An (Organic) American Girl in Istanbul

08/02/2011 09:42 am ET Updated Oct 02, 2011

by guest bloggerᅡᅠHolly Walck, Iyengar yogaᅡᅠ practitioner and teacher in Bethlehem, PA, and Istanbul, Turkey

What do you mean there's no celery?

For several years now, I have had the good fortune to be Maria's Yoga teacher.ᅡᅠ Most Sundays we meet for two hours, with a few minutes spent to catch up on the week's events before we begin.ᅡᅠ That time helps me decide if we're going to stick with the planned sequence or take a much-needed detour.ᅡᅠ For example, if Maria tells me she has been traveling all week, I'll teach her supported poses, which are deliciously refreshing, instead of practicing unsupported backbends, which require a lot of energy and can be dehydrating.

The key to good yoga teaching is adaptation: As teachers we have to see the students in front of us clearly and make adjustments based on observation skills cultivated over the years. I have recently had to call on the powers of adaptation that I developed from yoga teaching after I moved from Pennsylvania to Istanbul, Turkey, and learned to cook food for my family that is both (a) seasonal and (b) local.

For more on Holly's experience living organically in Istanbul, go to