Thoughts on Yoga, Meditation & Blogging


Dear Yogis and Friends,

I’ve spent the past few months immersed in the exploration of communication.  Or you might say non-communication.  I haven’t posted to Facebook, I haven’t made many phone calls, or written letters  and I certainly haven’t written any new entries in my blog. But you probably noticed that.  The important question is why.

Well, the truth is, I’ve been digging into my interior landscape.  Questioning what is indeed important to say and what is merely filler.  The reality is that I’ve become stuck in this space, looking for the authenticity and necessity of articulation.  Simply put, I’ve been trying to decide what is worth sharing and why.

When one sits down to meditate, the real work is not to shut down the thoughts but rather to become of aware of the thoughts and to notice them, as well as the  moments of stillness between thoughts.  The same is true for emotions.  We don’t try to shut down the emotions, but rather to honor them and to see them for what they are.  We also do this with sensations e.g. my knee itches – does it really itch?  Do I need to scratch it?  Is this simply my mind search for stimulation? Wait, what’s that feeling in my back? my neck?, etc. And so we sit and breathe and observe.

And I guess in a sense this is what I have been doing with my blog; observing the thoughts I could put down in print and deciding which if any of them would be worth sharing.  Throughout my days, I frequently find myself mentally drafting entries to this blog.  Instead of quickly typing up those thoughts and hitting the send button, I pause and observe the possibilities.  Here is a sample of some of those entries:

  • Don’t forget to mention the upcoming Soundbaths at River Tree Yoga (March 16 and April 18th) – the power of sound vibrations to bring about healing.  Everything is energy and energy moves in waves and sound waves moves through our bodies and energy is released.  Super cool if you ask me.
  • Yoga is like parenting – No matter how many books you read or classes you take, it still comes back to being present in the moment, and dang that is hard.  In fact it is so hard, you frequently find yourself on the one hand tired, angry, sad and frustrated, only to find that in the next moment you are inspired, elated and filled with joy.  How is it that one can run the gamut of these emotions in such a short period of time?
  • Yoga Behind Bars – I have begun teaching yoga to inmates in a local prison. This has been one of the most inspiring teaching experiences of my life.  Why?  Because it reaffirms my belief in the nourishing and healing power of yoga to create peace within, as well as providing me the opportunity to yet again recognize the  seed of goodness in every person.
  • Facebook – I like catching glimpses of my distant friends and family.  So many folks are doing so many wonderful projects and traveling to such interesting places.  Thanks for inspiring me. But I also wonder how people can spend so much time posting and reposting their every thought and action.
  • Yoga – Why are people in such a hurry to do so many poses in their practice?  Why has yoga become obsessed with speed and power?  Is music a distraction to our practice?
  • Yoga – Has yoga become an escape for the privileged white woman? What’s wrong with that?  How can we make yoga more accessible?  To more people? Across a broader spectrum of society?
  • Yoga – How do I best describe what I teach?  How can I reach out to more people?  How can I continue to deepen my own studies.  Am I pushing my students too hard?  Or too little? How do I share the wisdom I have gleaned through reading ancient texts and modern writers without sounding pedantic or perhaps worse, distracting my students from their own experiences of themselves in the moment?
  • The Divine – What is my relationship to the cosmic and beautiful ordering of the universe? Do other people spend as much time exploring their relationship to the eternal?  How is the eternal manifest in my life? In yours?  Am I following my dharma?
  • Breath – I breath in and I breathe out.  Sometimes I’m aware of it, most of the time I’m not.  But when I do settle down and watch, I notice that I can direct my breath anywhere in my body.  I can focus my breath along one side of the body and then the other.  I can wash my body with breath, I can heal my body with breath.  Expansion, contraction, extension, attention. Om
  • Blogging – Does anybody even read my blog?  How can my blog actually be of service.  How are my thoughts and observations relevant to the lives of others?  How can I use my blog to connect more fully with my students and to my friends?

Okay, so there you have it.  A limited window into the wanderings of my mind. Any one of these and many other thoughts could be more fully expanded. And they have, but not on paper.    But I am now open to dialogue.   If any of you out there reading this, and are interested in further explorations of these and other topics, let me know.  Let’s go down that road of infinite inquiry together.  Let’s deepen the dialogue of what it means to be awake and alive in this moment, on this planet, with this breath.

Thank you for your continued support,

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

P.S:  The Soundbath on March 16th is already full, if you want to sign up for the April 18th Soundbath, click here.

Gratitude in Motion & Strong Stable Shoulder Workshop

Hello Yogis and Friends,

Here we are half way through November with Thanksgiving just around the corner.  Have I mentioned that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday?  It is the one time of year when we all come together with friends and family simply to honor and celebrate the many blessings in our lives.  Oh yeah, and there is also all that good food. But seriously, this holiday is not tied to any religion, nor are there any gifts involved.  It is fundamentally a holiday about gratitude, and given the most recent world events, it is important to remember that Thanksgiving has its roots in the acceptance and support of emigres/refugees.  I know I don’t usually go to places political in this newsletter, but…

Speaking of Gratitude, I will be teaching a Gratitude in Motion class at River Tree Yoga this weekend (Saturday @ 9:00am) to support Yoga Behind Bars (YBB).  WBB is an amazing program that brings yoga to incarcerated persons throughout the state.  The power of yoga and meditation to bring healing to our bodies and spirit has been proven time and again.  It is my firm belief that yoga should be available to all persons regardless of their life circumstances, or maybe especially in regard to their life circumstances.  To this end, I have made a commitment to not only offer this Gratitude in Motion class but also to serve as a volunteer teacher for Yoga Behind Bars.  Inga and I thank you in advance for your support.  Suggested donation of $20.00.

Mark your calendars

Safety & Stability in the Shoulder Joint

Sunday, December 6th, 2:00 – 5:00pm

River Tree Yoga @ Tree House Point

The shoulder joint is one of the most dynamic joints in the human body.  It is also one of the joints most prone to injury.  Learning to set the shoulders properly for stationary and moving asanas will make the difference between damage or health in your yoga practice.

Join us for a workshop dedicated to helping you find strength and support in your shoulders in a wide variety of yoga poses, including: plank, chaturanga, downward facing dog, shoulder stands, and backbends.  We will conclude with a long nourishing restorative practice.

Workshop is appropriate for all levels and bodies, even those already suffering from shoulder or neck pain.

$40.00 early bird discount, $45.00 after December 1st.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Hug your Friends & Family.


Gratitude In Motion

This month yoga studios throughout the Puget Sound Area are hosting benefit class for Yoga Behind Bars.  Yoga Behind Bars is a remarkable program that brings yoga to men, women and youth living in detention centers in the state of Washington.  We all know how powerful yoga is, how much peace and wellness it brings to all of us.  Certainly, this population should have access to yoga as well.  And they do, thanks to the amazing volunteer teachers at YBB.

Inga and I will both be offering benefit classes this week at River Tree Yoga. Please join us for either or both of these classes.  Sugested donation of $20.00 for each class. You can use your class pass and/or write a check.

Wednesday, 6:30pm

Saturdy, 9:00am

Thank you for your support.


Shalom & Namaste,


Diana Bonyhadi


Tips for Healthy LIving in Times of Change

Full Moon, Red Moon, Super Close Moon
End of the Summer
Beginning of School
Season of Change
Returning to You

Dear Yogis,

If you haven’t felt it yet, be prepared.  This is a time of big transitions.  A time in which you may find yourself feeling restless, untethered, slightly at odds.  You may have just experienced some major changes in your life (I sure did) or be about to step into a whole new era of your life.  Truly this can be unsettling. But the good news is that you are not alone, and you are most likely  moving into such wonderful goodness it will make the all the flux worth it. And there is much you can do to weather these transitions more smoothly.

Here are some suggestions to help you sail the seas of transitions with greater equanimity.  These come from the scientific/medical limb of yoga known as Ayurveda.  You can choose to adopt some or all of these practices. You can even consult with an ayurvedic doctor near you to help you design a program specifically for your doscha.  The most important thing to remember is to take care of and nourish your self, and to honor your body’s need to cleanse, and your spirit/mind’s need to reflect.

Recipe for self-care in times of transition:

Get more sleep – go to bed earlier, but don’t sleep in too late.

Take naps – yes a 20 minute nap can make a huge difference in how you feel.
Take warm baths – they warm you up and give you time for reflection.
Walk at least 20 minutes 3-4 times a week (daily is best) – its good for your heart.
Practice yoga – hold poses longer and add restorative poses to your practice.
Meditate – even just 10 minutes a day will make a huge difference.
Drink less caffeine – when you feel tired, try that 5-10 minute meditation.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol.
Reduce or eliminate sugar, dairy.
Drink more warm fluids or soup.
Add Ghee (clarified butter) to your diet – it lubricates the digestive system and helps to rid the body of toxins.
Avoid spicy foods.
Eat your big meal at mid-day.
Get a massage or two.
Give yourself a massage – rubbing your hands, feet arms and legs with massage oil.

I hope you find this helpful.  For more information, refer to Guru-Google and search ayurveda, doscha, fall equinox, etc.

Speaking of changes, by now many of you know I have moved to West Seattle.  Its a big change and I am incredibly happy. Don’t worry, I will  continue to teach all my classes this Fall at Village Green Yoga and at River Tree Yoga. Unfortunately, I no longer have my home studio, but will be happy to offer private sessions to all of my clients in their homes or at a local studio on the east side.  And if you want to practice with a view of the water, I welcome you here in my home.

Warm Wishes for a healthy Autumn.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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


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.


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


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