Gülnihal Özdener

“So, Gulni, what do you do?”

This question leads to long conversations.

I am a yoga instructor, a trained translator, an editor, an anthropologist, and a freelance writer. Juggling occupations, training programs, words, languages, and cultures… I am constantly fascinated by the potential of the human body and mind.

Having been a practitioner of modern postural yoga since 2008, I have completed hundreds of hours of training programs, attended countless workshops and sessions with many great teachers of various lineages; however, one particular teacher has affected me more than all the others combined: Dharma Mittra.

Since 2013, Dharma Yoga has been my main practice. Over the years, I have learned specific hatha-raja yoga techniques and practices directly from Dharma Mittra, Yiannis Andritsos, Yoshio Hama, and Mark Kan.

My own studio in Istanbul, Turkey, is primarily dedicated to Dharma Mittra’s teachings. With special permission from my school, Dharma Yoga Center New York, I humbly hold the Dharma Yoga fort in my hometown. You can visit Dharma Yoga Istanbul‘s web page for weekly group classes with me.

In the one-on-one private sessions, beginner classes, and corporate sessions I give, I apply the trauma-sensitive teaching approach that I learned in my other advanced trainings. It is important for me to carry the vision of safe yoga practice from beginners to advanced practitioners, to offer therapeutical solutions during group classes for individuals with certain ailments and to make efficient use of yoga props to support them in their physical practice.

Pursuit of yoga

Some like it postural.

Some like it therapeutical.

Some like it yin, some like it yang.

Some like to chant, some like to read.

Some only want to relax and release.

Some want to escape the bizarre world we live in for an hour or two.

Some look to find the divine unity that connects all beings in the entire universe.

It’s all fair.

My personal practice has gone through all of the above (and even more) as phases over years.

And I can help you in YOUR personal pursuit of yoga.

“It is hard to leave the world and hard to live in it, painful to live with the worldly and painful to be a wanderer. Reach the goal; you will wander and suffer no more.”

The Dhammapada

My Résumé

Formal Training in Yoga

2015 – 2017

150-hr Advanced Majoring in Yoga with Therapeutic Approach

Certified by United Yoga Montreal, trained at YogaŞala.

Instructor: Hart Lazer

August, 2015

Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi 800-hr Advanced TT Program

Certified by Dharma Yoga Center, New York

Instructor: Dharma Mittra

Mentor: Penny Kaloo

Training includes:

  • Psychic Development Techniques,
  • Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation),
  • Dharma Yoga Level 4

September – November, 2014

Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi 500-hr Advanced TT Program

Certified by Dharma Yoga Center, New York

Instructor: Dharma Mittra

Mentor: Mark Kan, Yoshio Hama

Training includes:

  • Dharma Yoga Level 3
  • Dharma Yoga Level 2

Academic Education

2019 (on campus) & 2021 (online) June-July

Yoga Studies Academic Summer School

University of London, SOAS

2019 Paper: “Tapas & Ascetic Practices: A Brief Review of the Ascetic Roots of Hatha Yoga”

2021 Presentation: “Scholarship to the rescue: Navigating the problems of Turkish yoga community”

2020 – …

Ph. D. in Cultural Studies

Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul

Research Scope: Concurrence of Islamic and yogic practices in medieval India

2012 – 2019

MA in Social Anthropology

Yeditepe University, Istanbul

Thesis Title: Concepts Of Liminality and Communitas Among Ashtanga Yoga Practitioners

Supervisor: Prof. Jay Courtney Fikes

2007 – 2012

BA in Translation and Interpreting Studies

Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

Completion Thesis on “Hindu Mysticism” by S.N. Dasgupta, 1927

Supervisor: Dr. Oğuz Baykara

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