife Savitri in 2016.

Here are a few words from other co-founder Hanna Rast’s point of view on Purna Yoga:

« A few thoughts when I photographed Purna. It was such an intriguing experience to be an observer in Purna. Tove's presence and strength were empowering. The class started with relaxed meditation bound with memories to let go and continued to asanas. As a photographer, I found it in many ways to be almost like dance. The class took many good surprising turns and I found so many photographic scenes and images to capture. What was one of the best part was that I felt very welcomed. So even though I'm not as experienced as Emilie is in yoga, Purna would definitely be a place where I would go to if I would like to start to take classes - just based on the experience during the photo session »

Further information
Purna Yoga
Address: Purna Yoga Helsinki
Fredrikinkatu 67 E 42
00100 Helsinki
Website: http://www.purnayoga.fi/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PurnaYogaHelsinki
Contact: +358 50 3533970


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