This Saturday I finally went to Cihangir Yoga after a very long time. I had dropped by back in November or December, but didn't take a class. It was more to say, "hey, I just came back from Toronto, I can teach yoga in English...just so you know." Either way, I have been recently feeling like I need to connect to the yoga community in Istanbul regardless of me teaching or not, and found myself a yoga buddy to get my ass into class when I'm too tamasic...(thanks Elif!) and got to David's 2.5 hour class. The class was in English and David would throw in a few Turkish phrases here and there like, "lift your popo" and "beş nefes". This being Istanbul, there was some crazy guy screaming outside, who probably needed yoga himself. David joked, "that was the pilates class" which made us all laugh.
It just felt so good to be there. The class, hearing English, the familiarity of the poses (the poses are the same no matter where they're taught or by whom), the feelings they brought back, knowing there are people like me studying out there...the much-needed Savasana. I brought my own eye pillow and everything. It was a kick-ass class and my tired body started giving in after 1.5 hours. David encouraged me to rest, so I felt no pressure whatsoever to do everything. In some difficult classes you feel an air of arrogance in both teachers and students alike, I felt none of that here.
After class, I settled into the lounge area and observed people. David spoke to someone who seemed like a foreigner, I overheard the receptionist telling a newcomer what poses to avoid after inquiring what injuries she had, people giggling and drinking "pure" water from the futuristic high-tech machine there...then I showed my friend a half-handstand technique and the massage therapist there joined our conversation, advising my friend to take Child's pose after handstand to balance her energies.
Then, in true Istanbul fashion, we walked through historical sites to the Kabataş ferry and crossed the Bosphorus and had a well-deserved dinner. I had a 33cl Efes...yes, yoga is paradox! you detox and then have a beer sometimes.
Great first initiation into hopefully many yoga sessions there.