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Yoga in the City

Vol. 8

I don't know if you are aware that yoga is like an antidote surrounding the city as our lives are speeding up and becoming more complex in Istanbul.

I bounced like a pogo-stick as a "Grasshopper" for nearly five years in Kelebek supplement of Hürriyet. When I developed the idea of writing in that column, my purpose was to say "just stop!" to, chiefly me, the people who were living in the city and became almost androids. Just stop and become aware of yourselves. Who are you? Why do you have difficulty in being happy? Why don't you breathe? Why are you always running? Why do you become ill so frequently? We have tried to find the answers to these questions all together for many years. It was nice to set off to find. Because life flows when it is in action. At that time, Sermed Tezel, my Tai Chi master, taught me the concept of "dynamic submission. He would say “take your best shot and surrender, Grasshopper." May he rest in peace. Yes, I was his grasshopper, that is to say his student. Being a grasshopper would become my philosophy of life over the course of time. I will remain as a student till the end of my life. When we get back to the city life, being in a rush and speed to which we resign ourselves are the first issue to be dealt with." State of body, mind and spirit which is slowed with awareness and left to its own devices reveals the most efficient integrity of that person. If all bodily functions remained as programmed in the essence of nature, our metabolism, nervous and hormonal systems would move us to the perfection and always keep us there. However, we are living in the direction shown by the civilization, not by nature. When our rational and emotional brain is getting itself set on the civilization, it sometimes makes changes in the program or its essence, and we stumble as we try to accommodate ourselves to this change. What we need is "conscious slowness" (*), which starts this harmony and lead it to success, says Master Sermed...
It is up to you to enjoy the awareness of slowness. I reached this with tai chi and yoga. I became aware of my breath thanks to this. Do not suppose that I have a peaceful life in a monastery at the top of a mountain. Thanks God! I experienced whatever a mortal have lived. Anyway, it is important to be calm, become aware of slowness, that is to say ourselves indeed, without losing our minds in the noisy, crowded and miserable cities with exhaust fumes. How is that? It is up to you, my humble suggestion, do whatever makes you happy. Do not attribute this to the places or people. What is it to make you happy independent of anything? Try to find it. The biggest challenge is nothingness. "To be nothing is great courage and knowing yourself" in a society where everyone is “something" or “someone.” Challenge quietly; to yourself first. Let's what will go on? While it was at the very time of Jazz in Istanbul. I might be inspired by his motto in the title; Yoga in the city... So where is yoga part of this article? Here it comes... Tai chi taught me to slow down and let the life flow and then added many new ways and people to my life. Yoga was the most important of them; a form to transform and realize yourself. Design needs awareness. You can also design yourself. If you are fast-moving, you can slow down; if you are angry, you can calm down; if you think you are fat, you can lose weight. In fact, whatever you want becomes fact. It was the first half of 2000's when I realized this. At that time, they were looking at me as I was an alien. However, not much, a decade has passed over that and yoga was started to be practiced in shopping malls, museums and schools. In "İyi Cüceler Bookstore" to which I have been going and love with my four-year-old son in every opportunity, our priorities, books, were replaced with children yoga lessons in this winter... Now, so you are in İstanbul on hot summer days, I'll give you two recommendations to start the day peacefully: - From July 8, every Tuesday at 10:00 you can practice yoga free of charge with yoga sessions taken place in Square Floor Open Park in Zorlu Center. It is a philosophy of a Canadian brand called Lole Women which is sold at Bilstore shops. The Brand organized yoga sessions at different venues like MoMA, Grand Palais, Royal Ontario Museum. For information and reservations: 0533 931 29 32 lole@ - Another free yoga venue in Istanbul is Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan. Yoga lessons took place in SSM Garden on June 18 in its second year. Till the end of August, every Wednesday, between 08:30-09:45, the sessions are carried out at every level with Cihangir Yoga Trainers. If you want, you can make contribution to SSM Training programs by donating. For information: 0212 277 22 00
Vol. 8
Velvele Winter Sleep