Sep '08 Interview

An Interview with Anne Nuotio

By Kimmo and Ulla

Anne Nuotio has recently released the English version of her practice DVD which first came out in 2004. Anne was authorized by Guruji in 2002. Two of Anne´s students, Kimmo and Ulla, a Finnish couple, met in Mysore in July 2008. Kimmo and Ulla interviewed Anne on their latest trip to Mysore.

Kimmo: I´ve seen quite many yoga DVDs and I think yours differs from them a lot. Yours is more like about one´s daily practice. Why did you want to do it this way?

Anne: That´s exactly what I wanted to show: my own authentic practice. Why? Because I myself had for many years wanted to see someones real practice on a DVD, but it was usually not these people´s practice, maybe little bit more about a performance. So, instead of a performance, I wanted to concentrate on my inner world during the shooting and not preoccupy what people might think of my asanas. So I just wanted to show it as it is. And I think that if people are sensitive, they can feel my concentration and be part of my practice. Then they don´t look it from outside, but from inside. That´s what I´m hoping for.

Kimmo: For me it was really refreshing to see something different. Since I´ve seen you practising and teaching, I know what´s your attitude towards this practice – you are soft, strict and dedicated and I find that this DVD corresponds perfectly to that image and it might also affect the audience's practice this way.

Anne: That´s so nice to hear! These are the qualities I cherish and I want to transmit. These are the qualities this practice develops! It´s about having faith and dedication. Then it´s easier to develop an inner discipline. And that discipline leads to more softness outside or in the physical body and in your behaviour.

Ulla: For me it was important to see that also my teacher has difficulties in the practice and that the practice is not always easy. Previously I´ve seen much more DVDs with perfect asanas. Your DVD encourages those people who feel that there are many obstacles to see that it´s never easy and still you do it. How do you feel about this?

Anne: Yes, ha ha. I´ve heard that before--that some of my students were delighted to see me sweat and struggle, because before they saw me on the DVD they had thought that everything in the practice was so easy for me. But yes, seriously, that´s a very important thing: you should do your practice no matter what´s going on in your life and no matter how the practice feels! Sometimes it´s hard to do, sometimes it hurts, but still you do it. It´s mostly then you learn something about yourself.

Ulla: I also liked your attitude in front of your imperfection. It helped me to have this same attitude in my personal practice. How does this DVD reflect your attitude about the practice? Can you talk about that?

Anne: Sure. Acceptance is really important in life in general and through this asana practice you start first to accept yourself, love yourself, respect yourself and then it´s easy to do the same with other people. Because if you don´t have self-respect you can´t really respect other people either. And then I feel that you have all the principles of Yama and Niyama present in your asana practice, but these I feel lead my practice:

Ahimsa – not to hurt yourself emotionally, physically, mentally...
Satya – be true to yourself, don´t try to be someone else, don´t lie to yourself
Santosha – be happy. Be happy about who you are, about how you are right at this moment
Tapas – discipline – practice everyday and concentrate on every breath
Svadhyaya – See who you really are, not your ideals, question your ideas
Ishvara Pranidhana - surrender to God

So, for me, it´s not at all about how it looks to others or even to me, but what is inside me, how can I go deeper in my sensations or in understanding by the asana practice. And how can I see my attitude towards myself, what I´m doing in relation to Yama and Niyama.

Kimmo: I find it interesting to have one person´s three different practices in one packet. It´s different from if I had three different people´s three different practices. Why did you want to put them all on one DVD?

Anne: That´s a good question! I could have done three separate DVDs, but the point was to show the whole scope of my practice to make it clear that while some asanas start to be easier, some new ones give you challenge. And I hope this shows you also what happens to one person in about ten years of asana practice.

Kimmo: On the DVD you have made a commentary with your friend Pia on every series you do. This was marvellous for me to have you to explain your practice. How did you feel about jumping out of yourself to comment the asanas and your inner world?

Anne: Oh, it was really such a giving and interesting experience! And I think this is something that can be giving to the audience as well: that you see the person practicing and she opens you her feelings about that. I could of course tell about things that you might not see and then after
when you know about these feelings, you can look at it differently.

Kimmo: Do you think you´ve been able to transmit in this DVD what is important for you in yoga and what you´re trying to make others to find in this practice as a teacher?

Anne: Ha ha, yes I think so. At least one important thing: Mula bandha. Afterwards, I realized that I was talking about it all the time. And the second thing: Just do it! Do your practice and don´t mind the results! It´s about doing it, practicing that everybody can penetrate deeper realms inside themselves. Yoga is not about thinking, it´s experiencing and through the practice it´s also transforming oneself.

Kimmo: It´s interesting, because you are a practitioner and a teacher to hear you comments on the practice and also the interview as a practitioner and a teacher. You have both aspects here.

Anne: Yes. That´s true and funny. I noticed I was giving myself many´s so easy when you just watch, it´s different when you do it. I mean, you can´t teach of course, if you don´t practice yourself. And I find teaching very important. For me it means a lot to transmit what I´ve gone through, that´s the only real thing I got. I guess that as a teacher, you take a step outside from yourself in a way...and you remember what you have inside.

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