Archives for posts with tag: soul

I have not been writing for a long time. I do not know but I think this is a process. I have quit writing for some time, calmed my mind down and started writing again. Can I manage to go on writing without any intervals from this day on? I do not know that. I am not thinking about the future. I just wanted to write now and now I am in front of my computer,

Actually there are many things to write. Many experiences I gained in my classes. All physical, emotional and mental but I cannot make up my mind, relax and calm my mind down in order to write. Today is the right time and now I am writing.

A student who is interested in energy came to the class recently. Even though she wants to join every yoga class, she cannot since that class is taking place at an office during lunch time. Therefore sometimes some students can join and sometimes they cannot. When I woke up that morning, I was sure that this student would show up in class. It was the new moon time and I planned to do something related with the new moon. But in fact, I wanted this student who is dealing with healing and energy to do this. We had earlier talked about such plans but did not schedule any time. That morning I woke up and said, “this is the day.” I knew that the student was not always showing up in class but I had the instinct that she would that day. I was not wrong,

When I was about to enter the gym hall we were practicing, that student was getting out of the hall. She said, “teacher, I am coming today. I will join the class.” I said, “I had known that you were coming. I felt it because I would ask you to heal us if every one agrees. It is the new moon, new beginnings and for everything new.” The student could not object us and accepted the offer.

We began with meditation. Every one sat in a comfortable position. We wore socks and put on blankets in order not to be affected by the cold and the mind which could be affected by the cold. We began the healing with “Gayatri Mantra”, which has always been my favorite. I closed my eyes, focused on my breath, began watching my inhales and exhales and I relaxed my body. I leaned on a wall to feel more comfortable. I had been teaching yoga for so long time that I had forgotten to “take.” I was just giving energy but not receiving any. I reallly was in need of “taking” and “receiving.”

The new moon was happening in Taurus and its planet was Venus. So, we would work on “svadhisthana” (sacral) and “anahata” (heart) chakra, the student said. Listening to mantras and guided by the students, our bodies, minds and souls were flowing. My breath was calm and even stopped, I remember. I could not feel my body as if I had no body. There were colors and geometrical shapes in front of my minds. I thanked god, “my brain waves were moving from beta (stress mode) to alpha (meditation and savasana mode). This was the last thing I realized. Then I let myself totally be present with the mantras, the knowledge of my student and the flow. When mantras were following each other, the shapes and colors in front of my eyes changed. First two red lines came from right and left and hit each other in middle. Then colors softened and turned to parliament blue and just blue. I could not keep my head straight and still. It was dropping to right, left, front and back. Then there was no body. I was like flying. Some say that people rise from the floor when practicing yoga and meditation, which I have not witnessed myself, but if you ask if I had been off the floor, yes I would say I had that day. When my eyes were closed and my body was so light and listening to those mantras, I felt so light. As if I was a feet above the floor. That was really what I felt.

We laid down in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose) at the end of the healing. When we were resting, the student came beside us. When she was with me, I felt energy spreading to my entire body from my crown chakra (sahasrara), from the top of my head up to the tips of my toes. I shrank and felt a vibration on my body as if my body was electrified. It was an unbelievable and amazing experience. I had not felt such an energy for a long time. Since I was a person who was always giving energy but forgetting to get, this healing was so fruitful and beneficial to me. I think energy givin people should sometimes remember themselves and join such practices.

I did not want to wake up after “savasana.” Unfortunately it was time to return to the real world and get away from that peaceful world. The student said,” actually it is not the right time to do this healing because the new moon has not been realized yet. It is about to happen one and a half hours and the effects will be better then. Normally I would not do this healing before the new moon happens because you cannot healed enough and benefit from it. But I felt that everybody needed this practice and therefore I did it. I had not thought that the outcome would bso good. Actually the moon has not entered the new moon phase and I could not be so giving and fruitful but I think that this is because you were so willing and in need of this energy and therefore we all benefitted. I am so glad.”

After that day, I made up my mind that I would start “taking” and “receiving” from time to time. In order for the cycle to operate well, we should sometimes take not always give. It was necessary to keep the give-take cycle equal. Neither giving more nor taking more. And one should always get healed, purified, refreshed, renewed and give time to herself/himself for peace and to try different practices.

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I sometimes got myself thinking why I am posting yoga blogs and why I am trying so hard to write these blogs. Yes, I love to write and I feel as if I was just born to write. However, I cannot keep myself from thinking whether people are really reading the posts or whether they are making a difference or being beneficial to some people’s lives. When these thoughts come to my mind, I stop writing for a while. Then a moment comes and life reminds me why I should write. 

I have not been writing for a few weeks. Besides group and private yoga classes, the yoga teacher training program is so full and I cannot have time to post blogs. Moreover, I have a private life. Whenever I turn on the computer to post a blog, I find myself taking notes for the training or making researches for the training. However, I should write. This is what makes me happy. How could I get away from myself and the things that makes me happy this much and when did this happen? 

Daily flow of life reminded me the answer to this question. One morning, I got the answer when a friend of mine with whom we are training teachers called me. She told me that a woman called the studio, who was suffering from a serious herniated disc in her lumbar spine. Doctors had advised that she undergo a surgery but she instead googled to read about herniated discs. That was when she found one of my blogs on herniated discs and then she found the yoga studio of my friend and called the studio. My friend invited her to the studio for a free trial class and had a really beneficial class with the woman. The woman told my friend that she felt so relieved after the class and she had not felt so well for a long time.  

After the class, my friend called me and informed about the development. That was when I found out the answer I had been searching for a long time. Why was I writing? I was looking for an answer for a long time and I was thinking that what I was doing was just in vain because there was not any satisfying answer to my question. However, maybe I was writing a blog in order to beneficial to only one person. Only one person would benefit from it and maybe this benefit would be today, tomorrow or a year later however that blog would be a healing for “just one person.” This reminded me a story I shared with you years ago. A story by Lauren Tseley: 

“Once upon a time there was an intellectul who used to write his stories on the shore of the ocean. Before starting writing, he used to walk on the shore. One day, he saw a man who seemed like dancing on the beach. He thought that the man could be a person who liked to start the day by dancing and he smiled. He walked fast to catch up with the man. When he got closer, he saw that it was a young man who was in fact not dancing. He was running a few steps, taking something from the ground and then throwing it to the ocean smoothly. He talked to the man as he came a few steps closer: 

– Good morning sir. What are you doing? 

The young man raised his head and answered: 

– I am throwing starfish to the ocean. 

– I think I should ask in another way, thought the intellectual. Why are you throwing starfish to the ocean? 

– The sun has already risen up and it’s the low tide. If I don’t throw them to the ocean, they will die. 

– But don’t you see that the coast is kilometers long and full of starfish. It will make no difference. 

The young man listened to the intellectual politely, took another starfish and threw it to the ocean. 

– It made a difference for this one. 

This answer surprised the intellectual and he could not know what to say. He went back home. When he tried to write for the rest of the day, all he could do was to see the man’s face in front of his eyes. He tried not to think of the man but he could not. In the end, he realized what the young man was trying to do. The young man was trying to be an actor in the universe and making a difference instead of being just an observer and watching what was going on. He felt ashamed. That night he did not sleep well. He woke up next morning, got out of bed and went to the shore to find the young man. He spent the morning throwing starfish to the ocean with the young man.” 

Maybe I am calling it “just a blog” however maybe that single blog will make a difference in the life of “a single starfish” that is just one person. I really want to thank to that person who inspired me again in days when I question why I am still writing blogs. I am grateful for having yoga in my life, reaching people with yoga, helping and extending body, soul and mind support to people with yoga as much as I can, and touching not only my life but also lives of other people. How could one be better than this? 

I have been so busy recently due to yoga classes and yoga teacher training program. I have been reading new books for the teacher training program and preparing documents besides ongoing yoga classes I am teaching. Of course, I am not on my own in this program. A friend of mine who is a genuine “yogini” and I have started the program. Despite all her contributions, it is not so easy to get to the classes on time and prepare the training program and go on living your own personal daily life. That is why I had to stop posting blogs, which I did not appreciate.

I welcomed the new year in a seaside town away from the city I am living. This four-day retreat was really excellent for me. I really needed such a retreat, away from the city and I was desperately in need of having some spare time in the rural area. To be alone, to just stare at the sea, to drink something while staring at the sea, to take a stroll and to spend a few days without watching the time or without having a need to hurry. So once I returned home, I sat in front of the computer to write again.

I have experienced a great deal of things since I write the last blog. Not only reading resources on yoga but also reviewing the training programs I had attended before and making a synthesis of all of them made me a progress on this path. I realized that I have been focusing on only physical aspect of yoga in my classes for a long time. However, yoga is something that cannot be thought of without the spirit, soul and the mind. As I started to deepen on the path of yoga, I started to deepen in my own yoga group classes.

In the group classes, I aimed to end the previous year by leaving everything behind, the good and the bad before welcoming the new year. The past was just the past, nothing beneficial for us but taking a lot from us. Making us sorrowful and sad. Ego or the mind liked to feed from the past and pitty for itself. So, as we were leaving behind 2017, we should not bring any burdens from that year to the new year but solve everything and leave everything behind. We should purify ourselves bodily, mentally and spiritually and get cleaned up. In 2018, we should neither focus on the past nor the future as future was one of the best friends of the mind, by which it was feeding up itself. The future was unknown and the fear and worry caused by the unknown. What was need for sorrow or fear or worry? So what should we do? What kind of a path should we draw ourselves in 2018? We should just live the moment, stay in the moment, pay attention to the “right now”, understand what “now” means and experience just the “now.” How was the yoga classes shaped up with this aim? The aim was obvious: “Just to live the moment, to stay in the moment, to pay attention to the right now and understand what now means and experience just the now.” So, what type of a class should we perform to reach this aim? A class which gives priority to the breath and focuses on the coordination and harmony of the breath and the body. Thus, we could enable the unity and harmony of the body and soul. Surely, we should also add the mind to this couple. The mind should watch and follow the body and the breath but at the same time listen to what the instructor was saying instead of doing what it knows would come the next. We should do “vinyasa”s (flow) different from the flows the class was used to and confuse the mind. Thus, the mind would not do what it knows and walk on the path it knows but stay in the moment and do something by being totally aware not automatically. If you ask what was the most important decision we made for the new year… To stay in the moment, to live the moment, and to be totally aware, to work with full unity and harmony of the body, mind and soul even if it was hard in the daily life and even if we cannot do it in our daily lives,

 

I know that I have not been posting blogs recently I do not want to write these days and I do exactly what I want and I do not write. If I try to write under these circumstances, I know that I will hurt myself and do something that my heart and my soul do not appreciate and thus, I will be unhappy. So, I go in line with yoga philosophy and I do not write until my mind and soul allow me.

Actually, I do like writing a lot. And, so many things happen in my daily life and classes. However, I do not know why but I want to turn inward and live and experience all these events by myself.

So, how have I started to write again? One of my students asked my why hadn’t I been writing for a long time and told me that she expected to see my new posts. When I was asked this question, I was ashamed. Believe me, I am doing a favor to myself when I am writing but I know that people are reading my posts and expecting the new ones. By not writing, I was not meeting their expectations and I was depriving them of my posts. What a big word it is! “Depriving them of my posts.” It is not such a big deal. I am just writing what is going on in my life and how I feel. That’s all!.

Yes, why have I re-started writing? When one of my students asked why I was not writing, the answer was simple. “Because, I do not want to write these days and I do not want to force myself and do something that I do not really want. When I do something by force, I do not think it will be useful to me. Neither to me nor to others.”

The answer of my student put me back to posting new blogs: “Teacher, you are like the moon. As how the moon reflects the light and the energy it gets from the sun to the earth at night, you should reflect the light and energy you get from your training programs, readings and experiences to us, i.e. to your students. I am not saying that you are not doing so, you are doing so. And always doing so particularly in your classes. However, in your blogs, you talk about some other things that you do not talk in the class when you do not have that much time. Your blogs are more detailed and deeper. Therefore, you should go on writing and should reflect the light and energy just “like the moon.”

This was one of the most inspiring comments I have ever heard. I was moved so much that I could not stop crying. That day, I decided again. I should be “like the moon.” I should read more, I should look into resources more, I should learn more and reflect what I learn to my students “like the moon.” I should be the light and energy. Thank you my dear student. I am so glad that you have walked into my life. I am so glad that I have got to know you. And I am so glad that you are in my life. There are a lot of things that I would learn from you. I bow in front of you with respect. Na’maste.

“Teacher, there is an important issue I have to decide upon. I have two choices and I cannot decide which one is the best and right for me. Can yoga help me decide?” This was a question I came across in one of group yoga classes recently. I decided to teach a class on the third eye to answer this question.

That day was the day of “yin yoga” (the type of yoga in which we stretch the bodies up to connective tissues). I decied to make a practice which included “yin yoga” poses and poses that would stimulate “ajna chakra” (third eye chakra). I was planning to talk about mind and soul when we were practicing.

After we began the class with meditation, we stayed in “utthita balasana” (extended child pose) for at least three minutes. I recommended that the students place their hands or something like a sweatshirt under their forehead if they were not able to place their forehead on the ground. When staying in this “asana” (pose), I started to talk about the mind. I told the students that the mind was totally pure and clean when we were born but was being polluted as we got socialized in time. The right, the wrong, the sin and the shame. All these were things that the society was putting in front of us and asked us to accept and obey. And the mind believed in all these things and made us live our entire life within these patterns. The mind believed that it was safe and healthy to live within these borders and patterns. Therefore, it preferred to stay in the safe haven and was not pushing itself hard. At this point, we were losing our connection with our soul and the divine power. We could not see the signals and messages sent to us and we were turning into individuals only conspired of mind, brain and reason.

We practiced poses to stimulate the third eye, i.e. the area between the eyebrows, throughout the class including “salamba sarvangasana” (supported shoulderstand), “halasana” (plow pose) and “karnapidasana” (ear pressure pose). During the closing meditation, we closed the eyes and turned the eyes towards the area between the eyebrows.

I was talking about the mind and soul all during these poses. “When was the last time you did something really from the heart? You did not listen to your mind even though it said it was wrong but listened to the heart and did what the heart told you? Anything that your soul liked but mind and reason objected? I just want you to think about it as we wait in this pose. When was the last time you put your mind aside and did something that your soul wanted? Can you remember or was it so long before?”

“When the mind is active, there are always patterns, borders, the right, the wrong, the sin, the taboos and the shame. The mind prevents us from seeing clearly. However, if you listen to your heart, it will show you the right way. The mind knows the truth and what is right but we never listen to it. We always take the mind into consideration. Now, we should return to the question the students asked before the class began. If we are the pieces of the God, then we should know the truth and what is right once we are born.  The soul knows what is right and wrong however the mind prevents us from seeing them. If we inactivate the mind for some time, we could hear the sound of the divine power, the earth, the universe or the God — however you may name it. And thus, you may see which choice or which path is right and good for you. However, the mind makes our eyes so blind that we cannot see the signs that are just in front of our eyes. If we listen to our soul and if we keep listening to our mind, we can realize that the divine power is talking to us and showing us the right and the good. As long as we become more aware, as long as we open our hearts, as long as we listen to our soul, as long as we get away from “robot-style” individuals who only act with their “brain” and “mind.” Then, we will become individuals who are not polluted by the society but instead clean, open-eyed and loveable individuals. As long as we re-establish our connection with our soul.

I do not know why but yoga classes are considered just like other physical activities. Maybe this is because yoga classes are so wide-spread in gym clubs. Who knows? Whatever the reason is, we should separate yoga from other physical activities. Why? Because yoga is the “state of being” not a physical activity, as most people think. It is a discipline and a spiritual philosophy.

You may consider yoga as just like other activities and just as something we do with our bodies. However, it is a bit different. Yoga means the harmony of the body, soul and the mind. Yoga means to unite the body, mind and the soul. Yoga means to bring together the body, mind and the soul. That is, yoga is not a physical activity but a state of being. The only relation of yoga with physical activity is “asana”s i.e. “poses.” What we want to do in yoga classes is to keep the body and breath together with the help of “asana”s, focus the mind just on what we are doing without thinking anything else and do everything with full awareness.

What is the use of talking about all these? Yes, you may ask why I am telling you all these. Because of what happened in one of group classes last week. When we are doing the “asana”s that our body is used to, like forwardbends, most of us do not have any problems. Our spine and body is used to forward bends and rounding of he spine so we do not lose the connection of the body and the breath and we can do most of the sequence without the need of the focus of the mind. However, we start having problems in backbends, balancing poses and inversions. In these asana groups, if we do not have body-breath connection, we can have problems. We may hold breath and when we do so, the poses become more challenging, The mind is so important particularly in balancing poses and inversions. What does the mind think and how it feels? Am I afraid and am I short of breath because of my fear? Am I holding my breath? Does my mind tells me that I can do this pose or does it say that I cannot? Does my mind trust my body? Is my mind supporting me or is it preventing me?

I remembered all these questions in the group class last week in which we tried an inversion. I have been working with this group for about a year. The group had practiced with another yoga instructor before me and they are also attending pilates classes twice a week, which means they are bodily and physically strong They have enough physical power to do all “asana”s. But they are having problems in “sirsasana” (headstand), “pincha mayurasana” (forearm balance) and “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand). So what is the problem?

If we have enough physical power and if our core area and shoulder girdle is strong enough to do these poses, we first look into whether we are aware of this physical power. Let’s assume that we are aware. Then the second question is whether I can really use this power. Do I really engage my core muscles or do I only assume that I am engaging them? Can I use my pelvic floor muscles or do I only assume I am using them? Can I engage all my muscles or just asumme that I am doing so. If I just assume and cannot do the pose, then this means that I am not aware of my physical and bodily power and it is high time that I trust my power and be aware of it.

When we do so and we still have problems, another question comes. What am I afraid of? What prevents me from doing this pose? We may be afraid of falling. We may be afraid of falling in front of others and disgracing ourselves. We may be afraid of falling and injuring ourvselves. We may be afraid that we can break our necks. We may have different fears. It may be hard to look at the world from another perspective and change our routine perspective. We may not be afraid of standing on top of the head but we may be afraid of getting down from the pose. It may be hard to get on the top of the head but once we get there with the help of somebody else it may be so easy for us to stay there. This is where the mind is in business. At this point, yoga practice is separated from other physical activities. What does my mind think? Does my mind acts in line with my body and breath, i.e. soul or acts separately from these two? Does my mind support me or prevent me? Does my mind believe that I can do the pose or not? Does my mind focus on just what I am doing and live the exact moment with full awareness? The answer to all these questions can raise us to “sirsasana” or drop us from “sirsasana.”

That day, students got by the wall and tried “sirsasana” there. One of them could not rise in the pose but when she did so, she was feeling so safe and did not think of getting down. The other was thinking of how she could get down so she could not do the pose. Once she did, she was panicking that she could hurt her neck and she could not get down in a proper way. Another student could get half-way on her own, panicking there and forgetting to use the pelvic floor. She rose in the pose but she fell as she did not try it by the wall. Another student was trying the pose on her mat in the middle of class, not by the wall. However when she rise in the pose, she panicked as another student told her that she was doing it so well and she immediately and carelessly got out of the pose. When the mind hears “yes, you have made it”, it wants to hamper the body and it is successful in its attempt.

That day, we once more realized that we could not do “asana”s just only with the body power. If our breath does not help us, if we lose body-breath connection and if the mind does not focus on what we are doing, we may not do some asanas we consider as “challenging.” What differs yoga from other physical activities was the state of “being.” The body, soul and mind are in harmony and together and the picture that comes out of this harmony.

Anatolian people believe that three radiations of heat fall into the air, water and earth to herald the beginning of spring. The first radiation fell into the air this week. Then it would fall into the water and the earth. So they would fall into my yoga classes. In order to harmonize the bodies with the changing weather conditions, I decided to teach classes in accordance with the mentioned elements. This week’s classes were about the element air.

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The raditations would start falling into the air, heralding better and warm weather conditions. The first into the air on February 20, the second into the water on February 27 and the third into the earth on March 6 (March 5 in leap years).

I should plan a flow about element air before the week began. The element air was related with “anahata chakra” (heart chakra) and the breath. It would be wise if I asked the students to use “ujjayi pranayama” (hero breath) before the class began. We should stretch the chest and a backbend should be the peak pose. Air was the main element of the “vata dosha” (body type) in Ayurveda (Indian science of living). “Vata dosha” resembles adjectives like airy, light and creative. The main feature of this body type is instability and inconstancy. “Vata dosha” controls the central nervous system. When this “dosha” is out of balance, it can lead to nervous problems, including anxiety and depression.

“Vata” is associated with not only cold, dark, dry and harsh but also light and airy. Therefore, when “vata” increases in our bodies, it is so normal to fell ourselves lighter, more airy and as if we are flying.

Normally, we prefer balancing and grounding poses in order to balance the “vata dosha.” However, this week I was planning to activate the “element air” and feel the “air” in the body. Therefore, I planned a backbend, followed by an inversion.

As we would try two peak poses at the end of the class, we should prepare the bodies for these two poses. We would strtech the chest, shoulder girdle and hip flexor muscles as well as strengthen the arms, shoulders and core muscles.

The first peak pose was “ustrasana” (camel pose). We should not forget breathing deeply in the pose. I do not know why but we forget to breathe when we backbend. Holding breath is not something we want. If the breath represents our soul, we lose the connection with our soul each time we hold our breath. We should not hold breath, particularly in classes when we work the “element air.” Because air means breath and the vice-versa.

We neutralized the body with a few “vinyasa”s (flow) after the first peak pose. Then it was time for the second: “Pincha mayurasana” (forearm balance). First we prepared the body with “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose), and then we stayed for five breaths by first lifting the right leg up and then the left leg up. The last pose was “pincha mayurasana.” Some students jumped to the wall, some asked for my support, some never tried. Those who did not try this pose did “salamba sarvangasana” (supported shoulderstand), “halasana” (plow pose) and “karnapidasana” (ear pressure pose).

We balanced the body after the inversion and ended the class with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).

To fell the “element air” when we backbend… To open the heart, backbend and go on breathing… To broaden the chest with our breath… To become upside down and fell the energy flowing out of our body from the top of the head… To get lighter, full of energy and reborn and revive by eliminating the burden of winter…

What draws my attention in yoga classes is that everybody has a different type of body. Some of them have flexible hips and some are born with a flexible chest. It is so easy for some people to stand on their hands whereas it is impossible for some people to stand upside down. If we leave aside the soul and mind, the characteristics of our bodies help us do certain “asana”s (pose) or refrain from some of them.

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It was an evening class. I wanted to focus on backbends that evening. There were a few new comers. People who had showed up in a yoga class for the first time… Nevertheless, I insisted on a backbend flow and the peak pose. The peak pose would be “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel pose).

We began the class with meditation as usual. What was important during meditation was to feel comfortable. So, I was not forcing students to sit at a certain pose. What was important to feel bodily comfortable so that the mind also relaxes. Therefore, every one was free to sit either in “sukhasana” (easy pose) or “virasana” (hero pose) or “dandasana” (staff pose). What was important was to sit with an erect spine, without rounding the spine. I asked the students to pick the pose that was comfortable for them, close their eyes, relax the chin and jaw and the area between the eyebrows, to roll the shoulders back and push the shoulder blades down, to extend the spine as their breathe in. I watched the students picking up their meditative poses, either “sukhasana” or “virasana.” Those with knee issues preferred “dandasana.”

That evening, one of the students sat in “padmasana” (lotus pose). I can hear you ask what was so special about that. Yes, nothing special. “Padmasana” is one of the “asana”s we may prefer while meditating. What is interesting is that this was that student’s first ever yoga class.

Following meditation, we started to get prepared for “urdhva dhanurasana.” We stretched the chest, hip flexor muscles and shoulders. It was time for the peak pose. I wanted the students to try the peak pose in three stages. In the first stage, they would do “setu bandhasana” (bridge pose). In the second stage, they would get into “setu bandhasana” and then they would place their hands beside their ears and put the top of the head on the ground. In the third trial, they would exactly do the second stage and then try to lift their body up to fully get into “urdhva dhanurasana.”

All students did the first stage. Some of them tried while some did not try the second stage. And something interesting happened in the third trial. A new student could do “urdhva dhanurasana” with the right alignment.

After the peak pose, we neutralized the bodies with “dandasana, “paschimottanasana” (seated forward bend), “baddha konasana” (bound angle pose) and “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist). The class ended with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).

Some of the students took their time to leave the studio after the class ended. What drew my attention also drew the attention of the old students. “Teacher, have you realized the new students today”, they asked. I answered, “yes, I have realized them. I have seen that one of them could easily do ‘padmasana’ at the beginning of the class. However, we try very hard to do that pose but still have difficulties. And the other student could so easily do the wheel pose. How different our bodies are, aren’t they? Some of them can easily bend backward and feel so comfortable in wheel pose. Some of them feel so happy in ‘padmasana.’ Some of them feel happy and comfortable with handstand. When I was a child, I was refraining from handstands in our gym classes. I loved to do wheel pose but I hated handstand. The school ended and I thought that I would no more have to do handstand. How could I know that I would have to deal with this pose again during yoga teacher training program? This means that refraining is not a solution. There is still something I am supposed to learn from it.”

“Every one has a different type of body. Some can stand on their arms as if they are standing on their feet while some of them like to bend backward. Some have flexible hips and no problems with ‘padmasana’ or ‘hanumanasana’ (monkey pose/split). What is important is to realize what our body prevails and not prevails and our talents and just enjoy the journey when our bodies do not let us do some poses.

Everybody is tired on the last weekday. Most of us want to go home, watch television and take a rest at home while some of us want to end the week with a yoga class, get bodily, spiritually and mentally relieved and calm down with the last yoga class of the week.

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I prefer to teach a calm and meditative yoga class instead of a flow yoga class on Friday evening. I aim to stretch the full body with “yin yoga” (yoga aiming to stretch deep connective tissues) especially in the lasst few weeks. I make students wait in each “asana” (pose) for at least four or five minutes in order to stretch a different part of the body and get rid of physical and spiritual burden accumulated in that part. The hip flexor muscles and the stomach and spleen meridian, the inner thighs and the liver and kidney meridian, the hamstrings and the urinary bladder meridian and the hip external rotator muscles and the gall bladder meridian.

In the first week, we stretched hamstrings with “half butterfly”, “half frog”, “caterpillar” and “viparita karani” (legs up to 90 degrees) and focused on the urinary bladder to work on the emotion “fear.”

In the second week, we focused on the spine and the upper back. The back of the body was related with the urinary bladder. It was the second time we would stimulate the same meridian however, we focused on spine-strengthening poses because most people were having back problems. We stayed at least for one minute with an erect spine before bending forward and tried to bend forward after we had pushed the coccyx backward. We relieved the spine with twists at the end of the class.

In the third week, we focused on inner thighs and groins. Our aim was to stimulate the liver and observe the emotion of fear and its effects on ourselves. We bent in-between the two legs in “half butterfly” and “half frog.” The other poses were “dragonfly” and “frog.”

I will go on focusing on a certain part of the body every Friday evening. My aim is to stimulate and relieve a certain part of the body instead of stimulating the entire body. Just focus on a certain part of the body, ensure a deep stretch in that part and observe the emotions that came out of the stretch. To close the eyes and turn inward, to close the eyes and see what is instead not outside. To close the eyes and just realize the body, mind and soul… And do everything with a full awareness…

I cannot post a blog for some time. I just think that writing about yoga and meditation would make me seem like a person who closes her eyes to what is going on in her country, especially to increasing terror incidents in our country, economic crisis and political developments. Therefore, I did not want to post blogs on yoga and meditation. Even though I sat in front of the computer every week, I looked at the screen and then decided not to write. Actually, I do not want to write even at this very moment.

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What makes me feel happy in these days when I really feel sad and hopeless is my yoga classes. I would not even want to go out of my house even if I did not have any yoga classes. When I went to classes, I feel relieved and away from everything maybe just for an hour. I think the spirit and happiness of students in yoga “asana”s (poses) are reflected on me. And I show up on the scene just like an actress, forget all negative things and smile for an hour.

Cobbler’s children have no shoes… Me, too. Even though I do my self-practice and spend a lot of time practicing yoga and meditation, it is no use. The only thing that makes me happy these days is my yoga classes and the bliss of my students at the end of classes.

All my students were in the same mood during this time. Therefore, we focused on “hip opening poses”, “twists” and “chest opening asanas.” We tried to love more and understand others by opening our chest. With twists, we wanted to get rid of what has been kept inside for a long time and detoxifying. With hip openers, we tried to end the emotions like anger, hatred and fear. Even if it was just for an hour, we forgot all these emotions and thoughts and could breathe. Even if it was just for an hour, we could fully integrate our body, soul and mind. Even if it was just for an hour, we forgot all negative things. Even if it was just for an hour, we watched our own body and tried to realize how our breath was. Even though it was just for an hour, we purified ourselves from all thoughts and made our mind just focus on body and breath. And at the end of that one hour, we left the class with a little bit peace and happiness, which was what we longed for.