Who am I?
I love to explore this eternal question again and again, to get glimpses of who I really might be. Here is what I’ve done so far:
I have a unique blend of over 25 years of corporate life (at the World Bank Group), working in the finance sector and have been teaching yoga and mindfulness meditation on a part-time basis since 2013. I have recently phased out of my corporate job. These days I am busy with leading Yoga and Qigong classes, “Foundations of Mindfulness: How to Make it Work for You” courses in different places and day-long silent retreats.
I strongly believe that we need to take time for self-care to honor this precious body and the amazing life that we are given. I am passionate about movement of the body and stillness of the mind, and I am grateful for ancient traditions like Yoga and Qigong for letting me do both of these. They provide effective mind-body practices to deal with our fast-paced, technology-driven, and overscheduled modern lives. I love to combine Yoga and Qigong’s age-old tools with the findings of neuroscience to develop ways of living happily and share those with the people around me.
I believe in a multidisciplinary approach to movement. I like to mix Yoga stretches with the intentional and energetic aspects of Qigong to create a richer practice. I might even add weights to that combo to build strength. Yoga and qigong dovetail wonderfully to cultivate inner balance by working with the three treasures: body, breath, and awareness.
Many of us think that taking care of the physical body, through exercise and right diet is enough for good health. These are definitely vital, but that approach is actually limited and misses an equally important piece in this puzzle: the mind. What are you doing to take care of your mind? Are you aware of how it’s functioning and really what’s happening in that space? What are your typical thought patterns? We are often asked to practice critical thinking, but none of those are taught at the schools, yet.
I am fascinated by the mind-body interaction. Stable, solid-feeling body vs fast moving, hard to grasp, invisible mind. As they say, body is grounded here and now, while the mind is a time traveler. I like to explore and play with this perceived dichotomy between the body and the mind. I love to introduce mind training activities in a Yoga pose, or flowing Qigong movements and invite the practitioners to be curious on and inquire “what is happening right now?”, “what sensations are you aware of in your body?”, “where is the mind? What is the mind’s reactions to the pose?”
Such inquiries help the practitioner to be fully aware of the interplay between the body and mind. They also develop the capacity to be aware of the whole field of being, from the physical aspects to more ephemeral, mental and emotional field. I also pay attention to incorporate some moments of loving-kindness, self-compassion or gratitude cultivation at different stages of the practice and give time to integrate the whole practice. Last but not least, the participants are regularly instructed to engage in awareness of the breath and the inner chatter that tends to happen constantly.
I lead Mindfulness@Work, Mindfulness in Daily Life workshops, 6-8 week Essentials of Mindfulness or advanced level courses with specific themes. I have been part of a US nation-wide corporate mindfulness champions group, organized by the organization Mindful Leader and benefited a lot from sharing the best practices in corporate mindfulness as implemented in large corporations, such as Aetna, Google, etc. I am a strong believer in workplace wellness and a culture of mindfulness to transform the workplace, enhance performance and increase resiliency.
I live in the two worlds of VA, USA and Istanbul, Turkey. I am available for trainings, conferences, and keynote events as well as for personal movement and mindfulness based consultations.
Trainings and Certifications
I have been practicing and studying yoga, qigong and different styles of meditation under a rich and eclectic variety of teachers for more than 20 years. I have done a number of amazing long, silent retreats and regularly take time off to remain in silence. I am a 500-hr certified yoga teacher by Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Qigong instructor by Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi. I have also studied Qigong with Robert Peng and Ken Cohen. I am certified in Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra and Dynamic Gentle Yoga methodologies. My mindfulness meditation teacher certification is by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, led by Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield. I am also trained in the Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy model, Level 1, and IFS Inspired Coaching by IFS Institute.
My influencers are many authentic teachers/seekers who have gone through this path before, inspiring students who trusted me, and last but not least, my dearest family and children who are a never ending source of inspiration for love and a test for the real human experience.