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I really wanted to change my life. I saw....you know, yoga sounds completely positive. There's nothing negative. - Petri Raisanen
I've read Yoga Sutra before starting yoga. And I read some other Indian books and I had this feeling that there's something mystic in yoga. But I used to do lots of sports. I was playing ice hockey in a kind of high level. So the physical practice was very common for me. It was nothing. We practiced so much. But the flexibility was completely new. I didn't know how to use the body, how to stretch the body, how to breathe; that was all new. There was a time when I quit ice hockey, I was 17. Before I started Ashtanga, I was 22. There was 5 years of time when I've just hanging out with friends. It went a little bit crazy, and I really wanted to change my life. I saw.... you know, yoga sounds completely positive. There's nothing negative.
I didn't see my old friends at all. I didn't go to the bars at all. It had to happen quickly because you don't want to play with drinking. If you want to quit, you have to quit. Maybe it was already a little problem.
"Many things would maybe happen more naturally if you wouldn't force so hard. I must say it feels much more natural nowadays and more healthy. Much softer." - Petri Räisänen
Of course what I would maybe try to avoid is pushing the physical body so hard. I don't think it's necessary using so much strengths in the Asana and try to get into the pose. It's not necessary. Many things would maybe happen more naturally if you wouldn't force so hard. I must say it feels much more natural nowadays and more healthy. Much softer. For me it feels more yoga than what we used to do before. It's a better system now.
"You don't have to think so much about the physical body. It all becomes automatic. And if you get into the meditation and there's spirituality, it takes much much bigger part of the whole practice." - Petri Räisänen
Yeah, I think we are very lucky that we have a system, we have the sequences. We have the (bandhas and drishtis) and once you learn the system, you don't have to think about so much anymore. You don't have to to think in every practice, like in every pose about the muscles. But because it's very obvious you do this asana everyday, you learn how to do the right alignment then slowly try to move towards the perfection in the pose with your body, with your body limits. You don't have to think so much about the physical body. It all becomes automatic. And if you get into the meditation and there's spirituality, it takes much much bigger part of the whole practice.
I think it's an amazing system. There's no other like this. You cannot find Vinyasa system with the numbers with all this, so clear. Some people think it's not good to have this stricter sequence that you do the same everyday. Some people think you should change everyday and one day do back bends, one day do forward bends, one day do how you feel. But I always felt perfect with this practice.
The energy come from the teacher. And something that is special with Mysore is that there's still the energy of Pathabbi Jois in the shala. Everyone who goes to the shala, they got a little bit of Pathabbi Jois. Then there's Sharath. Sharath's energy is there. It really everything happens. It all happens. You go in and you really feel it. It's there and the prana is there. In 25 years I've seen many shalas. Practiced with many teachers, but it's really unique to be here.
Petri Räisänen (born August 13, 1967) is internationally known and respected Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Petri started practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 1988 and teaching in 1990. He is a devoted student of his Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and was authorized to teach Astanga Yoga in 2001 by Guruji. Petri is careful to pass on his Guru's exact teachings. Learn more about Petri including his upcoming workshops retreats, and books on Ashtanga Yoga by visiting his website www.petriraisanen.com