Virpi Karjalainen - Personal Biography
There is no glamorous story of how Virpi Karjalainen started doing Ashtanga yoga. She had worked as a dancer and dance teacher during her studies in business administration and even as a gymnastics coach in her youth. Besides that, she had also practised Buddhism for years. With this background, the vigorous, energetic and demanding Ashtanga yoga practice just became a natural choice for her.
Virpi was first introduced to Ashtanga yoga in March 1996 by Petri Räisänen and Juha Javanainen. One month later, she participated in a workshop with Lino Miele in Helsinki, and he became her teacher. She has attended most of his workshops in Finland, but also went to his workshops in Italy and India. Although very young in the Ashtanga yoga practice, Virpi began her apprenticeship under Lino's guidance in 1997, assisting him during his workshops in Helsinki. The same year, she started teaching Ashtanga classes in the Astanga Yoga School of Helsinki. In 2002, Virpi sold her business and became one of the head teachers at the Astanga Yoga School of Helsinki. She is primarily responsible for the Mysore classes but also teaches introductory courses for other levels.
Virpi experienced practicing under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of Ashtanga yoga, on several occasions—once in France during his tour in 2000 and twice in Finland during his European tours in 2001 and 2006. Besides participating in these workshops, she completed her experience with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, practicing under him in his own shala in Mysore.
Virpi continues to assist Lino whenever he is in Finland, while working on the advanced A series.