This year’s Bodrum Yoga Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever and will feature nearly 50 different workshops, seminars and events to promote and introduce yoga and other healthy lifestyle practices throughout the weekend of Oct. 25 to Oct. 28. Running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for four consecutive days, there will be workshops that are free and open to all to attend on disciplines such as meditation, yoga, qigong, Tai Chi, breathwork, chanting, astrology and dance, as well as seminars on topics such as incorporating yoga into your life for beginners, the "Golden Ratio" and the art of energy science. There will be well-known yoga teachers from popular centers in Istanbul such as Cihangir Yoga and Om Yoga, as well as other Turkish yogis teaching abroad and a couple of celebrities in the mix.
One of the most highly anticipated workshops will be led by vocalist and Bodrum local Zeynep Casalini and will be on vegan cuisine. Taking place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., on the opening day of Friday, Oct. 25, this hands-on vegan cooking class will be held at Hey Joe, a coffee shop in Bodrum. It is the sole event taking place at a location other than Trafo, the cafe servings as the central point for the event.
Seda Bağcan is the niece of world-renowned vocalist Selda Bağcan and is a well-known singer in her own right. She also happens to chant mantras in her albums and helps guide mantra chanting in workshops held all over the world. On Sunday, Oct. 28 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., she will be sharing these mantras and how to chant them in a special workshop for participants. Meanwhile, in another rare treat, these two beloved female vocalists will also be teaming up together on the closing day to lead a chanting session of the mantra “Pechamama” in a tribute to nature that will take place at 5 p.m.
Other highlights include one of the more well-known Turkish yogis teaching and living abroad are Arda Ardasson, who introduces the enticing practice of acro yoga. Co-founder of Otacı, Turkey’s premier herbal beauty care brand Meltem Kurtsan will be leading a workshop on aromatherapy. There will also be a screening of the film “The Power of the Heart,” the 2014 inspirational feature-length documentary shot by the director of “The Secret” that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 25 starting at 6:40 p.m.
Trafo, arguably one of the most spectacular cafes run by a municipality in Turkey, is where the festival will be taking place; it offers a tea garden, cafe and event space situated right on the sea with stunning views of the Bodrum Castle. Each session offered lasts for approximately one hour, is free to attend and open to all, regardless of expertise level. Those who have never experienced yoga or any of the disciplines that will be offered in workshops held throughout the four days are especially welcome to attend as the main purpose and mission of the festival is to promote a wide variety of healthy lifestyle practices for those who have never had access to them before.
Bodrum loves yoga
I had the opportunity to meet up with the miraculous Menekşe Karaman, the woman and local Bodrum yoga teacher behind this impressive event. By teaming up with teachers and members of the yoga community in Turkey and abroad and gaining the support of the Bodrum municipality, Menekşe has managed to make this year’s Bodrum Yoga Festival one of the best in the country.
For years now, Menekşe has been teaching yoga to locals and expats and has been offering volunteer classes for the municipality throughout the peninsula in municipal centers such as in Gümüşlük and Ortakent. The immense interest, especially from a number of Bodrum locals who had the opportunity to discover yoga through the classes offered by the municipality, is what drove Menekşe to partner with the municipality and Trafo to host this exciting festival, which will be bringing dozens of holistic healers, speakers and teachers from all over the country and world to volunteer their expertise for this event. Explaining that the very definition of the word yoga means “unity,” Menekşe said that it was this idea of presenting these healthy living practices to the masses and to anyone interested that spurred her to host the first Bodrum Yoga Festival, which took place last year to much interest. Menekşe will also be opening the festival with a meditation session at 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 and will lead a classic yoga workshop at 8 a.m. on Monday, the closing day of the festival.
While all of the nearly 50 activities that will be taking place are open to everyone and free to attend, due to high demand and space limitations, Menekşe recommends registering for the workshops by sending an email to email@example.com to secure a spot. Check out the Facebook page "Bodrum YOGA Festivali" and their Instagram to find out more details about each event and teacher.