The first time I heard about Magnesia Festival, a two-day yoga and heartful living event taking place on a small island in front of Helsinki, was in May when a friend was visiting Cyprus for a weekend yoga-intensive with me. She had visited the inaugural event in 2016 and enjoyed it a lot. Whilst I am not really a camping-in-tent-festival type of person, I do enjoy the more urban type of happenings where you get sleep in a real bed at the end of the day. Magnesia offers this and combines a lot of things I enjoy: Summer in Finland, seaside, islands and ferry rides, yoga and a chilled atmosphere with smiley people not making too much noise.
August is also the main holiday month in Cyprus whereas in Finland it spells the start of return to normal life. Therefore it made perfect sense for this year to plan my visit to the Motherland a little later than usual, and combine it to visit the day one of Magnesia yesterday.
The programme the festival offers contains different type of yoga classes, discussions about relationships, ayuveda and nutrition, dance workshops, tea ceremonies and lot more. With my one-day ticket I could pre-book one workshop of my choice, in addition to which it was possible to queue to other ones to see if there was space. There was also non-bookable programme on the main stage outdoor where you could also buy food and just chill. The ticket also included the 10-minute ferry ride to and from the Lonna Island where the festival takes place. It probably does not surprise anybody that this being Finland everything was super organised, hassle free and any question you could think of was answered online before you could even think of them. Queuing was done in order with strangers happily chatting to each other and the natural personal space of about 3 metres all direction each was cheerfully sacrificed by all to accommodate as many people as possible to the workshops.
In the morning I took Marta Janeczek’s back- and forward bends workshop. Backbends and forward bends have opposing philosophy and benefits associated with them (physical and emotional opening, defiance in the face of vulnerability, stimulation of the nervous system vs. introversion, cooling down, soothing of the nervous system.) Whilst some yoga styles link strong backbends with forward bends closely in the same sequence, I have always been taught to (and it usually feels better for me personally) to at least have a slower transition and/or neutralising pose or two (such as downwards facing dog or a twist) in between them. I was really curious to see what kind of workshop was build around this concept and I was not left disappointed with this one.
I did not know Marta before hand (quite frankly I know very few Finland based yoga teachers by name, let alone have taken their classes) but just based on this one experience I would recommend to seek her out in her Helsinki based yoga studio. She has a really calm, humble yet fun vibe to her AND manages to fill the space she holds with that energy – a gift not given to many. Based on her bio she has an Iyengar influenced background and the class had a lot of detail about the anatomy of the asana we were given, always a winner with me. Marta’s workshop really refreshed my appreciation for and detailed knowledge of many “basic” asana such as the cat and cow poses and just for that, I am grateful.
My friend recommended an intuitive writing and yin-yoga workshop she had taken last year so we both had registered for that one. It was held in an old mine storehouse (in the olden days the Lonna island used to a mine clearing spot) with soft sunlight sweeping through the small windows in the sealing – and packed with people. I felt the class was maybe 10% writing and 90% yin but since you cannot really go wrong with yin, I was very happy to bliss out with the practise. I can always write at home but I cannot make that kind of unique setting with loads of people happen at a will.
The rest of the day we spent just bumming around the grounds, watching a flow yoga practise taking place at the central stage and enjoying the sun and soft sea breeze. The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday that was appreciated by everybody, as the summer in Finland has been extremely rainy. Big thanks for all the Magnesia crew for putting out such a beautiful event – I will definitely do my best to come back next year!