Atha Yoganusasanam. Patanjali Yoga Sutra I.1

The wise sage Patanjali says here that yoga is meant to be learned in a group setting because we learn about ourselves through our interactions with others.

Yoga hayat, digerleri ve kendimizle olan iliskimizdir. Yogada ogrenme ve gelisim baskalariyla paylastigimiz oranda artar. Kula Sanskritce aile, topluluk anlamina geliyor. Yogakula Istanbul daki amac yoga severleri bir araya getirmek ve yogayi hayatlarina uygulamayi ogrenecekleri destekleyici rahat bir ortam sunmaktir.

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Sakayik sokak No: 56 Kat:4 Nisantasi

Thursday, January 12, 2012


New York Times da cikan yoganin sakatliklara yol actigi ile ilgili bir yaziyi oldugu gibi aktariyorum:

On a cold Saturday in early 2009, Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus, was giving a master class at Sankalpah Yoga in Manhattan. Black is, in many ways, a classic yogi: he studied in Pune, India, at the institute founded by the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar, and spent years in solitude and meditation. He now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and often teaches at the nearby Omega Institute, a New Age emporium spread over nearly 200 acres of woods and gardens. 
He is known for his rigor and his down-to-earth style. But this was not why I sought him out: Black, I’d been told, was the person to speak with if you wanted to know not about the virtues of yoga but rather about the damage it could do. Many of his regular clients came to him for bodywork or rehabilitation following yoga injuries. 
This was the situation I found myself in. In my 30s, I had somehow managed to rupture a disk in my lower back and found I could prevent bouts of pain with a selection of yoga postures and abdominal exercises. Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way. With it went my belief, naïve in retrospect, that yoga was a source only of healing and never harm.
At Sankalpah Yoga, the room was packed; roughly half the students were said to be teachers themselves. Black walked around the room, joking and talking. “Is this yoga?” he asked as we sweated through a pose that seemed to demand superhuman endurance. “It is if you’re paying attention.” His approach was almost free-form: he made us hold poses for a long time but taught no inversions and few classical postures. Throughout the class, he urged us to pay attention to the thresholds of pain. “I make it as hard as possible,” he told the group. “It’s up to you to make it easy on yourself.” He drove his point home with a cautionary tale. 
In India, he recalled, a yogi came to study at Iyengar’s school and threw himself into a spinal twist. Black said he watched in disbelief as three of the man’s ribs gave way — pop, pop, pop.After class, I asked Black about his approach to teaching yoga — the emphasis on holding only a few simple poses, the absence of common inversions like headstands and shoulder stands. He gave me the kind of answer you’d expect from any yoga teacher: that awareness is more important than rushing through a series of postures just to say you’d done them. But then he said something more radical. Black has come to believe that “the vast majority of people” should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm.Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”Black seemingly reconciles the dangers of yoga with his own teaching of it by working hard at knowing when a student “shouldn’t do something — the shoulder stand, the headstand or putting any weight on the cervical vertebrae.” 
Though he studied with Shmuel Tatz, a legendary Manhattan-based physical therapist who devised a method of massage and alignment for actors and dancers, he acknowledges that he has no formal training for determining which poses are good for a student and which may be problematic. What he does have, he says, is “a ton of experience.”“To come to New York and do a class with people who have many problems and say, ‘O.K., we’re going to do this sequence of poses today’ — it just doesn’t work.”
According to Black, a number of factors have converged to heighten the risk of practicing yoga. The biggest is the demographic shift in those who study it. Indian practitioners of yoga typically squatted and sat cross-legged in daily life, and yoga poses, or asanas, were an outgrowth of these postures. Now urbanites who sit in chairs all day walk into a studio a couple of times a week and strain to twist themselves into ever-more-difficult postures despite their lack of flexibility and other physical problems. Many come to yoga as a gentle alternative to vigorous sports or for rehabilitation for injuries. But yoga’s exploding popularity — the number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011 — means that there is now an abundance of studios where many teachers lack the deeper training necessary to recognize when students are headed toward injury. 
“Today many schools of yoga are just about pushing people,” Black said. “You can’t believe what’s going on — teachers jumping on people, pushing and pulling and saying, ‘You should be able to do this by now.’ It has to do with their egos.”When yoga teachers come to him for bodywork after suffering major traumas, Black tells them, “Don’t do yoga.”“They look at me like I’m crazy,” he goes on to say. “And I know if they continue, they won’t be able to take it.” I asked him about the worst injuries he’d seen. He spoke of well-known yoga teachers doing such basic poses as downward-facing dog, in which the body forms an inverted V, so strenuously that they tore Achilles tendons. “It’s ego,” he said. “The whole point of yoga is to get rid of ego.” He said he had seen some “pretty gruesome hips.” “One of the biggest teachers in America had zero movement in her hip joints,” Black told me. “The sockets had become so degenerated that she had to have hip replacements.” I asked if she still taught. “Oh, yeah,” Black replied. “There are other yoga teachers that have such bad backs they have to lie down to teach. I’d be so embarrassed.”
Among devotees, from gurus to acolytes forever carrying their rolled-up mats, yoga is described as a nearly miraculous agent of renewal and healing. They celebrate its abilities to calm, cure, energize and strengthen. And much of this appears to be true: yoga can lower your blood pressure, make chemicals that act as antidepressants, even improve your sex life. But the yoga community long remained silent about its potential to inflict blinding pain. Jagannath G. Gune, who helped revive yoga for the modern era, made no allusion to injuries in his journal Yoga Mimansa or his 1931 book “Asanas.” Indra Devi avoided the issue in her 1953 best seller “Forever Young, Forever Healthy,” as did B. K. S. Iyengar in his seminal “Light on Yoga,” published in 1965. Reassurances about yoga’s safety also make regular appearances in the how-to books of such yogis as Swami Sivananda, K. Pattabhi Jois and Bikram Choudhury. “Real yoga is as safe as mother’s milk,” declared Swami Gitananda, a guru who made 10 world tours and founded ashrams on several continents.
But a growing body of medical evidence supports Black’s contention that, for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky. The first reports of yoga injuries appeared decades ago, published in some of the world’s most respected journals — among them, Neurology, The British Medical Journal and The Journal of the American Medical Association. The problems ranged from relatively mild injuries to permanent disabilities. In one case, a male college student, after more than a year of doing yoga, decided to intensify his practice. He would sit upright on his heels in a kneeling position known as vajrasana for hours a day, chanting for world peace. Soon he was experiencing difficulty walking, running and climbing stairs.Doctors traced the problem to an unresponsive nerve, a peripheral branch of the sciatic, which runs from the lower spine through the buttocks and down the legs. Sitting in vajrasana deprived the branch that runs below the knee of oxygen, deadening the nerve. Once the student gave up the pose, he improved rapidly. Clinicians recorded a number of similar cases and the condition even got its own name: “yoga foot drop.”
More troubling reports followed. In 1972 a prominent Oxford neurophysiologist, W. Ritchie Russell, published an article in The British Medical Journal arguing that, while rare, some yoga postures threatened to cause strokes even in relatively young, healthy people. Russell found that brain injuries arose not only from direct trauma to the head but also from quick movements or excessive extensions of the neck, such as occur in whiplash — or certain yoga poses. Normally, the neck can stretch backward 75 degrees, forward 40 degrees and sideways 45 degrees, and it can rotate on its axis about 50 degrees. Yoga practitioners typically move the vertebrae much farther. An intermediate student can easily turn his or her neck 90 degrees — nearly twice the normal rotation.Hyperflexion of the neck was encouraged by experienced practitioners. Iyengar emphasized that in cobra pose, the head should arch “as far back as possible” and insisted that in the shoulder stand, in which the chin is tucked deep in the chest, the trunk and head forming a right angle, “the body should be in one straight line, perpendicular to the floor.” He called the pose, said to stimulate the thyroid, “one of the greatest boons conferred on humanity by our ancient sages.”
Extreme motions of the head and neck, Russell warned, could wound the vertebral arteries, producing clots, swelling and constriction, and eventually wreak havoc in the brain. The basilar artery, which arises from the union of the two vertebral arteries and forms a wide conduit at the base of the brain, was of particular concern. It feeds such structures as the pons (which plays a role in respiration), the cerebellum (which coordinates the muscles), the occipital lobe of the outer brain (which turns eye impulses into images) and the thalamus (which relays sensory messages to the outer brain). Reductions in blood flow to the basilar artery are known to produce a variety of strokes. These rarely affect language and conscious thinking (often said to be located in the frontal cortex) but can severely damage the body’s core machinery and sometimes be fatal. The majority of patients suffering such a stroke do recover most functions. But in some cases headaches, imbalance, dizziness and difficulty in making fine movements persist for years.
Russell also worried that when strokes hit yoga practitioners, doctors might fail to trace their cause. The cerebral damage, he wrote, “may be delayed, perhaps to appear during the night following, and this delay of some hours distracts attention from the earlier precipitating factor.”
In 1973, a year after Russell’s paper was published, Willibald Nagler, a renowned authority on spinal rehabilitation at Cornell University Medical College, published a paper on a strange case. A healthy woman of 28 suffered a stroke while doing a yoga position known as the wheel or upward bow, in which the practitioner lies on her back, then lifts her body into a semicircular arc, balancing on hands and feet. An intermediate stage often involves raising the trunk and resting the crown of the head on the floor. While balanced on her head, her neck bent far backward, the woman “suddenly felt a severe throbbing headache.” She had difficulty getting up, and when helped into a standing position, was unable to walk without assistance. The woman was rushed to the hospital. She had no sensation on the right side of her body; her left arm and leg responded poorly to her commands. Her eyes kept glancing involuntarily to the left. And the left side of her face showed a contracted pupil, a drooping upper eyelid and a rising lower lid — a cluster of symptoms known as Horner’s syndrome. Nagler reported that the woman also had a tendency to fall to the left.Her doctors found that the woman’s left vertebral artery, which runs between the first two cervical vertebrae, had narrowed considerably and that the arteries feeding her cerebellum had undergone severe displacement. Given the lack of advanced imaging technologies at the time, an exploratory operation was conducted to get a clearer sense of her injuries. The surgeons who opened her skull found that the left hemisphere of her cerebellum suffered a major failure of blood supply that resulted in much dead tissue and that the site was seeped in secondary hemorrhages.The patient began an intensive program of rehabilitation. Two years later, she was able to walk, Nagler reported, “with [a] broad-based gait.” But her left arm continued to wander and her left eye continued to show Horner’s syndrome. Nagler concluded that such injuries appeared to be rare but served as a warning about the hazards of “forceful hyperextension of the neck.” He urged caution in recommending such postures, particularly to individuals of middle age.
The experience of Nagler’s patient was not an isolated incident. A few years later, a 25-year-old man was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, complaining of blurred vision, difficulty swallowing and controlling the left side of his body. Steven H. Hanus, a medical student at the time, became interested in the case and worked with the chairman of the neurology department to determine the cause (he later published the results with several colleagues). The patient had been in excellent health, practicing yoga every morning for a year and a half. His routine included spinal twists in which he rotated his head far to the left and far to the right. Then he would do a shoulder stand with his neck “maximally flexed against the bare floor,” just as Iyengar had instructed, remaining in the inversion for about five minutes. A series of bruises ran down the man’s lower neck, which, the team wrote in The Archives of Neurology, “resulted from repeated contact with the hard floor surface on which he did yoga exercises.” These were a sign of neck trauma. Diagnostic tests revealed blockages of the left vertebral artery between the c2 and c3 vertebrae; the blood vessel there had suffered “total or nearly complete occlusion” — in other words, no blood could get through to the brain.Two months after his attack, and after much physical therapy, the man was able to walk with a cane. But, the team reported, he “continued to have pronounced difficulty performing fine movements with his left hand.”
 Hanus and his colleagues concluded that the young man’s condition represented a new kind of danger. Healthy individuals could seriously damage their vertebral arteries, they warned, “by neck movements that exceed physiological tolerance.” Yoga, they stressed, “should be considered as a possible precipitating event.” In its report, the Northwestern team cited not only Nagler’s account of his female patient but also Russell’s early warning. Concern about yoga’s safety began to ripple through the medical establishment.
These cases may seem exceedingly rare, but surveys by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that the number of emergency-room admissions related to yoga, after years of slow increases, was rising quickly. They went from 13 in 2000 to 20 in 2001. Then they more than doubled to 46 in 2002. These surveys rely on sampling rather than exhaustive reporting — they reveal trends rather than totals — but the spike was nonetheless statistically significant. Only a fraction of the injured visit hospital emergency rooms. Many of those suffering from less serious yoga injuries go to family doctors, chiropractors and various kinds of therapists.Around this time, stories of yoga-induced injuries began to appear in the media. The Times reported that health professionals found that the penetrating heat of Bikram yoga, for example, could raise the risk of overstretching, muscle damage and torn cartilage. One specialist noted that ligaments — the tough bands of fiber that connect bones or cartilage at a joint — failed to regain their shape once stretched out, raising the risk of strains, sprains and dislocations.
In 2009, a New York City team based at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons published an ambitious worldwide survey of yoga teachers, therapists and doctors. The answers to the survey’s central question — What were the most serious yoga-related injuries (disabling and/or of long duration) they had seen? — revealed that the largest number of injuries (231) centered on the lower back. The other main sites were, in declining order of prevalence: the shoulder (219), the knee (174) and the neck (110). Then came stroke. The respondents noted four cases in which yoga’s extreme bending and contortions resulted in some degree of brain damage. The numbers weren’t alarming but the acknowledgment of risk — nearly four decades after Russell first issued his warning — pointed to a decided shift in the perception of the dangers yoga posed.
In recent years, reformers in the yoga community have begun to address the issue of yoga-induced damage. In a 2003 article in Yoga Journal, Carol Krucoff — a yoga instructor and therapist who works at the Integrative Medicine center at Duke University in North Carolina — revealed her own struggles. She told of being filmed one day for national television and after being urged to do more, lifting one foot, grabbing her big toe and stretching her leg into the extended-hand-to-big-toe pose. As her leg straightened, she felt a sickening pop in her hamstring. The next day, she could barely walk. Krucoff needed physical therapy and a year of recovery before she could fully extend her leg again. The editor of Yoga Journal, Kaitlin Quistgaard, described reinjuring a torn rotator cuff in a yoga class. “I’ve experienced how yoga can heal,” she wrote. “But I’ve also experienced how yoga can hurt — and I’ve heard the same from plenty of other yogis.”
One of the most vocal reformers is Roger Cole, an Iyengar teacher with degrees in psychology from Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco. Cole has written extensively for Yoga Journal and speaks on yoga safety to the American College of Sports Medicine. In one column, Cole discussed the practice of reducing neck bending in a shoulder stand by lifting the shoulders on a stack of folded blankets and letting the head fall below it. The modification eases the angle between the head and the torso, from 90 degrees to perhaps 110 degrees. Cole ticked off the dangers of doing an unmodified shoulder stand: muscle strains, overstretched ligaments and cervical-disk injuries.But modifications are not always the solution. 
Timothy McCall, a physician who is the medical editor of Yoga Journal, called the headstand too dangerous for general yoga classes. His warning was based partly on his own experience. He found that doing the headstand led to thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that arises from the compression of nerves passing from the neck into the arms, causing tingling in his right hand as well as sporadic numbness. McCall stopped doing the pose, and his symptoms went away. Later, he noted that the inversion could produce other injuries, including degenerative arthritis of the cervical spine and retinal tears (a result of the increased eye pressure caused by the pose). “Unfortunately,” McCall concluded, “the negative effects of headstand can be insidious.”
Almost a year after I first met Glenn Black at his master class in Manhattan, I received an e-mail from him telling me that he had undergone spinal surgery. “It was a success,” he wrote. “Recovery is slow and painful. Call if you like.”The injury, Black said, had its origins in four decades of extreme backbends and twists. He had developed spinal stenosis — a serious condition in which the openings between vertebrae begin to narrow, compressing spinal nerves and causing excruciating pain. Black said that he felt the tenderness start 20 years ago when he was coming out of such poses as the plow and the shoulder stand. Two years ago, the pain became extreme. One surgeon said that without treatment, he would eventually be unable to walk. The surgery took five hours, fusing together several lumbar vertebrae. He would eventually be fine but was under surgeon’s orders to reduce strain on his lower back. His range of motion would never be the same.
Black is one of the most careful yoga practitioners I know. When I first spoke to him, he said he had never injured himself doing yoga or, as far as he knew, been responsible for harming any of his students. I asked him if his recent injury could have been congenital or related to aging. No, he said. It was yoga. “You have to get a different perspective to see if what you’re doing is going to eventually be bad for you.”
Black recently took that message to a conference at the Omega Institute, his feelings on the subject deepened by his recent operation. But his warnings seemed to fall on deaf ears. “I was a little more emphatic than usual,” he recalled. “My message was that ‘Asana is not a panacea or a cure-all. In fact, if you do it with ego or obsession, you’ll end up causing problems.’ A lot of people don’t like to hear that.”

This article is adapted from “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards,” by William J. Broad, to be published next month by Simon & Schuster. Broad is a senior science writer at The Times.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


John Friend Samkhya okulunun bes element ogretilerinden bahsettiginde bu bilgileri mantikli bir sekilde Anusara yoganin bes temel hiza prensiplerine baglardi. Ilerki senelerde bu elementlerin bedenimin icinde var olan enerjilerini dusunerek yoga duruslarinin keyfini cikarmaya basladim. Ilk defa bu konuda atolye calismasi yapmak fikri arkadasim Erol'dan Fethiye'deki dinlenme, saglikli yasam ve hareket mekani olan Patika'da bir kurs vermem konusunda aldigim davetiye ile sekillendi. Kurs bes gun olarak planlanmisti. Doganin icinde acik havada bocek sesleri icinde, ruzgardan sallanan agaclarin ortasinda denizi seyrederek yoga yapacaktik. Bes element konusunu derinden islemek icin oldukca uygun bir ortam olacakti. Heyecanla ise koyuldum. Asagida yazdiklarim ogrenciler ile deneysel calismalarimizin kisa bir ozetini tasvir etmektedir. 

Ether (Bosluk) 
Yoga asana pratiginde baslamadan evvel kisa bir konsantre olma ani vardir. O durup hissetme ani benim icin muthis bir onem tasiyor. O ani bosluk ve bosluktan dogan bir karar vakti olarak tanimliyorum. Yapabilecek bir suru aktivite ve yasanabilecek bir suru deneyim arasindan secimimiz kaba etlerimizi yoga matina ciplak veya bir minder uzerine yerlestirmis. Ve bekliyoruz. John Friend "Her pratik oncesi yeni bir ogrenci oldugunuzu kendinize hatirlatin" derdi. Mutevazilik samimi bir ugras. Yuzlerce ve binlerce defadir yaptigimiz duruslar tekrar karsimiza cikacak ve eger biz tanidik olan icinden yeni bir detay bulma sansina sahipsek eger kendimizi o seansta aydinlanmis sayabiliriz. Andrea Olsen Body and Earth adli kitabinda bosluk kavramini dogada gozumuzun alismis olduklari arasinda tanimadik detaylar bulabilmek olarak anlatiyor. Bu detaylari gorebilme kabiliyeti insana kendini hapseden dusunce paternlerinden cikmasina yardimci olabilecek ozgurluk getirebiliyor. Dusunsenize asagi bakan kopegi kac defa yaptiniz bilemem ama kuyruk sokumunuzu biraz daha geriye uzatip kafanizi da tam ters istikamete yonlendirirken bir anda omurlarinizin arasindaki boslugun farkina vardiniz. Gercek ozgurluk bu bence... Ya sizce?

Anusara yoganin ilk temel prensibi Lutufa acilmak, yani kendini bosluga, Yuce yaratana, baska bir deyisle hayatin akisina birakmak anlamina geliyor. Ben bunu kadercilik anlaminda kendini birakmak ve hic birsey yapmamak olarak degerlendirmiyorum. Benim icin boslukta olmak kendini kucuk detaylarindan siyirip etrafindaki kendi basina suregelen buyuk duzeni gorebilmek ve kendi yasamini o duzen cercevesinde degerlendirmek demektir. Kendi icinde inanilmaz bir senkronizeye sahip olan evrenin yasayisina tanik olmak. Ve bu taniklik kapsaminda yapabilecegimiz oranda bu akisa kendimizden bir parca birakmak. Doga ile uyumlu yasamak. Iste bu yuzden sabah gunesin ilk isiklarinda gunese selam serisi daha anlamli. Biz yoga yapmasak da gunes dogacak ama biz yasama ve hayata bu akis serisiyle katiliyoruz ve var olmamizi kutluyoruz. 

Her durustan evvel govdemizin iki yanlarini olabildigince esnetmek icimizdeki boslugun farkina varmamiza yariyor. Yere basan ayak ve ellerimizin genislemesi ordaki hucrelemizin bosluk icinde coskuyla dansetmesini sagliyor. Meditasyon kisminda zihnimizin genis bir gokyuzu, dusuncelerimizin ise bosluk icinde daima hareket halinde olan bulutlar oldugunu hayal ediyoruz. Hic bir sey sabit degil. Dogada bile. Dusunceler degisken. 

Dogada hic bir seyin sabit olmamasi fikri bana biraz endise getiriyor. Biz hocalar hep soyleriz derslerde "Ayak tabanlarindan yere kok sal" diye. Yani altimizdaki zeminin sabit olmasina guveniyoruz. Toprak diger elementlere nazaran daha duragan. Anusara yogadaki ikinci temel prensip olan kas enerjisini uygulayarak kaslarimizi kemiklerimize dogru sarmaliyor ve duruslardaki sabitligimizi sagliyoruz. Ozellikle diz ve dirsek eklemleri cok esnek olan ogrencilerime bu kavramin yardimci olmasini mutlulukla izlemisimdir hep. 

Yoga duruslarinda temelimizi olusturan ayak ve ellerimizi nasil konumladigimiz da cok onemli. Ayak tabanlarinin dort kosesi oldugu gibi el avuclarinin da dort kosesi var. Agac durusunda ayaklarimizin dort kosesinden toprak enerjisini kas gucu kullanarak alip kalcamizin merkezine topluyor, ordan da o enerjiyi tekrar yere akitiyoruz. Ingilizcede cok sevdigim iki kavram var: Bunlardan biri butun agirlimizin yere yigildigi anlamina gelen collapse; ikincisi ise yere inen agirligimizin yerden aldigi yaylanma kuvvetiyle tekrar yukari dogru uzadigini anlatan yield. Ben toprak enerjisini calisirken yield kavramini dusunuyorum. Patika'da da boyle dusunerek birbiri ardina agac, kartal, ucuncu savasci, yarim ay, cevrilmis yarim ay duruslarini yaptik. Ders sonrasi ogrencilerin vucutlarini kendilerinden emin olarak tasimalarina sahit oldum. Toprak en sevdigim element oldugu icin ve kendimi toprak pratiginden sonra daha guvende hissettigim icin bana oyle de gelmis olabilir. Bilemiyorum.

Sabah yoga seansi sonrasi Erol'un Patikasi'ndan cikip civardaki dogaseverlerin acmis oldugu patika yollarini izleyip kendimizi vahsi kayalardan denize birakiyorduk. Suyun coskuyla kudurdugu son gunumuzde dalgalarin kayalara azimle carpisini, kayalarin arasindaki bir suru oluklardan suyun daha icerlere ilerlemesini izledim. "Su yolunu bulur" misali su bulundugu yerin seklini hic umursamadan alabiliyor. Anusara yogada ucuncu prensip genisleten ic spiral: Bu kavram kalcalarda ve kasik bolgelerinde kullaniliyor. Basenlerde ikinci cakra enerjisi hakim; bu enerjinin sembolu de her firsatta bize hayatin akiciligina kendimizi birakmamizi oneren su elementi. Cogu zaman duruslarda olsun, gercek hayatta olsun, genislemeye musait olan icimizde var olan potansiyel enerjinin farkinda olamayabiliyoruz. Yoga pratiginde ozellikle bacaklarin asimetrik oldugu ayaktaki duruslarda bu cok anlasilir derecede ortaya cikiyor. Arka kalcayi daraltip ondeki bacaga tum agirligi yukluyoruz. Kalcalarda uyguladigimiz genisleten spiral ile maksimum acilma potansiyelimizi ortaya cikartip durus icin ferahlatan bir baz hazirlayabiliriz. 

Suyun akiciligini farkli bir isleme metodu ise daha kivrak bir pratik yapmak. Yani danseder gibi. Cok fazla linear, tek cizgide gidip gelen bir hareket serisinden ziyade spiraller tarzinda duruslar arasinda uzuvlarin cemberimsi devinimlerine izin vermek. Suyu isledigimiz gun bacaklarimizi kalca eklemlerinden bu sekilde bilincli hareket ettirerek lotus durusuna gectik. Lotus meditasyon pozlarinin anasi sayiliyor. Bu veya benzeri duruslarda suyun icinde bulundugu cismin sekline genisleyerek adapte olma kapasitesini kuyruk sokumu, oturma kemikleri ve pubic kemigimiz arasindaki potansiyel genislemeyi arastirarak hissetmeye calistik. 

Ates yaktigimizda alevler goge dogru yukselir. Ates yukariya giden yonu ve yakici niteligiyle gucunu kanitliyor. Anusara yoganin dorduncu prensibi olan dis, daraltici spiral kalcalardaki yaptigi manevrayla bana ates enerjisini hep hissettirmistir. Kalcalarimizi ic spiral ile genislettikten sonra kaba etlerimizi altimiza dogru toplayip kasiklarimizi one cikarmadan kuyruk sokumumuzu usturuplu bir bicimde asagiya uzattigimizda alt gobek aniden gogus kemigine dogru dikiliyor. Bu da bana hep  yukari dogru yonelen atesin gucunu animsatmistir. John Friend sikca "Sacrum kemiginin altini asagiya dogru indirirken yukari kismini goge dogru uzat" derdi. Hakikaten de kuyruk sokumunu yere uzatma eylemini yanliz dusunmek imkansiz; otomatik olarak bel bolgesinde yukari yonlu bir esneme hissediliyor ve tum omurga uzuyor. Patika'da diger duruslarin arasina bu farkindalikla yaptigimiz utkatasana (sandalye) durusunu bol bol ekledik. Bedenimizde atesin isitici niteligini hissetmek icin gunese selam serisi icinde bol bol zipladik. 

 Ates ayni zamanda benim icin Tapas - bir seyi yapmak icin icimizde arzuyla yanip tutusan derin istegi animsatir. Hergun yoga matina gelmek iste boyle bir istegin sonucudur. Bedenimizde bir bolgenin nasil calistigini anlamak icin sarfedilen gayret de derinden ogrenme arzusunun sonucudur. Yillardir adho mukha vrkshasana'da (el dengesi ters durus) merkez gucumun bana nasil yardimci olabilecegini arastirdim ve bunu ogrencilerle paylastim. Anusara yogada adho mukha vrkshasana durusuna hazirlanirken el parmaklarinin yeri pence gibi kavramasi, kurek kemiklerinin birbirine yakinligi, yukari firlattigimiz bacagin ic spiral formunu koruyabilmesi, kuyruk sokumunun durusta yukari dogru uzamasi (basin asagida oldugu ters duruslarda kuyruk sokumunun yonunde zihin karisabiliyor), ve bacaklarin kas gucu kullanarak birbirine dogru cekilmesi bahsedilen kavramlardir. Patika'da bunlara ilave olarak beraber psoas kasimizi kesfedip bu kastan zerafetle bacaklarimizi firlatmayi calistik. Dengemiz bozulsa da dusup kalksak bile eglenceli bir calismaydi. Yedi yasindaki en genc katilimci Maya'nin en sevdigi seans oldu.

Bu satirlara basladigimda yine John Friend'den ogrendiklerimi animsiyorum. Ruzgarin ani olusumu ornegini verip hava enerjisinin cok degisken niteliginden konusurduk. Kendimizle ilgili zihnimizi rahatsiz eden bir onyargi olusturdugumuzda  havanin degisken dogasini hatirlayip dusuncelerimizi ayni ruzgarin yaptigi gibi baska bir yone cevirebilecegimizi anlatirdi bize John. Patanjali benzer sekilde Yoga Sutra'larinda (II.33 - pratikpaksa bhavanam) negatif dusunceler bizi sardiginda hemen aklimiza pozitif dusunceler getirmeliyiz diyor. Patika'da oglen seansimizda uzunca bir oturma ve meditasyon calismasi yapiyoruz. Burun deliklerimizden nefes borumuza gecen havanin hissini arastirarak icimize cektigimiz havanin aslinda evrenin bize nefes vermesi; bizim cikardigimiz havanin da evrene nefes alma seklinde donusecegini goruyoruz. Dogada yapilan yoga pratigi bizlere evren ile uyumlu olabilecegimizi ve esas huzurun bu oldugunu sehirde yapilan yogaya kiyasla daha rahat gosteriyor. Bir kitapta okumustum: Insan zihnine gunde 60.000 kadar dusunce girip cikiyormus. Buna karsi yapabilecek bir sey yok maalesef ama bu girip cikan dusuncelere inanmayarak bir sey yapabiliriz. Sonucta zihin de bir organ, her organin gorevinin oldugu gibi zihnin de gorevi dusunce yaratmaktir. 

Hava ile ilgili eskilerden baska bilgiler animsamaya devam ediyorum. Ilk yoga hocalik egitimimde Lisa Keays bizlere soyle derdi: Hava aslinda hep var ama bizler acaba onu yeterince kullaniyor muyuz? Yoganin esasinda hayatta bir seyi tam yapmaktan ibaret oldugunu duzenli ve disiplinli pratigini yapan her ogrenci er gec anlayacaktir. Havayi tam olarak icime isliyormuyum konusu benim icin zevkli bir ugras haline gelmisti ve akcigerlerimi tam potansiyel calistirmayi ogrenerek nefes alma ve vermeyi tam yapmaya yeterince yaklastigimi dusunuyorum.

Patika'da ogrenciler ile cigerlerden tam nefes alip vermeyi calisirken Anusara yoganin en son prensibi olan organik esnemeyi arastirdik. Organik uzama bedende agirligin toplandigi kilit noktadan disa dogru uzamak anlamina geliyor. Bir yoga durusunda hizayi tamamladiktan sonra merkezden uzuvlarimizin dis hatlarina dogru esnemezsek eger bence o durusun hakkini tam cikarmiyoruz. Organik esnemeyi hissetmenin en iyi yolu derinden nefes verirken zihni iceriden disa dogru olan bu uzamaya yoneltmek. Anusara yoganin logosundaki durus olan Anjaneyasa'da (dizin yerde oldugu derin hucum pozu) nefesimizi her 
bosalttigimizda agirligimizin yogunlastigi kalca merkezimizden hem topraga hem de goge dogru uzuyoruz. Goge uzarken omurlarinin arasindaki bosluk ve cigerlerimizin icinde yogunlugu degisen havanin kalitesini hissederek yogunlasiyoruz. Zihinde bir an icin sukunet hissi hakim. Durustan cikma vaktini anons ettigim an sabah kalvaltisina 15 dakika var anonsu anlamina gelen can sesini duyduk. Zihinler aninda yerel urunlerin kullanildigi zengin kahvaltiya gitti, karinlar guruldadi. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year Message from my mentor Paula Tursi

Paula will be happy if I pass her message to my students. When reading it I re-understand why we practice yoga. In other words through our continuous yoga practice we cultivate a mind that wonderfully experiences life as it is and enjoys its ups and downs. 

   "In any given year we can reflect back on our year and recant our experience both good and bad. Yoga, in its many forms, has helped me to gain a deeper understanding and more importantly acceptance of life's inevitable shifts.
     No one is except from experiencing both the beauty and the challenges that life has to offer. The Yoga Sutras explains this so elegantly through the dance of the Gunas. The continuous movement of light to dark and back again.
    When we can truly see that nothing is wrong, but both sadness and happiness are inherent in the cycles of life, the challenging times become richer in their lessons and the gifts more precious in their beauty. 
     Knowing that my life is as magical as the changing of day into night, or as beautiful as the turn of the seasons, offers me deep peace and the knowledge that I am part of something much bigger than my particular life situation. 
     We are both massive and very small. When we can find the wisdom to simply let it be, we can see the innate beauty in everything."

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Hamilelik sirasinda harekete devam etmek cok onemlidir. Yoga hamilelik suresinde size vucudunuzu bilinclice kullanmayi ogreterek ve ozguveninizi arttirarak manevi bir destek sunar. Yavas, hizaya ve nefese dikkat edilerek yapilan yoga duruslari kisa zamanda inanilmaz degisiklikler geciren vucudunuz hakkinda bilinclenmenize, bebeginiz ile erken iletisime gecmenize, dogum sancilarinda ve herhangi fiziksel rahatsizlik durumunda size yardimci olacak uygun nefes ve durusu bulmaniza yardim eder.  

YogaKulaIstanbul'da hamilelere yoga dersleri sunulur. Bilgi icin lutfen 0 530 413 9143 u arayiniz. 

Friday, April 2, 2010


I went to Berkeley California to attend a Body Mind Centering workshop in Embodied Developmental Movement and Yoga. As usual it is amazing to watch Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen share her wisdom and turn your preconceptions upside down when she shows that there is not one way of doing a yoga pose. I often leave these workshops with one or two crucial teachings. It often manifests itself first in my brain then it is a play of curiosity to see how I embody it in the following months.

The highlight of the recent workshop made its way straight deep into my cells. The teaching is: Go under the tone. No wonder our workshop topic was movement patterns that first appear in the womb and continue emerging and integrating through infancy. The way we breathed, pulsed, yielded, pushed, reached and pulled from early on serve our cellular tone and fluidity. Overall they play an important role supporting the more complex movement of yoga.

"Going under the tone" means finding the support underneath in a given pose. It does not matter whether the pose is easy or challenging. All that matters is that a pose becomes complete and whole when executed from different possible perceptions. It is all about achieving ease but staying alert after all. 

If for instance folding forward gives you a painful experience, notice first whether you fold from your front body or back body. Then try doing it otherwise. It might soothe your nervous system more efficiently. 

Savasana, which is done as the very last thing in a yoga class, is a very exposing pose in my opinion. It opens our front body and organs to the space surrounding us. I often wondered how such a pose that can make us quite exposed and vulnerable made perfect sense at the end as we all gave ourselves in to the trust of it.  It made sense to me in this workshop that for savasana to act quite effective it has to enclose the actual enfolding of the front body and organs as if we are curled safely in our mother's womb. In other words a strong preparation for internal calm and clarity is necessary before we go ahead and open ourselves to the world. This is what "going under the tone" implies for me. 

Just notice next time when you practice savasana: Will it become more nurturing when done after a long held child pose? 

It surely is for me. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Julie & Julia filmi ve yoga

Gecen gun Julie & Julia filmini seyrettim. Filmdeki hikayelerden birisi Fransiz mutfagi konusunda uzman Amerikali asci Julia Child'in mesleginde meshur olmadan onceki yillari. Megerse Julia Child "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" kitabi basilmadan evvel sekiz sene beklemis. 8 SENE kitap hakkinda tam gaz calismasina ragmen yayin evleri tarafindan reddedilmis ve bir turlu istedigi hamleyi atamamis. 

8 sene lafi film bitene kadar beni bayagi bir dusundurdu. Yoga derslerinde de ilerleme kaydetmek, olesiye istedigimiz bir pozu bir turlu yapamamak konusunda konusuyoruz. 

Yogada kendinize ne kadar zaman sure taniyorsunuz? Bir poz veya bir ogretiyi tum hucrelerinize sindirmek ne kadar zaman alir? Ne kadar zaman istediginiz olmayinca pes etmek akliniza geliyor? Ya da umudu kesmek? 

Herhangi bir yoga durusunda ustad olmanin ideal zamani nedir diye hep kendi kendime sordum. Soruma cevap gunun birinde bir muzisyenden geldi: "The form is the amount of time it takes." (Sekil ve bicimi olusturan ona harcanan zamandir) 

Yani bir poz uzerinde 8 sene bekleyebilir miyiz? Neden olmasin ki? Belki de daha uzun. Esas verimli olan poza hazirlik asamasinki niyetimiz, gayretimiz, bazen de lokal detaylardan cikiverip butunu gorebilme becerimiz ve eglenerek zevk almamiz...  

(Not: Bu yaziyi yazma sebebim gecenlerde Eka Pada Bhakasana I durusunu sonunda dislerimi sikmadan, surat kaslarimi germeden basarmam. Tam 6 sene surdu!) 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bir seyi yoga yapan ne yapildigi degil nasil yapildigidir

Tesaduf diye buna derler. Tam da bu sabah ders verdigim ozel ogrencim ile yoga gelenegi uzerine konustuk; aksama da Leslie Kaminoff sagolsun ( blog sayfasina gunumuzde yapilan yoganin geleneklere bagliligi ile ilgili alinti bir makale koymus. Dayanamadim yaziyi aynen ekledim. Tum yazi asagida blogda.

Makalenin sahibi Anne Cushman'a gore yoga tekil bir gelenekten gelmiyor; yazisinda yogayi karmasik dalli bir banyan agacina benzetiyor. Bir suru gelenek birbirini beslemis, birbirinden ilham almis ve esinlenmis. 

Acaba gunumuzde yaptigimiz yoga duruslarinin kaynagi nerden geliyor? Kim yaratmis bunlari? 
Yazi bunlardan bahsediyor. 

Anne yazisinin sonlarina dogru hocam Paula Tursi'nin dinlediklerimi siraliyor: "Bir yoga durusunu neden ve nasil yapiyorsun? Yaptiginin sana bir katkisi var mi ve nedir bu? Yoga yaparken bunlari dusun."

Bir diger hocam Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen'in dediklerini de duyar gibiyim: "Yogayi moda oldugu icin mi yapiyorsun? Yoganin sana yararli olacagina inandigin icin mi, yoksa tum hucrelerin ile sindirerek mi yapiyorsun yogani? Kendine karsi durust ol."

Ya John Friend hocam ne demisti: "Yoga duruslarinda ilerledikce daha iyi bir insan mi oluyorsun? Ailene ve topluma katkin artiyor mu? Bunu dusunerek yogani yap." 

Anne Cushman yazisini aynen benim defalarca John Friend'den duydugum gibi bitiriyor: "Yoga duruslari aslinda icimizde varolan degisken yasam enerjisini bir cesit gosterme ve disa vurma yollari. Aslinda duruslarin ne oldugundan cok icimizdeki enerjiyi hissetmeye olan kararliligimiz ve tutkumuz cok onemli. Pozlari hayat enerjimizi disa akitmaya yarayan fiziksel sekiller olarak algilayalim. Yoga bu olsun. Yoga bizi hayatimiza tutkuyla bagli insanlar yapsin.

Yani....  What makes something yoga is not what is done but how it is done.....