5 Things to Increase Your Spiritual Awareness in Istanbul

Istanbul is a gorgeous, chaotic city full of hustle and bustle. It’s exciting, exhilarating. But sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of it all; the stress of work, the battle of the daily commute, and the routine buzz of a large urban center. It’s important to give ourselves little moments to break from the grind and rediscover inner peace, all without having to leave the city borders.

  1. Aromatherapy: Scents have a direct pathway to the brain. Turn this to your advantage by treating those olfactory senses right. Flip off your lights, set the phone on silent, close your eyes and let the soothing scents of lavender and cloves carry you off to another plane. Or as you lay your head down to sleep, let something pleasant waft into your nose and guide you to relaxing dreams. 

  2. Visit places of worship: Stepping into these time-old spaces is not necessarily a religious act, but a spiritual one. The echoing rooms are beautiful, and communicate the rich history of those who came before us, searching for peace of mind. Luckily, Istanbul is full of these gathering spaces; whether it’s a church, a mosque or synagogue, their sweeping arches and smooth walls are havens to all. 
  3. Check out a hammam: Hammam bath houses are places that offer both emotional and physical cleansing, allowing you to detach and soak in utter comfort. Don’t have time to make it to a bathhouse? Invest in some indulgent soaps and steam up the bathroom mirrors. Afterwards, wrap yourself in something soft, to help ease you in or out of the day.

  4. Get lost in the music: Sometimes we forget that all we have is this moment, the present. But it’s not always easy to enjoy it. Getting lost in sound is a great way to recalibrate. One musician that we strongly suggest is the internationally-recognized Mercan Dede, a Turkish composer, ney and bendir player, DJ, and producer who is also known as Arkın Allen. He has several different projects going on at the same time, such as DJ Arkın Allen Tribal Duo and Istanbul Quartet, but he’s best known for his fusion of electronic sounds and traditional Turkish tunes. Of his previous albums, Seyahatname, Su, and Nar are the most famous ones.
  5. Write: Part of finding inner balance is getting those feelings out into the open. But perhaps they’re not for others. Picking up pen and paper and allowing unsaid words and dreams to spill out onto the page is the ultimate form of reflection, even if no one else ever reads what you’re putting down onto the paper

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