Aylin Marquez in bellydance wear, courtesy of Aylin Marquez
Everyone talks about how they want to get the maximum out of life, but how often does anyone actually do it? Why do so many of us give up on pursuing our interests and dreams? Aylin Marquez sets her mind to something and goes after it.
Aylin was born to a Turkish mother and American father. At just four she moved with her familyfrom the United States to Turkey. Even as a kid, whatever she set her mind to she didn’t give up no matter what the cost.
“While my mother wanted to communicate with me in English, I remember refusing it so I could learn Turkish. This meant I did not speak at all for a while.” She immersed herself in Turkish culture, and fell in love.
At 16 she moved back to the United States, though it was a little bit of a struggle.
“I did not know much about American culture. I spoke English with an accent, so even today I am still being treated as a foreigner, and my nationality is often questioned.”
Regardless of the struggles she faced in either place, she loves both places and refers to both of them as home.
While living in Turkey, Aylin achieved her certification for Egyptian Style Bellydance and started teaching in 2002. When she moved to Wyoming in 2006, she continued her teaching. Starting with Eastern Wyoming College Community Center and then continuing with teaching for the University of Wyoming Community Enrichment Program at the Beta House, Half-acre, Laramie Recreation Center, and now with Blossom Yoga.
Stairway to Blossom Yoga Studio, taken by Abby Taylor
“The most enjoyable performances are the ones where I feel completely lost in music, move freely, and feel joy, love, and passion, and I am surrounded by my belly dance students.”
During her time at the University of Wyoming she founded what is now called the Mountain Women Belly Dance Club and introduced the university and the city of Laramie to both Turkey’s culture and bellydance culture. For her actions to increase the community’s awareness of diversity, she was nominated for the Willena Stanford award.
Not only does Aylin have a love for bellydance, but after moving to Wyoming she developed a passion for yoga.
“Yoga has been one of those turning points in my life.”
Aylin Marquez in Goddess Pose, courtesy of Aylin Marquez
After being asked to substitute teach for a “piloga” class (pilates and yoga), she realized that yoga was another interest she wanted to pursue. After committing to being a dedicated student, she completed the training at Blossom Yoga Studio in Laramie through the Dharma Institute for Awakened Living in 2018. Since then she has been an instructor at Blossom Yoga Studio.
“Through pranayama, asanas and meditation, I believe that yoga helps bring inner calmness and self-acceptance.”
She now manages and instructs regularly at Blossom Yoga Studio in downtown Laramie.
“Whether teaching belly dance, Pilates, or yoga, or managing the studio, working at Blossom Yoga has been an awesome, learning experience.”
She says this is also due to her coworkers. Not only does she enjoy working for the owners but she says they have continued to mentor and support her through all of her time spent at the studio.
The only thing Aylin said she would change about her work, is that she wants reach more of the community and have Laramie become more involved. The studio offers classes for all levels, including a free beginners class once a week.
Sign to Blossom Yoga in Downtown Laramie, taken by Abby Taylor
Her hunger for knowledge and instruction doesn’t stop with bellydance and yoga. Aylin has a Master of Arts in education, as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.
During her time at the University she completed her first research study called “Self-similarity in the Heartbeat Time Series of Healthy Cardiac Systems in Mice”. During her time doing this research not only did she find out things about her research focus but also even more about herself.
“Through the conducting of independent research under faculty guidance, I have realized the complexities of both my discipline and the research process.”
Not only is Aylin in touch with her inner creative self through her dance and yoga, but she also now is proficient in developing, carrying out, and presenting research. Her research has also provided inspiration for further education, as now she is working on her Doctoral Degree in Mathematics Education.
“I always have had a strong desire for an advanced degree and believe that UW’s graduate program satisfies my thirst for knowledge.”
Aylin serves as an inspiration. Remember growing up with your parents telling you that you could do anything you set your mind to? She takes it to an all new level. From not speaking at all in order to become proficient in Turkish to pursuing a Doctoral Degree in order to feed that “thirst for knowledge” she possesses.
“Education was the main reason why I came to Wyoming, but Wyoming definitely has offered more than that in the last 17 years: family, home, friends, job and beautiful connections.”