A Traveling Yogi in Turkey: A Beautiful Country with Many Surprises

Hey, Rogue Yogis. It's been awhile since my last blog post. With what we initially experienced as negative, gritty, and somber...2 months later we are still in Turkey. And loving it. It's as if the scammers and bad taxi drivers never tried to phase us. 

We're currently in Antalya with intense humidity and lengthy down-time in our air conditioned hotel room. This downtime is good for writing a post. 

What do you guys know about Turkey? Did you learn much about it in history class? Is there a single fact you can recall about this very large country? 

I couldn't give you an answer before. Maybe it's the way the US school system was designed. Why else would it be that the locals of nearly every country we've been to...seem to know more about the US than vice versa?

Do you know that the founder of Chobani "Greek" Yogurt is actually a Kurdish-American from Turkey? But, Kurds aren't really recognized independently, so they're just called Turkish. But, Turkish yogurt isn't known like Greek yogurt. So, Chobani is "Greek" yogurt. Yehh.

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Although Turkey is such a huge country, the yoga scene is primarily in Istanbul and Ankara. There's even famous IG teachers scheduled to lead workshops at one of the studios I took classes at. (Where I found many students slouching hard AF on the mat...it's becoming strange to me how people don't apply the postures to the remaining hours of their day. It's a lot of lower back and neck injuries waiting to happen)

It's crazy how acrobatic yoga in the US made its way across the globe. A lot of what yoga has become...has become pervasive around the world. 

With the spotty wifi at our stays, I've managed to broadcast my first Science Yoga Sunday to help educate you guys on how to enjoy your yoga in the midst of the pervasive BS. (Think of it as a live and visual podcast, because it's kind of hard to imagine what Triangle Pose modifications look like if you're a visual person). Join the next one here   

It seems like the more I remove myself from (North) American yoga, the more I learn about how much of it is dangerous and non-sensical. The more I dive deep into studying human anatomy and how fucked up it gets from sitting at a desk all day (or staring down at a phone), the more I shift my own yoga practice to counter all of that. This makes me question the traditional ways of Indian yoga just as much. The number of yoga "gurus" abusing their power, and the number of students being injured from the most commonly taught poses is ridiculous. It's no wonder that some traveling yogis quit teaching yoga after seeing the things I've seen. 

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But, I still love yoga. I love how it can be practiced anywhere. On a huge sea salt lake named Tüz Gölü. With old ladies dipping their legs in the small pockets of water for deep exfoliation and ease. By a fresh-running river with small cute huts where you can enjoy a nice, hot serving of çay ("chai" or tea in Turkish). In the midst of a mass ascension of hot-air balloons in an alien-like region. Or next to a restaurant vendor shouting for us to eat some çig köfte (spiced bulgur wheat and veggie wraps) at his table when we've already eaten. 

Even when nearly every Turkish local has eagerly greeted us in Chinese when we've shared that we are from the US, we can breathe and not react.

I guess this is how we managed to stay in Turkey despite having a rough start. We let go of the idea that everything is black and white. We let in the gray, the colors, and the fact that life is a very complex thing. 

If we didn't, we wouldn't have met so many amazing and friendly people. Including a generous family in the middle of a random valley inviting us for some tea, cheese and olives by the waterfall. (With a generous grandma lecturing the Mongorrian in Turkish about driving safely, and me needing to eat more because I'm too skinny). 

People with so much local knowledge to share. The constant string of surprising beauty and wonder of Turkey made this stay so worth it. 

But, soon we will have to make our way into Greece. My sold out Santorini retreat is next month, and we get to start all over with the language learning, the culture immersion, the eagerness to share our life and yoga lessons with my students. 

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