Juha Javanainen (born 22nd July 1963) is married and a father of five children living in Helsinki, Finland. Juha has practiced Astanga Yoga since 1989. He founded the Astanga Yoga School of Helsinki with Petri Räisänen in 1997. In his path as a yoga student Juha has practiced with Radha Warrell and Derek Ireland, Lino Miele, Eddie Stern, and visited Mysore, India, many times to study with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois. He has also studied chanting and yoga philosophy with Lakshmish Bhat, Jayashree and Narasimhan, Vijaya Manja and AG Mohan.
Juha teaches regularly in the Astanga Yoga School of Helsinki, where he works also as the CEO and director. He continues to study and to practice Astanga Yoga as taught by Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya. His special interests are the Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali and Hawaiian Shamanism, which both are of great value for self-knowledge and healing. Juha has translated the book Yoga Mala, the primary work of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois on Astanga Yoga (2002), and the book titled Urban Shaman written by Serge Kahili King into Finnish (Kaupunkishamaani, 1995). As part of his interest in Finnish Mythologies Juha has compiled the book titled Bockin perheen saaga, Väinämöisen mytologia (Bock Family Saga, Väinämoinen mythology) of the oral stories told by Ior Bock.
Juha wishes to share his long time practice and teaching experiences about how to work with the body&mind for healing purposes within the yoga practice. Here below he shares some of his thoughts on this:
“I’m very happy, and grateful, that I found Astanga yoga and started to practice it already the very first year with competent teachers, when they started to teach in Finland in 1989. That time was very different from today – only a few people practiced dynamic yoga in Finland: there was no yoga studios in Helsinki, no Astanga yoga books or you tube videos. The only way to learn Astanga was to find a teacher, and after his/her teachings one had to develop a self practice.”
“The first Astanga workshops were really intensive: within one week we went through the whole primary series. That was very demanding both physically and psychologically even if the teachers did not demand ‘perfect’ asana performance. That attitude was working very well on me: it helped me to create enthusiasm towards regular practice for opening my stiff body and deepening my breathing.”
“The yoga teachers I have practiced with several years, did not only taught yoga poses, asana technics and vinyasas, but they also shared their personal views on yoga practices, their attitudes, compassion, and views on life. That has really helped me to broaden my own visions on yoga, life, compassion and love.”
“The mental strength we call ‘sisu’ in Finnish, or ‘aishwarya’ in Sanskrit, combined with the Astanga yoga practice method, has been a great combination in building up my regular yoga practice, and to keep the practice going on in ups and downs of life.”
“The real challenge, or even a danger in my Astanga practice, has been my wish to reach perfection in asanas as fast as possible even if my body was not that flexible and strong. Thus I have had some painful lessons by developing few injuries on my knees, lower back, neck etc. I have also got some injuries by strong adjustments from my teachers. And some came in showing demanding poses in my yoga classes, without warmup. However I have always returned back to my yoga mat for healing and recovery, often already after one resting day, to study on myself, how the yoga practice can help in healing process, and how one should practice when injured.”
“My enthusiasm in teaching Astanga is to share this unic and excellent practical yoga method to anyone who is willing to study and practice it. In doing this I wish to follow my guru’s advice: ‘A good teacher should know, that some asanas can be painful for some people, and so the teacher should know what alternative pose could give the same benefit’. My own experience is that the yoga practitioner should avoid bad pain as much as possible. And a good yoga teacher should avoid causing pain to others, including yoga students, either physically, emotionally or mentally. Then there is open space in yoga for healing and becoming a whole being.”