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

Advertisements

Happy Valentines Day

Valentines Day is still a couple of days away.  That means you still have time to nurture your own inner Valentine.  Let your practice this week be all about love. 

  • Fall in love with yourself
  • Spoil yourself
  • Send yourself love letters 
  • Listen to romantic music
  • Practice devotion 
  • Practice compassion
  • Practice empathy
  • Open yourself to Grace
  • Fall in love with yourself

Here are a view asanas to support your journey into love.  Hip openers and wide-legged stretches to release all that emotional stuff that gets gunked up in the hips.  Mountain and Warrior Poses to reminds us that we are strong and powerful.  Backbends to help us open our hearts.  And svasana fully propped to help nurture the quiet restful spaces within us.

  • Eka Pada Rajakoptanasana – Pigeon
  • Prassarita Podattanasa -Standing wide-legged forward bend
  • Upavista Konasana – Seated wide legged forward bend
  • Mountain – Standing Tall with Arms overhead
  • Virabradrasana I – Warrior I
  • Setu Bhanda  Sarvangasana- Bridge
  • Urdhva Danurasana – wheel
  • Svasana – Queens Pose with bolsters, eye pillows and blankets
  • Chant – Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu – May all beings everywhere be at peace

Now that you have your practice poses and intentions for the week, I offer you this love poem by Rumi.

A lifetime without Love is of no account

Love is the Water of Life

Drink it down with heart and soul!

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Even Yogis Procrastinate

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that living the life of a good little yogi does not prevent me from being a procrastinator.  You might have noticed that I didn’t update this blog for three weeks.  Guess what, that is not the only thing I managed to put off.  The list is embarrassingly long; I found the most amazing ways to avoid doing house-cleaning chores, desk work, paper work, and I even put off making my new years resolutions.  But  now I am playing catch-up and I thought I would share some of my New Years resolutions with you:

Resolutions for a Procrastinating Yogi

  • Meditate for 15-45 minutes every morning. (So far so good)
  • Cook a new dish every week  – that would be 52 new dishes this year.  Hopefully I will also teach a few of these to my kids.  Here are the cookbooks and websites from which I will draw inspiration:    Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/blog/category/recipes/), Natural Cooking Everyday, (http://www.101cookbooks.com/) Eat, Taste Heal – An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living (http://www.eattasteheal.com/ETH_dosha.htm) , and Terrific Pacific Cookbook (http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=terrific+pacific+cookbook&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=5435336785&ref=pd_sl_39829tmzyo_e).
  • Study more anatomy:   Wow, did you know you can watch human dissections online.  Just type in a body part and the word “dissection,” and you will be amazed at what you can watch and learn.  Yea, I am an anatomy geek.
  • Study with amazing yogis.  I am already signed up for two intensives – I can’t wait till next weekend when I will be studying the anatomy of the neck and shoulders and learning some more thereapeutic yoga approaches for healing common injuries to this region.  Can anyone say rotator cuff?
  • Try out new local activities: We have so much to do here in the Seattle Area, there is no reason I can’t try at least one new adventure per month (hiking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, museums, wakeboarding, etc).  Really I should make it 2 new activities a month, but if every one is as satisfying as this week’s adventure, I know I will be repeating them.  Friday I went to the Seattle Bouldering Project and did some rockclimbing.  What a blast, and a tremendous work out.
  • Visit a National Park:  Last year I went to Yellowstone, where shall I go this year?
  • Nag Less, Enjoy More:  It is too easy to see what bugs us first, and then try to find that which deserves celebration.  My goal for this year is to spend more time celebrating and enjoying life; my kids, my husband, my friends and my community and less time focusing on the negative.
  • Try not to procrastinate too much…..and then don’t kick myself too hard for being a procrastinator.

Happy New Year,

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Yoga can help Insomnia

Sleepless in Seattle

I don’t know if it is the change in the weather, or the shift from summer awareness to winter awareness, but either way, sleeplessness has been a recurring theme for many of my students of late.

Insomnia is a plague for many of us. For some it is the struggle to fall asleep, for others, it is the waking up in the middle of the night, but either way, all  insomniacs are desperate for more/enough sleep.

Can yoga help?  There is a definitive yes.  There are many asanas which you can do prior to bedtime to help relax the body.  Also, having a regular yoga practice, which includes asana, pranayama and meditation will help to reduce stress, and thereby lesson the likelihood of insomnia.

Here is a link to a an article published in Yoga Journal over a year ago, which I have found to be very helpful for many of my students and friends.

If getting to sleep is the issue, it is important to try to go to be at the same time every night.  Take a warm drink with you to the bedroom.  Here is a wonderful ayurvedic recipe for a bedtime drink which is very soothing and soporific.  On the asana front, do a few cat-cows, a couple of twists, and some forward bends. Shoulderstands are also very helpful but please make sure that you are both safe and comfortable in your shoulderstand before trying them at bedtime.

If the issue is waking up in the middle of the night (mine), I have found it useful to get up right away.  Don’t hang out in bed, haranguing yourself, it won’t help.  Go downstairs, make a cup of tea.  Try to avoid going any where near your computer or desk.  Chores are not allowed. So what to do with your wakeful self?

I have begun to look on these hours as a gift.  No one is around to bug me, or ask me to do something for them. The house is quiet. The street is quiet.  It’s like I have the world all to myself.  I curl up on the couch and read and write in my journal.  If after an hour, I find that I am still up, then I will deal with the things that are on my mind/to-do list.  If I am still up, well, then it is time for a hot bath with lavender.  But usually, the cup of tea and boring book do the job, and I am ready to go back to bed within the hour.

I hope this helps. If any of you have other hints and tips, please do add them as comments.
Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi

Changing Your Lifestyle and Yoga Practice to Match the Season

Balancing the Energies of Autumn

Changing your life style and yoga practice to match the season – does it make sense? Yes it does, and adding a few simple changes to your routine can make a world of difference in how you feel.

So, if you are currently feeling any of the following, here is some good news.

Sluggish?
Joints Creaky?
Skin dry and cracked?
Having trouble sleeping?
Harder to get up this morning?

What is going on?

Don”t worry you are not crazy.  Your body is adjusting to the change in seasons.  Ayurvedically speaking we are moving into the Vata season, known in the western world as Fall.  This is one of those times when you are reminded that, not only are we finely tuned instruments, but also that we are all interconnected beings.  Interconnected with each other, and the planet.

As we move from Summer to Fall, as the weather shifts from hot to cool, and as the air becomes wet and blustery, our bodies begin to adjust as well.  We slow down, and begin to let go of the collected heat of the summer.    And depending on our constitutions (doschas) and the balance of stress in our lives, the transitional period may go very smoothly or it may need a bit of fine tuning.

Here are a couple of things you can do to ease the transition from Summer to Fall.

  • Check-in and listen:  If you are tired get more sleep.  Go t bed earlier and maybe even take a short nap during the day. If  you are thirsty, drink more fluids.  I don’t mean to sound trite, but often the first thing we do is turn off the volume and ignore the signals being sent to us by our bodies.
  • Move the system along:  help your body adjust to the change in the season.  Add some cleansing and nourishing practices to your daily routine.  Here are a few things to help bring your body back into balance with the season.
  • Drink a glass of lemon juice and water to start your morning.
  • Brew yourself some ginger tea and drink it throughout the day.
  • Put more twists and longer holds in your asana practice.
  • Spend a few moments in meditation.
  • Take a long hot bath with salts in the evening before bed.
  •  Get a massage – go ahead, you deserve it and it will feel so good.
  • Add oils to your body – both internally (fish and vitamin E), and on the skin (Coconut & Sesame).

If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda, your doscha, and more ways to stay in balance with the season, here are a few good links.  Also, I know there are many of you who read this blog that know way more than I do, so please chime in.

http://www.ayur.com/about.html

http://www.holisticonline.com/ayurveda/ayv-basis-harmony.htm

http://ayurvedaseattle.com/index.php?CID=28

Have a great day,

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Winter Solstice and the Balance of Yoga

Winter Solstice and a Lunar Eclipse – powerful forces of light and dark – all in one evening.  Wow, I am still trying to wrap my brain around the possibilities.  Last time these two events occurred simultaneously was 456 years ago.  I will have to ask my friend and ayurvedic astrologer, Melanie Farmer, to comment on the synchronicity of these events and their possible effects on our doshic equilibrium.

On the one hand, now that the solstice has passed, I know the days are going to get longer.  With each day we will have a bit more light.  But the contradiction here is that even though the days will be longer, we will actually be entering more fully into the cold of winter.  At least there is a balance, a bit more light for a bit more cold.

And a lunar eclipse.  Here in the Northwest, we frequently are unable to see this magical event.  But night before last, the skies cleared and the moon was large and full, only to be slowly covered up, not by clouds, but by a shadow.  The moon that is so consistent in its cycle, moved through its cycle yet again, but its light was momentarily oblated by a larger force, the force of a shadow.

So here we are, moving from darkness to light, yet entering into this moment of turning, with a full awareness of the power of our shadow. Because it was indeed our own shadow that covered the moon – the shadow of the earth covering the light of the moon.

In yoga, we are always seeking to achieve balance.  We balance on one leg and one hand (ardha chandrasana), on one leg (vriksasana), on both hands (adho mukha vriksasana), on our heads (salamba sirsasana).  We work to balance our inhalations and exhalations (sama vritti pranayama).  We strive to balance our breath with our asana movements (vinyassa).  And most importantly we seek to balance our  effort/engagement with our ability to let go.

And many times we do find ourselves in balance.  It happens pretty regularly, just like the solstice.  When things are all in place and we exert correct effort, the asana, be it headstand or tree will simply just happen.  Ah, but then we begin to wobble.  Nobody is pushing us, the floor is not moving.  What is happening?  Could it be our shadow?  That little voice inside that continuously questions our ability to be.  “Uh, are your really in that headstand? You sure you have it right.? Can’t believe you are still there, what a lot of work that must be.”  And by the time those shadow thoughts have registered, we are probably all about to fall.

But let us take comfort in the fullness of the eclipse.  Let us allow this amazing event to be a touchstone for our yoga.  While a shadow does indeed pass in front of the moon, the moon does not lose it’s course, and neither should we.  Let us abide in the fullness of the moment.  Let us watch the shadow pass by. Let us not worry or be shaken by the doubts that arise in a moment of darkness.  And then let us pass into the fullness of the asana, the fullness of our breath and balance of our yoga.

Happy Winter.  May you experience the beauty of the season with the fullness of your heart.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Yoga to Balance the Winter Blues

Good Afternoon.

I see snow on the mountains.  The air has changed and now it is surely winter.  That’s okay by me, now I have an excuse to drink eggnog in the mornings and hot chocolate in the afternoons.  Maybe I will even get to go skiing this year.

Another thing that winter brings is an increase in vata energies.  Now I am by no means an expert in ayurveda  ( I can however, recommend a few fabulous practitioners), but I do know that too much of anything can lead to imbalances.  Too much vata energy can lead to an increase in colds, joint pains, arthritis, congestion, dryness of skin, insomnia, and a generalized sense of agitation.

But you don’t need to let the “winter blues” get you down.  Don’t let the wild winds of winter blow away your serenity.  Turn to your yoga practice to bring balance back into your life.  Now is the time to slow down your practice, and build and stoke the internal fires. Start by holding your poses for longer – go deeper exploring the edges of each asana.  Add a few balance poses – Vriksana (tree) and Gururdasana, will bring both heat to the body and calmness to the heart and mind.  Turning further inward, spoil yourself with a deep forward bend aided by props.  Do a long paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) but use bolsters and blocks so you can stay longer.  Finally, add a few minutes to your svasana  – add them at the front end, as you place blankets on and under your body.  Nurture yourself with bolsters and eye pillows.

Yoga and ayurveda have long been the  sister sciences of well-being.  Learning about your doscha, and how seasonal changes effect your doscsha  can help you to stay healthier and calmer regardless of the season, the weather or your “to-do” list.  For more information on ayurveda, here are a few of excellent links:

http://www.chopra.com/ayurveda

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ayurveda-000348.htm

Have a great week, stay warm, and love yourself.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi