Yoga Home Practice

Practicing Yoga in a Covid World – Welcome to your home practice

As a yoga teacher, I have always said that if I do my job correctly, you won’t need me or any other yoga teacher.  Essentially, my job is and always has been, to inspire you to want to practice yoga at any time and in any place and to feel safe doing so.  You don’t need me.  Your body holds all the wisdom you will ever need.

So, that being said, it appears that the current health situation of the world is inviting us to find our own practice.  To become our own teachers.  To trust ourselves and open to our own inner wisdom.

Take a seat.

Breath in, slowly

Breath out, slowly

Feel your breath

Gently turn your head from side to side

Slowly drop an ear to a shoulder, how does that feel?

Try the other side, how does that feel?

Gently move your arms up and down

Shrug your shoulders, do some windmills, how does that feel?

Notice your breath

Move your body

Stretch your sides

Rotate your torso

Move your legs

Bend your knees

Feel your hands, feel your feet,

Feel your breath

Begin to deepen the movements

Find what nourishes you, and repeat

If something hurts, stop

Notice your breath, keep it smooth, keep it steady, allow it to find your calm

Practice going deeper

Deeper in your movements

Deeper in your breath

Deeper in your awareness

Enjoy

Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of Mind and Body & Helpful Online Resources

It’s been a long time since last I wrote….

I have had many requests of late.  Friends, family, students, all asking for what they can do to nourish themselves in this time of Covid 19.  I am honored to be asked, and humbly offer you the following:

There is a glut of information online about how to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.  By this point, we all know to maintain physical distance from one another, keep our bodies and living spaces as clean as we can, eat well, exercise and get fresh air and plenty of rest.  To this, I am going to add, that we really don’t need to check the news every hour.  I worry that the tendency to do this will only feed our fears and further stress our bodies.  Sure, check your news feed in the morning or once some time during the day, but you probably don’t need to do it all day long and especially not right before bed.  If you frequent social media sites, check-in with yourself, notice if the time spent there is making you feel calmer and more present, or if it is making you more anxious and stressed.  If it is the later, maybe it is time to pick up a book, work on a puzzle, make some art or music or practice yoga or meditation.

I know many of you have asked me to make you a video.  I might just do that, but in the interim, there are so many very good offerings out there, I encourage you to explore them.

If you don’t have a home practice, and just want some coaching and guidance and want to feel like you are part of a class, there are numerous online yoga and meditation resources that have been around for years and provide a deep well of information and teachings.  Many of these require a paid membership, but in these times, that may be a worthwhile expense.  Some of these are free and offer super high quality accessible classes (Veterans Yoga Project and Insight Timer).

These are the ones I tend to return to again and again.  Just click on the links to check them out:

Yoga:

YogaInternational.com, yogajournal.com, YogaGlo.com, gaia.com, Yoga with ADRIENNE,

Veterans Yoga Project

Meditation:

Meditation Insight Timer, Waking UP, calm.com, Sounds True, Shambala

Zoom Classes:

In addition, most studios in our area and across the country are now live streaming their classes, as are many master yoga teachers who would normally be hosting large group teacher trainings.  Some of these classes are free for the next week or so, some are already fee-based.  Most yoga studios and teachers operate on very narrow margins, and as a result of the mandatory closures, they are finding it hard to make ends meet.  So taking their classes online enables them to pay their teachers and hopefully re-open their doors once this virus has run its course.

In order to take these live-streamed streamed classes, (practicing with the teacher in real time with the teacher), you will need to click on a link that will take you to a Zoom window in your browser.  The process is pretty self-explanatory, but it does require a bit of computer savvy, so do give yourself some time to figure out the technology or you will miss the start of class.

Here are the links for a few of local studios that have been posting classes.  I only post these, as I have taken the classes and know the teachers. However, there are many more out there to explore.

TwoRiversyoga.com

rivertreeyoga.com

dayafoundation.org

seattleyogaarts.com

twodogyoga.com

Home Practice Essentials:

Before you get started, make sure you have everything you might need near by.  Choose how long you want to practice and make a commitment to that.  Even 10 minutes a day will make a difference. Get a drink of water or tea.  Turn off your phone, ask housemates to join you or at least not interrupt you.  Sit down and center yourself before you begin.  Remember svasana at the end.

Props:

Yes, one of the benefits of going to the studio or gym is that they will have all these wonderful props.  Of course you can order your own online, but you can also make do with some common household items.

Yoga Mat  – or anything that will keep your feet from sliding out from under you

Straight backed chair – for support and chair-based practice

Yoga Blocks – or books or anything that raises the floor a bit will support your hands

Yoga Straps – or belts, or scarves

Yoga Bolsters – rolled up blankets/towels or pillows or sofa cushions

Yoga Blankets – firm blanket that is not slippery to provide support and comfort

 

That’s it for now.  More to follow soon.  If you have online resources you’d like to recommend, please do share.  Seems I have and abundance of time these days to practice yoga and meditation.

Winter Solstice

bonfire.jpg

Holiday Greetings Yogis

Today was the shortest day of the year, tonight the longest night of the year.  This morning I awoke to the moon shedding a golden path across the water as it set.  I thought, I am blessed to see this.  Tonight I will join friends and family around a bonfire, hurling into the fire all that we wish to shed from this year. It will be easy to think of  quite a few things we have had to endure this year that we would like to release from our consciousness.   But on the other hand, what if I could let go of/change only one thing, just one thing about myself, what would it be?  Why? And why haven’t I asked this question sooner?  And how would I go about letting that thing go?  Whatever it is.  How about you?  What would you change/let go of?  A worthy question to ponder on this, the longest, darkest night of the year.

November 2017, I removed myself from pretty much all social media.  It’s been a bit more than a year since then.  I don’t particularly miss interacting with people via a computer.  In  fact there are many things about computer socializing I haven’t missed at all. And as a result, I have had way more time to practice yoga, meditate, read books,  work on projects, observe the world around me and study. I have also learned that the forums for socializing on the computer have become the main vehicle for advertising.  I know I shouldn’t be surprised; Newspapers and magazines were for news first, and then advertising; the postal service was for communicating with friends and family news and other events, then advertising.  Now news and social interaction happen via computers, so there too will happen advertising.  I guess what all this boils down to is…

In 2019, I pledge to be more present online.  I will share with you how I have spent my last year (lots of study & meditation), what I am working on, what I am teaching, when and where. I will continue to keep my posts short, but look forward exploring with you some of the deeper explorations into meditation and yoga.  Maybe we can make it more of a dialogue.  Let me know, how your yoga is nourishing you, and what you struggle with.  Yoga lives beyond the mat, so how are you living your yoga?

Again, I offer you my deepest gratitude for your presence in my life, and for your practice.  It brings us all one breath closer to peace.

Happy Solstice & Happy New Year

Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

P.S. I am off to Mexico for 3 weeks.  No computer.  Ahhhh

Back Bend Workshop

Back Bend Workshop

Sunday December  16, 2018

1:30-4:00pm

Village Green Yoga, Issaquah, WA

 

Welcome to the Holidays,

The Holiday Season is upon us. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, the rains have set in, coloring the skies grey and generally making things cold and damp.  Daylight hours are still waning, and many of us wake-up in the dark and don’t get back home till the sun has set. 

To balance this, we light candles, make/eat cookies, decorate our homes with lights, and host/attend numerous celebrations bringing the light of friendship and family into our homes and hearts. 

But sometimes that is just plain hard.  Maybe we are tired, worn-out, over-stimulated, already feeling the effects of the darker days, or we are dealing with difficult personal stuff; but whatever the reason, the “Season of Joy” might be our “Season of Challenge”.  And this is where yoga can once again support us.  In order to connect with others, we need to be able to open our hearts and connect with ourselves. Backbends do just that, through physical forms we touch down into emotional spaces.

Yoga is full of backbends.  Some are super dramatic, like urdhva dhanurasana (full wheel), ekapada rajakopatanasana 4 (full pigeon), others are more subtle, like Warrior I or cow pose. Regardless of the depth of the pose, backbends are incredibly nourishing.  Not only do they bring healing to the spine, but also they re-engergize the body as we open up the spaces around the heart.  They help us to breath more deeply, and with greater ease, allowing us to more fully oxygenate all the organs in the body.  At a deeper level, backbends ask us to expose our hearts, open to vulnerability, and explore the edges of our fragility.  And in doing so, we find the spaces within, from which we can draw the strength to love more deeply and give more freely, and not just to other, but also to ourselves.

In order to derive the greatest benefit from backbends, it is essential to know how to do them safely. 

This workshop will help you to understand the dynamics of the backward bending poses enabling you to make the best choices for your body about which poses will nourish and heal, and which poses could problematic or hazardous. We will look at some anatomy, appropriate warm-ups, sequencing and counterposes, so you will always be able to practice backbends safely on your own, whenever and wherever you may want/need them

Join me for an afternoon that is certain to inspire and nourish.

Click here to sign up

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering the Standing Poses

Greetings Yogis,

I’m pleased to announce that on November 18th,  I will be hosting a workshop on  the fundamentals of the standing poses.  Of course there is more to standing poses than just placing your feet appropriately on your mat and doing something with your arms.  Standing poses are an opportunity to stand firmly upon the earth and open to the spaciousness within.    Finding the correct physical alignment for your body will also allow you to find your own internal alignment with yourself.  When your poses are no longer a struggle, opening to the peace within comes more easily with each and every breath.  Join me for an exploration of the architecture of the poses that allows us to stand firm and tall and strong and calm.

 

Last Sunday Class in Issaquah

Namaste Yogis,

A quick note to remind you all that this Sunday will be my last day of teaching my 9:45am All-Levels Vinyasa Flow Class at Village Green Yoga.  Gosh I hope to see all of you there.  We have had such a good time together these many years.  We have learned so much about ourselves and each other, and of course about yoga.  I am deeply grateful to all of you.  I do hope you will join me this Sunday.  I guarantee you an amazing and heartfelt practice.

Don’t worry, my Tuesday/Thursday Noon Mid-Day Bliss Class at Village Green is not going away.

Are you excited about the eclipse this Monday?  I am.  Hopefully you will be able to take an hour out of your busy day and spend some time experiencing this amazing event.  Research tells me that we will see 92% of the eclipse which is pretty close to the entirety.  The darkness will only last a couple of moments, but the whole event will last from 9:02-11:38am. The silence and stillness will peak at 10:22. I fully believe that that stillness will be felt deeply in our spirits if we allow ourselves to be open to it.  Make sure you have those proper glasses and are in a wide open space, preferably facing southeast.

Be Well

Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

It Pays To Speak Your Mind

Thank You Everyone.

The response to my post and newsletter two weeks ago was incredibly supportive and affirming.  I guess I am not the only one who has been trying to figure out how to navigate these challenging times.  Thanks to all of you, I not only feel comforted but also inspired to continue to teach yoga from my space of satya (truth).  Now when I listen to the news, I realize that there is something more that I can do other than make phone calls, sign petitions and march.  And I have been doing it all along – teaching yoga and helping people to find a space of inner peace and strength to follow their own path of Dharma.

Announcements:
We have made a slight change to the schedule at River Tree Yoga.  On Wednesday evenings I will only be teaching one class at 6:30pm.  It will be a Hatha-Yin Fusion class.  We will go slowly and deeply into our poses, look to alignment and strength, and finish with some long luscious yin holds to restore and rebalance our energy.

Other news at River Tree Yoga, we have a Yoga Sound Bath with Daniella White scheduled for Tuesday February 28th at 7:30pm.  If you haven’t gone to a Sound bath yet, you really should.  Imagine a gentle yoga practice followed by a nice, long svasana and being lulled into a deep state of meditation by crystal singing bowls, vocal harmonics and gongs. Participants are bathed in powerful vibrations that help entrain their brain waves into Theta. It is in this deeply relaxed state that physical / mental / spiritual healing can take place, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, cellular regeneration, stress release, and emotional/physical healing. Click here to register.

All my other classes are on schedule as planned:

River Tree Yoga, Fall City

  • Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:00pm:                             Hatha/Yin Fusion
  • Saturday, 9:00 – 10:30am (alternating):              Hatha Flow

Village Green Yoga, Issaquah

  • Tuesday & Thursday, Noon – 1:00pm:          Mid-Day Bliss/Gentle
  • Sunday, 9:45-11:15am:                                       Hatha Vinyasa Flow

BendnMove, Seattle

  • Wednesday, Noon – 1:00pm:                           Mid-Day Bliss/Gentle

 

Thank you again for your continued support.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Yogis

2017 is already set up to be a year of dramatic change.   Not only will we be shifting gears in the geo-political arena, but we will also be seeing many shifts in our own personal space.  And for most of us, change is something we tend to approach with trepidation. Its unsettling. We don’t know where we will be going and what it will look like.  What we know, the current situation, while possibility uncomfortable and painful, is at least familiar.  So how do we prepare ourselves to step into change with an open heart and internal vitality?

One way, is to take time to know what our own internal landscape looks like and feels like. Once we know where we are, it is easier to move forward. This is most easily accomplished through meditation.  Taking time each day, to sit quietly with ourselves and simply observe.  Its best to do this first thing in the morning, before the busyness of life takes over.  But of course you can do it at any time.  Just set a timer (I like to use the app Insight Meditation Timer) and sit.  It doesn’t have to be for very long, 5-10 minutes will give you plenty of time to observe your breath, thoughts and feelings.  Don’t make it complicated, just be with yourself as you would be if you were sitting listening to your best friend.

Sometimes, its hard to just sit.  That’s where yoga comes in.  Moving our bodies, stretching our muscles, aligning our spine; all of these help to make it easier to sit in comfort. Take your time, again it doesn’t have to be very long, to move, strengthen and flex your body.  If you don’t have time to take a yoga class, there are a ton of options online.  A few times a week, and you will feel amazing results.

Also, it is very helpful to challenge yourself.  Do something you haven’t done before. Be it taking a class, volunteering for a cause about which you feel passionately, or pushing yourself in your yoga practice to explore a new pose or taking your postures a little further than you have done before.

I particularly like inversions.  They really do turn your world upside down.  Not only is there is that element of going upside down, but there is also the opportunity to see your world from a whole new perspective.  Not to mention a moment or two of fear. Will I get this?  Am I going to fall? And the moment of exultation.  I did it!  Maybe just a little bit, but I actually got a foot off the ground, or both feet, who knew?

So, whatever changes you may be facing, whatever challenges you are stepping into, I wish you  ease and comfort as you approach them.  Go gently on yourselves.  Give your self time.  Cut yourself some slack.  And at the same time, believe in yourself and your ability to move through change with strength and flexibility and love.

I will be offering a workshop on Inversions at River Tree Yoga.

February  12th, 2:00-5:00pm

Class size is limited, so we will have plenty of space and time to explore, ask questions and move.  The workshop will help you strengthen your inversion practice (headstands, handstands & arm balances) if you already have one, and help you get ready to start exploring inversions if you have never been upside down. Do sign up early if you are interested through the River Tree Yoga Website.

Also, many of you have been asking when will I ever start teaching on the West Side.  Wait no longer, as I will be launching a Mid-Day Bliss class at BendnMove in West Seattle.  This will be a gentle therapeutic yoga class appropriate for all ages and bodies.

12:00-1:15pm, Wednesdays, BendnMove

All my regular classes are back on schedule.  Its good to be back.

See you on the mat or out & about.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Attachment and Letting Go

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I’m sad to announce, that this is my last week teaching at Village Green Yoga and River Tree Yoga until June. Truly, I will miss teaching and my community. You guys bring such light to my life through your dedication, compassion and humor. But it is only a month and I will be back to my regular schedule very soon. In the interim, I have arranged for some excellent subs. So keep doing your yoga and your practice will grow from the wisdom of others.

As I prepare to spend the next month in Berkeley helping my father downsize to a small apartment in a continuing care community, I reflect on what this might mean for him, as well as for myself.

Moving is difficult for everyone. I have read that it is one of the top five stressors in life. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like for my father who is 95 and has lived in his current home for the majority of his adult life. He has not only lived in this house for over 50 years, he also designed it himself. It is perhaps his finest work as an architect and is truly a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. It sits on a wooded lot in the Berkeley hills with sweeping views across the San Francisco Bay. Floor to ceiling windows and doors on all sides, beautifully decorated with antiques from Europe and Asia; it is simultaneously inspiring and comforting. He is deeply attached to his home and the separation will be difficult for him. I think perhaps it is part of his identity, and so the stress of moving will be compounded by the separation from a part of his self.

I must also recognize that this is the home in which I grew up, so I am not only dealing with his loss, but I am also dealing with my own. Once he is moved, I will need to sell most of his/our belongings and let go of the security of having a place to land in the Bay Area; a place to share with family and friends, a place which I have always referred to as home. It is a home that is much loved and will be deeply missed.

And yet I am reminded of the yoga teachings concerning attachment. Our attachment to the past, to things being as they were; our attachment to the desire for things to be different from how they are now; and our attachment to material things in general can all lead to pain and suffering as well as distracting us from our ability to reside in the direct experience of the present moment. At this point I will spare you a full dissertation on all of Patanjali’s Sutras which discuss non-attachment, and only lead you in their direction.

  • Sutras I.12,I.15, I.16 – explains that through non-attachment we consciously realize that attachment can create short and long term negative effects.
  • Sutra II.3 – notes that the causes of suffering include ignorance, egoism, attachment, repulsion and  fear.
  • Sutra II.7, II.8 – suggests that attachment is the consequence of pleasure as aversion is the consequence of pain.
  • Sutra II.39 – reminds us that persevering on the path non-covetousness leads to a deeper understanding of the meaning of life.

So, as I get myself ready for this seemingly Herculean task, I will hold fast to my yoga, the practice and the principles. I will remind myself that this too shall all pass. And that this is simply another step in the trajectory of my life. I am grateful to have lived in such a lovely home, grateful that my father has lived such a long and healthy life, and grateful that I have the flexibility to be able to help him in this difficult time.

I thank you in advance for your support and understanding. I look forward to seeing many of you this week, and send you wishes for a happy May.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi