Hastalanmak (v.: to become sick)

Ooof!  (Another wonderful Turkish expression, often followed by “yaaa…” basically means exactly what it sounds like.)

Hastalandım (I got sick).  I knew it would happen eventually with the weather going back and forth from cold to not so chilly to snow to sun.  Like most unpleasant things, just because you know it’s coming doesn’t make it less unpleasant when it gets there.  Thursday night I was getting sick and knew it.  Scratchy throat, chills and hot sweats.  Yuck.  I fought it though.  I slept in a bit on Friday (and gave in to adding extra layers before going out when my cleaning lady insisted since she knew I wasn’t feeling well). But I knew it couldn’t last forever… my immune system was weak and giving up the fight!

And so I finally succumbed to the sick this weekend.  I taught my Saturday morning yoga class (thanks to everyone who came and brought tons of donations!!!) and then changed back into pajamas and cuddled on the couch with hot tea while passing in and out of sleep.

Today I’m feeling a bit better, but my symptoms seem worse… as tends to be the case with head colds.  I’m hoping to be less snotty and coughy and phlegmy tomorrow.

In other news, I got all my photos from my photo shoot with my friend A.  Actually, I got them a while ago, but I finally put together my website and am so very excited about it.  If you’re in Ankara and interested in yoga or classes or are just a creepy stalker, let me know and I can send you the link to the other site.  I’m seriously considering adding a blog section to it that is all yoga-focused.  And yes, that means you get to avoid some of the yoga-ness here!  What do you think?  Would that be cheesy? (The blog part, not the website part… it’s too late for that.)


Ankara’dakiler dikkat: Amaçlı Yoga! (Attention Ankara Peeps: Yoga for a Cause!)

santa yoga

image borrowed from the good folks at yoga dork. check them out: yogadork.com

Excuse the shameless promotion, but hey!  Almost free yoga?  And for a good cause?  You know you want to know about this…

Live in Ankara? Want some *free* yoga? Join us this Saturday (Dec 8th) from 9:30 to 10:30 for yoga (in English!).  Bring that stack of things you’ve been meaning to donate — warm clothes, blankets, & diapers are especially appreciated right now! — but any gently used items will be graciously accepted in exchange for a lighthearted, fun work out to flow through and sweat away your holiday tensions. We’ll end with some relaxation, and tea or cocoa. Donations will be distributed among the refugees of all nationalities and all religious denominations during weekly distributions in Ankara and Kirikkale.

Interested? Send me a note for details!

Fotoğraf çekmek (v.: to take a photo) Or how having photos taken is like being in a yoga class

So remember how I was going to make a real go of teaching yoga… Like, as in for a living? Obviously that meant I would need to be serious and advertise my classes and go to local gyms or studios and offer my services as a teacher. Well, I’ve been a little bit of a slacker on this one. Okay, a lot of a slacker. I’ve been blaming the fact that I need to get together a good yoga-y CV (that’s the European/rest of the world way of saying resume) with my philosophy and teaching style all plotted out as well as my teachers and all that fun stuff. You’d be surprised how difficult it is for a once professional to write a yoga style CV. Or maybe you wouldn’t be, but it’s very different than a normal resume.  At least for the types of jobs I used to be interested in applying for.

I eventually finished writing my CV and getting references together, but then I realized I need to have a photo of myself for it. Ugh. I hate finding photos of myself. And I really hate when yoga teachers chose photos where they are all twisty and bended into an awkward pose (yes, professionally speaking we call those ‘asana’). Should teachers be able to show students how to do these crazy poses? Yes, of course. But do I need to see you squished into a ball as your headshot on the CV? Probably not. Thus not having a good, professional quality photo of me not in a wedding dress or from my senior year of high school has been my excuse to not get out and advertise my self.

But then a great friend of mine, A, who is a professional photographer offered her services to take “a few” photos for me. In 45 minutes she took 245 pictures. I have only seen a few previews from the camera display, but oh my goodness do I love A. She has mad skillz (oh yeah, with a z). I will say however posing for the photo shoot was such a funny reminder of what my students probably think during my yoga classes — and I’m only talking about the normal, headshot photos.  Not the couple of yoga pose poses.  There were lots of reminders that the pose maybe feels awkward, but that it’s okay.  Some to keep my shoulders back, my belly in, and my tail bone tucked.  And my favorites were when A would try to instruct me how to slightly change the pose by moving an arm or leg just a bit and I’d either not understand which one she meant (“no, your other left…”) or I’d totally change the whole thing in a weird way she didn’t mean for me to do.  All and all if she had reminded me to keep breathing it could have been a yoga class.  A, you are on your way to being a photographer and yoga teacher.  It could be a whole new genre of yoga… Oh, wait, I think they call it modeling.  Never mind.

The funny part that makes this all very Turkey-related is how the photo shoot went.  We did it right outside A’s building (Baby L was sleeping soundly upstairs with the housekeeper, but we didn’t want to go far just in case) and were watched throughout the process by curious passers by.  Some commented on the strange attire choice I had made (yoga clothes and no shoes — heaven forbid!) and others wanted their photo taken.  One kind older man stood and argued with A for four solid minutes about the angles from which she should be taking my photos (he insisted she look up at me not down… which A later explained would cause a serious double chin — no thank you!).  It’s probably helpful for the humor of this story to know that A doesn’t speak Turkish.  He just kept insisting she understand.  Which was hilarious and pretty typical.  Eventually I thanked him for his sage advice and told him we’d do those photos next.  Luckily he didn’t stick around to monitor our progress.  The best was the reaction of the little ladies in the ground floor apartment outside of who’s kitchen window we were shooting the photos.  They kept asking about my level of certainty for not wearing shoes.  Mind you, it was a bit chilly and my feet did get a bit numb, but you don’t wear shoes in yoga photos!  Rest assured, little ladies, it’s been over 48 hours and I have neither noticed a brain inflammation nor missing ovaries as a result of being barefoot outside, but thank you for your concern.  Actually, once I explained it was for yoga they were pretty reasonable and just kept insisting we take tea to warm us up.  Which is really kind of sweet since they only know A in passing and had never met me.

Needless to say I’m super excited about the photos!

If you’re in the Ankara area and looking for a GREAT photographer, you should check out my friend, A.  Here’s her blog and website.

Başlamak (v.: to begin, to start, to launch)

Yoga dersler başladı! (Yoga classes have begun!)

Technically, I started classes last week, but it wasn’t a full week of classes so I’m saying they’ve officially started this week.  I’m teach four classes per week out of my apartment — which isn’t ideal in many ways, but is also great in lots of other ways.  So far I’ve had two classes with two ladies whom I quite enjoy.  The classes are open to pretty much all, but despite quite a few emails I’ve only had two students.  Which could be frustrating, but these two are making me so happy to be teaching that I think it’s perfect.

Something soon-to-be-teachers don’t realize is that once you begin teaching it’s really hard to maintain your own practice.  In fact, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve done a full-out yoga practice myself.  I’ve been doing my headstands (getting much better, thank you for asking) and some asana that work as great stretches pre- or post-running, but I haven’t been motivated to really practice.  It doesn’t help that I haven’t found classes that fit my schedule and life yet.  (Read: I’ve been too lazy — or less likely, busy — to make it to other classes at the one studio I’ve been eying.)

In fact, as a teacher I’ve even gone so far as to resent teaching classes some days.  Which is why I’m so glad these ladies are so great.  The first class day I really didn’t feel like teaching or thinking about yoga or giving part of myself (another thing students who want to be teachers don’t often realize is how much energy students drain from teachers) and my time, but once we started it was so natural and so fulfilling.  It reminded me why I would teach in Sarajevo for practically nothing — sometimes nothing when I had to take a taxi — because when you have good students you get something out of the class too.  It’s strange that doing something that has no real tangible results (teaching a class) can make me feel so much more fulfilled than I ever thought.

So here’s hoping the classes just keep getting better!

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