Stepping into Change

Greetings Yogis,

This is the much overdue update letter and blog post.  How long has it been since I have written?  If I stop to consider that one more time, I might once again put off writing this post.  Self-recrimination does not help one get a project done.  Putting it at the top of the do-list, does.

Welcome to Summer.  My favorite season of the year.  I love the sunshine, I love the long days.  I love hiking and playing on the water.  I love that most folks are happier and more relaxed in the summer.  I love getting together with friends and family, going on adventures, and finding new and challenging activities.  This past weekend I even gave rock-climbing a go.  Great challenge, super physical and when you get to the top, gasp, the views are amazing!  I’m just going to make a plug here for the great team at KAF Adventures, who put together our Rock Climbing and yoga adventure.  If this sounds like fun to you, they have plenty more to choose from, so check them out here.

I don’t know about all of you, but I feel like there has been a whole lot of upheaval in people’s lives this year.  This Spring particularly.  Me included. So many changes and in all directions.  And I swear, if it weren’t for my yoga and meditation, I would have blown a gasket several times over.  

I’m definitely feeling the crunch of being part of the “Sandwich Generation.”  At one moment I am being pulled by the needs of my almost grown children and at the next I am helping to care for my father who at 94 is quite vigorous, but unfortunately  rather forgetful.  And then there is the passing of beloved elders.  Those wonderful folks who have nourished and inspired us for so many years.  Losing loved ones and watching our children move on is a double challenge.  

In these times of turmoil, it is helpful to look to what nourishes and inspires; what brings steadiness and calm to your life.  For me of course, it is my yoga, my students, as well as my friends and being in nature.  Time and again this Spring, when I have felt worn down by the challenges in my life, I found myself in the studio and all that other stuff just slipped away. Being part of our yoga community (sangha) supported me, nourished me and inspired me. The sutras of Patanjali, and the wisdom of the yogis; pranayama (breath work) and meditation, and of course asana, brought me back to myself. This tradition called yoga has been around for ever so long.  And I know why, and it is not just because it is a great physical exercise.  No, it is because it is healing, it is inspiring, it is nourishing, it is challenging, it is about meeting yourself as you truly and accepting all that is with equanimity and peace.  

At the end of this note, you will find a poem.  This poem was written by my students.  I asked all of them to give me three words that describe yoga for them.  I hope you love this as much as I do.

Have a wonderful summer.  Stay Hydrated.  Play hard.  Challenge yourself to do something new and maybe just a bit scary.  Eat Well.  Wear sunscreen.  Dance in the sunshine.  Dance in the moonlight.  Celebrate the wonder and abundance that is life.

Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi

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A few weeks ago, I asked my students to say in three words what yoga meant to them.  Here are their beautiful words.

Yoga Is
Yoga is balance, clarity and calm.
Peace, practice and patience.
Joy, happiness and foundation
Yoga is.
Yoga is calm, gentle and and strong.
Stretching, strength and sweat.
Yoga is long health and serenity.
Awareness, belonging and quiet.
Yoga is.
Yoga is joy, happiness, and freedom
Focus, presence and Love
Mind, body & spirit.
Yoga is.
Yoga is community, connection and support.
Inspiration, exhalation, meditation.
Yoga is nourishment, wisdom and heart.
Yoga is coming home
Yoga is life.

Workshop Postponed

Yoga for Real Bodies Workshop

has been postponed

I am sorry to announce that we have had to cancel this weekend’s workshop at River Tree Yoga due to low attendance.  So many people are out-of-town or otherwise engaged.  We will certainly reschedule as the interest was quite high, alas calendars were full.

Yoga for Real Bodies – March 22, 2015

Happy March Every Body,

This is a bit of a late notice.  I meant to get this announcement out before I went on vacation, but it just didn’t happen. Oh well, as it is, I am restricting the class size on this workshop to ensure super personalized attention, so maybe it is a good thing if every body can’t make it.

I will be hosting a workshop at  River Tree Yoga which I have been planning for quite some time and am super excited about.

Yoga for Real Bodies – Working with Injuries and Chronic Conditions
River Tree Yoga at Tree House Point

Sunday March 22nd, 2 – 5 pm


Do you have pain in your knees, hips, shoulders, back?

For those of us who have played hard throughout our lives and have at some point or another sustained some form of injury that seems now to limit our mobility or enjoyment of movement, this workshop is for you.

Learn how to modify your yoga practice and adjust your asanas (postures) to ensure safety, reduce pain and maximize benefits. When you sign up, you can even let me know your specific injuries so that I can be sure to address them in the workshop.

This workshop is appropriate for all bodies and all levels.

Cost is $40 before March 12, and $48 after.

Please contact me directly to sign up.

Diana@kharmabellayoga.com

 

February Reboot – Intention Keeping

Happy February,

Actually, we are about half-way through.

How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions?  Not meaning to nag or anything, but this is just about that time where we are either congratulating ourselves on a job well-done, or kicking ourselves for not having more “stick-with-it-ness.”

So, first off, isn’t nice to know you are not alone in this.  Almost all of us set some sort of new intention at the beginning of the year. Some intentions are easy to maintain, others, not so. As we set those intentions we are envisioning a future where we are no longer plagued by this habit or that habit, or we see ourselves having mastered some amazing new accomplishment or skill.  Then, after a couple of weeks, the thrill of the challenge has worn off.  Now it just seems like just so much hard work.  How do we stay present with our intentions? As we work towards fulfilling them, where do we find the support for our resolutions?

Where?  Well, why don’t we look to our yoga sages. Way back when, Patanjali (~400 CE) suggested that our practice should be Sthira sukham asanam. (Patanjali Sutra, II.46).  In other-words, the posture/practice should be steady and sweet. On our mats we learn about developing a steady (sthira) practice, and a sweet (sukham) practice.  We learn not to push ourselves so hard we collapse in a puddle (puddle-of-go-asana) or pull muscles (strain-asana).  We also learn that we must put in the appropriate amount of effort so that we can actually hold ourselves in the posture, but gently.  Too little effort and we won’t get there, too much and we burn out.  We know it can be hard, and if we only focus on the hard (dukha), it is very difficult to maintain the steady (sthira) practice.  So, as we do on the mat, so to can we do with our New Years’ Intentions.  Honor the sweetness, the daily, moment by moment successes, stay steady, and resist focusing on what is not working.  In this manner, our intentions will become manifest.  Stira Sukham Asanam is a mantra not just for your mat, but for living your life.

Was one of your intentions to start or deepen your meditation practice?

Last month I gave you that handy-dandy illustrated guide to meditation.  This month I have a little video for you.  This one is on the scientific benefits of meditation.  I’m so glad this came across my desk when it did, as I was just in the middle of writing a review of the recent research on meditation.  Now I can just encourage you to watch this short video.

On a different note, I’m off to Hawaii on Friday for 10 days of sun, surf, hiking, and relaxing.  Mark and I have even included a side trip to Oahu for some yoga and music at Wanderlust.  I have arranged subs for all my classes, they are pretty amazing, so take this opportunity to experience their unique teaching gifts.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Holiday Gifts

Good Morning Everyone,

It’s Tuesday.  We celebrated Winter Solstice on Sunday night, we are about to celebrate the last night of Chanukah, and tomorrow night is Christmas Eve.  So many opportunities to spend time with friends and family, eats lots of good food and generally have a good time.

Inga and I are offering a free yoga class tomorrow at River Tree Yoga.  9:15am, come in your jammies if you want.  We will be supplying tea and cookies and other such holiday cheer.

I will be teaching almost all my regular classes, except those that fall on Christmas Day, New Years Eve night and New Years Day. So come take care of your body and nourish your spirit.  Lots of yummy poses and meditations are planned for this week.

I came across this  handy guide to meditation I thought you might like.  Yep, one more plug for meditation; you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you know it is good for you.  It is brought to you by Happify, a sort of brain games site for happiness, with the guidance of Dan Harris, ABC News anchor and author of 10% Happier.

Happy Holidays everyone.  Enjoy life, take care of yourselves, give back, nourish gratitude, smile.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

meditation-happify-infographic

Halfway through December, already?

It’s a blustery day in the Seattle Area.  Its windy, its wet, and it’s surprisingly warm.  And I am still coming to grips with the fact that we are almost half-way through December.  Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Winter Solstice is only 10 days away makes me incredibly happy.  It’s just that I catch myself wondering…where did the time go?

I know I am not unique in this wondering.  All of us at some point or another are struck by the fact that while time may seem to move incredibly slowly at one moment, most of us often have the feeling that time just keeps slipping away.  Dates that seemed so far in the offing are suddenly upon us. Babies become children, children become adults, adults become seniors and each of us find ourselves wondering how did we end up here.

The focus of my classes this week have been on Svadhyaya, or self-study.  It is the 4th of the Niyamas, or individual practices identified by Pantanjali (400 CE). This is an integral aspect of our yoga practice. Beyond getting the right alignment for a pose, or moving just so with the breath in a pose, there are also so many questions about our everyday practice. Which poses do we like and not like. Which poses do we avoid? Which poses make us feel powerful? Which bring us healing in times of suffering? Which poses make us mad or make us feel like crying or make us feel triumphant?

Svadyaya is also about the deeper stuff.  Why do we feel a certain way in a pose? Do we always feel that way in that pose? What else is going on for us in that pose?  Are there poses in which we feel nothing?  How is it that putting our bodies in an asana can even elicit that emotional/intellectual response? Why do the asanas do that?  Are we even aware of our thoughts and emotions while in any given asana?  So, not only are we trying to become more aware of our breath and our movements on the mat, but we are also trying to engage more fully in the study of who we are in each moment, and in every breath.

And if you thought this was just about yoga… it’s not… or it is.  It is not just about yoga, if yoga is something that only happens for you on a mat, in a studio, for about an 90 minutes a day.  On the other hand, it is all about yoga if you have begun to notice that your yoga is moving with you beyond the mat.  It kinda has the habit of doing that. Check out this link from Richard Freeman called Yoga Ruins Your Life, in which he talks about the permeability of yoga, as well as showcasing some very nice asanas guaranteed to make you ooo and ah.

Then these questions, this work of self-study really gets deep.  On a daily basis, moment by moment, we begin to explore who we are, what makes us think and feel the way we do, and why.  This is, I believe what we call the examined life – a life of self-study.  This is a life that allows us to answer that question, Wow, how’d we get here?  with  something along the lines of ” I don’t quite know, but at least I was awake for some of it. ”  Through Svadhyaya, we participate in the most important dialogue of all time; the dialogue that begins with ourselves; the dialogue that enables us to be more fully present in each moment.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I hope the Season brings you much light and love.  May the questions you ask continue to deepen and expand.  Don’t let yourself get too attached to the answers, they will probably change (follow this link).  Enjoy the journey and stay full of wonder.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Thanksgiving Blessings

Wishing the very warmest wishes and heartfelt gratitude to all my yogis and friends and family.   Here is a poem by John O’Donohue.

I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life,
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

Tonight my daughter comes home from college, and we will drive down to Portland to spend the holiday with family. So, I will not be teaching tomorrow, but I do have two very special classes planned for this weekend.  I hope you can join me for one if not both of them.

Saturday @ 9:15am  @ River Tree Yoga

Benefit Class for Yoga Behind Bars

You can you use your pass if you have one.  I will be donating all proceeds from the class to YBB.  This will be a class focused on gratitude, a heart opening practice designed to nourish and inspire.

Sunday @ 9:45 @ Village Green Yoga

A special class to help us unwind, detox and restore after a  long weekend of celebration.

Be Well

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi