Cemile’s Thoughts on Koundinyasana: “It looks so fancy! I admit it was a ‘dream pose’ for me for a long time. I actually remember the first time I managed to this pose (in the Somerville studio) — I guess my surprise and suspicion of whether I had actually successfully managed it was obvious because the instructor commented on the confused yet enthusiastic face I had. Last year (I believe it was also when Koundinyasana was pose of the month), I had the exact experience but in the opposite role of the instructor — I saw that confused yet excited look of ‘Wait, did I really just do it?’ It felt rewarding to think that I had some aid in feeling accomplished. Also, I love that it has so many variations and is an impressive just as a transition.”
We are diverting somewhat from the regular premise with this mid-month “Teacher Feature.” While Cemile (pronounced “Gem-ah-lay”) did complete Mimi’s 200-Hour Teacher Training in 2015 and taught regularly for the following year-plus, she came off the schedule last spring so she could focus on finishing up her PhD in astrophysics at Tufts. Now that she’s completed her degree, our resident rocket scientist is preparing to take on a new adventure just outside of Toronto where she’ll be doing a post-doc fellowship. We’ve only got a few more weeks with this beautiful soul regularly in our presence, and so we wanted to give her the honor of a proper send off.
While many of you likely got the chance to take class with Cemile, even more of you may recognize her from behind the sign-in desk in Cambridge, where she’s been a workstudy staff member since that studio’s opening in 2012. She’d already established a regular practice at our Somerville location — “I lived very close when I first moved to Boston,” she said — and so we were delighted to have her as part of the team during the process of opening the Cambridge Studio. She said, “I was pretty hooked when the Cambridge studio was announced to be opening — so I jumped in to join the community!” What that meant initially was helping out even before the general public had set a foot inside. “I still remember Cemile with a paintbrush in her hand, pitching in, helping out wherever,” said Steven, one of the studio owners. Once those studio doors were open, Cemile became such a dependable, skillful, and, of course, kind sign-in staff member, we tapped her to manage the desk staff, a role she’s served for the last three years. “She makes my job so much easier — she will be missed very much by all of us,” said Cambridge General Manager Sarah.
Here at O2, we are so appreciative of all of our workstudy members — these dedicated individuals work behind the desk and also as part of our cleaning crew. They volunteer for two hours per week (in exchange for their yoga memberships) to help operations run smoothly at both studios and also to keep the space beautiful. Being part of this team is a great way to get more involved in the community, so if you’re interested in learning more, ask for an application at the desk in either studio! We especially encourage those of you who have, like Cemile, practiced with us for awhile to apply since it’s a win-win for those of us we know — and who know us — to become these key members of our team.
Cemile initially started her yoga practice with us seven years ago because she needed “something to get her out of the house, to move and breathe in a non-competitive environment.” It gave her a break from her studies which had her spending her days reading and thinking about how structures evolve in the universe (“On a good day,” she quips) or trying to fix the bug in a code she wrote for data analysis (“On most days,” she adds). It’s a bonus-beyond-measure that she opted to come to O2 for that chance to breathe and that she became such an integral part of our community. In fact….now that we’re thinking about it….maybe our science-rooted name — O2, of course, being the chemical symbol for oxygen — drew her to us??? Whatever magic brought Cemile to O2 Yoga, we are thankful for it.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“The importance of remembering names! Seriously, try it! It made a significant impact on my social interactions! Besides the fact that it is good mental exercise, I think it is important to have people recognize that they are really seen and their presence appreciated.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching/working at the desk?
“Be patient with others and yourself! It seems trivial but as someone whose ‘day job’ is pretty solitary, I don’t get the chance to practice this so often!”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“A seemingly ‘simple’ pose: a glorious hip and oblique stretch, spinal extension, and chest/shoulder opener all in one — Trikonasana! I find it so grounding and yet energizing at the same time.”
What’s your “dream pose”?
“Savasana — without the monkeys in my mind jumping around.”
Any “Fun Facts” you’d care to share?
“I helped organize this year’s World Naked Bike Ride in Boston — I’m pretty passionate about biking (I am somewhat proud of the fact that I’ve come this far without ever getting a driver’s license), promoting body positivity and living sustainably!”
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Originally published on August 15, 2017. View on O2 Yoga's website here.