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who i am
what i offer

My path and philosophy as a Mindfulness instructor

Hi there. I am a certified (CFM®) Mindfulness instructor working in Central Finland (Jyväskylä). My academic background is in Intercultural Communication (MA and PhD), and my dissertation focused on Tibetan Buddhism in the West. I've been practicing Buddhism, yoga and meditation since my early twenties, which is much longer ago than I hope it looks! =D​

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​It was through my personal practice and my academic research that I developed interest in secular approaches to meditation. I believe the tools given by Eastern spiritual traditions are of great benefit to all of us, regardless of cultural background. I completed the MBSR instructor course offered by CFM® Helsinki. It is a "gold standard" for MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction), the most researched and wide-spread approach to Mindfulness.

However, my instruction style includes a lot of elements and frameworks beyond MBSR. I incorporate shorter practices, specific foci and I like to introduce some theory on the mechanisms of mindfulness, based on science and the Buddhist tradition. I constantly perfect my own practice and teaching, taking courses with secular meditation teachers. In Spring 2023 I decided to start instructor training in Unified Mindfulness (by Shinzen Young), so my toolbox is truly versatile.

Based on more than a decade of personal practice, I can confirm the benefits of meditation and tools for mindful living. My practice and the insights I get from it have helped me greatly through all the difficulties I had to face in life. The simple pleasures of being human, such as enjoying nature, music, company, food and drinks (tea, in my case! =D), etc. have also become deeper and more fulfilling. Mindfulness gives comfort and satisfaction, and also boosts resilience and brings meaning to your life. So it is my honour and privilege to be sharing it with others, making the world a nicer place one human at a time.

In my own approach to teaching Mindfulness, I like to think of the Socratic midwife metaphor. Socrates was famous (sometimes, notorious!) for asking his students quirky questions to help them deliver the ideas relevant to their views and life. I believe all people in their heart know all the answers and my role as a Mindfulness instructor is to help them arrive at the insights and understanding, which is just right for them at this particular moment. After all, Mindfulness practice is a way to establish a deep connection with the closest person we will ever know - ourselves.

Also, from my own experience of studying with many Buddhist meditation teachers, and having consumed several kilos of literature for mediation geeks, I understand the importance of technical detail in your meditation. There are many ways and tricks, which are quite subtle, but they can really bring your practice to a next level. I believe in doing things smartly rather than vigorously, so I try to make sure that my instructions help the students to really make the most of the precious time they allocate to the practice.

Teaching meditation is my passion, but I also do some academic teaching and research. My research interests include Buddhism in the West, modern approaches to meditation, Eastern spirituality and its perceptions. I teach academic courses on the topic and keep track of the scientific and critical academic research on mindfulness and meditation. I believe the Eastern contemplative tradition carries a huge potential for ordinary (and extra-ordinary) modern individuals, and it is yet to be uncovered. A respectful and pragmatic attitude to these frameworks and tools is something we can develop in order to develop the superpowers of mental well-being and resilience we all have potential for.

Relevant Education and Certifications

  • CFM® Helsinki Mindfulness peruskoulutus (basic program) 2017-2018

  • CFM® Helsinki Mindfulness ohjaajakoulutus (instructor training) 2018-2019

  • University of Jyväskylä, Intercultural Communication, PhD 2015-2021

  • University of Jyväskylä, Intercultural Communication, MA 2011-2014

  • Countless group retreats with established Mindfulness and Buddhist teachers, several individual retreats

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation can mean different things, but when we talk about it here it stands for the mental practices, rooted in the Buddhist tradition. These are the exercises, that in the West have become known as "mindfulness meditation". They include concentration meditation (focused attention) and insight meditation (awareness meditation). Doing concentration practices (most commonly, it would be mindfulness of breathing), we develop our mindfulness "muscle", i.e. train our mind to stay on one thing when we want it to, with clarity and continuity. The benefits of such meditation are easy to get hooked on. As you gain more control over your mind through f.e. mindfulness of breathing, your mind becomes calmer, more satisfied, resilient and efficient. You get more "touch" with your experience, and gain ability to enjoy life more, feel better and think clearer. The other meditation type is when we apply our mind to whatever happens right now, our body sensations, thoughts etc. We observe it all with equanimity, i.e. "without judgement", becoming a witness to our experience. This stance helps us develop a healthier relationship with our bodies, thoughts, feelings and experiences, which is filled with acceptance, compassion and deep wisdom. This type of practice may be a bumpy road, since insight reveals things as they are, which is not always how we like to imagine them. But as we go deeper, befriending the good, the bad and the ugly of being human eventually pays off by bringing contentment, acceptance and center.

Sometimes there is confusion over whether meditation is the same thing as mindfulness, or are they two different practices? A good metaphor here would be the relationship between "fitness" and "physical exercise". Fitness (here, mindfulness) is a general state, that we want to improve, and physical exercise (meditation) is a sure way to improve it. We also say fitness when we talk of classes, instructors, industry and "culture" of the specific activity. In this way, we can also talk of Mindfulness Movement, Mindfulness courses etc., and we know that these will involve plenty of meditation.

MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction)

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was the first adaption of the Buddhist (and yogic) basic practices to secular society. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the person behind it. He was a dedicated practitioner of Vipassana (Theravada Buddhist insight meditation) and Zen (you know Zen), as well as yoga, who was getting a PhD in molecular biology at MIT. Back then Vipassana, Zen and Yoga were far from being cool. They were barely known to general public, and a scientist engaging in such activities would be seen with suspicion. Jon Kabat-Zinn knew how much tangible and this worldly benefit he had received from these Eastern spiritual practices and he wanted to share the core tools and wisdom with ordinary people. Especially he thought of those dealing with severe stress, anxiety and depression episodes and chronic pain. In 1978 he founded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction clinic, where he developed his 8-week program. Being an MIT doctoral graduate helped him have his approach tested in randomized controlled trials, and the scientific evidence confirmed the experience he witnessed working with stress patients. Mindfulness was not just an exotic religious activity, it was a universal and efficient tool that anyone can benefit from to decrease stress, overcome negative patterns and develop more peace and wellbeing.

Why of all approaches to mindfulness and meditation, you should choose MBSR? Seriously, I don't know :P Everyone is different, and only you can decide what style and approach works best for you! But I can tell you why I chose to become an instructor specifically in MBSR. First of all, MBSR is considered the gold standard of Mindfulness-Based Interventions, and pretty much any secular meditation programs. It follows a specific structure, and is uniform enough for you to know what you pay for when you go for it. Second, when we talk of scientifically proven benefits of "Mindfulness" we mean MBSR. Of course, there has been plenty of research on meditation of all kinds, in fact, the whole meditation research started with TM (transcendental meditation). But when researchers conduct randomized controlled studies, the subject has to be clear. So most research has focused on MBSR, not only because it's the most common program, but also because we know specifically what we're studying. Advertising science-backed benefits of "Mindfulness" in general would be questionable, because the subject is too vague. With MBSR, based on several decades of constantly improving research, we can actually make some honest claims. Another important factor is that MBSR is based on Buddhist practices, which have been tested and honed by countless generations of meditators. This empirical evidence is not published in any Journals, but to me it carries even more credibility. And finally, MBSR is a holistic and versatile program, not just a meditation course. While I love a good meditation course, there is also an undeniable need to bring mindfulness to our mindset, every-day life, relationships, eating, walking, working etc. MBSR is basically an introduction to living mindfully, where mindfulness meditation is essential, but not the only part. 

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