About Monika

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In this biography, we learn about Monika through the eyes of Monika’s oldest daughter, Defne Sarsilmaz. Defne writes about her Mom, Monika’s, life, her times spent in different countries. Defne also writes about Monika’s journey becoming the yoga teacher she is today.

Yoga has been a part of Monika’s life for more than twenty years. During these years she has evolved from a student to an instructor, never ceasing to be a learner. She has developed her own unique style, which is applied in her classes, as well as in  her teacher-training programs.

This is a picture taken in 1985 in Bodrum Turkey. Monika is holding her son Derya's hand and has her oldest daughter on her back as they walk to the neighbor's farm to get milk.

This is a picture taken in 1985 in Bodrum Turkey. Monika is holding her son Derya’s hand and has her oldest daughter on her back as they walk to the neighbor’s farm to get milk.

Monika’s perspective on life had taken a hit at the age of nineteen when she traveled to the United States. During her visit she stayed with a group of young people who had chosen an alternative style of living, one that aimed to go ‘back to nature’. Monika was very drawn to their philosophy and sure enough she would apply aspects of it into her own life later on.
Monika’s life took a major turn when she moved to Italy after finishing high school, leaving her home country Germany behind. Meeting her Turkish husband in Florence had determined where her home base was going to be for the next thirty years: Bodrum, Turkey.
Monika’s family home, a beautiful house built of natural stone and cedar wood, eventually became her first yoga studio. In fact it was more than a studio; it was a center where people met, got inspired and trained.  While starting a family, Monika started changing her life style. She became a vegetarian and started meditating. This meditation path eventually led her to yoga, at a time where yoga was still unknown in Turkey.
Monika's home, also a community meeting place. Photo taken in 1983.

Monika’s home, also a community meeting place. Photo taken in 1983.

In the early 90’s Bodrum started developing a scene of ecologists, nutritionists and other people that were interested in alternative living. Yoga fit right into this scene and Monika had a lot of work to do. Through her weekly classes she tried to raise awareness on various levels. She utilized yoga to raise the physical and mental awareness, whereas meditation was the answer for spiritual consciousness.
While her weekly classes and seasonal workshops continued on a local level, Monika started her frequent trips to Germany. She successfully completed a certification program in yoga therapy at the European College of Yoga and Therapy in 2006, while continuously attending a certification program in Iyengar Yoga in Munich between 2004-2008.

Monika’s first book on yoga, published in 2004.

The teacher training courses she took with yogi master Aadil Palkivala (2006-2007) were fundamental in Monika’s teacher training style. In 2007 she registered with Yoga Alliance as ERYT500, in 2008 she launched her own yoga school “Aspects of Yoga” with Yoga Alliance RYS200 and in 2012 added 300 hours of yoga therapy RYS300. Monika also partook in yoga conferences and healthsymposiums in San Francisco and Germany. She has held workshops, trainings and speeches at various institutions around Turkey, Europe and the United States. She was featured in renowned magazines and has been documented on Turkish national television programs. She has worked with numerous celebrities, taught yoga Donna Karan and published her first yoga book in Turkish in 2004.

Monika and daughter Defne.

Monika believes that if we want to change the world, we must change ourselves first. By constantly changing herself for the better, she continues to positively influence the people around her. She travels between Bodrum, Turkey and Pennsylvania, U.S. where she teaches yoga and trains teachers.
Author:
Defne Sarsilmaz
Monika’s Daughter