Archives for posts with tag: male

Life is a cycle of taking and giving… The more we give, the more we take. I have always believed that we should first give in order to take. We should give so that we open a space in our lives and then we fill that space with the new one. Just like the movie “Pay it forward”… Do you remember the movie? A boy named Trevor with a problematic family life creates an ideal word in a homework given by his new  teacher. In that ideal world, Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward–repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. In the meantime, some changes occur in lives of every one Trevor knows, particularly his teacher. Every favor paid forward is repaid somehow.

When I decided to focus on giving-taking cycle in the yoga classes this week, I remembered this movie. To give before taking and to open a new space for the new comer. To wish to get rid of emotional and physical problems in our lives and to open a new space for something new and better for us. Is it possible to open a space for something new and better without getting rid of the old one?

Therefore, I focused on stretching the chest with backbends in all yoga classes this week. The peak pose was “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel) which is the most feared but the most desired pose of all students. All students feel so happy when they see they can really get in the pose. I asked the students to try the “asana” (pose) by getting rid of the emotional and physical burden which prevent them from getting in the pose. Who knows what kind of burden we had in our minds and hearts those days that prevented us from getting into this pose? First of all, I asked the students to focus on their minds and emotions. To realize their mental and emotional burden and then to realize that this burden was no useful to them, to get rid of the burden and to rise in the pose. First give, purify and get rid of and then to welcome the new one… Cycle of taking and giving… The law of circulation…

Some of us are just givers. They like to help every one without expecting anything in return. They prefer to make others happy by giving without expecting anything in return. They become happy when others are happy.

Some of us are just takers. They always want to play the leading role in life. They want every one to love them, like them, be kind to them, be appreciated and loved so much. They always want to draw all the interest and attention. They want to attract all love, material and moral everything on themselves. However, they do not think of paying attention to others and making others happy in return.

In my opinion, to be always a giver or always a taker is not a right thing. If life consists of dualities and if there is “yin-yang” (female and male) energy in life, then we should not just be a taker or a giver. We should somethimes take and sometimes give so that we can live the life in full balance.

What was I thinking at the end of the class? We should first give in order to take. We should get rid of things that give us pain and trouble and open a space for the new comers that might be better for us. We could not take if we do not give. If we do not open a space for the new things, nothing could get into our lives. It was this simple. We could not get a new shirt if we do not give the old one to someone in need. The law of circulation was this simple. We could apply the law to moral and material things, i.e. everything in life. We should open a space for the new comers. This was what I was thinking at the end of class, To live without piling up, to first give in order to take and to open a new space for the new comers.

Days, months and years go by. And again International Women’s Day comes. Before posting a blog on this special day, I take a look at my previous posts. Actually I have something in my mind but I want to remember what I wrote in the previous years. Guess what? I posted blogs on violence against women and women being hurt and oppressed. What has changed in a year? Could we make a difference? Unfortunately I could not keep myself from thinking that everything had been worse in my country.

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March 8 International Women’s Day. How did March 8 become the international women’s day? Let’s first remember this. On March 8, 1857, garment workers in New York City marched and picketed, demanding improved working conditions, a ten hour day, and equal rights for women. Their ranks were broken up by the police. 129 women died and at least 10,000 people attended their funeral.

On August 26-27, 1910 at the Second International, a world wide socialist party congress, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8th be proclaimed International Women’s Day, to commemorate the US demonstrations and honor working women the world over. On March 16, 1977 United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate March 8 as the “International Women’s Day.”

How could we, the women, accept losing all these rights we have gained with so many difficulties? I cannot understand it. Particularly if we take into consideration the violence against women, the rapes and women killings in our country, shouldn’t we respect women’s right more than ever and try to protect them? Isn’t this an imposition of male-energy societies? Have we returned back to old patriarchal days? I really think so.

If we go back to old ages, just remember King Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire, who made the first peace treaty in the world. The treaty was also sealed with Hittite Queen Puduhepa, which meant that the queen also had a word to speak in the name of the empire. Moreover, in the Yazilikaya Open Air Sanctuary, God of  Sky and Storm Teshub was decorated together with his spouse Hebat. The “mother earth” belief system in Anatolia goes back to 7,000 BC. The belief system reflected by fat women figurines which emphasize the women aspects of a body in agricultural settlements like Catalhoyuk and Hacilar had developed in thousands of years and was the basis of the Kybele/Cybele mother earth belief in the Phrygian world. An agricultural society, the Phrygs converted “the Great Mother” into a goddess of nature and believed this goddess symbolized the fertility in the nature. This mother earth cult of the Phrygian world was later adopted by the Greek and Roman world. The Greek called this goddess as “Meter Megale” and the Romans as “Magna Matar.”

In ancient Turkish societies, Umai was the “goddess of birth” and “the goddess who protected the family, marriage and the generations.” Umai was a spirit who was worshipped to make women more fertile. Known as a mythological deity, Umai was referred in the ancient Turkish “Orhun” monuments, “Turfan” monuments and Mahmud al-Kashgari’s “Diwan ul-Lugat al-Turk.” In the Orhun moruments, Umai was mentioned together with the God of Sky Ulgen and it was written that Kul Tigin was born with the help of Umai. Moreover, Turkish is actually one of the most democratic languages that when we say “O” we mention both all female and male creatures.

The matriarchal societies were replaced with partriarchal societies as agriculture developed and animals were domesticated. When animals were domesticated, men stopped hunting and settled down. Thus, men pushed the women to the second place at home and in the society and became the leader at home and in the society.

These are only the social reasons of transformation from matriarchal to patriarchal societies. There were also psychologic reasons of this transformation. According to yoga master Osho, men have an inferiority complex for they are not as creative as women. Osho thinks women are more creative than men because of their capability of giving birth and says that men are aware that women are superior than themselves. He also states that men tend to supress women, usurp women’s rights and push them to a second place in society in all societies in order to overcome their inferiority complex. Moreover, men do not want women to work and earn their own living, make them give birth to as many children as they can, make them stay at home and make them financially-dominant in order to keep women stay beside them.

As matriarchal societies were demolished and replaced with partriarchal ones, the world started to be ruled with male energy. Female energy was annihilated. Let me explain female and male energy with yoga. According to yoga belief, human body sets up of two energies. Feminine and masculine energies. Masculine energy starts from the coccyx and ends in the right nostril, whereas feminine energy also begins at the coccyx but ends in the left nostril. The male part is hot and active while the female energy is cold and passive. The male side is solar energy but the female side is lunar energy. This is how hatha yoga came out. Simply, ha means sun and tha means moon. Body is formed with the unification of these two dual energies. The aim is to balance the masculine and feminine energies, awake the divine force believed to live in the root chakra (muladhara chakra), help rise this divine force through the seven chakras, join the female and male energies in the third eye chakra (ajna chakra) and get enlightened.

Male-dominant societies are unfortunately aggressive and warrior. Since the birth of humanity, men hunt and they try to be strong by ignoring their emotions in order to hunt. Unfortunately, for we are living in a male-dominant world, we use this energy just to produce weapons and to fight. Because of this energy, the world is gradually getting more aggressive and cruel.

“Yang” is trying to change the world. To change ourselves, to change our life and the world. To struggle to make this change. To do something to make this change. Sometimes to push hard the life and ourselves. However “yin” is accepting. To accept everything as it is and to surrender. To accept life and ourselves as we are. Actually when we accept ourselves and do not push life hard, maybe everything will go in the right track but however we are so much “motivated by being the doer, being the active side” that we cannot surrender to life.

Being a woman? Bending, stretching, creating, accepting and surrendering… Moving with the flow of life… Accepting everything as it comes to you and just the same as something leaves you… Being one with the life, flowing with life.. Melting and eradicating the stiffness of masculine energy in the compassion of the feminine energy…

Awakening the female energy? March 8 International Women’s Day… Women! Let this magnificent energy flow out of you! What is my suggestion? Of course, yoga and particularly yin yoga. A yoga class or practice which awakens your second chakra, swadisthana chakra (sacral chakra). That is, a yoga practice focusing on hip openers. The second chakra, including our sexual organs, is associated with sweetness and creativeness, which is not something that can be ignored. In order to be creative, we should leave aside anger and disappointment and we should forgive ourselves if we feel guity. Sharing is related with the energy of the second chakra. Creativity intermingles us with other people.  A chakra associated with the element water. Water is soft and flexible. As Lao Tzu said, “The best of man is like water,  Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in (lowly) places that all disdain.That is why it is so near to Tao… Bend and be straight; Empty and be full; Wear out and be new; Have little and gain.” Hoping that feminine energy can get the place it deserves in the world again, aggression is replaced with understanding and empathy, war is replaced with peace, and that we can accept and surrender more…

Have you ever felt yourself tired when you are doing yoga asanas or any other sportive activities? Or can you do another one-and-a-half-hour yoga class after finishing one-and-a-half-hour class? Why do we feel so? Why do we fell so tired one day but energetic the other day? Most simply, because of our daily activities, whether they are too much or not. The other reason is our mind. Once the mind says you are tired, we feel tired whatever we do. Is this the only reason?

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There is another important factor affecting our energy. Most of us forget about this factor. I can hear you ask what this factor is. The moon and the phases of the moon. Don’t you tell me why we are talking about moon without any reason. There is new moon today. Look at the sky, and you will see.
It is possible to see beliefs regarding sun, moon, solar and lunar eclipse in Central Asian cultures. “The sky” is sacred for Turks who are living in a wide geography from the Central Asia to Anatolia. For this reason, there are beliefs and rituals regarding the sky, sun, moon and other natural events. In Turkish mythology, there are many sayings about the sun, moon and other natural events and solar and lunar eclipse.
In old Turkish beliefs, beliefs regarding sun and moon are inseparable. These cultures believe that the sun and moon are relatives. Respect to the sun, moon and stars affected daily life of Turks. For instance, the Huns searched the phases of sun or moon when starting a new project and made their decisions according to the conditions of the stars. Moreover, Turks believed that the God gave the duty of preservation to their leader as given to the sun and associated their leader with the sun.
Old Turks showed their respect to the sun and moon by referring to them in their epical stories. For example, In the Oghuz Khan Epic, Oghuz Khan’s mother was named “Ay Kagan” (Moon Kagan) and some of their children as “Ay” (Moon) and “Yildiz” (Star).
Beliefs regarding moon are more than those regarding moon probably because the moon is closer to the sun and it has many phases. The rise and fall of the moon were perceived as death and birth by old Turks and therefore, full moon was depicted as “old age” or “death” and new moon as “renewal”, “youth” and “resurrection.”
Moreover, moon is a healer according to these beliefs. A person who sees the new moon and chants “I have seen the new moon and my callus has gone away” believe that his/her callus is gone away. Similarly, a person with a wart believe that it will go away as s/he chants “I have seen the moon and my wart is gone away.”
In astrological aspect, new moon is the time to seed plants and make preparations. It is related with new beginnings whereas full moon is the time when we end up, conclude ongoing incidents or projects. If we want to start a new project, we should prefer new moon time, and prefer full moon time if we want to give up or leave anything. New moon is related with male energy but the full moon is related with female energy.
After giving some examples about our own beliefs and a few astrological examples, I want to talk about the phases of moon and yoga. What’s yoga got to do with the phases of the moon? I think this is the question in your mind. Surely, it is related because 70 percent of our body is made up of water. Just try to remember science lessons. The moon, water and tides… Has this meant something to you? Let me try to explain it as much as I can.
Most of our body is made up of water and therefore in new moon and full moon times our body is affected just as the seas or oceans during tide times. In new moon times, we feel ourselves tired and exhausted but in full moon times we feel strong. In full moon time, the “prana” (life force) in our body has an upward move with the effect of the moon and we can force ourselves more than necessary during these days. The full moon energy coincides with our inhalations and the “prana” is so strong at these times. These times are when we expand, have an upward move, and feel ourselves energetic but do not touch on a strong base, which can lead to an injury.
However, the new moon times, we feel exhausted and tired due to the effect of the moon and this time coincides with our exhalations. At this time, the “apana” (the downward energy in our body) increases and this is the time we constract, move downward, feel ourselves calm but ground firmly.
To this end, we do yoga, especiallly Ashtanga yoga, in the days between new moon and full moon days because this is the only time that we can keep our prana in balance. Only to protect our body and ourselves and to live in harmony with the natural flow.
Also, it will be useful to remember that Hatha yoga is set up of two words, including “ha” (the sun) and “tha” (the moon). Hatha yoga is a style of yoga we do to balance the energy of our body according to the changes in our lives, i.e. to balance the solar and lunar energy, or male and female energies, in our bodies.
Since the beginning of the article, I have tried to talk about the effects of natural events, particularly the sun and moon, on our bodies and cultures. Since the moon and sun are a part of nature, it is our duty to live in harmony with them. So why do we oppose to natural balance or flow when we can live in harmony with the nature, be in unity with it, and be yoga with it?

PhotoFunia-b3b943Here comes a special day again… I also wrote in my post focusing on February 14 Valentines Day. Why do we show our love and affection on only one day. Everyday is special. We should show our love and affection every day. It is again a special day. March 8 International Women’s Day. I am a woman so I should write a post on the women’s day. Let’s see what comes out!

According to yoga belief, human body sets up of two energies. Feminine and masculine energies. Masculine energy starts from the coccyx and ends in the right nostril, whereas feminine energy also begins at the coccyx but ends in the left nostril. The male part is hot and active while the female energy is cold and passive. The male side is solar energy but the female side is lunar energy. This is how hatha yoga came out. Simply, ha means sun and tha means moon. Body is formed with the unification of these two dual energies. The aim is to balance the masculine and feminine energies, awake the divine force believed to live in the root chakra (muladhara chakra), help rise this divine force through the seven chakras, join the female and male energies in the third eye chakra (ajna chakra) and get enlighted.

As you can see, in yoga, particularly in hatha and kundalini yoga, we have to talk about masculine and feminine energies. In fact, female energy is an energy humanity has attached importance for centuries. However, female energy was oppressed and tried to be ended in certain ages. Wichery in the Middle Age Europe can just be an example. However, it is not a coincide that in many cultures, fruitful soil is defined as the Mother Earth or goddess of prolificacy were women in many Anatolian civilizations and their hips and breasts were stressed in sculptures as an indicater of prolificacy.

When it comes to yoga, the lunar energy is yin or female energy. It is passive, accepting, cool, creative, fertile, soft, compassionate and it surrenders.

In today’s world, are we aware of our female energy? Or at what extend are we aware of it? Do we respect it? How much do we love ourselves and try to understand ourselves? How much do we listen to our body and soul?

Until I started yoga, I was a person who never listened to the demands and wishes of my body and tore my body off. I was a woman but not a woman. I was like a man and I was proud of feeling so. I was glad that I did not ask for help from men. I could carry bags, open the bumper and check the needs of the car and I could repair certain things at home.

After I started to experience yoga, I became more aware of my womanhood and I loved it. I made peace with my female energy. Before I started yoga, I was having problems with my left leg, which would not surprise you. My left leg was swollen and I had problems in the left ankle. Surely, all these happened before I accepted my womanhood and loved it.

Similarly, I was hurting myself and being so tired during the menstruation period before yoga. Even my menstruation period was at odds with me and I was having severe headaches. What happened after yoga? I started to live more relaxed during these periods. I refrained from challenging sportive activities or daily things. I was doing inversions whether I am on my period or not when I first started yoga. In time, I quitted inversions in my periods and focused on yin yoga, particularly forward bends and hip openers. I started to feel more relaxed and this regulated my periods. My headaches were gone. My temper was gone. I was less angry and stressed. All these happened as I accepted and appreciated my womanhood and female energy.

Now, you may think of me as a “wild girl”. No, I am not so. I love to get dressed and wear jewelry since I was a child. I can be considered fairly womanish when compared to some others. However, being womanish is one thing and flowing with the female energy is another.

After yoga, I started to be one with the female energy, lived and flowed with it. It became me, I became it. We were a whole. Before yoga, I was a firm person with several principles. I was not flexible. I  could not get used to changes so easily. If I had made a plan and I had to change it for a reason or for somebody, I would have been disturbed. What has changed in my life? Not only my body but also my mind stretched after yoga. As my mind stretched, I started to be more flexible in life. As Lao Tzu said, I started to be flexible as water, I bent and changed shape when necessary. I changed myself according to current conditions. I adjusted to changing conditions. I left aside principles and saw that it was more peaceful, happier and easier to live this way. Why have I forced myself this much for year? A friend of my called after we decided to meet and asked if we could delay our schedule for an hour. In the past, I would be nervous and angry that our program had changed. But now? So what? I can find something to do till we meet. Maybe this delay has a reason. Everything happens for a reason.

Being a woman? Bending, stretching, creating, accepting and surrendering… Moving with the flow of life… Accepting everything as it comes to you and just the same as something leaves you… Being one with the life, flowing with life.. Melting and eradicating the stiffness of masculine energy in the compassion of the feminine energy…
Awakening the female energy? March 8 International Women’s Day… Women! Let this magnificent energy flow out of you! What is my suggestion? Of course, yoga and particularly yin yoga. A yoga class or practice which awakens your second chakra, swadisthana chakra. That is, a yoga practice focusing on hip openers. The second chakra, including our sexual organs, is associated with sweetness and creativeness, which is not something that can be ignored. A chakra associated with the element water. As Lao Tzu said, “The best of man is like water,  Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in (lowly) places that all disdain.
That is why it is so near to Tao… Bend and be straight; Empty and be full; Wear out and be new; Have little and gain.” Hoping that female energy sees the support and attention it deserves in the world…

Unity and integrity… Integrity of the body, mind and the spirit… Yoga.. Yoga means unity and integrity and being one and being a whole, so why do we face different types of yoga in our daily lives? Why does hatha yoga exist? Why do we name a certain style of yoga as vinyasa yoga? And then, what is yin yoga?

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In eastern philosophy, yoga is just yoga. It does not have different names and styles. Only the time during which you stay in poses can change, duration of your stay in a pose can be long or short. However, yoga is not divided into styles and types according to the duration of your stay in poses in the eastern world. In eastern culture, yoga is simply “yoga.”
Yoga has started to be named differently according to different styles after it was introduced to the west. More rapid, dynamic and flowing yoga classes are called “vinyasa yoga.” We can also define these classes as “yang” classes. Calmer, more static classes with long-awaited poses are named “yin yoga.” Actually, “yin” and “yang” represent female and male energies, i.e. everything in nature and life are either “yin” or “yang.” “Yin” and “yang” refer to opposite poles like dark and light, female and male, cold and hot. Moreover, “hatha yoga” can be defined as a style of yoga in order to be performed to harmonize female and male energies in our bodies.
It is so natural for us not to have so much time for ourselves in the daily life in the western world. Therefore, we find ourselves in gym halls after we spend a tiring day at work. When we go to gym, our aim is to “achieve the most in the shortest time.” Sometimes we feel ourselves strong, more active and join dynamic classes. Sometimes we feel tired and we wish to have peace in calmer classes.
This is exactly why the western world divided yoga into styles and addressed the working people of metropolises. If we feel ourselves strong, energetic, active and ready to sweat that day, “vinyasa yoga” can be the ideal choice for us. “Vinyasa” means flow. In vinyasa yoga classes, we flow from one pose into another with our breath like a river. Non-interruptedly, we change from one pose into another with the help of breath, and like flowing water. And as if we are dancing. Instructors can add “surya namaskar” (sun salutation series) at the beginning, middle and end of these classes. And also they can ask us to perform a set of “surya namaskar” between some sitting poses, thus we can overcome and eliminate any stiffness in our bodies if there are some at that time.
“Ashtanga yoga” is one of the most well-known of vinyasa classes. It is a style of flow yoga developed by Pattabhi Jois. It has an unchangeable flow, and it is not performed during new or full moon because we do not want to hurt our bodies with moon’s effects. This style of yoga uses “ujjayi” (hero) breath, “mula” (root) and “uddiyana” (abdominal) “bandha”s (locks) and we always have a “drishti” (a perspective) in the poses.
On some days, we may feel something different in our bodies but we cannot even define what it is. This may result because of a change in our male and female energies. One day, our male energy may prevail and the other day we may be under the influence of our femal energy. Hatha yoga can be the best thing to do under such a circumstance. In simple, hatha yoga is the yoga of sun and moon, i.e. the unification of male and female energies. We try to balance these two energies when doing hatha yoga. A bit female, a bit male… After doing “purvottanasana” (reverse plank), we do “paschimottanasana” (seated forward bend) in order to regulate and balance the two energies in our bodies. “Purvottanasana” means looking towards the east, which is a male asana. However, “paschimottanasana” means the posture heading towards the west, which is a female asana. For this reason, we do poses affecting sun and moon, male and female energies, in hatha yoga. Thus, we balance the energies in our bodies and we try to harmonize our mind, body and spirit– which is the final target of yoga.
One day, we may feel ourselves tired and exhausted. Such a day may be a good opportunity to experience yin yoga and spoil ourselves. Yin yoga is a style of yoga that has come out as a synthesis of hatha yoga and Chinese Taoist tradition. In fact, what we should do is to stay longer in asanas, and feel the relaxation and stretch in our connective tissues.
Yin yoga aims at relaxation and stretch. Finding peace in our bodies and mind. Since we aim to relax and stretch up to our connective tissues in yin yoga, we enter into poses and we give ourselves in. We loosen our muscles. However, it is out of question for us to loosen our muscles in hatha and vinyasa yoga. We tighten our muscles all the time when doing hatha and vinyasa yoga, and we try to warm our bodies up by using “ujjayi” (hero) breathing and thus, aim to eliminate the risk of injuries. However in yin yoga, we aim to give ourselves in, and accept the situation we are in. Under such a circumstances, relaxation and peace prevail. Sometimes, our mood and bodies let us do yin yoga but sometimes the instructors asks us to do such a pose that we cannot stay even a single moment in that pose. We should not forget that the philosophy of yoga is associated with flexibility and acceptance. In that case, we can accept this situation and we can try another pose that has the same affect. What does this mean? We are not depended on a single pose in yin yoga. If our aim is to work a certain part of our body and affect our internal organs, then we can achieve this goal with many different asanas, not just one asana. This is what differs yin yoga from others. If our aim is to work the hip external rotator muscles, i.e. the gluteal muscles and iliotibial band, then we can achieve this goal with many poses like “shoelace”, “square” or “sleeping swan” and we can stimulate our gall bladder.
Yoga is such a flexible and wide world. The western world has adopted classical yoga to its own habits, and turned it into a system and philosophy acceptable to everyone.
In fact, yoga is just “yoga”. Yoga asanas are all the same irrespective of what type of yoga we are performing. Only the duration of our stay in the poses change. We can sometimes use props and try to modify the poses for our bodies.
Whatever it is named, yoga is the art of being a whole in the past or today’s world, in the west or the east. It is a mental and bodily relaxation and stretch, finding peace, and acceptance.
The only matter is to stay yin, calm ourselves, accept and give ourselves in, under a yang pose or circumstance whenever doing yoga or in real life. Similarly, we should become yang, get more energized, strong and active in a ying pose or situation if we are supposed to do so.
We should not forget that yin and yang is an indispensable whole. Every yin element can also be yang, and every yang element can be yin at the same time. What we should do is to balance our yin and yang energies, listen to our inner voice and insights, and meet our instant needs. This can sometimes be running or jogging, dancing, meditating, jumping, a yang style yoga, or a yin style yoga. What can we expect and hope more if we balance our yin and yang energies and if one does not dominate the other?