Meet Katja from Yin Your Skin

Katja Kokko is a truly skillful teacher and student of all things yoga, skin care and face massage (she’s a soon to be certified Acupuncturist too)  and has put it all together in a line of incredible products and online courses called Yin Your Skin. Katja lives in Helsinki, Finland, with her fiance and adorable puppy (just check her Instagram for daily cuteness!) and is here to tell us all about her journey - and - the incredible benefits of calming the nervous system, gua sha and her own self-care routines.


What was the journey that led you to create Yin Your Skin? 

Long story short: back in 2016 I spoke to my yogi friend about how excited I was about the effects of yin yoga for the face, even though we don’t even touch the face. I spoke about it so much that finally she suggested; what if I did a workshop which combines yin yoga, meditation and a skincare routine? I got very inspired by  the idea and started to plan it immediately. I was thinking about a good name for the workshop and asked a question on my personal Facebook if any of my friends had good suggestions. One of them suggested the name "Yin Your Skin". That was perfect! The workshops became very popular and they were always sold out. I started to receive questions if I could do an online version of it, because not everyone had a chance to come to Helsinki and the places were very limited. Again I got inspired. I wanted to create an online experience that no-one has done before. I wanted the videos to be very beautiful, high quality and provide a beautiful soundscape. However, I felt that the skincare part of the course needed something more. I had created a signature facial massage, but I still felt something was missing. I was going to London to finish my facial reflexology studies when I found facial gua sha on Instagram and literally my jaw dropped. I searched online for facial gua sha training in London coming up and, luckily, Cecily Braden was just coming there, and I got the last spot in the training. I didn’t know at that time that I had opened a door into a completely new path in my career which led me to begin my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine (I’ll graduate as an acupuncturist in 2023). 

 I launched my first Yin Your Skin online course 2019 together with gua sha tools, and a year later level 2 course and Sileä facial oil, all of which have been a huge success in Finland – the online courses have had thousands of customers and Sileä was awarded as one of the best skincare products last year by famous Trendi magazine. There are currently six new skincare products under development and I’ve trained over 100 beauty therapists & acupuncturists on facial gua sha in Finland. 

 How does your yoga practice and Chinese Medicine studies influence your products? 

Both definitely have a huge impact on my treatments and how I approach skincare. When it comes to gua sha stones, they have healing energies from the Chinese Medicine perspective.  I can’t say that Chinese Medicine has influenced for example my skincare products, because my experience with raw ingredients is much deeper.  It’s actually a coincidence that the plants that I’ve chosen to use in the new Yin Your Skin skincare products are also herbs used in Chinese Medicine. For gua sha tools I’ve chosen to use only stones which originate from China – therefore I don’t use, for example, rose quartz. Yoga, on the other hand, is my rock. It’s a foundation in my whole life and it affects, on some level, everything that I do and how I live, breath and think. It keeps me aligned and truthful for myself.


What is one thing you wish everyone knew about taking good care of their skin? 

Only one?! Then I would say relaxing the nervous system is the number one. 

But, if I can say three things, I would add movement & creating space into tissues with your own hands and topical treatment with plenty of hydration and high quality oils. I think people don’t understand what a big role relaxation has on skin. Even if you use the most expensive skincare products in the world, they won’t fade the wrinkles or bring that amazing glow on your face if the sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive and cortisol levels are too high – that shuts down the circulation and the activity of fibroblasts.

 What are your thoughts on aging well and longevity?

It’s all about the balance on every level – mind, body and soul. I think it’s important to heal ourselves on an emotional level. To let ourselves feel and express emotions and understand our reactions (and other's), so we don’t have to react anymore. Our body is the extension of the mind. What happens in our mind and nervous system, has an impact on our body and skin. Our body and mind needs nurturing with enough sleep and rest, movement, breathing, spending time in nature, touch and healthy food. Healthy mind and body anchors our soul. I also think our soul has purpose and it’s important to feel that whatever you do in your life, you feel that you’re serving that purpose. I think this kind of balance can be seen as a glow from the eyes and skin and a person's energetic radiation. However, it’s also important to remember that balance is not a static state, it’s a constant movement.

 What is your daily and weekly wellness regimen?

I start my day with tapping and shaking my body, then a couple of yin yoga asanas, meditation and pranayama. After that I do an ashtanga yoga practice, or there might be days when I do only yin yoga. I then take a cold shower and do dry brushing for the body and start my work after breakfast. I recently started jogging again, so instead of yoga, I might go running as well. I take baths a few times a week and love facial masks at the same time. I usually do facial gua sha or massage in the evening and 1-2 times per week I use LEDs on my face.

 How has your beauty regimen changed over time? 

I use much more time for selfcare than I did years ago. It’s very important for me have plenty of time in the morning for the selfcare and for me that is the beauty regimen. I don’t layer nowadays so many products on my skin than I used to for many years and instead I use more often masks and do facial massage or gua sha.

 What are some of your favorite beauty products?

Both of my own brands have so many new products in development, that I’ve been using samples of them for a long time, but Yin Your Skin Sileä facial oil is the skin remedy that I couldn’t live without anymore! My other brand, Djusie, has an essence, Acid Bloom, which is the best ever. I still have favourites from other brand’s as well. I recently fell in love with Surya's Balancing Collagen Cream. I love Blue Legume from Lilfox, Saffron Masque from Ranavat and I’ve been a huge lover of In Fiore for years. I call their Jasmine Superieur Body Balm as my official mental health balm which helps me to survive over the long and dark winter in Finland.

 What is your favorite way to move your body and exercise?

Yoga, swimming, horse riding and running.

 What do you do to unwind, relax and rest well?

I would say spending time in nature, but because we currently live in the city with my fiance, it’s not possible every day. However, it’s important to unwind every day and for that the meditation, yoga nidra, pranayama and walking outside are the best methods for me.

 First thing you do when you wake up?

Kiss my fiance and give morning cuddles to my 14 week old puppy.

 Last thing you do before bed?

I’m very lucky to receive foot tickles every evening from my fiance. It’s one the best things in life!

 What is your go-to breakfast?

Freshly squeezed orange juice blended with collagen powder, eggs and avocado or mushroom omelette.

 You feel a cold coming. What`s your plan of action?

I immediately drink hot water mixed with fresh ginger, lemon, manuka-honey, spring onion and cinnamon. Then I wrap myself firmly with warm clothing and do some steam inhalation. After that I go to bed and rest under many blankets and try to make myself sweat. I also take vitamin D, amla, zinc acetate and NAC.

 Life changing book you've read?

There are many but let’s say John Kirkwood’s The Way of the Five Seasons.

 What does self-love mean to you?

Accepting myself fully as I am, despite my faults and any mistakes I make. Setting my own boundaries and keeping them. Appreciating the chance to experience this life so much that I want to take care of myself as well as I can, so I can have a long and healthy life.

 Do you have any sound sleep tips?

Try Deep Release relaxation practice from Yin Your Skin online course and you’ll sleep like a little baby!

 Your favorite holistic wellness destination?

For the last few years I’ve spent my holidays on yoga retreats with my yoga teacher John Scott and his wife Julia. So my favourite wellness destination is a yoga retreat in India or Puglia in Italy with John & Julia and a small group of fellow yogis. Now, when we have a little puppy, I think we have to wait for a while until we can go on a retreat again.