Meet the Teacher – Sibel Olcer

Sibel Olcer picture of face

This month our Meet the Teacher edition is with the..

Very unique Sibel Olcer. Sibel is one of those teachers that you check the timetable for and ensure you make it to that class.  This Yogini is humble, down to earth, tough and full of love – all essential qualities that make a strong teacher and leader.

What was the reason you started doing Yoga?

Working towards deadlines, long hours behind a desk and sales targets were taking a toll. That’s when I discovered yoga. A friend (thank you Richard Knowles) invited me to a Bikram Hot Yoga class in North London. To this day, I remember it. I had no idea what to expect. It was physically and mentally the most challenging experience I had done. Ninety sweaty minutes later, I came out feeling moved (and dare I say teary eyed) but felt G R E A T for it. I slept well and continued to feel light and joyful the next day. Curious to understand how 26 postures could have such a profound and uplifting effect, I went back and yoga became a part of my weekly routine.

How long have you been teaching for and how has your life changed since becoming a Yoga teacher?

I have been teaching yoga for 6 years. I became mother and then teacher within a short period of time. The flow of life is definitely different now. My perspective on life has changed, its more spiritual. I have a deeper awareness of my body, mind and those around me.

With deciding to become a yoga teacher I made a commitment to continuously grow as both a practitioner and teacher and this led me to other trainings and exposed me to yoga philosophy, which is facilitating the biggest change in my life


What did you do before you started teaching Yoga?

I was working in London’s advertising industry for large corporate media agencies for 15 years

What is it about the teaching that you love?

I love seeing the transformation in people and support them to further their practice.

I love helping and connecting with people. Before each class the intention I set is “ May I hold a safe place for everyone to find and receive what they need most”. Whether it’s to heal a physical injury, move into their edge, let-go, relax or better understand and feel the alignment of a posture, I hope for everyone to leave feeling light.

What is it about teaching that can be difficult?

Good question! For me; first starting teaching was the most challenging part of the journey and getting comfortable being in front of students. The more you start teaching you realise the less time you have to practice so the next challenge was to nail that balance.

What is your Favourite Yoga Posture?

At the moment it is triangle Trikonasana (triangle). I am enjoying feeling grounded in the feet and expansive through the arms at the same time.

What are your interests outside Yoga?

I love Argentine Tango and have been dancing for 12 years. I’m also interested in massage, reiki, karmic astrology and have the intention to eventually embrace all.

How long have you been teaching at Kula, and what is it about Kula that you really like?

Since September 2013. I love the energy and community at Kula. Gerry has always been a great studio owner to work for and given me the opportunity to grow as a teacher.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is compassionate and precise with an emphasis on alignment and breath. It is informed by, different strands woven into my own learning and growth. Following my Bikram teacher training; I studied Tapasya Hot Yoga with Kirsten Campbell; to better support people in relaxation and meditation, I trained in Yoga Nidra with James Reeves; to gain a more energetic understanding of the body I completed the Chakra Therapy Training with Anodea Judith. I am currently in a 200-hour teacher training with Stuwart Gilchrist, deepening my understanding of asana (posture), alignment, anatomy, hands-on adjustments, as well as the roots of yoga through study of the history, philosophy, mantras, mudras and meditation. Just to jazz it all up further and add some F U N to the week with Gerry’s support I have also completed my Kula Sculpt training. On this path you can never stop learning and I hope my teaching will never stop evolving.

Sibel Olcer practicing tuladandasana

You connect very well with the students, and you have a clear passion for not just Yoga but healing, what led you to be here in life?

Thank you that’s kind. It was my endless appetite to better understand how this ancient practice had such a good effect, my desire to want to share the benefits with my community and the birth of Cam that propelled me onto this path.

What is the best feeling for you as you are teaching a class?

Best feeling is when I’ve connected with the room and facilitating a safe space for my students to move through their physical and energetic body. When I am not in my head but feeling the room.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Free spirited and open hearted.

If you weren’t a Yoga teacher, what would you be?

I can’t imagine not practising and teaching yoga. I don’t like the idea of being boxed into being only one thing but I would have facilitating healing in some shape or form, always a mother and sometimes an Argentinian tango dancer.

Questions written by Suraj Ghumra.

Answers by Sibel Olcer.

Hydration

Hydration

Hydration! Super important for all yogis, and is an essential part of a yogi’s routine to properly nourish and fuel the body. Hydration is key to progress in your practice staying hydrated helps in maintaining your performance during yoga practice but also as well for maintaining your mood and recovery from exercise2. The following tips are focused on Bikram yogis but are also applicable and high relevant to all types of yoga classes, especially where you are going to work up a sweat.

yoga vinyasa hydration   

Start the session hydrated! Technically referred to as Euhydration (hydration), where your body is in its natural balance1. This differs for everyone, but the UK governments recommendations in the Eatwell Guide suggest 6-8 glasses3. This includes Water, lower fat milk, sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee. There is often debate over the affects of coffee before exercise. Caffeine is a stimulant and can also have a diuretic affect at rest. However studies have shown that having one cup of coffee before exercise will not induce diuresis during exercise and can also be consumed in small amounts post exercise2. Alcohol is not considered a good pre workout drink, it won’t hydrate you and it has a diuretic effect so it will make you pee!

 

During a Bikram class it is good to take some water to sip on when appropriate and necessary. The first 20 minutes of class, it is advised that you do not touch your water, as you are focusing on warming up the body. Teachers, will always queue you as to the appropriate time to take a sip in Bikram. Sugary or caffeinated drinks are not allowed, but electrolytes are helpful for some people during class.

 

After class please rehydrate! Did you not see that puddle on the floor? Let alone all the steam on the mirrors. Everyone sweats in Bikram, even if you don’t see it in your skin, it may have evaporated into the air. A study of regular hot yoga practitioners found that women participants lost on average 0.7 litres of sweat per hour and the men lost an average of 2 litres a hour1. You may not realize exactly how much you are loosing when you’re focusing on the asana, but loosing nearly a litre of fluid is quiet a lot! So do make sure to have some fluids readily available after class. Fluid losses are variable and fluid requirements are different for each individual. It is best to consume up to 150% of fluid losses after exercise2. So if you loose one litre of sweat, that’s 1.5 litres within the first 4 hours after class. If you are an older practitioner pay particular attention to your bodies natural thirst queues as well as any symptoms of dehydration (headache, nausea, dizziness)2.

 

When rehydrating there are a variety of options. However drinking only water and a diet low in salt can put you at increased risk for symptoms of Hyponatremia. This is a state of low blood sodium concentration, meaning you may have enough water in you but not enough electrolytes. Symptoms include muscular twitching, weakness, Dizziness, nausea, progressively painful headache swelling of your hands or feet, confusion, weight gain2. This is not usually a problem as most of us consume enough salt in our diet daily to help replenish our sodium levels. However Sodium sweat losses vary between individuals, and can also be replaced with electrolyte rich fluids, to help you rehydrate appropriately maintaining your electrolyte levels2. A great and popular option, essentially nature’s own rehydration formula, is coconut water. It’s rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin C and riboflavin (Vitamin B2)4. (We stock GoCoco! Stop by the reception to purchase a bottle the next time you practice). Milk, Tea, Coffee and fruit juice all count towards your daily fluid intake, although government recommendations limit fruit juice consumption to 150ml a day, as they are high in sugar.

 

The best thing to do is to figure out for yourself a hydration routine that works for you and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you after your next class. This is what yoga is all about right? Listening to and respecting the needs and abilities of our body. If you have any medication or health conditions that you think affect your hydration status, you should talk to your GP about your physical activity routine.

 

Hope these tips help! Please share your stories with us or if you have a favourite rehydration solution. We want to hear from you!

 

 

Victoria,

Yoga Advisor

 

 

(1) Campbell, S, et al. “Fluid Intake and Sweat Rate During Hot Yoga Participation.” International Journal Of Exercise Science, vol. 10, no. 5, 2017, pp. 721–733. (2) Brendon P. McDermott, Scott A. Anderson, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Douglas J. Casa, Samuel N. Cheuvront, Larry Cooper, W. Larry Kenney, Francis G. O’Connor, and William O. Roberts (2017) National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active. Journal of Athletic Training: September 2017, Vol. 52, No. 9, pp. 877-895 (3) “Eatwell Guide.” 2016, www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide. (4) “Go Coco For Sport.” Go CoCo, 2017, www.gococodrinks.com/gococo-for-sport.