This blog post is done in collaboration with Magnesia Festival. Magnesia Festival: August 2-4th 2019, Suomenlinna, Finland.
Magnesia Festival is my favorite summer festival in Finland.
The event is a three-day celebration of yoga, meditation, music, dance, breathing, delicious food, and beautiful people.
I still remember the warm and loving atmosphere from last year at Magnesia as well as the autumn-long afterglow which helped me through the dark rainy days of autumn. This year the event takes place at Suomenlinna which is an 18th-century sea fortress and a UNESCO world heritage site full of magical historical buildings and soothing nature.
As I find the festival to be one of the most soulful festivals held in Finland, I was asked to write about the most interesting program highlights for me. The task is hard since the festival is filled with an interesting program ranging from yoga workshops and bodyweight training to talks about sexuality and the elements of nature. But I took the challenge! For this post, I gathered 15 things worth checking out at the Magnesia Festival.
Yoga practice, Fri 10:00 – 10:30
The opening practice of the festival is a heart-opening yoga flow by Anastacia Shevchenko. She is an inspirational internationally known Yogini and a yoga teacher. She is also the founder of Berlin Yoga Conference and has created her own breath-centered yoga style “Soulful Ashtanga Flow” where she integrates yoga to philosophical and spiritual traditions, psychology, neuroscience, and quantum mechanics. She will guide a class with backbends, shoulder openers and twists, which all helps to deepen the breathing and open the heart. This will be a perfect start for a yoga festival where emotions flow and new friends are made.
Workshop, Fri 16:00 – 17:30
Cold exposure is one of the most fascinating health practices studied today. In Finland, ice swimming is a tradition and often combined with sauna bathing. It may seem bizarre that someone would want to dip their body into freezing cold water, but actually cold exposure (such as cold showers and ice bathing) has shown to have many health benefits from mental resilience to fat burning and stress tolerance.
Leigh Ewin is a professional Wim Hof trainer and a warm, mindful instructor. He is very inspiring in his deep knowledge of breathing, cold exposure, ice bathing, and biohacking. He is also a qualified freediver and has dived underneath the ice in Finland.
Leigh tells how, when and where to use cold exposure for everyday life, what happens in the body when it’s exposed to the cold, and how to find meditative state whilst in the cold.
Kristin Vikjord Paternotte: How Yoga Is Beneficial for Our Mental Health (and Why It Isn´t)
Talk, Fri 16:00 – 17:30
Yoga has been promoted to help a variety of different health conditions ranging from mental illness to cardiovascular diseases – but how and why these effects occur?
Kristin tells about the link between yoga and mental health from the mystic ancient rituals to modern, scientifically studied practices which are currently integrated to curriculums in schools, used in prisons, and taken as a part of psychiatry worldwide.
Kristin is a trained Clinical Psychologist, Yoga Therapist, and A MF facilitator. She runs an online hub, the Dakini Dharmahood where she mentors on how to find ease and emotional wellbeing for sustainable mental health.
Ecstatic dance with DJ Arun Ji & Mikko Heikinpoika
Dance, Fri 20:00 – 22:30
Ecstatic dance is dancing freely, without following specific steps of rules. It allows you to surrender yourself to the rhythm of the music and takes you to joy, trance and maybe even into a feeling of ecstasy. Some people tell that ecstatic dancing brings about a sense of Universal Love, healing and spirituality. No wonder ecstatic dance has been practiced through history in different cultures, religions and as a part of healing ceremonies.
Mikko Heikinpoika is one-of-a-kind Finnish artist. He is a throat singer, multi-instrumentalist and a music producer who creates powerful, deeply immersive performances through merging together acoustic and electronic, ancient vocal techniques, live looping, grounded rhythms and deep, heartfelt bass frequencies.
Kaisa Jaakkola and Ulrika Björkstrom – Recovery and resilience (in Finnish)
Talk, Fri 12:00 – 13:00
Resilience and recovery are topics that are very important in the modern world where mental health professionals are already talking about a “stress epidemic”.
According to the statistics of the American Institute of Stress, especially work stress has become a common problem; 75 % of people regularly experience physical and psychological symptoms caused by stress and 33 % feel they are living with extreme stress. Even 48 % report lying awake at night due to stress.
Recovery and resilience mean the ability to recover from stress fast and grow stronger. Stressful events can thus act as a catalyst for transforming the mind and body into a totally new level in personal evolution.
This talk might be especially important for women because women report more stress than men and suffer twice as much from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety (highly linked to stress) compared to men.
Workshop, Sat 15:30 – 19:00
Saunas are an integral part of living in Finland and almost every home has one. In fact, it’s estimated that there are more saunas than cars in Finland. According to the Finnish Sauna Society, the number of saunas in Finland has grown threefold during the past 50 years and currently there are about 1.5 million saunas in Finland – this is for a population of 5 million.
Saunas in Finland are normally heated into 70 – 100 Celcius.
The most known scientific sauna research trials are also conducted in Finland. It has been shown that frequent sauna bathing is healing and can even lower the risk of mortality. For instance, regular sauna bathing(S):
- Reduce blood pressure and HR after the sauna session
- Reduce risk for Alzheimer’s 66% more when done 4-6 times a week compared with 1 time/week
- Lower the risk of dying to cardiovascular diseases by 27 – 50 %
- Lower the risk for premature death by 40 regardless of age, activity levels, and lifestyle factors
- Read more: Hussain & Cohen (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review
In this workshop, sauna bathing is combined with drumming meditation and healing rituals. Definitely worth to attend if you want to experience cleanse of the body, soul, and mind inside out.
Jaakko Halmetoja: Five elements and health (In Finnish)
Talk, Sat 12:15 – 13:45
Jaakko’s talks always gather high amounts of listeners due to his deep insights, expressive and creative way of speaking, and his way of engaging the audience’s attention. Jaakko is a famous Finnish nutritional specialist and the author of the Biohacker’s Handbook and the book Chaga. Jaakko talks about the connection between nature and human in the light of the elements of fire, air, water, earth, and aether. Jaakko will tell how these elements integrate to the everyday life of all times from ancient wisdom to artificial intelligence.
Workshop, Sat 18:30 – 20:00
Tribal beats mixed with dance and yoga – what a delicious combo! Dancing and yoga are both amazing tools for relieving stress and experience a sense of freedom and a deeper connection with yourself.
Amir is a Spiritual Kundalini Yoga teacher and has held over 30,000 thousand yoga classes and workshops across the world. He is known for his calming energy and the ability to neutralize the atmosphere – internal and external.
Workshop, Sat 18:30 – 20:30
This cacao will transcend your mind into joy, presence and deep unity with the world. The ceremony cacao is not the type of cacao that you can find in an ordinary market. It is hand-picked, highest quality, specific type 100% cacao-bean paste from the rainforests of Guatemala. Maya-Indians call cacao the medicine of the rainforest because it has an effect on grounding the body and uplifting the heart.
High-quality cacao has many profound health benefits (S)
- Cacao is high in flavonoids such as flavanol (bioactive plant compounds), which are linked to various health benefits through their high antioxidant capacity and effect on cell signaling (including neuroprotection, better memory, and protection from dementia)
- Cacao contains methylxanthines such as theobromine and caffeine, which can boost energy and increase focus
- Cacao is rich in polyphenols, can increase blood flow in the brain, stimulate brain cell growth and provide the brain with more oxygen
The cacao ceremony gives you the opportunity to find a deeper connection with your own heart and the universe. The cacao helps you to find feelings of happiness and spirituality, and expand your consciousness into another dimension.
Antti Usee Leponiemi is a Finnish wellness coach. He’s taught by Guatemalan doctor and a shaman, and by various other Gurus during his travels around the world. Currently, he is giving lectures about wellbeing and coaching people to reach their full potential.
Yoga practice, Sat 8:15 – 10:00
Arm balances are a great way to challenge the mind and body, gain trust in your body, and build the resilience of the mind.
This practice is a heart-opening dynamic flow which mixes Ashtanga & Hatha Yoga and has a strong focus on the breath. It is a core-focused flow which prepares you to do arm balances progressing from beginner to advanced levels. There will also be partner activity and group work, which are a great way to make new friends, enjoy the moment and practice trust towards other people.
Meri Mort – Moon Movement with Live Music
Yoga practice with live music, Sat 16:30 – 18:00
This class is about practicing movement inspired by the elements of nature, rhythm, and energy. The session is definitely a one-of-a-kind yoga experience since it is accompanied by live cello music by Joanna Rinne.
Meri Mort is one of the most soulful and inspirational yoga teachers in Finland who emphasizes the connection with nature, Mother Earth and the elements of the sky.
Meri Mort. Picture: www.magnesiafestival.com / Matti Keski-Kohtamäki
Jarno Härkönen – Body Weight training to all levels
Workshop, Sun 11:45 – 13:00
Bodyweight training is a wonderful way to build strength, gain trust to yourself and deepen the mind-body connection.
Jarno is a well-known bodyweight trainer in Finland and the author of three books, the latest of which is all about bodyweight training. He is the owner of Yoga & Movement studio at Espoo which offers a variety of classes from dynamic flow yoga to bodyweight training.
Kristin Vikjord Paternotte: Embodied Compassion in Practise
Workshop, Sun 17:00 – 18:15
Compassion is an emotion that has gained a lot of attention in scientific research in the past decade. Practicing compassion (both towards self and others) has shown to activate the vagal nerve, relax the body, calm the mind and improve the brain in the areas of empathy, compassion and social processing (S). It has also shown to improve social connection and positive emotions. (S) Meditating on compassion is also a fundamental part of the program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a clinical meditation program used in hospitals around the world in order to help patients suffering from various mental health conditions, post-traumatic stress, or chronic pain (S)
In this practice session, you work the emotion of compassion with poetry, breathwork, meditations, and reflective work. It’s recommended to bring a notebook and a pen, a yoga mat, a meditation shawl, and an open mind to this workshop to get the most out of it.
Sanna Yrjänheikki – House Yoga
Yoga practice, Sun 17:30 – 19:00
House yoga combines house music and yoga practice. It’s a new wave of yoga originated from New York.
Sanna is the owner of the creative space Pihasali in Helsinki. In addition, she is a DJ, yoga teacher, and dancer.
Jani Toivonen – Gong Yoga
Sound healing, Sun 19:15 – 20:45
This workshop combines breathing, movement and sound healing. Sound healing is a deeply relaxing method based on calming vibration created by Gong instrument. Gong is one of the most known therapeutic instrument used since the bronze age for rituals, ceremonies, prayers, meditation, and yoga.
Jani is a Finnish healer and a sound artist.
See you in Magnesia!
I hope you liked these highlights. If you are coming to Magnesia, let me know by leaving a comment below.