I am Anna Pohjola, a certified transformational coach and sound practitioner, and explorer of the innermost self. Also 24/7 mom of two young kids.
I have spent much of my life seeking "good life" and happiness - like so many people do. I have believed happiness would actualise along with a nice home, stable relationship, good friends, successful and interesting career, beautiful children, amazing travelling adventures and inspiring hobbies. I have greatly valued these things and eventually I was fortunate enough to have all of them in my life. So a few years back, my life was basically pretty perfect. However, I felt something was always missing and I was not able to be happy. I felt trapped, uneasy, down and somehow in the wrong place.
Today, after some years have passed, I now feel completely different: serene, grateful, joyous, strong, healthy and perfectly in the right place fulfilling my purpose in life. Life feels juicy, colourful, abundant and like the best adventure. But don't get me wrong; I naturally still get down sometimes. I also experience anger, fear, disappointment, sadness, and other darker shades of human emotions. But it's smoother, more real, and I come back to my high vibrations much quicker. My life looks very different from the outside now, but I can tell you it's nothing compared with the inner transformation I have gone through.
So what's the secret to all this?
The secret is quite simply connection. Firstly, connection with myself: knowing myself, seeing myself, forgiving myself, being there for myself, loving myself - with all there is. Learning more of this every day. Secondly, real connection and authentic relationships with others based on this more mature and responsible way of being. And finally, connection with the Ultimate Reality (call it what you want): trusting the higher wisdom and guidance, and sensing its presence in everything.
The transformation process for (re-)connection has been like delivering a baby. The seed of my true self was naturally always there inside of me, but kept small and quite invisible. After I couldn't ignore its existence anymore (because of increasing inner pressure and unhappiness), it started to grow slowly but steadily. The process wasn't always comfortable, sometimes even very painful and messy: I needed to grow but my mind resisted - and my mind can be pretty persistent. But when you start to grow inside, you can't really stop the process no matter what. Your true self is determined to get out in this world and all you can eventually do is to surrender and ask for support. For me, support has indeed been essential, I couldn't have made through the delivery alone, and I think nobody should be asked to do that. I didn't need doctors, but I did need coaches, people who were there for me and helped me see things I was blind to. It has been my own work and process, but at the same time greatly supported by many beings here and beyond. And wow, it has truly been worth every second! Now I feel like I'm out in the world, nothing less than finally reborn as my true self, ready to be my size and visible as such. Also ready to support your delivery process to the best of my abilities. The growth of course is constant and will never end. That's what makes this whole journey so fascinating!
I have made a long and rewarding career in Finland's leading marketing communications agency Dagmar, in the latter years working as the Strategy Director. My work mostly consisted of consulting some of Finland's biggest brand advertisers from various industries while also leading people and developing internal working processes, practices and culture to support the company's strategic and creative work. The experience gave me solid understanding of the key challenges organisations and leaders of today face and consequently created a strong desire to help them shift attention and create connection to things that I believe truly matter for their success. According to my view, some of the most vital ones are the capacities of deep listening and presence that underlie such essential things as self-observation and reflection, high-quality thinking, abundant creativity, and effective co-creation. They are also the prerequisite for successful self-leadership - inner leadership.
Sound Practitioner and Sound Yogini
Music has been an important part of my life since early childhood: I sang before I could speak and haven't stopped ever since. At the age of five, I started to play the piano which later led to professional studies at the Sibelius Academy. However, I quit my studies before graduating after realising a profound mismatch between the culture of classical music and the way I myself want to approach music.
Somehow, I have always intuitively recognised the incredible power of sound and known deep down that the essential purpose of music is not performance or entertainment (that of course have their role too) but transformance, meaning the potential of sound and music to open and harmonise us internally, and help find the place within where all sound comes from and where it returns to: silence. For me, music has always been the most natural channel of connection to myself, to other people and to the Universe, and I feel my voice is perhaps the most intimate and authentic expression of my true self, bringing forth what is the most honest and real in me.
This inner knowing truly started to surface and a new realm of sound unfold along with my spiritual awakening a few years ago. Since then, I have started to experience sound and music more holistically and deeply, letting it guide me in listening to the subtle voice of my deeper self. This has allowed me to realise a way vaster reality and perceive everything more clearly to also gradually unveil my purpose and mission in this life. As a result, my life has pretty much changed inside out (for the better, haha).
I have studied (2016-2017) sound healing at the California Institute of Integral Studies with many world-renowned sound healing pioneers. After this life-changing year, I have continued studying Yoga of the Voice with Silvia Nakkach and Indian classical music dhrupad with Guruji Pt Uday Bhawalkar. On top of these teachers, there are also many more who have greatly supported me on this path and helped me go deeper within.
In my own experience, sound has helped tremendously in learning how to listen to what there is, right now, with open mind, open heart and open will. It has been a guide on the path to myself, past my often busy mind, making it more and more possible to experience this life with all its colors and to experience it with all of my being. Sound has helped me to express things that words cannot express, things that my mind probably doesn't even recognize. Working with sound gives me a sense of purification, which clearly creates more space within myself, allowing new things to arrive. It gives me more calmness, joy, vitality, and trust. It brings me home - back to my inner stillness, whenever I lose myself to the bustle of this world. All in all, I genuinely feel that as an incredibly effective healing modality for our overall wellbeing, sound is one of the best kept secrets there is, and I am nothing but passionate to do what I can to share it with the world.
Helsinki School of Economics, 1998-2004
International Business, Marketing, Intercultural Communication, French
More details on my LinkedIn profile
Sound, Voice and Music in the Healing Arts - certification program
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, 2016-2017
Innovative course of study (the only program of its kind offered at an accredited university) addressing the healing modalities of sound and music, based on a multicultural, multidisciplinary and integral approach. The curriculum integrates theory and practice built on scientific research and wisdom traditions.
Teachers including masters such as
Silvia Nakkach, MA, MMT, vocalist, founder and director of the Vox Mundi School
John Beaulieu, N.D., PhD., tuning fork pioneer, founder of Biosonics Enterprises
Pat Moffitt Cook, PhD, music clinician, director of the Open Ear Center
Thomas Amelio, senior mantra teacher, New York Open Center
Glen Velez, Grammy-winning founding father of the modern frame drum movement
Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, MA, peacemaking drummer, founder of UpBeat Drum Circles
Alan Turry, DA, NRMT, music therapist, director of the Nordoff-Robbins Center, New York University
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, teacher of the Bön Tibetan wisdom, founder and spiritual director of the Ligmincha Institute
HIMA Happiness Transformational Coach Training Program, 2019-2020
Reiki Practitioner, Okuden - second degree
Helsinki Healing Arts Center, 2021
Other important studies
Llankay-Munay-Yachay School of Shamanism, 2021
Esoteric Astrology Training
Smiling Stars / Erkki Lehtiranta, 2020-2021
Work and Organisational Psychology
Helsinki Summer University and University of Eastern Finland, 2020
Positive Psychology Practitioner Program
Helsinki Summer University and Joylla, 2019
Dhrupad studies with Pt Uday Bhawalkar
India, February 2019 and January 2020
Dhrupad Summer School in the UK, August 2019
Online studies 2020-2021
Vox Mundi Yoga of the Voice
Santa Cruz, California, July 2018
Inhimillinen Henkinen Tie, program for self-realization
Aaro Löf 2015-2017
Junior Academy and Degree Programme in Music Performance (piano)
Sibelius Academy 1996-1999