Archives for posts with tag: prana

Life itself is a school. When we graduate from university and start earning our living, we think we know everything and we act so. However, education never ends with graduation from university. Life-long education. Life teaches us new things. We develop and progress continously throughout our lives. Yoga classes are the same. When we become a yoga instructor, we think that we know everything. How wrong it is. Every class is an interaction and exchange. It is possible for us — the teachers — to learn new things from our students. Also, it is possible for us to develop and progress ourselves with the help of the questions asked by our students.

In the previous week, one of the students asked why we were breathing through the nose in yoga. At first, I could not make up my mind. I could explain why we were inhaling through the nose but I could not explain why we were exhailing through the nose because I had no information in detail. Every word I said would just be a guess. I promised to look into this issue.

Breathing in yoga? Yes, “prana” simply means “breath.” In deeper sense it means “life force” and “physical, mental, intellectual, spiritual and cosmic energy.” “Prana” is the principle of life and consciousness. It is breath, respiration, life, energy and strength.

“Pranayama” is comprised of two words: “Prana” and “ayama.” “Ayama” means extension, stretch, length, expansion, regulation, prolongation, restraint or control. So, “pranayama” means extension of the breath or its control. “Pranayama” consists of inhalation, exhalation and retention. Retention can be done after both inhalation and exhalation. Inhalation stimulates the system whereas exhalation is to throw away the toxins from the body. Retention distributes the energy throughout the body. When we talk about “pranayama”, we talk about movements including horizontal expansion, vertical ascension and circumferential extension of the lungs and the rib cage.

When we breathe in, the chest expans and the lungs fill with fresh oxygen. When we breathe out, the chest narrows and the lungs are emptied. When we hold breath, the heart rate slows down and the heart muscle takes a rest.

Generally, it is possible to talk about four types of respiration:

  1. High/Clavicular (collar bones) respiration: The neck muscles activate only the upper parts of the lungs.
  2. Intercostal/midbreathing Only the central prats of the lungs are activated.
  3. Low/diaphragmatic breathing: The lower parts of the lungs are activated chiefly whereas the top and central parts remain less active.
  4. In total/pranayamic breathing: The entire lungs are sed to ther fullest capacity. When we inhale, the chest and abdomen rises and when we exhale, all these parts distinguish. The chest and abdomen is lifted up, forward and to the sides.

In yoga classes, “pranayamic breathing” is preferred. In classes, teachers ask students to breathe in and out through the nose. The air is cleaned and warmed up with the help of the structure of the nose. The air then goes down through the neck and reaches the lungs. When the diaphragm muscle contracts, the ribs move up and forward (intercostal muscles), the lungs expand and fill with air. When exhailing, the diaphragm relaxes, the ribs move down and inward (intercostal muscles) and lungs shrink, giving out the air.

When we expand in yoga classes, when we extend the spine, when we open the arms to the sides or lift them, when we are getting out of a forward bend or twist, when we are rising up from a pose against gravity, we inhale. When we close our bodies, when we bring the arms to the center, when we bend forward or twist or do something in line with the gravity, we exhale.

We have told that the reason why we breathe in through the nose is to clean and warm up the air. So why do we prefer to exhale through the nose? When we breathe out through the nose, the air exhaled absorbs moisture, reducing dehydration. When we breathe out through the nose, it is good for oral health.  Mouth breathing causes a drying out of the gums, increasing the acidity in the mouth. Exhaling through the nose reduces snoring and sleep apnoea and enables a good sleep. Moreover, breathing through the nose regulates the volume of air breathed, so that it can effectively match the body’s oxygen needs.

Also, breathing through the mouth causes overbreathing or hyperventilation as we use the upper chest rather than the diaphragm. It dries the airways, causing coughing and worsening of asthma.

Also, breathing through the nose is related with the carbondioxide level in our lungs and blood. When the carbondioxide level is normal, enough oxygen is sent to our tissues and brain. Most of us believe that carbondioxide is bad for us. However, if no carbondioxide, then we cannot get the oxygen our bodies need. When the carbondioxide level is in proper level, it triggers the red blood cells to release oxygen they carry.

We provide the carbondioxide our bodies use through our own bodies, not the air. Therefore, if we do not breathe correctly, we cannot produce the proper level of carbondioxide we need.

The lungs store carbondioxide. If the carbondioxide is under a certain level, we feel some imbalance and some symptoms show up. When there is enough carbondioxide in the lungs, the respiration is done through the diaphragm.

When we breathe out through the mouth, the carbondioxide level in our lungs and blood reduces and less oxygen is sent to the brain and tissues. When the carbondioxide level is less than normal, the blood PH degree rises toward its alkaline limit and a message is sent to the brain. The brain stops the diaphragm to stop the respiration and carbondioxide level increases. When the blood pH is restored and oxygen flows again, the brain tells the diaphragm to start to move and the next breath is allowed.

If we do not use the diaphragm as the main muscle of respiration, we face problems in regulating the carbondioxide level in our lungs, When we breathe out through the mouth, we only use the upper chest not the diaphragm. We can feel tense in the chest and have problems in respiration, We regulate the carbondioxide level we will throw away the body, thanks to the diaphragm.

For all these reasons, we prefer inhaling and exhaling through the nose. In spiritual and mental dimension, breathing through the nose calms down the body and breath and silences the mind. When we breathe in and out through the nose, the breath is extended, deepened and thus, the mind is calmed down.

As a result, “prana” is not just “breath.” It is “life force.” “Prana” is breath, respiration, life, energy and strength. Yoga classes are a part of life and it is possible to learn new things during classes. The aspiration of students to learn new things make them ask questions to questions, which in return develop and progress teachers. If one of the students had not asked me why we were breathing through the nose in yoga, I would not have made such a deep research. Every moment is an opportunity for us to develop and progress. Every yoga class is an opportunity for us to develop. What is important is to open to development and progress. I am so glad I have so many wonderful students. Namas’te.

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There is only terrorism around us in recent days. Not only in our country but also in the world. Terrorism causes fear, anger, worry and sarrow. Some people show their reaction through anger whereas some of them try to stay home and in their own internal world due to growing fear. You can read unhappiness and sorrow from the face of some people. However life goes on. Despite all these negative developments, we are trying to go on with our own daily lives. And so did I. I went on teaching yoga as usual.

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All students were saying the same thing in my classes. “Teacher, we are so afraid. We are worried. We are sorrowful. Can we do something to relieve us?” I love to teach “yin yoga” in such cases. To work on the meridians that pass through our bodies, to focus on emotional effects of the meridians and to get rid of negative emotions by relieving and relaxing the body…

Fear was the emotion of kidneys as well as the urinary bladder. Anger was that of the liver and gall bladder. Worry was the emotion of stomach and spleen. Sorrow was living in the lungs and large intestines whereas hatred was the emotion of heart and small intestines. When we remove all these negative emotions, we could reach love, understanding, empathy and compassion. The target areas that we should deal with were obvious. The class would focus on kidneys, liver, stomach, lungs and heart meridians. I also planned to touch on the gall bladder.

Kidney and urinary bladder meridian was where the life force existed and should be in balance in order for other organs to operate well. The life force we called “prana” or “chi” was staying in the kidneys. This meant that “chi” in the kidneys was responsible for our vitality. In order to get rid of fear, we practiced “sphinx” and “seal.”

The liver and gall bladder meridian was responsible for balancing emotions. When the liver energy was unbalanced, we could be angry and be ready to explode at any moment. The gall bladder energy was responsible for our judgment. It was related with our re-establishing our balance after a shock or a change in plans. In order to re-balance our emotions after terror shocks, we used “frog” and “sleeping swan” poses.

The stomach and spleen meridian was related with digestion. Could we digest what we were going through? Were the body, mind and soul in balance? Were we in connection with the outside world? Were we in harmony? In order to realize all these things, we closed our eyes in “dragon” and “half saddle” and worked on our body-mind-soul harmony.

The lung and large intestine meridian was related with courage and respect. It was also related with knowing the value of the moment we were living. The heart energy was depending on our life force and soul. When these two energies were in harmony, we were happy, accept life as it was and lived a happy life. In order to stimulate these meridians, we used “melting heart” pose. In each exhale, we tried to bring the chest closer to the ground and focused on loving more.

We ended the sequence by relieving the spine and stimulating all the meridians in the body with the “cat tail” twist. The class ended with a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose) that followed the twist.

How should I close the class? I should focus on our emotions. If I overcame anger, I could be compassionate and had good-will. If I defeated hatred, I could reach love. If I got rid of my worries, I could be compassionate, honest and frank. If I could alleviate sorrow, I could self-respect and be a dignified graceful person. Moreover if I overcame all these negative emotions, I could turn into a loving, understanding and compassionate person. I could first love myself and then everyone around me. Who knows? Maybe one day I could look at the entire world with more loving and sympathetic eyes.

Long, gloomy, dry and cold winter is about to end. The north hemisphere is welcoming the spring. March 21 is the day when day and night are equal and when spring officially begins. With the spring on the way, we can see some changes in our bodies as well as our sportive activites and yoga practice. Spring makes us feel more tired, heavier and as if we are carrying hundreds of kilograms of load and we may not know how to cope with this fatigue. Actually, it’s so simple. According to Ayurveda — the Indian science of living — the “kapha dosha” in our bodies increases when spring comes. For this reason, we feel ourselves heavier and tired and we do not even want to move. So, what type of yoga should we prefer in spring?

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Before discussing types of yoga during spring, it is better to talk about “doshas” in our bodies. Ayurveda divides types of bodies into three and name them as “dosha” including “vata”, “pitta and “kapha.” Every body consists of three doshas and one of the doshas prevail others and cause some phyical and spiritual changes from season to season. From person to person, one dosha prevails. Moreover, one dosha prevails over the other with seasonal changes. It is so natural that “vata dosha” increases in our bodies in long, cold, gloomy and dry winter. On the contrary, “kapha dosha” increases in our bodies as days get longer, flowers bloom and temperatures rises with spring. Kapha dosha balances elements water and earth in our bodies. Its duty is to stretch our joints, providing mucus to protect our sinuses, lungs and stomach and to regulate the amount and strength of our muscles.
When kapha dosha is in balance, we feel ourselves strong and solid. When it is out of balance, we may be exhausted, depressed and sleepy.
Therefore, it is important to balance the kapha dosha in our bodies when spring comes. Otherwise, we may have to cope with seasonal allergies and severe common cold.
When all these are taken into consideration, flow yoga is something I can recommend to yoga lovers to not only wake their heavy bodies up but also to feel themselves more dynamic. Particularly vinyasa and hatha classes, “surya namaskara” (sun salutations), standing asanas, backbends, inversions, arm balancing poses and twists are sine qua non poses of springtime. “Matsyasana” (fish), “salabhasana” (locust), “navasana” (boat), “dhanurasana” (bow), “simhasana” (lion), “ustrasana” (camel), “setu bandhasana” (bridge), “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel), “sirsasana” (headstand), “sarvangasana” (shoulderstand), “pincha mayurasana” (peacock) and “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand) open the chest, relieve congestion, stretch the throat and drains sinuses.

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If you follow a flow like “garudasana” (eagle), “prasaritta padottanasana” (wide-legged forward bend) variations, “sirsasana” (headstand), “bakasana” (crow), “chaturanga dandasana-bakasana” (low plank-crow), “bakasana (crow)-adho mukha vrksasana (handstand)”, “salamba sarvangasana-halasana-karnapidasana-salamba sarvangasana-setu bandhasana” (supported shoulderstand, plow, ear pressure pose, supported shoulderstand, bridge), this will not only balance the kapha dosha in your bodies but also make you feel yourself stronger and more energetic.
In our classes or own yoga practice, we can welcome spring and ease spring fever with just 108 sun salutations. When flowing with “surya namaskara” series, we can focus on breath and add more oxygen and “prana” (life force) to our bodies with the breath, we can wake up and strengthen our bodies and we can clean and detox our minds as well.
Following such flows, you can go on working your core muscles, add some twists to your practice and do pranayama like “kapalabathi” (skull shining), “bhastrika” (breath of fire) or “agni sara” (cleansing breathing exercise) at the beginning or end of the class. You can also use “uddiyana bandha” (abdominal lock) throughout the class and wake your body up during springtime. Twists will also clean and detox our organs and strengthen the metabolism. Core strengthening asanas would activate the “element fire” in our bodies and can help us revive and feel more energetic.
Moreover, liver and gall bladder is overworking during cold winter days since we consume more caffeine, alcohol and sugar and eat more oily and protein-strong food. In order to relieve the liver and gall bladder, we should focus on inner thighs, groins and the outer parts of the legs. If we give priority to yin yoga and work the meridians believed to pass through the inner thighs, groins and outer parts of the legs, wee may relieve the liver and gall bladder, clean them up and revive them. “Swan”, “sleeping swan”, “dragonfly”, “frog”, “shoelace” are some of yin yoga poses for liver and gall bladder. Also we may do some hatha yoga poses such as “garudasana” (eagle), “prasaritta padottanasana” (wide angle pose), and “gomukasana” (cow face pose) for our liver and gall bladder.
As a result, spring is the time of the year when day and night are equalized, then days start to get longer after the equinox and nights start to shorten. Therefore, balance is so important. That is why we give priority to balancing the kapha dosha in our bodies in our yoga practice. We want to overcome fatigue and wake our bodies up and get more energetic in springtime and we focus on vinyasa yoga, i.e. flow yoga styles.
No matter what they say! Whether spring is a season that makes us feel ourselves heavy and tired, I feel happier as nature wakes up, flowers bloom, trees get greener, sun shines, days get longer and birds return to the north hemisphere. And I forget about the fatigue and heaviness as I feel happy. My body, soul and mind enlightens and shines with the sun rising up every day.
Yoga… Whether vinyasa, hatha or yin or any other type of yoga. I always think that what is important is the desire to do yoga irrespective of its style or the season. The type is not important. This is totally your choice and preference as long as you wake your body, soul and mind up, be in harmony with your body, mind and soul with the changing seasons, and just act in line with what they want.

It was a year ago when I was enjoying a summer holiday but it turned out to be the most difficult time of my life. I was on vacation in a town miles away from the city I was living and it was like a retreat for me. I was having time on my own, posting blogs, reading books. I was sometimes walking on the coast, sometimes I was riding a bike. I was swiming and surfing. I was resting, turning inside and having a nice and enjoyable vacation. I just started to overcome the physical and spiritual tiredness of the entire year when I met a situation that I had to experience on my own. All alone… Our old dog got sick. Yes, it was a year ago.

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I was miles away from the city we were living and it was impossible for me to drive the long way home with our sick dog to bring him to his own vet. I found a vet in that town and started to take my dog to that vet.
Actually what we were living was no natural. Our dog was living the last days of his life. He was born, lived his childhood and youth, became mature and elderly and now he was in his last days just like every living creature. (A related post is available at https://burcuyircaliblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/yoga-and-life/)
We did everything we could. As our dog was too old, we were fixing one part of his body but at the same time another part of his body was getting sick. Surely we did not give up. We went on drip-feeding him. Ten days passed but the liver and kidneys of our dog were exhausted. Kidneys were a vital organ. According toy in yoga, the life force named “prana” or “chi” are located in kidneys. When kidneys are exhausted, we lose the life force and unfortunately the inevitable end approaches.
The inevitable end had also come for our dog. He lived with us for 18 years. We had good and bad memories. He drove us crazy when we tried to feed him with dog food and we slapped him. When we went to a park, we ran and played with our dog and we were all happy. When we unchained him, he ran away and we tried to find him for hours. When he was sick and we took him to the vet, we were sad. When he broke his leg and when he was attacked by stray dogs, he underwent a surgery and we cried at the door of the operation room. When he chased a cat and came face-to-face with the cat, the cat scratched him and we burst into laughter. When we went to the bank of a brook and when our dog met hedgehog there, he tried to sniff the hedgehog and was hurt with its pins and needles. At that time we again burst into laughter. The same day, he saw a cow on the other bank of the brook and got angry with the cow, he got into the water which he never liked just to disturb the cow. It was so surprising for us to see our dog get into water and swim. We had many good and bad memories with our dog just like every living creature in our lives.
Naturally it was not possible to remember all these memories during the sickness of our dog. At that time we just focused on “what we could do.” After our dog’s soul flew and he was in peace and rest, we tried to get used to a life without a dog. The morning and night walks were over. We would no more think of where to leave him when going on a vacation. We could go on a vacation anytime we wanted. When we were going on a vacation, we would not search for places where we could also take him. We could go anywhere and anytime we wanted. All these were huge changes in our life. After we spent 18 years with a dog and kept his needs before ours, we were face-to-face with a brand new life. Our life had changed totally.
Change is good. Life is always in a motion. What we call past is just a moment. Even when I am writing these lines, “this moment” has become a “past.” Yet the future is indefinite. Nontheless, making memories and laughing and crying at these memories means being a human. Time is the remedy of all, they say. Yes, it really is. One can get used to anything in time. All changes and all new things. Because life goes on.

You know that I have been teaching classes on “vayu”s (currents of prana/life force or literally winds) for a few weeks. Since last week was June 21- the summer solstice – I taught classes with the solstice theme and therefore I suspended “vayu”-focused classes for a week. This week was the turn of the last “vayu”: “Vyana vayu” i.e. “outward moving air.

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We all know that the thing we call “prana” in yoga philosophy is not just “breath” but also “life force.” We also know that “prana” moves our body and helps our mind think. We can reinvigorate the body and mind with the help of “prana” in yoga practice, increase our awareness and reach high consciousness.
Therefore, yoga masters realized that “prana” was moving in five directions in the body and enumerated them as “prana vayu” (inward and forward energy wind), “apana vayu” (downward and outward energy wind), “samana vayu” (balancing air), “udana vayu” (upward energy) and “vyana vayu” (outward moving air). All these “vayu”s affect different parts of the body and when they work in harmony, the body and mind are healthy.
“We all know that the thing we call “prana” in yoga philosophy is not just “breath” but also “life force.” We also know that “prana” moves our body and helps our mind think. We can reinvigorate the body and mind with the help of “prana” in yoga practice, increase our awareness and reach high consciousness.
Therefore, yoga masters realized that “prana” was moving in five directions in the body and enumerated them as “prana vayu” (inward and forward energy wind), “apana vayu” (downward and outward energy wind), “samana vayu” (balancing air), “udana vayu” (upward energy) and “vyana vayu” (outward moving air). All these “vayu”s affect different parts of the body and when they work in harmony, the body and mind are healthy.
“Vyana vayu”, i.e. outward moving air, is the opposite of “samana vayu” (balancing air). This “vayu” is an energy wind that balances all the other “vayu”s. It is an energy wind that circulates throughout the body and goes beyond the body. It is an energy wind called “aura” which is thought to be spread out of the body.
Responsible for all types of circulation in the body including food, water and oxygen, “vyana vayu” sends these stuff to necessary parts of the body, helps assimilation of them and then production of positive energy at the end of this assimilation.
Located in the heart and lungs, the healthy functioning of “vyana vayu” depends on healthy functioning of all the other “vayu”s. It is related with the “svadisthana” (sacral), “manipura” (navel), “anahata” (hearth), “vishuddha” (throat) and “ajna” (third eye) chakras and thus related with the elements water, fire, air and ether. It is responsible for the free circulation of thoughts and emotions in mind.
If “vyana vayu” is healthy, then we move in harmony and in balance. If it is unbalanced, the mind and body connection is lost and we are open to diseases. If “vyana vayu” is in balance, then we are physically, emotionally and mentally in balance.
So how could we stimulate “vyana vayu?” With standing asanas, balancing poses and backbends… We could use “nadi shodhana” (alternative nostril breathing) as a “pranayama” (breathing) technique.
We began the class with meditation. After meditation, we inhaled and put the hands on the heart and we exhaled and opened the hands on the knees as palms facing up to feel the “outward moving air.” In each exhale, we tried to feel the energy going out of arms and hands with eyes closed.
After the breathing exercise, we came on all-fours and warmed up the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch). We stretched the chest with “uttanasa shishosana” (extended puppy pose) and we backbent the spine wit h”vyaghrasana” (tiger pose). We rested in “utthita balasana” and stoop up with a “vinyasa” (flow) and ended up in “tadasana” (mountain pose).
We tried to feel all five “vayu”s in “tadasana.” As we grounded beneath the feet we felt the “apana vayu” and as the spine extended up to the ceiling from the top of the head we felt the “udana vayu”. We stayed in the center with “samana vayu” and when we inhaled the chest moved forward and we felt the air entering the body and thus the “prana vayu.” Finally we felt the energy going out of the fingertips and thus the “vyana vayu.”
We warmed up the body with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series. We were trying to do each “asana” with full awareness. When we lifted the arms up (urdhva hastasana), we felt the energy going up and out from the hands, when we bent forward we felt the energy going down. When we opened the spine half-way and kept the spine straight, when we got into low plank (chaturanga dandasana) and the upward facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana), we felt the energy rising up and forward from the “sternum” (chest bone)… In downward dog (adho mukha svanasana), we felt the energy in the navel– the center. Because we could stimulate “vyana vayu” only if we stimulated the other four “vayu”s.
In-between sun salutation series, we added standing asanas like “virabhadrasana I” (warrior I), “virabhadrasana II” (warrior II), “parsvakonasana” (side angle pose), “utkatasana” (chair) and “trikonasana” (triangle) to stimulate “vyana vayu” more. The body had warmed up well. Now we could go on with balancing poses. In-between “surya namaskara” Series, we started to add balancing poses like “virabhadrasana III” (warrior III), “vrksasana” (tree pose), “garudasana” (eagle pose), “ardha chandrasana” (half moon pose) and “navasana” (boat pose).
We could also activate “vyana vayu” with backbends. Therefore, we added some backbends in-between sun salutation series. Inhaling in “urdhva hastasana” we bent backward a bit and stayed there for five breaths. “Viparita virabhadrasana” (reverse warrior), “camatkarasana” (wild thing), “udhva mukha svanasana” (upward facing dog), “bhujangasana” (cobra), “sphinx” and “salabhasana” (locust) were the other backbends.
We sat down in “dandasana” (staff pose) and lifted the arms up and then we neutralized the body with “paschimottanasana” (seated forward bend). Before deep relaxation and resting pose, I aimed to clean the energy channels in the body with a “pranayama” (breathing) exercise: “Nadi shodhana:” We tried to equalized and balanced the right and left energies in the body, or the male and female energies, with this breathing exercise. In the most simple way, we sat in cross-legged position, used the index and little fingers of the right hand (or the left hand if we are left-handed) and opened closed the nostrils one by one. First we inhaled and exhaled from both nostils, then closed the right nostril and inhaled through the left nostril. As the exhale is over, we closed the left nostril and exhaled through the right nostril. After the exhale, we inhaled through the right nostril and closed it then exhaled through the left nostril and went on doing the same one by one. One from the right one from the left. To end the breathing exercise, we should exhale from the left nostril and place the hands on the knees to feel the effects of the breathing exercise on the body and mind.
Following “pranayama” exercise, we laid on our backs and felt the outward moving energy “vyana vayu” with “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist). We brought the energy to the center with “apanasana” (knees-to-chest pose) and spread the “prana” (life force) to the entire body with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
How could I end the class after “savasana”? We realized that “vyana vayu” was an outward moving energy and an energy that was spread from the body named “aura.” We knew that this “vayu” helped “prana” (life force) to move from the energy channels named “nadi.” We also realized that we could feel a pose more and more deeply if we felt the upward, downward, inward, outward and centered energies. Now all five “vayu”s were totally in our mindb. From now on, we would not only do an “asana” but try to feel the energetical aspects of that “asana.”
And “vyana vayu”? Do I have a balanced life or am I nervous and is my mind confused? Am I in harmony and balance? Is my mind and body a whole, in balance and harmony or is my mind disjointed? Am I in harmony with myself and environment? Am I physicall, emotionally and mentally in balanc? Am I moving in grace? Do my thoughts and emotions freely move in my mind? Is my entire body in harmony and balance? This was what we was left behind “vyana vayu”-focused classes.

I do not like just to focus on body in my yoga classes. As yoga literally means “to yoke” and “to join”, then we should focus on body, mind and soul in yoga classes and try to make body, mind and soul “a whole.” This is why I like to focus on philosophy in my classes instead of just physically-based classes. You might have noticed that I have been teaching classes on “vayu”s (currents of prana/life force or literally winds) for some time. This week’s “vayu” was “udana vayu” (upward moving energy).

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We all know that the thing we call “prana” in yoga philosophy is not just “breath” but also “life force.” We also know that “prana” moves our body and helps our mind think. We can reinvigorate the body and mind with the help of “prana” in yoga practice, increase our awareness and reach high consciousness.
Therefore, yoga masters realized that “prana” was moving in five directions in the body and enumerated them as “prana vayu” (inward and forward energy wind), “apana vayu” (downward and outward energy wind), “samana vayu” (balancing air), “udana vayu” (upward energy) and “vyana vayu” (outward moving air). All these “vayu”s affect different parts of the body and when they work in harmony, the body and mind are healthy.
Last week it was time for “udana vayu” i.e. “upward moving energy). This “vayu” governs the throat and the eyes, ears and nose. It also governs speech and the way we express ourselves as well as tyroid and paratyroid glands. And our growth and metabolism as well. “Udana vayu” is a “an energy wind” that helps us give out oxgyen during exhale and is related with speech. “Udana” is an upward moving energy and it helps “prana” to lift from lower to upper chakras. Moreover, this “vayu” controls the central nervous system, endocrine system and senses. It is related with “vishuddha” (throat) and “ajna” (third eye) chakras and the element space.
When this “vayu” is unbalanced, we can have problems when expressing ourselves, talk too much or talk negatively. Since the throat is a center related with the entrance and exit of energy, there may be imbalance in the things taken in and thrown out of the body when the “udana vayu” is unbalanced. When “udana vayu” is in balance, the mind and heart will be balanced and a whole. When unbalanced, we may be short of breath or face other respiratory problems. This may result from not expressing ourselves or suppressing ourselves emotionally. When “udana vayu” is in balance, we are happy and energetic.
To stimulate “udana vayu”, we first have to have a balanced “samana vayu” (balancing air). As you may remember, “samana vayu” is related with the healthy and balanced intermingling of “prana vayu” and “apana vayu” in the navel.
As “udana vayu” is an upward moving energy, we can stimulate it with a yoga flow focusing on neck, head and upper back and inversions. When “samana”, “prana” and “apana” vayus are in balance, this “vayu” works efficiently. Therefore, this vayu is mostly stimulated at the end of yoga classes after when all “vayu”s are awakened.
We began the class with meditation. After meditation, I wanted to stimulate “udana vayu” and the throat with “ujjayi pranayama” (victorious breath). The “ujjayi” breath can be performed by narrowing the back of the throat. If you haven’t tested so far, I can give you a clue. Imagine that you are at home in a cold winter night. You come near the window and you exhale to the window and make a vapor on the window. Or we may say that you are inhaling with the sound “saaa” and exhaling with the sound “haaa”. After testing this breath with open-mouth for some time, you may close your mouth and start inhaling and exhaling through the nose. When doing so, you narrow the back of your throat and work this breath. Some call it “ocean breath.” Maybe it’s because they compare it with the sound of waves of the ocean. Who knows?
When practicing this “pranayama”, we did “jalandhara bandha” (chin lock) to awake “udana vayu” more. We would do this lock in “sukhasana” (easy pose) or “virasana” (hero pose). After inhaling through the nose, we brought the chin to the chest and lifted the “sternum” (chest bone) up. We waited as long as we could hold our breath. When ending the lock, we lifted the chin up and inhaled through the nose. We waited for some time for our breath to normalize by taking slow and deep breaths. “Jalandhara bandha” regulates circulatory and respiratory systems and stimulates tyroid gland. Therefore it balances the metabolism.
I asked the students to use this breath throughout the class and we began the flow. We brought our attention to the throat in “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch) flow. We not only stretched the spine but also started to warm up the body. When flowing between “marjaryasana” and “bitilasana”, we dropped the chin to the chest as close as we could and squeezed the front part of the neck and then we threw the back of the neck to the upper back and stretched the front of the neck.
We stood up with a “vinyasa” and got into “tadasana” (mountain pose). We focused on breath in “tadasana.” We practiced “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) flows by bringing the awarenesss to inhales and exhales. In “tadasana” and “bhujangasana” (cobra pose), we moved the neck to right, left, front and back and drew circles with the neck.
In order to stimulate the neck and upper back in “vinyasa” flows, we opened the chest in “tadasana” and bent backward. We stretched the chest more in “ashwa sanchalanasana” (high lunge) and “anjaneyasana” (low lunge). “Virabhadrasana I” (warrior I), “virabhadrasana II” (warrior II), “virabhadrasana III” (warrior III), “viparita virabhadrasana” (reverse warrior), “trikonasana” (triangle) and “parsvakonasana” (side angle pose) were the other asanas we did to warm the body up and open and stretch the chest.
When we sat on the mat, we went on with “ustrasana” (camel pose), “setu bandhasana” (bridge pose), “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel) and “sphinx” to stimulate “udana vayu.” Particulary in “sphinx”, we rolled the neck to left, right, front and back.
Before ending the class, we practiced a few inversions to balance the “udana vayu.” “Sarvangasana” (shoulderstand), “halasana” (plow pose), “karnapidasana” (ear pressure pose) and “matsyasana” (fish pose) were some of them. The last asana was “sirsasana” (headstand).
Just before “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose), we sat in “simhasana” (lion pose) to open the blockage in throat. We sat on the knees by tucking the toes on the mat. Hands on the knees, eyes turned in-between the eyebrows. Exhaling through the mout, we roared like a lion. Following “pranayama”, we surrendered the body to the ground and rested.
So how did we end the class? “Udana vayu” was an upward moving energy. It was related with speech and self-expression. To correctly express oneself. To tell the truth and to tell what you are feeling and thinking… It was located between the heart and mind. The heart and mind thinking and speaking the same… What if the mind and heart do not speak the same? Then we may face problems in the throat. Then “udana vayu” gets unbalanced. It was a “vayu” related with the throat chakra. The throat chakra was the center of clean and correct expression and communication. It was related with expression of what we were thinking and feeling. Coordinating the mind and heart, making them speak the same and just letting good words to come out of our mouth was important. Shouting or arguing was not a right way of expression. Can I express myself in a good way? Am I understood correctly by others? Can I speak in a good way? Are my words and speech listened? Can I speak correctly and accurately? This was what “udana vayu” was.

I do not know whether it is becase of winter but I am in the mood of yin yoga recently. I prefer yin yoga not only in my self-practice but also in my classes. It was the same in my recent class a few days ago. I had a few alternatives in mind when I was driving to the gym club that evening. Either the peak pose would be a twist or a core strengthener. Another alternative was yin yoga.
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There was no traffic jam that evening. I arrived at the gym club earlier than I expected. If there had been traffic jam and I had tried to get to the gym club on time, a class with a twist or core strengthener as the peak pose would have been a better alternative. As I reached the gym club easily and without any stress in the traffic, I felt myself prone to relaxation and wanted my students to relax at the same time.
I dimmed the lights and put a relaxation cd on the player. I had decided on a yin yoga class but I also had different alternatives when teaching yin yoga. The class could focus on hips and femurs, the entire body or a certain meridian. I made up my mind on hips and femurs. We were sitting on chairs and sofas all day and therefore we needed to open our hip muscles.
The class began with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose). Everybody lied down on mats and relaxed with the music. I briefed the group on yin yoga when I wanted the students to relax their bodies and minds. I told the class that yin yoga was about surrendering and letting go, it was a practice developing the mother affection, mother affection was related with being, a yang practice was a practice developing affection to a father and it meant that change was possible, affection to a mother encoraged acceptance and affection to a father inspired us to develop. I had learned all these from the books of Sarah Powers, Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley.
When I was talking, there were people entering the studio to get some mats to be used in the other class in the next studio. I lost concentration. I tried to find out “what I was talking about.” At that moment, one of the people who entered the studio accidentally dropped the key in his/her hands. When I was trying to make the group relax and prepare them for yin yoga, this noise and action in class were not so good. Moreover, I was distracted. It was now harder for me to voice my views but in the end I managed to gather my thoughts and start speaking again. “To surrender and to let go.” I also surrendered. I could do nothing about this action and noise. “Let it go Brcu. This is something that you and the participants should experince right now.”
I woke the class from “savasana” and prepared their bodies for yin yoga with mild stretchings. First pull the right leg to your chest and then the left leg, and then both…Then opening the legs to right and left side to stretch the inner thighs and pulling both legs to the chest again and rolling over the spine…
Now it was yin yoga flow’s turn. We would wait in every asana for three to four minutes. We began with “butterfly” to open up the spine and inner thighs. “Dragon”, “half saddle”, “caterpillar”, “sleeping swan” and “half butterfly” were other hip and femur stretching asanas. After these poses, I asked the students to prefer among “square”, “shoelace” and “eye of the needle.” Giving the right to choose to students was changing the bhava of the class and helped them pick the asana which they needed at that moment and which was more suitable for their bodies. The three asanas were stretching the hip external rotators, so it did not matter which one they picked. This was what I wanted the students to experience.
When working out the hips and femurs, we mostly bend forward. To this end, people can turn inward and the bhava of the class can be heavy. My aim was to dim the lights, feel the tiredness of the body and relax and stretch the emotions and energy stored in the hips. In my opinion, the class served that aim.
When staying in hip opening asanas, some participants were feeling very peaceful, calm and comfortable while some of them were continuously moving in the asana. I always say, “whatever our reactions on the yoga mats are, the similar our reactions in our daily lives.” I said the same thing in class that evening. In every asana, I recalled the class to “let go, surrender and accept.” There was a saying in yin yoga: “We do not use the body to get into the pose, we use the pose to get into the body.” I told this saying to the students. I recalled them that breath was the guide. I said they could calm themselves with breath when they felt it was difficult to stay in the pose, and told them to leave the pose if it was not possible to stay more and more in that asana. Of course, we needed to quit the pose if we felt any physical disturbance. If there was no physical disturbance, the only thing that was challenging could be emotions and thoughts. Was it possible to be patient, accept, surrender and let go?
I also gave more information about yin yoga when the students were waiting in the poses. Yin was the feminine and lunar energy, cool, cold and dark whereas yang was the masculine and solar energy, hot and light. Yin yoga was a healing yoga style in which we had some target areas in asanas and the area we felt the stretch in the pose would be blooded after the asana. We were as if acapunturing ourselves when practicing yin yoga. We were first squeezing a part of our body and then relaxing that part and sending there blood, life force, “chi” or “prana”. I briefly talked about meridians. When talking about the quadriceps, hamstrings, spine, inner thighs and hip external rotators, we were in fact stimulating stomach, spleen, urinary bladder, liver, kidney and gall bladder meridians and healing these areas.
It was the end of the class. The time had already been over but the flow was not yet complete. Another feature of yin yoga: When you are staying in asanas and feeling that energy, you as an istructor is becoming so much talkative. Let me mention this, let me talk about that also. And time flies. Luckily next class was half an hour later than my class. Nobody was in a hurry and they all seemed happy and satisfied. So, I thoght nobody cared about the time. I would end the class after one or two asanas.
Now, I wanted to raise the energy and the mood. I showed two backbends. They could prefer “sphinx” or “seal.” “Sphinx” should be the choice of those who had back problems. Or they could first get into “sphinx” and go on with “seal.”
We relaxed the spine with “cat tail.” I said, “whoever wants can directly get into savasana. Those who thinks their spirits are still low and the backbends have not boosted their energies could do any asanas they want before savasana. Urdhva dhanurasana (wheel), sirsasana (headstand), sarvangasana (shoulderstand), pincha mayurasana (peacock) and adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) are some of them.” Some students directly got into “savasana” while some of them did one of those asanas. “And now everybody gets into deep relaxation and resting pose,” I said.
After “savasana” accompanied by a mild song, it was time to end the class in a cross-legged pose. In addition to what I said at the beginning of the class, I said, “we need both yin and yang energy equally in our daily lives. The unbalanced side of mother affection means excessive yin energy, which caused lack of motivation, chronic complaints, feeling oppressed. Excessive father affection means excessive yang energy, which can cause unsatisfaction, being too much judgmental, perfectionist and intolerant. Yin without yang causes clumsiness and yang without yin causes apathy and misuse.” The theme of the class was “balance.” “Therefore, we need to have equal yin and yang energies in or lives.” Before opening the eyes, we wished that we old find the balance and maintain it in our daily lives.
Nobody wanted to get up and leave the class, like after every yin class. Everybody wanted to lie down and continue relaxing. Yin energy was something like this.
A student approached me after the class. “I took some footage during the class. I wanted to use these poses when I am working with my patients (she is a physiothreapist). Will it matter for you,” she asked. Of course not. What’s the point of getting involved in yoga unless we do not teach what we learn and we do not share as we learn more and more? This was how the world of yoga will grow and develop. This was how the yin energy, the mother affection in our hearts will increase. We would first learn to “be affectionate to ourselves” and then to others. This way, we would accept ourselves and life as it is, surrender and let go.

Attachment on people, pets, plants and goods… Some recent incidents I had to experience in recent days made me think about this topic. Attachment or non-attachment? Or is it possible not to establish ties with those around us? Which one is right? You are confused, aren’t you? I am confused, too.

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Now you may ask me why I am writing about this topic. A few weeks ago, one of the fitness instructors whom I love and trust quit his job at the gym club of which I am a member. He was actually thinking of resigning for about a month and he had informed me before. In the end, he resigned. It was not actually a full detachment. He would no more be a field instructor. He would only come for personal and group classes. I was deeply affected with his decision to quit. Why? Because he was my personal trainer for about a year. We used to have private classes twice a week and I trusted him. He was arranging my fitness program. I am not a person who likes the fitness programs written by every instructor and I am so selective in group classes. It was really hard for me to know that he was no more in the field.

Moreover, I was attached to him. He was my personal trainer for a year. We did not have private classes in the last one year but I was trying to join all his group classes as much as I can. Most of the time, I could foresee the next exercise he would ask us to do from his stance. I was used to his style. He was forcing us to work “hard” in the group classes. I was also like him in my own yoga classes. I was pushing my students hard like my dear fitness instructor.

Because of this habits and attachment, I was so sad that he would quit his job as a field instructor. This made me think about attachment, habits and addiction. No matter I am a yoga instructor and no matter I believe in the philosophy of yoga and try to act in compliance with it as much as I can, I was “attached.”
Another development occurred when I was thinking how I could cut all these ties. My 17-yeor-old dog got sick. He had problems in his intestinal system for about two years but he survived. He has been eating dog food for his liver since then. Before that, he was eating whatever we were eating. Surely he was eating meat, particularly chicken. The human food harmed his intestinal system and raised his blood values like we, human beings.
He was with us during the one-week holiday in October. The journey was around ten hours and it was so hard for our 17-year-old dog. He could not get well for one or two days in the holiday resort. He felt good on the third and fourth day. Then we returned to our hometown. This time, he felt bad for two or there days. His intestinal system, eating and walking hours all changed, which caused the benign tumor on his rear to bleed.
When I came home one day, I saw “blood” all around the house. The tumor bleeded and the house was as if “a murder was committed”. My dog was trembling. I took him to the veterinarian immediately. They injected him to stop the bleeding and decided to operate on him and take out the tumor the following day. We went to the pet hospital the following day but his blood values were a bit high and he was anaemic. So vets decided to wait for a week to drop his blood values and prescripted him vitamins and pills. A week later he will undergo a blood test again and vets will decide either to operate or what. I do not know.
I “was feared of losing” because of what has happened to my dog. Why “a fear of loss?” If we are not attached to anything, can we have a fear of losing? Surely no. The fear of losing is a feeling that we experience only when we are “addicted and attached.”
I was so attached to my dog. He and I grew together. He was with us for 17 years. He was a member of the family. We were attached to him and maybe for the first time in our life, we were face to face with the rist of “losing” him. Since he was old, anaesthesia and operation were risky. Therefore vets were running all these tests and supporting his health with pills and vitamins.
These two developments made me question this topic: “Attachment” and “addiction.” According to yoga sutras complide by yoga master Patanjali, there are two main principles yoga depends on including “abhyasa” (practice) and “vairagya” (non-attachment). We can unite with our real identity by applying these two principles.
“Abhyasa” or “practice” means having an attidue of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility. To become well established, this needs to be done for a long time, without a break.
“Vairagya” or “non-attachment” means to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.It could also be an attachment to any person, animal, plant or an object.
“Non-attachment” will take us to “truth”, “reality”, “Self” or “spiritual realization.” However, attachments take us away from the higher experiences through our lifestyles, actions, speech and thoughts.
“Abhyasa” (practice) means doing the things that will make us calmer and more stable. When the mind loses interest in the objects around or no more wants them, the principle of “non-attachment” happens. In the simplest way, “non-attachment” means giving up, letting go and not taking on. This is a simple thing to say but a hard process to implement. Giving up something firstly starts “in the mind.” If the mind does not give up and let go, we cannot give up.
“Non-attachment” is to stop the wishes, demands, thoughts and emotions and no more to hear our mind saying, “I am not attached and I am not addicted.” If our mind continues to talk like this silently, it is not possible to talk about “vairagya”. At this point, we should try to understand on what our mind is attached to.
According to Patanjali, “non-attachment” applies to progressively deeper levels of our being. Let me briefly explain what he wanted to mean. Yoga master Patanjali says that while we might begin with our more surface level attachments, such as the objects and people of daily life, the practice deepens to include ll of the objects or experiences we might have only heard about, including the many powers or experiences of the psychic or subtle realm. According to Patanjali, we may not achieve Self-realization due to these subtle and psychic attachments and this process prolongs.
In summary, we may feel attached to people around us, animals, pets, plants or objects. When we save ourselves from these attachments, we reach the first stage of freedom. Then it is time to save ourselves from attachment to meditation, “prana” (life force), five elements, senses and the deeper parts of the mind. Thirdly, we have to give up our attachment to the three primal elements called “gunas.” People are always under the influence of these three primal elements. “Sattva guna” directs a person to get developed and more supreme, “Tamo guna” directs a person to collapse and the “Raco guna” directs a person to an average life.
When we leave aside all these attachments, our consciousness raises. We are no more attached to anything and we reach “samadhi” (spiritual state of consciousness).
In my opinion, a challenging journey. Don’t you think so? But not impossible. It is not an easy process to save ourselves from all these attachments, ties and addictions and to reach freedom. In the end, we are all human beings. We do not leave the city life, retreat and live as a monk. We live in cities with wishes and demands. No matter we are practicing yoga for a long time, either this or that way, we feel attached and committed to some objects. This may be a person, a pet, a plant, an object, clothes, shoes, bags, journeys or anything. In this case, we will either leave the metropolises, go on a retreat, give up our “attachments” in a place which lacks the “benefaction” of the world and try to achieve Self-Realization and become a genuine “yogi/yogini” OR we seek the ways to tame ourselves, souls and minds in this city life as much as we can. In my opinion, it is a challenging path but it is worth trying. If we succeed in this path, then I think we can be “a genuine yogi” and “a genuine saint.”

Breath… The most important source of nutrition of our body and soul… Can you think of a life withouth breath? Will you manage to live without breath? So, breath is our main source of nutrition. Breath is also our source of nutrition when doing yoga. We flow from one asana to another with breath. So what type of breath should we use in our yoga practice?

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We mention “prana” when we talk about breath in yoga philosophy. Prana means “life force.” However, in its simplest form, we talk about “breath” in our yoga practice when we say “prana.”
As we talk about breath, we should also mention “pranayama.” Pranamayama consists of two separate words, including “prana+yama” and “prana+ayama.” Do you wonder why have I talked about two different combinations? Because two different combinations end up in two different meanings. When we say “prana+ayama”, we mean expansion of breath. However when we say “prana+yama”, we mean constraint of breath. How interesting to see that only one letter can make such a big difference! In fact, our only aim is to expand our breath by first controlling with certain practices and to expand and increase our life force.
After so much information about breath, let’s discuss how we should use breath in yoga classes. I am usually asked this question in my classes. I used “ujjayi pranayama” not only during the hatha and vinyasa yoga teacher training program but also the classes I joined and my own internship class. “Ujjayi” means “victorious” in Sanskrit language. We use this breath in our hatha and vinyasa classes because it warms our bodies up. As it warms the bodies, it reduces the risk of injury and helps us deepen in asanas.
The “ujjayi” breath can be performed by narrowing the back of the throat. If you haven’t tested so far, I can give you a clue. Imagine that you are at home in a cold winter night. You come near the window and you exhale to the window and make a vapor on the window. Or we may say that you are inhaling with the sound “saaa” and exhaling with the sound “haaa”. After testing this breath with open-mouth for some time, you may close your mouth and start inhaling and exhaling through the nose. When doing so, you narrow the back of your throat and work this breath. Some call it “ocean breath.” Maybe it’s because they compare it with the sound of waves of the ocean. Who knows?
Again after such a brief information, let’s come back to the breath I use in my own classes. I am used to “ujjayi” breath so I continue using it in my own yoga classes. However, do I force all my students to use this breath? No. Breath is our life force. Therefore, I think we should not force it. If students are new to yoga, they can have difficulties in performing ujjayi breathing when trying to do the asanas. So, why should they try to do something by force? What is important is an expansion, a relief and stretch, isn’t it? To this end, I do not force my students to use a certain type of breath. First of all, I advise them to inhale and exhale through the nose because some people still have difficulties in doing so. After they manage to do so, now it’s time to deepen the breath. Deep inhales and exhales. Expanding the breath. Then comes “ujjayi” breathing when flowing from one asana to another. Because in my opinion, what is important is to remember to inhale and exhale when practicing asanas and not to hold breath. In further stages comes different “pranayama” techniques like “kapalabhati”, “nadi shodhana” and “bhastrika.” Either at the beginning or end of the class, depending on the impact of the class I am planning. I am using these breath techniques to make student feel a certain effect in classes.
Breath? How long can we live without breath? Therefore, “prana” and “pranayama” are two things that should take place not only in yoga but also in our daily lives. The final aim in yoga is to perform pranayamic respiration. In such respiration, we use both our lungs and our diaphragm. We use our lungs at full capacity and spread the breath to upper, lower, middle parts of our lungs as well as both of the sides.
For all these reasons, I allow my students to use whatever breath they want to use in my classes. We aim expansion, relief and stretch in a yoga practice. So let’s try to internally and externally expand when inhaling. Take the energy from the outside world when inhaling and to get rid of all emotions and thoughts when exhaling. To surrender to a higher subject when our lungs are breathless. Whether yoga asanas or pranayama, to expand, deepen and open up in our yoga practice. Only such a breath, nothing 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?