Esra Erol

Istanbul, Turkey

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I have always loved dancing. It's been my way of expression and a way to understand myself and everything else. If I weren’t shy, I'd be the first to jump on the dance floor, cause I simply cannot not dance. I took ballet classes as a child, then met contemporary dance as a teen, but didn't take the path to become a professional dancer. I then met yoga in my 20s, became a yoga teacher in 2013, took another yoga training where I learned about many different types of yoga from wise women to fertility to kids, teens, family, community yoga to yoga therapy, and did most of them for some years, but I was missing something crucial in my own practice, looking for ways to dance and move freely. My search lead me to Qoya at age 38, when I almost thought it wouldn't be possible anymore to have dance in the center of my life, but apparently it was possible. I completed my Qoya teacher training in May 2019. Qoya has lead me to a deeper understanding of what dance is and what it can do.

When did you take your first Qoya class? In person at the Intensive training in May 2019! Before that, I danced along to Qoya online.

What does it mean for  you to teach Qoya? Qoya helps me remember and be myself; teaching Qoya means I get to invite others to remember and be, too. Qoya came to me as such a savior both because it got me dancing again and also showed that I wasn't alone, thinking and feeling the way I did. It helped me to see the potential that dance, movement and body hold, and that dance can be more than a performance or fun or an art piece. It can be a healer, lead us to such great wisdom, to know and be ourselves, and feel connected. I just hope to deliver that reminder, and create an environment for it to happen.

What is your favorite song to dance to right now? “Bird Set Free” by Sia

What book has inspired you on the path to embodying the feminine? If I have to pick one, definitely Rochelle Schieck's “Qoya: A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free.”

What would you tell someone who is thinking of taking Qoya class for the first time? A Qoya class intends to give you the space to be yourself, to have the comfort to feel however you feel while experiencing movement and dance as a way to dive into the body, as well as an expression and metaphor. Theres a saying in Qoya, "Come as you are and leave more of who you are." The movements are simple, for every body; the main focus is to do it your own way, listening to your inner teacher.