Hello all!

Welcome to my blog “Insanlik Hali” 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, Emanet Zaman (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 in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. Yağmur’dan Sonra (After Rain) is a near future dystopia where I explore the meaning of life and death in a world where human race is about to be extinct. It is published in 2020 and followed by my short story anthology Evden Kaçmanın Yolları (The Ways to Run Away from Home) in 2021. My novels have been published in various languages since 2016 and my English debut novel The Silence of Scheherazade will be published in August 2021 in the UK and in September 2021 in the USA and Canada.

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

April, 2020

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 32 yanıt

  1. Anonim 02/06/2013 / 11:02 pm

    Hi Sumandef,

    My name is Monis Khan, and I work as an Interview Producer for Al Jazeera English. I’d like to speak to you about coming on our show, The Stream, to discuss the Gezi protests. Could you email me at Monis.Khan@aljazeera.net for more information.

  2. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 12:19 am

    Hi Sumandef,

    I have translated your blog into Spanish about what is happening in Turkey at Gezi Park. How can I send it to you?

    Juan Soto

  3. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 1:46 am

    Hi, I’m from Mexico and we support your cause. I would like to share with you some social proyects, we have real interest in helping you. Where can I send to you an email?

  4. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 2:15 am

    Hi, is there any translation in French please?
    If not, I would do it. Although I am fluent, I am not a professional.
    Many thanks for your answer.

    • Madzolina Super 07/06/2013 / 3:11 am

      yes ı can translate in french. and specialy because i was very emotive reading your text. i want to say to same thing where should i send ıt ??

  5. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 3:06 am

    Good morning from Cambodia. Thank you for this incredible blog….maybe this video or just the song can be put on loud speakers all over loudspeakers…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpYeekQkAdc

    Thoughts and compassion to all of you fighting for your freedom.

  6. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 5:39 am

    I hope you are ok and things are working in favor of the people. Power to the people. Love and light be with you!

  7. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 6:32 am

    plz be safe, best regards from portugal!

  8. Irina 03/06/2013 / 10:00 am

    I can also do a German translation, if needed! Just email me!
    I’d like to spread the word as well. I think Germany and Turkey have a special relationship and the German public should know as well!

  9. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 11:00 am

    Hi Sumandef
    My name is Florence Fischer an I work for Swiss National Radio. I am writing you on behalf of your article about whats happening in Istanbul. Could you please email me florence.fischer@srf.ch
    Or can I call you?
    Thank you and best

  10. Juliane 03/06/2013 / 11:20 am

    Hi Sumandef,
    My name is Juliane Frisse and I work for German Public Radio in Bavaria. I’d like to speak to you about whats happening in Istanbul. Could you please email me: juliane.frisse@br.de – or can I call you?
    Thanks a lot!

  11. levante76 03/06/2013 / 3:35 pm

    Hi Sumandef, following the Italian translation to your last post. Good luck


    “Ai miei amici che vivono fuori dalla Turchia: scrivo per farvi sapere cosa sta succedendo a Istanbul da cinque giorni. Quattro giorni fa un gruppo di persone non appartenenti a nessuna specifica organizzazione o ideologia si sono ritrovate nel parco Gezi di Istanbul. Tra loro c’erano molti miei amici e miei studenti. Il loro obiettivo era semplice: evitare la demolizione del parco per la costruzione di un altro centro commerciale nel centro della città. Il taglio degli alberi sarebbe dovuto cominciare giovedì mattina. La gente è andata al parco con le coperte, i libri e i bambini. Hanno messo su delle tende e passato la notte sotto gli alberi. La mattina presto quando i bulldozer hanno iniziato a radere al suolo alberi secolari, la gente si e’ messa di mezzo per fermare l’operazione. Non hanno fatto altro che restare in piedi di fronte alle macchine.Nessun giornale né emittente televisivaera lì per raccontare la protesta. Un blackout informativo totale. Ma la polizia è attivata con i cannoni d’acqua e lo spray al peperoncino. Hanno spinto la folla fuori dal parco. Nel pomeriggio il numero di manifestanti si è moltiplicato. Così anche il numero di poliziotti, mentre il governo locale di Istanbul chiudeva tutte le vie d’accesso a piazza Taksim, dove si trova il parco Gezi. La metro è stata chiusa, i treni cancellati, le strade bloccate. Ma sempre più gente ha raggiunto a piedi il centro della città. Sono arrivati da tutta Istanbul. Sono giunti da diversi background, da diverse ideologie, da diverse religioni. Queste persone sono miei amici. Sono i miei studenti, i miei familiari. Non hanno “un’agenda nascosta”, come dice lo Stato. La loro agenda è là fuori, è chiara. L’intero Paese viene venduto alle corporazioni dal governo, per la costruzione di centri commerciali, condomini di lusso, autostrade, dighe e impianti nucleari. Si sono ritrovati per fermare la demolizione di qualcosa di più grande di un parco: il diritto a vivere dignitosamente come cittadini di questo Paese.”

  12. CKHerm2 03/06/2013 / 3:55 pm

    Good morning Insanlik. Thank you for writing the letter on what is happening with the protests in Istanbul. Your letter is circulating widely on Tumblr where I first read it. I am learning about the issues in this region of the world and I am curious about the connection you made between the state’s heavy-handed response to the protests and its connection to Syria, another area I am beginning to learn more about.

  13. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 4:26 pm

    big support from france

  14. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 4:35 pm

    Dear Turkish people, We in the Netherlands have correspondents with their own cameracrew in Istanbul so we know what is going on. Turkish people and Dutch people demonstrated yesterday in The Hague (more than thousand). Some people speak of a Turkish spring. We folllow what is going on on radio and television and I am sure questions will be asked in our Parliament as well as in the European Parliament . Hang on, be strong, we are with you and everybody who is fighting for their freedom.

  15. Chiara 03/06/2013 / 5:43 pm

    Ai miei amici che non vivono in Turchia:
    Vi scrivo per raccontarvi cosa è successo a Istanbul negli ultimi 5 giorni. Devo raccontarvelo io perché il governo ha oscurato la maggior parte delle fonti di informazione, e il passaparola e internet sono gli unici mezzi che ci sono rimasti per spiegare le nostre motivazioni e chiedere aiuto e sostegno.
    Quattro giorni fa, un gruppo di persone, molte delle quali non appartenenti a nessun tipo di organizzazione o ideologia, si sono riunite al Parco Gezi di Istanbul. Tra questi si trovavano molti miei amici e studenti. La ragione era semplice: protestare e impedire che il parco venisse distrutto per lasciar spazio alla costruzione dell’ennesimo centro commerciale proprio nel centro della città. Ci sono moltissimi centri commerciali a Istanbul, almeno uno per quartiere! L’abbattimento degli alberi era previsto per giovedì mattina. Muniti di lenzuola e libri, queste persone si sono recate al parco insieme ai propri figli. Hanno piantato delle tende e trascorso la notte sotto gli alberi. E quando alle prime ore del mattino i bulldozer hanno iniziato a sradicare gli alberi centenari, vi si sono parati d’innanzi per fermare l’operazione.
    Non hanno fatto altro che schierarsi di fronte alle macchine.
    Non c’erano né giornali né televisioni a riprendere la manifestazione. Era un vero e proprio black out mediatico.
    In compenso è arrivata la polizia con i cannoni ad acqua e gli spray al peperoncino e ha cacciato la folla dal parco.
    Quella sera il numero dei manifestanti era raddoppiato, così come il numero delle forze di polizia attorno al parco. Nel frattempo le autorità locali di Istanbul hanno chiuso tutte le vie di accesso alla piazza Taksim, dove si trova il parco. La metropolitana è stata chiusa, i traghetti cancellati e le strade interrotte.
    Eppure erano sempre più le persone che raggiungevano il centro della città a piedi.
    Provenivano da tutta Istanbul. Avevano estrazioni diverse, ideologie diverse, religioni diverse. Ma erano tutti lì, riuniti per evitare la distruzione di qualcosa che andava bel oltre il parco:
    il diritto di vivere da dignitosi cittadini di questo paese.
    Si sono riuniti e hanno manifestato. I poliziotti li hanno cacciati con spray e gas lacrimogeno e hanno spinto i carri armati contro la gente, che in cambio dava loro del cibo. Due giovani sono stati investiti dai carri armati e hanno perso la vita. Un’altra ragazza, una mia amica, è stata colpita alla testa da una bomboletta di gas lacrimogeno che la polizia lanciava direttamente sulla folla. Dopo un intervento durato tre ore, la mia amica si trova ora in terapia intensiva in condizioni critiche. Mentre scrivo, non so ancora se ce la farà. Questo blog è dedicato a lei.
    Queste persone sono miei amici. Sono miei studenti, miei parenti. Non hanno un “piano segreto”, come piace dire allo stato. Il loro piano è là fuori. È chiaro. Il nostro paese è stato venduto dal governo alle multinazionali per costruire centri commerciali, condomini lussuosi, autostrade, dighe e centrali nucleari. Il governo sta cercando (e, quando necessario, inventando) un scusa qualunque per attaccare la Siria contro la volontà del suo popolo.
    Come se non bastasse, il controllo del governo sulla vita dei cittadini è diventato insopportabile. Lo stato, sta perseguendo una agenda di politica conservatrice e ha approvato molte leggi e normative sull’aborto, sul parto cesareo, sulla vendita e il consumo di alcol, e persino sul
    colore del rossetto indossato dalle hostess.
    I manifestanti che marciano verso il centro di Istanbul rivendicano il proprio diritto di vivere liberi e di ricevere giustizia, protezione e rispetto da parte dello stato. Chiedono di essere coinvolti nei processi decisionali della città in cui vivono.
    Quello che hanno ricevuto, invece, non sono altro che una risposta eccessivamente violenta e moltissime bombolette di gas lacrimogeno in faccia. Tre persone hanno perso la vista.
    Eppure continuano a marchiare. Centinaia di migliaia si sono uniti a loro. Due migliaia di persone hanno attraversato il Bosforo a piedi per sostenere i manifestanti di Taksim.
    Nessun giornale e nessuna televisione si trovava sul luogo per raccontare cosa stesse accadendo. Erano tutti impegnati a trasmettere Miss Turchia e “Il gatto più strano del mondo”.
    La polizia ha continuato a scacciare i manifestanti e a sparare spray al peperoncino, al punto che molti cani e
    gatti randagi sono morti per avvelenamento.
    Le scuole, gli ospedali e persino vari hotel a 5 stelle nelle vicinanze della piazza Taksim hanno aperto le proprie porte ai feriti. I dottori hanno riempito le classi e le stanze degli hotel per prestare i primi soccorsi. Alcuni poliziotti si sono rifiutati di attaccare persone innocenti con il gas lascimogeno e hanno lasciato il loro lavoro. Tutt’attorno alla piazza sono stati installati disturbatori di frequenze per impedire l’accesso a internet, e sono state bloccate le reti 3g. I residenti e le aziende della zona hanno messo a disposizione dei manifestanti delle reti wifi. I ristoranti offrono cibo e acqua gratis.
    Ad Ankara e a Smirne altri si sono riuniti nelle strade per sostenere la resistenza a Istanbul.
    I media nazionali continuano a trasmettere Miss Turchia e “il gatto più strano del mondo”.
    Vi scrivo questa lettera perché sappiate cosa sta succedendo a Istanbul. I mass media non ve ne parleranno. Per lo meno non nel mio paese. Vi prego,
    postate più articoli che potete e che leggete su Internet, e fare girare la voce.
    Ieri sera, mentre postavo degli articoli sul mio profilo Facebook per spiegare cosa stesse accadendo a Istanbul, qualcuno mi ha chiesto:
    “cosa speri di ottenere continuando a lamentarti con gli stranieri del nostro paese?”
    Continuando a “lamentarmi” del mio paese spero di ottenere:
    La libertà di espressione e di parola,
    Il rispetto per i diritti umani
    Il controllo delle decisioni che riguardano me e il mio corpo
    Il diritto di libera associazione in qualunque zona della città senza essere considerata una terrorista.
    Ma soprattutto, attraverso il passaparola spero, amici miei, che vivete in altre parti del mondo, di potervi fare conoscere la situazione, di ottenere il vostro sostegno e il vostro aiuto!

    Vi prego di diffondere la parola e condividere il blog.


    Per ulteriori informazioni o per dare una mano consultate la pagina Call for Urgent Help di Amnesty International (http://humanrightsturkey.org/2013/06/01/abuses-against-protestors-in-turkey-amnesty-calls-for-urgent-action/)

  16. Hello! I am working for a big television show in Germany - and I wonder how the young woman in red is doing and who she is? Do you have more information about her? Maybe you could contact me at caroline_rudelt@mhoch2.de. Thank you so much and all the best 03/06/2013 / 6:00 pm

    Hello! I am working for a big television show in Germany – and I wonder how the young woman in red is doing and who she is? Do you have more information about her? Maybe you could contact me at caroline_rudelt@mhoch2.de. Thank you so much and all the best for you!!!!

  17. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 6:33 pm

    Hello, My Name is Ramona, I work as an Editor at the german online magazine ZEITjUNG.de. We want to support occupy gezi. I wondered whether you can send me some (about 15) pictures of the protest via Email? And wanted to ask you, if you could answer me some questions?
    Is there any willingness to cooperate on the governments side?
    How many people got hurt by now, or even died?
    Is there any protest against the governements reaction by the local media by now?
    What was the worst moment until now?
    Are there any violent reactions by the people against the police?
    Is the protest still a concern for Trees? Or do you think they will build the shopping center anyway, even after this? Thank you very much for your answers! I hope you´ll win the protest shortly!!
    With best regards, ramona :
    mail: ramona.drosner@t-online.de

  18. Ramona 03/06/2013 / 6:39 pm

    Hello, My Name is Ramona, I work as an Editor at the german online magazine ZEITjUNG.de. We want to support occupy gezi. I wondered whether you can send me some (about 15) pictures of the protest via Email? Aswell I wanted to ask you, if you could answer me some questions?
    Is there any willingness to cooperate on the governments side by now?
    How many people got hurt by now, or even died?
    Is there any protest against the governements reaction by the local media?
    What was the worst moment until now?
    Are there violent reactions by the people against the police/government?
    Is the protest still about Trees? Or do you think they will build the shopping center altough the protest? Thank you very much for your answers! All the best for you! ramona

  19. findingyoga 03/06/2013 / 9:17 pm

    I copied your blog, in case you get blocked there is a record of it. Thank you for your bravery and clarity. ~Deven

  20. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 9:49 pm

    thank you for spreading your message of freedom!!! Love Raffaela

  21. Anonim 03/06/2013 / 11:48 pm

    We support you from Hungary, we had similar situation in october 2006!

  22. Anonim 04/06/2013 / 3:55 am

    Hello, I suggested your article to PERMONDO (http://www.permondo.eu), a network of volunteer translators for human right causes. Fingers crossed that it get their attention. All my best wishes to Instanbul!

  23. giannicatalfamo 04/06/2013 / 11:49 am

    Much love from Italy – if you have a Twitter coount please RT me, so I can add you to my list of people tweeting about the awful situation at Gezy Park, Be safe and strong!

  24. irishguy 04/06/2013 / 2:54 pm

    Hi, my name is Collie, I shared you on FB about what is going on. if you need a place to get away to, I live in the south of France.. you can come and stay and do some yoga with some people I know. my address is colliewarrior at gmail dot com

  25. Anonim 04/06/2013 / 9:57 pm

    solidarity from Portugal. We are with you. Your fight is our fight!

  26. Promit Basu 07/06/2013 / 3:36 am

    solidarity from India. We love Orhan Pamuk. we love turkish clture. Turkish people have always been bravehearts and free spirits. They shall continue to be so, we know. I have shared your blog link on my facebook page.

  27. Anonim 09/06/2013 / 2:43 am

    Thanks for telling us what is going on in Turkey.
    I hope for everyone to be safe !

    From France.

  28. Aline 15/06/2013 / 1:02 am

    Hi, Sumandef
    There are two reasons I am writing this to you tonight:
    First: it’s wonderful what you are doing here. I almost cryied the first time i’ve read “what’s happening in Istanbul”. I can see by now that the ammount of people that are against their governments and are not afraid of showing it to the world is bigger than I thought. as i live in brazil, i’ve translated your blog to portuguese so everybody could read it. until last week all my ”energies” were sent to turkey, but now something really serious happened in my country and it is the 2nd reason i am writing to you. some time ago the government decided they would raise the transport fares in brazil (and believe me, it is already way too expensive for the quality of our buses and trains). it began in my city (porto alegre) just like in istanbul: few people, no violence against police. for the first time in years we could stop the government, but it didnt last long. last week they came back with this idea about the fares. this time all the country got together in the big cities for protesting. and apparently we are not welcome in our own country. i can’t say there wasn’t any kind of vandalism on our part as protesters. some of the guys wrote stuff like “violence is what the government is doing” or “R$ 3,05 – robbery”. some of them blocked the streets. few broke the banks’ windows. but that was ALL. we didn’t hurt anybody. we got TEAR GAS in our face. the cops sprayed the hell out of the people with pepper spray. they shot us with rubber bullets IN THE HEAD – at least 1 person is blind right now because of one of those “harmless” bullets. they broke into a pub were a group of young people got together after the manifestations and they almost tore it down.
    when the protests started there we were like “turkey’s government has gone too far”. we used to criticize middle eastern governments as well. brazil was also seen as a free place. but now we have just found out that our system here is no different from yours. it’s exactly the same story.
    i know that there is not much you can do for us right now cause you are also fighting for a great cause. i just needed to share it with someone i know that would think the same way out there. if possible, spread it.
    thank you – and never lose hope!

  29. Anonim 20/06/2013 / 4:06 am

    Hi, Defne, I am Sergio Mastretta, from Puebla, México. I read your text about Turkey and the massive protest against Endorgan. I am asking you for your permission to publish it in spanish on our web site (http://mundonuestro.e-consulta.com) This site is a non profit making, and it is about narrative journalism.
    Thank you very much.

    • sumandef 21/06/2013 / 2:08 am

      Dear Sergio,

      Please go ahead and publish it in your blog. It would be an honor. Can you please send me the link afterwards?


  30. Kalemtıraş 28/06/2013 / 6:14 pm

    I want to thank you all, people who have visited this blog and left a comment, translated my entries to different languages and spread the word for a better world!
    You may say we are dreamers… but we are not the only ones!
    Thank you so much for your support dear friends!
    Hugs to you all!

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