Podcast with Alex Alexiou on my new novel the Silence of Scheherazade, history, memory and space.



BBC’s The Art Hour. We are chatting about movies, arts, books and other things

Hello all!

Welcome to my blog “İnsanlık Hâli” which means The Human Condition in Turkish.

Most of entries are in Turkish but as often as i can I am trying to write some English blogs as well. For the English blogs please click here.

If you are curious to know who is writing all this stuff here is a little bit about myself.

I was born in year of 1974 in Istanbul, Turkey. Although I travelled all around the world, I have always ended up in the  the same tall green building where i was born and grew up at the centre of Istanbul.

I went to school in the same neighborhood and then to Boğazici (Bosphorus) University, that is only a few miles from my home.

Until the age of 23 I didn’t do much traveling other than camping in  the wonderful beaches of southwestern Turkey.

I majored in sociology and then completed my MA on the same subject. My graduate thesis which i have completed under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Nilufer Gole was titled as “Visions of Morality, Modesty and Modernity: The case of Fadime Sahin.” For my thesis I focused on a sex scandal that took place among the Islamic circles which ended up becoming a big splash in the mass media.

By the year 2000 two major changes took place in my life. One was that I won Green Card (USA) from the lottery, the second was that i decided to leave the academia and travel the world on my own while doing voluntary work. After a brief visit to the USA i started my journey eastbound and traveled to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and finally Thailand where i found the most amazing two people who were teaching yoga. Beatrix and Pancho were my first teachers in Thailand. They were devoted practitioners of Hatha Yoga, lovers of beauty, simplicity and the Divine. I stayed as close as possible to them for the next three years and under their guidance learned not only the practice of yoga but also Buddhism, Vedic philosophy and studied various Hatha Yoga texts.

On one of my  trips  to USA, in Portland, Oregon I was introduced to Shadow Yoga, a system of Hatha Yoga that was established by Sundernath (Shandor Remete).  With its uncomplicated yet deeply effective movements, its potential for transformation and the vast amount of information on Ayurveda, Marmastana, Vedic philosophy, Shadow school of Hatha Yoga impressed me very much.. As I started to understand the workings of bandhas and the rhythm in the deeper layers of my own body and self, I decided to stay in Portland instead of returning Thailand.  For three years I stayed as an apprentice to my teacher in Portland who was teaching Shadow Yoga at that time and regularly attended the courses and workshops that Sundernath and Emma Balnaves were offering in different parts of the world.

Today I am continuing my studies with my teachers Sundernath and Emma Balnaves and with their permission  teaching the system of Shadow Yoga in Istanbul and in Portland.

Apart from yoga, writing holds an important space in my life. My first book Mavi Orman (Blue Forest- only in Turkish -yet-) was published in 2011. It is a compilation of essays and journal entries of mine during my travels. My second book Saklambac (Hide and Seek- in Turkish) is a mystery novel which reveals the inner dynamics of an upper middle class family in Istanbul. Inevitably , like all first novels Saklambac has an autobiographic quality! My third book the Silence of Scheherazade is a historical fiction which takes place in Smyrna, a cosmopolitan harbor town of Ottoman Empire. Silence of Scheherazade is  published in Greece and in Turkey in March 2016. Later my novels Yaz Sıcağı (Summer Heat), Kahvaltı Sofrası (At the Breakfast Table) and the non-fiction İnsanlık Hali (Human Condition) were published.

The blogs  I write here are not intended to give information about yoga. On the contrary I try to write as little as possible about yoga as i believe one can learn yoga only by studying under a well-established teacher. The blogs here vary from memoirs to short stories, from sociological articles to travel journals. As a young woman who live in Turkey inevitably I am passionate about women’s rights, freedom, justice and democracy. The blog i wrote during the Gezi Park Resistance in 2013  “What is Happening in Istanbul” has reached to millions of readers all around the world and help them to understand the inner dynamics of the social movement in Turkey.

Here,my hope is to explore the “human condition” and the life.  Beyond and above our local identities, I believe that there is a common ground in which we understand each other. I believe there is a universal human condition that could be expressed and transferred from one to the other regardless of culture, class, race, religion or time.

Even though most entries tell about ”my” story, through them I intend to explore the Human Condtion in my blogs.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoy yourselves…

Defne Suman

June, 2021

Please visit The Silence of Scheherazade, my English debut novel, which will be published in August 2021 in the UK and in September 2021 in the USA and Canada.

For more information about my classes and schedules please go to:


For more information about my books see:


WELCOME’ için 2 yanıt

  1. Ozlem 30/07/2021 / 12:27 am

    Yayinevi The Silence of Scheherazade kitabiniz uzerine minik bir degerlendirme yazmami istedi. Sizi daha once tanimadigim icin Blogunza ugradim. Selamlar

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