Asana Studies Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 9

Freedom Style with Zeynep

40 min - Practice


Zeynep leads us in a freedom-style practice, inviting us to to listen inwardly for guidance as we explore movement and sensation in the body. She alternates between guiding us through shapes and giving us permission to experiment, offering options and choices to find our fullest and freshest expression—here and now.
What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

(waves crashing) Hi, thank you for being back, This practice will be about freedom style yoga. This is what I love doing, and I was fortunate enough to learn it from Erich Schiffmann in 2008, and have been closely working with him ever since and I'm very glad about that, and very blessed, I feel blessed. He actually changed my life, and I'll talk about that in the bio probably, but freedom style yoga, why I love it, is because it got me in tune with my body and with the inner voice within me. And I thought that the inner voice was something that I needed to learn, but what, how it turns out, is that it's already there. And what you need to do is just become a little quiet.

And for this what we're gonna do today is just do that on the mat, rather than out there in life. We'll practice it on the mat and we'll be tuning inwards and being brave enough as Erich says to be, to do what we're guided to do. So, it's a bit tricky. This is an advanced practice, so I'm assuming you know some of the poses already. I won't be giving too many details about the poses, but what I will be doing is guiding you towards more freedom in your expression.

Please feel free to do whatever you're guided to do. And I will also be doing the same, otherwise it wouldn't be freedom style, so I'll do my best to keep to that too. Hope you have fun. I sure do every time I practice it. And the key here is just to pause and listen and go ahead and do it, rather than thinking too much about it.

But, you'll see what I mean as you do the practice. Thank you for being with me right now. So, we'll start in a meditation, you can take a comfortable cushion or just lean back against a wall. And, I'm assuming you're listening to my voice and not really watching me, and I'll be guiding you for the rest of the time. So you don't have to look at the screen at all.

Find your comfortable seat and just start closing your eyes when it does feel comfortable enough to do so. And let your hands rest on your legs or wherever they can rest. Feeling the ground underneath you. Just gently ground yourself further from the points that do touch the ground. And, lift the crown of the head up.

As you become heavy, invite your jaw, your face, or whatever you're aware of right now, to soften. Feel your breath and just take your time with all of these instructions. What you're doing right now is just tapping in to what already is there. The breath, the body, the sensations. For a couple of breaths, just postpone your thinking, maybe, just being a little more quiet inside, if possible.

Okay. And when you, if you feel ready, start gently opening the eyes, without losing the softness in your body. You can take as much time as you want to. Feeling the breath again. Taking a couple of deep breaths.

And then we're gonna start moving. Taking the cushion out and coming onto your mat, we'll be starting on all fours, and just grounding your palms in front of you, under your shoulders. Feel, it's shoulder width, but it can be a little wider or narrower, whatever feels comfortable, and your knees under your hips, but again they can be wider, the knees could be wider, or closer. And then I want you to start moving your spine, in cat and cow, which you probably already know, as you exhale rounding the spine. And then when you, with your inhale, lifting the tailbone and the crown of the head, and going back and forth between those two movements, just a couple of times, to bring some aliveness into your back, into your shoulders, and just sensing them.

And once that kicks in you'll start feeling you wanna do something new, or different, maybe you wanna do some circles with your hips, with your head, with your shoulders, or not. You wanna go on with cat cow go on ahead and do that. You might like to keep your eyes open, or keep them closed. To see what feels better right now, and a moment later it might change, too. You might like to move back in space with your hips, or a little bit more forward.

So, give yourself time, your body some time, for it to lead you. Feeling the breath, and just staying with the sensations.. If you feel like it you can come all the way forward, into a back bend maybe, or maybe not. You might be guided to lift an arm, and stretch it somewhere, or not, it could be a leg stretch too, just whatever you feel like right now, as you're on all fours, from all fours, just moving your body, deciding on the pace, and changing if you have to, you can be in child's, you can even go into down dog, if you feel guided to do so. And taking your time, and listening.

And sometimes it's gonna feel like you're thinking about what you're doing, and go on and think about it, but then when you realize this, just pause and, ask or feel what should I do next? Feel free to come into down dog, or a plank, or a back bend. Or moving your feet, playing with your feet. Feeling the neck, the shoulders, the hips, the legs, Just enjoying your body, enjoying the sensations. And you might be guided to even come to the front of your mat.

Maybe staying there in uttanasana, or being in down dog still, whatever feels comfortable. Maybe coming into a malasana or not. Just warming up your body. And becoming intimate with it. It can be anything you want, a technique, or something you're discovering right now.

When you're, when you feel ready, start moving towards an uttanasana, at the front of your mat. And just let your head be heavy, and let your arms dangle, and take your time into coming into uttanasana, and just breathing here, if you are already here you can do a variation, maybe with your hands. You can put them under your feet, or behind you. Or hug your legs. Eyes can be open, closed.

And then when you're ready, we're gonna start rolling up. So start bending the knees, and start rolling yourself up slowly, rounding the spine, and just feeling each change in sensations. And then coming into tadasana, coming to the front of your mat. And hands in front of your heart, closing the eyes if it's comfortable, touching yourself, your thumbs, touching your heart area, eyes softening as much as possible. Breathing out, exhaling.

Inhaling. And what I like doing here is just talking inwardly, saying I'm ready to listen, I wanna hear, please guide me, and as if I'm moving out of the way, and want to listen more, that's the key. So, opening the eyes when you're ready. And first we'll do a half sun salute, which means lifting the arms as you inhale, and then as you exhale start folding, so now I'm leading you, telling you what to do, bending the knees if you have to, inhaling up halfway, and then exhaling, folding again, and feeling the backs of your legs. Inhaling, bending the knees, lifting the heart into chair, and then exhaling, tadasana.

You probably know these poses, but I'll do it once more. Inhale, lift the arms up. And then exhale, folding just to remind you of those poses. Ex, inhale, come up half way, heart forward, and exhaling, folding again, letting the head be heavy. Inhaling, bending the knees, heart expands, opens up and then tadasana.

So, going on with those movements, at your own pace you can just repeat, if you feel you need to do the same thing, or you can start changing it as you feel like doing it. It could be in between those poses, it could be a variation of those poses. You can put your feet wider, closer, whatever feels natural to you right now. Maybe slower in pace, maybe faster. Maybe you wanna pause at one point, or not.

And just realize what your eyes are doing, and what you're feeling right now, where you are, movement happening right where you are. Sensations happening, and you're feeling them, and they're constantly changing, and you might like to stay in a pose and do something that's totally different with it. Or not. You can go on with half sun salutes, or maybe you just wanna go into a full sun salutation, that's also possible. Just see what works for you today, and tomorrow's gonna be totally new.

Playing around with the poses, with variations if you need to. Whatever feels comfortable whatever your energy needs to do. Remembering to feel the breath. Feeling the feet, the legs, the back, lower back, upper back, the neck, some of you might have already gone into a standing pose, or just going on with sun salutations, that's fine, whatever feels right, right now. As long as you're enjoying it, that's the key.

And feel how the ground is supporting you, right where you are, whatever's on the ground. And your breath is supporting you, right where you are, whatever you're doing, it's always there, and always will be with you. When you're ready, slowly come towards the front of the mat and again pausing, maybe bringing the hands in front of the heart, if that's comfortable. Closing the eyes, if that's comfortable, or not. Feeling the heartbeat, feeling the movements happening in your body, we're just bringing out what is already present, in your body.

Just making it more conscious, let's say. Opening the eyes, if they're closed. With your inhale start lifting the arms, just so that we're on the same page, for a couple of breaths, then we're gonna do our own thing again. Exhale, fold. Inhale, bring your heart forward, up, and then exhale into down dog.

Go through your vinyasa like, whatever you like doing, I'm gonna stay in down dog, because I feel like that right now. And then lift one leg up, whatever one that is, it doesn't matter, bring it all the way forward and then ground the other foot, down, and lift up into warrior II, which is a very traditional, very fun pose to do. And start feeling what you wanna do in this pose, there are many options and choices here, you can do arm, different arm variations, different poses within, like reverse warrior, or sometimes I like putting my hands behind me. Or changing, or I like the stretch. Stretching my arm back.

And then grounding my back foot, feeling that. Whenever you're guided to do so, you might want to straighten that leg of yours, because it's gonna feel too intense at one point, and then start molding into a utthita trikonasana, and just feel where that arm, upper arm wants to go, and what your neck wants to do, what your back leg wants to do, it can like, push all the way, bringing the heart forward. Playing with where the heart is looking, you can put your arm back behind you maybe. And then maybe coming back into warrior II, just to settle once more. Feeling the shoulders, feeling the wrists, feeling where you wanna look, and then coming into down dog.

You can go through a vinyasa, or you can lift the other leg and start coming into warrior II on the other side, at your own pace. Taking your time, feeling the upper body, and then settling into it, with your arms, with your chest, with your neck, once the legs are finished, and see what you want to do here, what the arms want to do. And maybe going into a reclined warrior, reverse warrior, but it does feel like reclined when you're moving all the way back. Settling into it, and whenever you feel like it going into utthita trikonasana, as if it's a natural, as if it's naturally evolving into it. And take your time until it does feel natural, and if it doesn't feel natural, don't do it right now.

And feel where you wanna look, just feeling the jaw as you're doing that. See what you wanna do with the upper arm. And you can try several different variations, and then see which one you wanna do. And then coming into another warrior II. And then coming into down dog.

Going on with your vinyasa, or you can go on with a couple of sun salutations if you want to. Just whatever feels natural, maybe moving, changing poses, will be good right now, just to increase the fluidity of the practice. Doing a sun salutation of choice. And it can be anything, you can be in any pose you want to right now, these are just my suggestions, for a rounded practice. And then when you're ready, start moving your knees down, and then coming towards a child's pose, and letting your arms be, they can be forward, they can be back, but just let your head rest down, or one arm could be forward, and the other one back, and just become heavy.

And then when you're ready start rolling up, closing your eyes, settling in, and just feeling what you wanna do right now, when you feel ready, opening the eyes, and what my suggestion would be right now, is to do an inversion maybe, but you can go on with standing poses. What I will do, is do a dolphin. And I think that's a nice inversion for every day, you can just stay in it. If you wanna go up and do handstands, or do a dolphin and handstands by the wall, go ahead and do so. So, it will be a couple of minutes, in an inversion mood, let's say, and you can choose whatever you want to do.

For dolphin, I'll explain it, bringing the elbows down, shoulder width, and just holding with your hands, the opposite elbow, just to make sure the shoulder width is there, and then clasping the hands, and tucking, like making sure the elbows don't roll out, so that you're grounded. What I do, is I also put my left, my right elbow, a little bit more out, so, because my, I have a problem on my right shoulder, and you can just sense that, if you wanted to make it more open, or just a little bit closed. It's up to you. And I shoulders back, tucking the toes under, lifting the hips, and just staying here. If you feel like it, you can maybe start lifting a leg up, if you're already in your inversions by the wall, or in the middle of the room, it could also be a headstand.

I hope you're having fun. And enjoying it. You can just be in a dolphin, too, and let your head hang down. And don't hesitate to go into a child's pose whenever you feel guided to do so. And just breathing.

Whenever you're ready, start going into a child's pose, at your own time. And then start rolling up, once you've settled the energy down. Up into a seat. Then start coming onto your, onto the mat, bringing the legs forward, and this can be a time of maybe, seated forward folds, for us. Taking the buttock flesh out, grounding the hips, sit bones.

Lifting the crown of the head up, and see what you wanna do. You can go into a paschimottanasana if you want to, or maybe a janusirsasana, which is what I feel like doing, bending my knee, and even opening my knee to the side, and then bringing my heart towards the straight leg, whatever leg you wanna do it first with, that's up to you. And just folding at your own time. And see where you feel comfortable, and doing any variation that feels right for you. You can maybe include a twist in it, or you can like, look down, look up, whatever feels right.

What I would suggest is just playing with your edge a little bit, and just going to a place, where it feels nice and vibrant, I would call it. And a little bit challenging, not too much, but a little bit challenging. Staying as long as you want, and then changing the sides whenever you want to. Breathing. Realize that you're breathing, sense where the breath is right now, and what you're feeling right now.

Where you wanna put your leg, where you wanna put your heart. And then when you're out of it, you might like to do another one. What I'm gonna do is butterfly pose, where my legs are in a diamond shape, where I like feeling the sides of my legs, but you could do other variations, versions, bring your legs closer to you, your heels, or just stretch your legs out, open them up. Just another seated, forward fold, that you enjoy, right now. You might wanna be steady in it, or you might want to move around in it.

Feel free to do any of them. Staying as long as you want, changing whenever you want. And then, when you're ready, getting out of them, and then maybe coming onto your back, and feeling the ground underneath you, feeling the back of your head, the back of your heart, the back of your pelvis, your feet. And you can keep your arms wherever you want to, they can be close to, next to you, or the arms can be behind you, and start coming into a back bend, a setu bandhasana, and just lifting the hips, feel the feet, grounding the feet, and staying here as long as you want, maybe moving up and down, maybe spreading the feet a little bit wider, or not. Making sure the lower back's fine, and then the rest is fun.

If you feel guided to go into a full wheel, go ahead and do so. Or just going back and forth, between your setu bandhasana, so I will go into a wheel, just because it feels right to, right now. And staying with the sensations, once you feel you've done enough. Okay. And then opening the arms to the sides, bringing the knees close to you, just staying here for a couple of breaths, massaging your lower back, the back of your pelvis.

Okay. And then start doing a twist, whatever feels comfortable for you, maybe the knees away from you this time, or closer to you, whatever your back wants. And then the other side, at your own pace. And you can go on for a shoulder stand, if you feel like it, or you can just lie down. What I'm going to do is just go into a savasana, with my legs spread, and my arms spread, this is my favorite pose.

But, you can put a bolster under your legs, or legs up the wall, whatever feels comfortable. And when you're ready to do so, go into savasana. And if you're still in your shoulder stand take your time into savasana. Feel free to stay here as long as you need to. If you're ready to get up, start moving your hands and your feet.

And then bending your knees, and rolling onto one side. And then coming up at your own time. Again getting your meditation cushion. And coming into a seated posture. And just closing your eyes.

Feeling the inner space. Whatever's going on right now, where you are. Just letting it happen, without changing it, the comfortable spots, the not so comfortable spots. And then taking a deep breath in, and as you exhale start opening the eyes. Okay.

Thank you for being with me, with this, throughout this practice. My favorite poet, Rumi says, where we rarely hear the inner music, but we're dancing to it nevertheless, we're always dancing to it. So, there's actually no way of getting out of the inner guidance. But, it's so much more fun to listen and then to move with it, because then life seems much more beautiful. And I hope this practice will help you to tap into that beauty, that I've discovered through this practice.

Thank you.


Johanna L
Thank you Zeynep. This was my first time with freedom style. a new feeling Thank you for guiding me towards my own guidance
Namaste from Sweden.
Janice M
Nice practice thx, so relaxing to go where the body wants to go
Zeynep Celen
1 person likes this.
Dear Johanna and Janice, thank you both for commenting and practicing freeform with me. It is a very hard task, to lead someone into freedom (its an oxymoron actually :)) but I am glad you were able to feel it. I sure love it and loved doing this video...

Sending you both Love from Switzerland
Gokce O
2 people like this.
Thanks God that you are my teacher :)
Ezgi D
1 person likes this.
Thank you zeynep, I really feel that find my ay in yoga also my own style:) Thank for this freedom style. Namaste
Phuong E
2 people like this.
Love, love, love listening to the song of my body! 💕
Zeynep Celen
Ezgi Thank you Ezgi :) Freedom style really is amazing.  LOVE
Zeynep Celen
Phuong Isn't it amazing to be able to listen? We are so lucky that we can... life is so graceful... LOVE 
1 person likes this.
thank you zeynep. I love this way of practicing and your guidance was just right
Zeynep Celen
Sarah  Thank you Sarah for practicing with me. I am glad you enjoy freedom style as much as I do... sending you love

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial