My final workshop of my 3-month tour was incredibly special for many reasons…
Cihangir yoga was the very first studio to ever invite me to teach a workshop 6 years ago. I was just beginning and I was terrified to teach a workshop, but my teacher Chris Chavez always lifted me, encouraged me, and connected me with Zeyneb, one of the owners at Cihangir yoga.
The true story of this adventure is a wild one, and some of the details I’ll save for my book of knotty adventures that I’ll write granny-style… but PG version is that I was living in Vancouver and had been teaching between 15-21 classes per week for 2 years with hardly a break. This was my choice, I loved it and I felt that teaching this much was preparing me for something. All that experience grew me so much. When I got the offer to go to Istanbul, I was SO excited and grateful and completely terrified and I said yes. I decided to leave early and swing by Spain on the way, the little raw vegan purist that I was, flying to knotty delicious Spain.
I arrived in Barcelona and I remember walking around looking for something to eat. I had a whole long list of no’s to consumption; no gluten, no dairy, no animal, no alcohol, nothing cooked. I went into a restaurant and looked at the menu. A menu was full of all of my no’s. No raw vegan anything in sight. In the past, I would have starved myself or asked for some pickles. A big part of my practice back then was to “say yes” to life. I had a history of restricting myself, holding up strong expectations and barriers, and being very rigid and controlling of myself to the point of feeling like I was saying no to everything. So I decided to let go, to say yes, so ordered the Spanish frittata AND a glass of red wine- and wow. Yum and the fun began.
I went to my friend’s house and recorded my very first yoga video on his terrace. The next day I took an overnight boat to Ibiza, met a fine yummy Italian man, fell in love and moved into his countryside home. I would practice every day in the countryside, and this is was a hugely pivotal moment in my practice. This is when I began to feel the forces of the feminine move me. Forces internal and external, blowing through moving me in less formulaic more embodied spontaneous ways. I was previously trained in a more masculine linear practice. This is when the wild curves began to birth undulations and pure natural delicious sensual expression. This began the evolution of my practice to grow into what it is now. I think it was the combination of the powers of she, Ibiza, combined with an Italian love story that made me miss 2 flights and almost miss my last one but by the grace of the universe kissed my loves goodbye and I made it to Istanbul.
Istanbul is a mystical wild force. I had no clue of the powers and massiveness a city could be. Upon arrival at the airport, I had 3 hours until I had to teach. I caught a bus, subway and a taxi and landed 2 hours later at Cihangir to teach my workshop in an hour. I’ve learned A LOT over the years, and now I do it much differently arriving 3 days early to cities before teaching, but this was my first, live and learn.
The workshop was great, I mean I did it! It was a huge moment for me, a traversing through limiting fear and a letting go of what I thought I was capable of so I would open up to a new version of myself.
Since this adventure, I have returned to Istanbul 4 times, and each time it gets better and better. This year was SPECIAL. We were all women. And what women they were! It was such a pleasure and honor for me to teach as all the women were hungry to move like women! Moving in ripples, scribbles, undulations, and waves allowing the embodied expression of the gorgeousness of our curves and the healing, beauty, power and strength our feminine sensuality.
It was a gift to me. It reminded me on a new awakened level of why I do what I do and how fortunate I am to do it. So blessed. So so grateful.
So thank you Istanbul. You were my first ever, and my last on this tour. Feels like a full circle, completion. Thank you, Chris Chavez, for helping me to grow, encouraging me to teach, seeing me, believing in me when I didn’t yet fully believe in myself. Thank you Zeyneb- you are such an inspiration to me. It’s so special that you have trusted me 6 years ago, without any workshop experience, and all my wild. I love that since then you have taken ALL of my workshops and reflect back to me how I have grown and am evolving. This helps me to grow even more. So thank you. You really inspire me. Thank you to Alev for your existence! You are amazing to be around. Your grounded nature grounds me, you are lovely. Thank you Rebecca, even though I didn’t get to see you this time, I could feel your beautiful essence and it inspires me as always. Finally THANK YOU to all the amazing strong funny fun sensual sensitive intuitive gorgeous intelligent WOMEN who came. You gifted me SO much through your embodiment. It moves tears in me to write this, that’s how powerfully this experience has effected me.