Category Archives: Ashtanga Yoga


ANTI-Festival was a huge success and I really enjoyed the festival, all the artists, works, visitors, the seminar – all of it. Working with Gregg has been really great and I’m so happy we are doing it and enjoying it. And our artists and visitors were having a great time. We make a good team with Maija. ANTI made it to the national news and yellow press – you can read more about it on ANTI’s website.
Somehow I managed to write my grant applications and a new column on the midst of all. But I don’t think I have recovered from the fact that I won’t have an artist grant from the Arts Council of Finland next year.
Now I’m into working with my solo with Maija Hirvanen and Pekka Mäkinen and I’m really looking forward into the darkening autumn and spending time in a studio, alone.
I saw my doctor on Monday and he said that the time of miracles is not over. My back is so much better that with a new exercise programme I should be fully back to normal physical work in two weeks. But to ashtanga he said no no no until 2008…
I’ll see.

Yoga bliss

Anne was in Kuopio for five days and gave a beautiful and such an inspiring ashtanga workshop. It was a pure miracle that I could practice the full primary series without any pain. After struggling so long with the practice, having so much pain and frustration in it, it was just bliss. I also have discovered that the early morning practice is not such a torture anymore which I could not have believed a few years ago.
I’m off to Helsinki on Wednesday as we are performing I don’t have anything to wear with Jaana as part of Z in Motion –festival in Zodiak. I’m really looking forward to the performances which will be somewhat different and new compared to the previous ones. We need to get some clothes to replace the stolen ones and I have to go through the performance wardrobe archive to see if I find something new and exciting. Jaana has luckily found a replacement for her lime coloured I love my body –scene, but in orange! I’m sure I’ll look just fabulous in that orange linen creation…
I’m thinking about going to the mysore classes in Helsinki but I’m not sure yet. The balance between practicing alone and in Anne’s assistance is very fine and I’m not sure if I want someone new interfering my practice.
In terms of my new performances, I’ve decided to hold the audition on the 31st of May. I’ve also asked a producer to work with me on the productions and general management of my work. I really hope this will solve a couple of crucial issues that I‘ve been struggling with for the past few years.

Need to get some sleep now.
Warm regards to you all.

Inspiring days

Gregg was over for five days and we had really good discussions, lots of work with the applications for the ANTI –festival and some important meetings. It was really good to got through a lot of stuff with Gregg, introduce him to people and have the meetings. So again, I’m very excited about the festival and all the possible possibilities!
The gig with I don’t have anything to wear in Joensuu went really well; the show was just hilarious. It seems the audience there is very receptive and much more relaxed than here. It’s always such a pleasure to perform there. I have very warm memories of premiering Milk in Joensuu as well as performing Mutation. We also managed to have a little premiere party we failed to keep here because of the yoga course we were on.
Besides working with Gregg over the weekend, I also had to finish two major grant applications. I also was supposed return my tax papers today and I had to call the tax office last week to get more time to do it. My tax papers are quite complicated and it takes definitely more than two whole days to complete them. So that’s ahead of me…I also feel a bit guilty for working too much without any days off. My children miss me a lot and call me to work crying. So I’m really looking forward to having a few days off over the Easter although my son is planning to visit his grandparents. I also haven’t been over to the Blue House for ages, it seems…
I’m at the moment working on two new projects and thinking about the schedules and crew and all kinds of things. It’s exciting but at the same time it’s a bit crazy to just finish one big piece of work and immediately dash into the next one. Year after year.

Take care, Johanna

yoga, performances, dreams of India

Mulla ei oo mitään päälle pantavaa performances last week went really well, they were all full and the audience seemed to like the piece a lot. It feels really good to continue next week in Joensuu, then later in May in Helsinki and in June again here in Kuopio. The piece is really fun to perform, it’s challenging and the dialogue between me, Jaana, the live sound and the audience shapes the work differently every time.

I didn’t really have a chance to celebrate the premiere as at the same time I was on a yoga course and had to wake up early each morning. Anne’s course was once again really good and I felt such peace and bliss to practice with her. I have now recovered from the sciatic nerve pain that I suffered from all autumn and it’s been such a pleasure to practice the primary series as a whole. I talked with Anne about her last visit to Mysore and got so inspired to travel to India that I’ve been constantly thinking about my possibilities to make the trip. It would be so important for me to go but I have the family to take care and think about. So I haven’t made any reservations yet. But the idea of spending a month in Mysore, to focus on the practice and to develop my work in a different environment is all I dream about at the moment.

I had some meetings today and I talked about Savon Sanomat newspaper’s politics of not writing about dance and about having more freelance dance artists on the board of the regional dance centre. I also couldn’t help but wonder how from all the artistic board members only one person came to see my latest work and none of them were in any way sorry or bothered that they didn’t come to see it. I must say this does bother me although we had plenty of people in the audience, so it’s not about missing an audience but just curiosity about whom the work attracts. It’s interesting. And a bit sad.

Since my sciatic nerve is better now, I’ve had some strange things going on in my neck. So I have an acupuncture treatment tomorrow that I really look forward to.


Moving towards performances

Last week was just too busy with grant deadlines, board meetings, ANTI –festival’s call for proposals closing etc. In the eastern and northern Finland this week is a winter holiday, or skiing holiday as we say in Finnish. And I’ve figured that all normal people are on holiday, not at their offices replying to emails or answering phone calls. It seems that only artists and unofficial cultural passionates work no matter what. Luckily, I was able to get the key to rehearsal studios today even though the person from whom I usually get the key was, of course, on holiday -and not only this week, but since last Thursday when I tried to contact her.
But yes, Jaana is coming to Kuopio today and we’ll work all the way until the performances pretty intensively. I still have to buy a pair of trousers and a few pairs of stockings for the performances. And there’s still a lot of details to be worked on; when exactly to change clothes, when to put on the stockings, where to place the laptop after the lecture etc. Also Jaap Klevering has been designing the soundscape for the piece and it all is going to be exciting to finally to get into the space and to work with the sound as well. So yes, I’m really looking forward to it all! But then again, I think about the performances as a process, evolving from one to the next, so I see them constantly changing and developing based on our experiences.

photograph: Pekka Mäkinen

We just got the I don’t have anything to wear brochure from the print so today I’m doing some posting and delivering. I had forgotten the deadline of my column so I had to finish it in a hurry this morning. And I also got a cramp in my neck! This always happens to me before performances…or at least during the last few years it’s always been the case. Well, I hope the yoga and arnica will help and if not, I might have to call my acupuncturist to help.


Good day (got the grant and much more)

Today was a busy but quite an interesting and good day in the end. First, I got a very exciting email asking if I was interested in one international project (which I was) and in the evening I got a text message from the regional arts council of North Savo saying that I have been given a one year artist grant for 2007. This is good news, but to be perfectly honest, I had applied a longer grant and was quite disappointed that I didn’t get one. It just makes the long term planning and commitments so much more difficult as I have again no idea how I will fund my work in 2008.
But now is now, and things are definitely moving to the right directions. I’m sipping champagne (the cheapest you can get in Alko), called my mom and just finished working. I sent my DVD to Norway today, talked with Emma Puikkonen on the phone about continuing to perform Cosmetics and green peas (yes!) and had a great Skype session with Gregg about the Talks & Deeds programme and ANTI 2007 artists etc. So yes, it was all inspiring and exciting.
Working with Jaana over the weekend was great, as usual. It is so much fun, crazy and reaching and referring to so many directions and issues and traditions. I just love working with her and I really do hope that audiences will find the work and pick up all the contradicting statements we make in it. And I hope they will forgive me my all but perfect figure! No matter how hard I practice ashtanga, it just stays the same…
But I’m not letting my body, my weight, my intelligence, my financial situation or my age to stop me. It’s all going to be out there and it is only through them, that I can resist, contradict and point out the issues I, we want.

I’ll be waiting for your congratulations and flowers and other possible gifts. You know how to reach me.


Bright, cold days

The sun reflects from the snow so brightly, that it is time to look for sunglasses. I was a bit fed up to go to the rehearsal studio today but the walk on the ice in the bright sunlight made it all right. Even the brisk icy wind on the cheeks didn’t bother too much. Time in the studio was nice and mellow, I did my asana practice which I haven’t done for far too long. So it is was a bit sticky, achy and not very flowing but it was still good to do and be in and with my body. And alone in the space, just with my body and my thoughts. Bliss.

Yesterday I was at the Blue House and noticed a few mistakes in the electrician’s work. I called him and he came over and promised to fix them today. I don’t know if he’s been there or not but I found out that also plumbers hadn’t measured the pipes for the upstairs’ toilet properly… It’s really annoying to fix other people’s mistakes especially after you have paid them and then they haven’t done their job properly. And it’s not their house, so they don’t really care.

Yesterday we also decided that it is going to be Domus. Our kitchen, I mean. I signed a contract including the cupboards, sink and worktops. Not cheap! I hardly could sleep last night as I was worrying about the future bankruptcy… But it is going to be beautiful and stunning – but that is of course just my opinion. Now I’m concerned about the kitchen appliances as that is the next huge investment.

I’ll post some images of the kitchen if I’m allowed by the Silja from Domus.
Now I have to dash to the daycare to pick up my daughter.



Artistic work can be really tiring and usually is for me. We have been working 5-6 hours a day with Jaana, and although we don’t really do anything physically outrageously demanding, I’m pretty nackered at the end of the day. We have been doing short asana practices at the beginning of each rehearsal to focus on the body, to connect with the actual state, to tune in and to get the energy flowing in the body. The practice is really useful as it reveals so well the physical, emotional and spiritual state you are in, even if your mind doesn’t necessarily want to acknowledge or accept it. I’ve had severe sciatic nerve pain in my pelvis area and right leg and my hamstrings have been a bit sore. So my practice has been very light and short. But it feels good to stick to it.
We’ve also talked a lot. About the body, female body, femininity, appearance, gender, gender trouble and Judith Butler (whose sister is a dancer, by the way), sexuality, normativity, emotionality, acceptable behaviour, about screaming and shouting, female anger, family, being a mother, a parent and a partner, and how the whole culture around dance has traumatised us and our relationships to our bodies for life.
Each nuance might not be visible in the upcoming work, but they sure are present in our bodies and discourses. Jaana talked today about how the body emits and radiates information that one can’t control which I thought was very beautiful and interesting.
We have been working on these scenes in which we dress, undress, dress, undress, dress, undress for ages. There’s stuff I feel is kind of self-humiliating but at the same time important to show and to do. We also want to demonstrate how clothes and overall appearance changes the way you look at someone, your gaze, and the direction of your sexual desire which is related to power. And what is culturally un/acceptable. It’s really interesting and so much fun!
We have been desperate about finding a performance space. Today we went to Nina to see if their space could work for the performance but it didn’t feel right. Jaana found a very beautiful top (245 €) by Anne Linnomaa, though (she did’t buy it). Then we walked to this new gallery Carree on Kauppakatu and it instantly felt like it could be our space. The owner Kirsti Carlenius was very nice and we also met her son Sampo, and it turned out we shared quite a few connections and networks. They had an exhibition on show by Kari Södö, who has composed the music to my early solo piece Enchanting Horizon (1999) and it turned out, that Kirsti is also from Hailuoto, the island where my parents live and where I grew up between 1980 – 1989. So we both know for example artist Anni Rapinoja whose daughter was my very best friend.
So let’s see what exhibition they’ll have on in March and hope we could fit in to the beautiful space!
We are going to work through the whole weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

Salt & vinegar & coffee

Yesterday was a good day. I was pretty effective with arranging rehearsal schedules, performance schedules, updating budgets, bringing my performance trousers to be fixed and my boots to be streched, practicing the primary series and eating and cooking healthy food. I haven’t been going to yoga classes for a while. I’ve been practicing on my own and attending Anne’s workshops and retriets, and one workshop with Guruji. But now I felt that I really could do with some assistance in difficult asanas as well as enjoy peacefull environment. The practice with Mari’s assistance was really enjoyable. And despite all my back problems, I was able to do the full primary series, which was a suprise. I’m glad I start rehersals with Jaana tomorrow because she’s practicing ashtanga as well and we can do the practice together. And of course, I’m really into entering the process again!
Because we work with clothes and all kinds of issues related around female appearance, and because I’m into all kinds of lists, I thought I list here every piece of clothing I have purchased since our last rehearsal period in the beginning of Dec.
For myself:
– boots (on sale -20%)
– a top (on sale -50%)
– a dress (on sale -30%)
– a belt
– a yoga top (on sale, don’t remember how much)

For my daughter:
– a dress (on sale)
– a top (on sale)
– a pear of jeans (on sale)
– a track-suit (on sale)
– mittens

For my son:
– underwear, 2 pieces, long

For my partner:
– underwear, 2 pieces

Not that bad, eh?

My partner and my daughter picked me up from the yoga class yesterday wiht a pleasant surprise. I package from our beloved friends in London Andrew and Rebecca! They sent us these lovely Hot Mugs designed by Sebastian Conran which I desired when we visited them in November. But it was not just the Hot Mugs they sent – they were filled with small packs of Salt&Vinegar crisps which I love!!! And you can’t buy them in Finland, who knows why… Andrew and Rebecca are about the most kind, friendly, beautiful and talented artists and friends that I’m aware of. Even my daughter said: Can’t we go and visit them in London tomorrow! And she also admired the mugs and their colors. So today I’ve had my cup of coffee from my new Hot Mug and enjoyed the crisps (no-one else was allowed to touch them) with some red wine. Heaven!
I bought a bottle of Taideviini (art wine) today because the label on the bottle is designed by young visual artist Paavo Halonen, who is a very close friend of writer – performing artist Emma Puikkonen with whom I collaborated on Physical artistic deeds 4; Cosmetics and grean peas. I’ve met Paavo only ones or twice briefly, last summer I guess. He didn’t come to see our performance (I guess Emma asked him not to – because of some “lesbian tendencies” which was a joke between them) but was intensively flirted by an artistic director at the time…

Well, work today has been less spiritual. Updating ANTI -festival’s website for about 10 hours and sending out call for proposals nationally and internationally for the rest of the time. So sitting by the computer far longer than is recommended for anyone.
Time to say good night.

Trying to arrange time to read Getting things done

It’s become a joke in my family lately. That I don’t get to read my Getting things done -book. But anytime I do, even a few pages or one chapter, it’s so inspiring and buzzingly exciting that I can’t sleep. My mind instantly starts to apply the techniques into my chaotic life and I vision this less stressful and more balanced life in which I don’t anymore run from one about to explode situation into another day after day. In which my work, shopping, budgets and deadlines are well planned and balanced i.e. I will have time to buy groceries and I will have energy to cook healthy food every day, I won’t skip any yoga practice, I will have time to be and relax with my children, I will have time and energy to do household stuff like cleaning or doing dishes before it all becomes such a chaos that it takes a whole day to do dishes, that I will have more time to think, be still and quiet for something new and unexpected to appear.
I’m back to normal schedule today although altering schedules is the normal one for me. But kids start their school, day care and hobbies again after a two week break. I didn’t get to sleep and relax as much I hoped, as there has been a lot of work to do at the Blue House (which we are building). But during the last week or so I have been able to sleep longer nights and I really have felt how tired I actually am. But I’m not yet back to the rhythm of waking up early as it feels so easy to stay up until 2 or 3 am.

On Saturday we travelled to Mikkeli to the New Year’s celebration party hosted by Pirjo Ala-kapee. The party was quite boring and the bus trip really long. But of course it was great to be invited and I had a few nice chats with one photographer from Mikkeli, one teacher whom I know from the Greens and then Arja and Ari. I drank some nice white wine from Valamo monastery, a bit too much I guess, as I wasn’t feeling very energetic yesterday.
I have a lot of things to organize concerning the new piece I’m working on. Jaana will come to Kuopio on Wednesday and I’m really looking forward to enter the process again and seeing how things have developed since we last worked. And I have to get my performance trousers shortened by Wed!