Cultivating Connection: Weekly Mindfulness Practice Sessions in Turkish with Zeynep Ağacıkoğlu
In collaboration with the OMF, OMF-trained teacher Zeynep Ağacıkoğlu will be offering weekly online mindfulness practice sessions in Turkish as an opportunity for you to maintain your practice in a supportive space. In this blog, Zeynep shares her experience with online practice sessions and the reasons behind this new offering.
Regular practise is the key to mindfulness; we all struggle to keep up with it amidst our busy lives and need support and reminders to carry on.
Being part of a group and practising mindfulness together is a true gift and as technology has brought us together online, we can now do our daily practices in our homes, connected to people from all over the world… a blessing to be cherished.
Whether guiding or practising online, I feel a strong connection, empathy, mutual respect, solidarity, trust, and a sense of community.
At the beginning of every OMF Weekday Practice Session, when participants share their locations in the chat, I visualize a big and bright world map where every participant drops a pin. It feels like we’re all there together in this world, forming a big map and building a community under one supportive roof.
“Whenever I felt lost, I found my balance again and again through mindfulness practices.”
Relocation and Mindfulness
Community and connection mean a lot to me. I have relocated several times over the past 15 years. Every time I relocate, I leave behind familiar places, relationships, and a sense of belonging, which can feel like a deep loss.
In each country and city I’ve lived in, I encountered different cultures, languages, and challenges.
Through these experiences, I’ve discovered something – it is our interconnectedness which is important. Regardless of our backgrounds, languages, cultures, or beliefs, we are connected by our shared humanity.
We all feel the same emotions and have similar aspirations in moments of joy, sorrow, and struggle. Our journey through life, with its ups and downs, brings us together in our quest for understanding, connection, and fulfilment.
Online Mindfulness Practice Sessions in Turkish
Whenever I felt lost during my journeys, I have found my balance again and again through mindfulness practices. Every mindfulness practice, whether formal or informal, has been incredibly helpful for me in adjusting to new countries after relocating. They’ve helped me build resilience, emotional stability, and better integration into new cultures.
That’s why I decided to teach mindfulness to others and share what I’ve learned.
I believe that if something has been good to me, it’s worth sharing it with others so they can benefit too. Sharing those practices is my way of giving back, either in English or Turkish.
“…while language can influence the way meditation is practised and experienced, the underlying principles of mindfulness, awareness, and presence remain universal and accessible across linguistic and cultural boundaries.”
During and after my mindfulness training, I noticed that different languages have different connotations in mindfulness practices. Certain languages may have words or expressions that convey subtle shades of meaning related to mindfulness, concentration, and awareness that might not easily translate into other languages.
Eventually, I came to understand that mindfulness practice is about direct experience and inner awareness, which can be accessed and cultivated regardless of the language used to describe or guide the practice.
Moreover, while language can influence the way meditation is practised and experienced, the underlying principles of mindfulness, awareness, and presence remain universal and accessible across linguistic and cultural boundaries. What I experience when practising in different languages might bring different flavours to the practitioners.
After the last Mindfulness for Life course I led, the participants asked me to guide regular weekly practice sessions in Turkish to help them continue their mindfulness journeys.
While most participants can comfortably speak English, they prefer to practice in their mother tongue. The reasons include practising with somebody they know and feeling safer in a practice in Turkish.
Regardless of the reason, there is a need for a regular session in Turkish. Offering sessions to participants in their native language can support them on their mindfulness journey and help them find peer support in a group with a familiar environment.
It will also be a new beginning for the people who haven’t yet been introduced to mindfulness as well as a regular practice opportunity for people who have already completed a mindfulness course.
With OMF’s support, I will do my best to build a vibrant community, embracing mindfulness in Turkish with joy and excitement.
Joining the Sessions
The online mindfulness practice sessions in Turkish will take place every Tuesday from 21:00-21:30 (Turkish time) / 18:00-18:30 (UK time).
If you would like to join, please complete the registration form here
Zeynep is a trauma-informed yoga instructor and OMF-trained mindfulness teacher. She has been one of the teachers leading OMF’s Weekday Practice Sessions since January 2023.
Zeynep has a background in industrial design and a master’s in graphic design and designed an expat adaptation web page as a graduation project, bringing a unique perspective to expat adaptation.
Having lived in various countries (Bangladesh, Switzerland (German region), Turkey, Switzerland (French region) and Saudi Arabia), she understands the challenges of cultural integration and the importance of community. She loves sharing her insights on expat life and mindful attitudes.
You can stay connected with Zeynep via her Instagram page
You may also be interested in Zeynep’s blog “Expats Need Mindfulness”