Niina Valtanen - Personal Biography
From an early age, Niina was interested in Eastern philosophy, and this interest made her seek out different martial arts. At the age of thirteen, she started to learn karate which became an important part of her life. She trained and competed until, nearing the age of thirty, she felt she hadn't yet found what she was looking for.
Niina's aunt worked as a yoga teacher, and this made Niina try different forms of yoga. When she first got to know Ashtanga yoga, she instantly knew that it was exactly what she had been looking for. Niina began daily practise and first traveled around Finland and then around the world to learn more. An intense enthusiasm to learn more took her to India to learn from Sharath Jois, and Niina followed Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois on their world tours.
In 2004, Niina quit her day job and started full-time as an Ashtanga yoga teacher. This has been her sole career since. She founded an Ashtanga yoga school in Finland, first in Pori in 2007 and later in Rauma in 2009. In that same time period, Niina met Manju Jois who became a close and most important teacher to her.
Since then, Niina has regularly taken part every year in many of Manju's teacher trainings and workshops around the world. Niina also studies with him in Encinitas for longer periods every year. Manju visits Rauma every year to teach at Niina's yoga studio with Niina assisting him at workshops in Finland. In 2012, Manju Jois authorized Niina to teach Primary series.
Another close and important teacher to Niina is Kristina Karitinou. Each year, Niina visits Greece to practice with Kristina, and Kristina also visits Rauma to teach at Niina's yoga studio a couple times each year. Niina is very grateful for all the support and teachings from Manju and Kristina and for the opportunity to share this great practice with her students.