Meet the Teacher: Oz

Name: Özlem
Country of origin: Rainbow Nation via Germany, Turkey, Kurdistan & U.S.
Position at OM Yoga Stuttgart: Studio Founder
Years of Yoga practice: 19 years, time flies! 
Before I became a Yoga Teacher I…worked in the Commercial Real Estate Finance sector as Senior Vice President 
I looooooovvveeee this song: changes all the time, right now it’s Vay Dünya by Altin Gün
I cannot resist: Ana’s peach & macadamia muffins
My motto: the love in me salutes the love in you
My favorite Asana (at the moment): standing forehead to knee and handstands
When I don’t teach I…practice yoga, travel, dance, discover music and spend time with my Family & Friend.

I started to dabble with yoga and meditation at age 20, trying out the newly opened yoga studio in my neighborhood on U Street in Washington D.C. Like all beginnings it was extremely hard for me to sit still in meditation and be graceful during asana practice, I didn’t see any improvements, I was still the elephant in the porcelain store, so I quit after only 3 months and never wanted to practice yoga again.

Two years later a colleague invited me to take a Hot Yoga class after work. I thought “why not” and tagged along. Immediately after pranayama I felt like a truck ran over me and I suffered a panic attack. I was sitting on my mat in agony for the remainder of the class. 

While sitting there being hot and uncomfortable I watched how all other students kept up with the rhythm and instructions of the teacher. It was a rainbow of people: old, young, skinny, chubby, tall, petit, even a girl with a bandage around her arm was practicing! After I survived the class I started to question myself “how come you couldn’t keep up?”  The challenge was on! 

I started to practice regularly, after about a year I was able to complete practice without sitting down, feeling panicked or being short of breath. The yoga practice in many ways was my self-care and healthcare, both physically and mentally. After 7 years of regular practice in 2011 I decided to quit my job, at the time I was Senior Vice President for a Financial Corporation dealing with Commercial Real Estate.
A lot can happen in 7 years: I got a divorce, quit my well-paying job, moved 2 times and flourished from the inside out. I took myself apart to put myself together in a wholesome and loving way. I graduated Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in 2011 and set out to teach for a year, mostly on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., when visiting my Family and Friends in Europe & Turkey and wherever I could. 

In 2013 with the help of my lovely Sister I opened my own Studio in Stuttgart and I immediately discovered that owning a Studio is completely different from “just” teaching yoga, another adventure and journey altogether. 

I found myself mentoring and guiding students and teachers alike. It wasn’t unfamiliar for me to “manage” people since I had done it in my financial career, but I had the privilege to do it with yoga and that for me was and is the most awarding part of my work. Being able to witness miracles every day is a true privilege and blessing. Understanding how powerful breathing, yoga asana and meditation is as a tool for self-realisation and transformation is the most exciting thing for me, the subject is so complex and vast that there is no end to learning, discovering and connecting, it’s a life time practice and study, how fun! 

In 2015 I deeply felt the need to balance the powerful yang oriented Hot Yoga with an active yin component to my practice avoiding injury and depletion and in 2016 I took the Yin Yoga TT with Sarah Powers. And thanks to many of our visiting teachers, especially Isabelle, I started to regularly practice Vinyasa and attende  the Sacred Geometry Vinyasa Teacher Training with Benjamin Sears in August 2019.

I study daily and practice full classes whenever possible, my daughter is almost 5 years, but still needs lots of Mama, which translates into time is luxury! 

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Embark on a journey of self-discovery, rejuvenation and deep sharing in the idyllic setting of Costa Brava!