Early Morning Inspiration

Good Morning.

I was wondering what to write about today.  Vacation?  Yes, I highly recommend it.  Family?  Definitely worth cherishing.  Yoga?  Keeps you limber and strong, is good for your blood pressure, joints, and mood. Meditation?  Yes, do it every day to find out more about yourself and to help you deal with the challenges life throws at you.  Okay, covered those topics, what to write about?  And then I found this video of a young woman in South Africa.  She brought smiles and tears to my eyes.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I did.

http://youtu.be/BPszAxLjFSs

 

 

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

 

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Issaquah, WA

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

Martin Luther King Day and the Path of Yoga

My goal in teaching yoga is to help my students to live their yoga beyond their mats.  Yes, yoga will make you stronger and more flexible.  A regular practice will help you to heal the pains of your body. A regular practice can help you to overcome illness and recover from injury.

And, I firmly believe that yoga is more than just an aerobic practice.  It is more than just exercise.  Through yoga we learn to reach deeper into our true selves.  We sweep away the fog from our awareness and find our own paths to strength and truth. We allow ourselves to soften so that we may ease our way into the fundamental strength of our core of true being.

If we allow ourselves to become more flexible upon our mats, then don’t we also find a way to be more flexible in our daily lives?  If we allow ourselves to become stronger on our mats, then don’t’ we also then find more strength to live our daily lives?  If in our practice we find we have more endurance, more will power, more self-awareness, then don’t those also walk with us beyond the studio?

  • What is your dream?
  • What are you willing to stand up for?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for?
  • What is your truth?
  • Where is your strength?
  • Where can you be more flexible?

As you practice today, let these questions be at the forefront of your awareness.  As you step onto your mat, ask yourself, why am I here?  What is important to me?  What truths do I hold to be self-evident.  Where am I willing to apply my strength?  Where am I willing to soften and be more flexible?  What can I give to bring peace and healing, not just to my self but to my greater community.

As you practice today, reach out to the strength and vision of those who have come before us and shared with a vision of peace and community.  Allow yourself to be inspired.

Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi
Issaquah, WA

Why I didn’t set any New Years Resolutions

Summary
This blog is too long.  You are too busy to read all of it.  Here’s what you need to know:
Give up New Years Resolutions – set a single word intention instead.  Carry it every where with you.  Use it to realign your life and allow you to be more present.  Take ten minutes every day for yourself and let the intention seep into your pores. Wait, Stop, you are too busy for that – never mind.

Happy New Year!

This year I thought I would throw out the tradition of setting New Years Resolutions and replace it with setting a New Years Intention.  My goal was to distill my hopes for the year into a single word that I could paste to my computer, mirror, desk and other such assorted places.  A word that would call me back to the moment and remind of what I want to embrace in 2013.

Choosing the word/intention wasn’t as easy as I thought.  I mean if it was to become my mantra for 2013, I’d better choose pretty carefully.  But of course there is always that problem of over-thinking.  What the heart puts forward is usually right, even if my brain wanted to do an override.

On Sunday, as I was listening to a free jazz concert at Seattle First Baptist Church (Sunday Jazz Vespers – first Sunday of every month)  my intention rang out.  Enjoy!  I had toyed with words that were similar: chill, relax, smile, cherish, relish, but when “enjoy” popped through I knew it was right.  There I was in a great old Seattle church listening to some really good jazz.  It was wonderful. But as often happens, my mind would wander and I would find myself thinking about what I had to do this week.  The music would fade and for a few moments I would no longer be there.  As the mantra enjoy crept back in, I would return my attention to the moment and immediately I was happy, thrilled in fact to be sharing this moment with my husband and loving the music.

My goal for 2013 is to bring more joy to my life.  Or maybe a better way to say it is, I want to take time to truly enjoy my life and all the beauty that surrounds me.  I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, I live in a beautiful place and I have the best job in the world.  On top of that, there is so much to see and do here in Seattle and on this great planet.  So why not enjoy it?  What keeps me and so many I know from feeling truly happy?  I am too busy.

I posted this link on my Facebook page and I encourage you to read it.  The author Reggie Ray reminds us that most of us are so caught up in our busy-ness that we lose our ability to simply enjoy the moment.  This really struck a chord with me.  How often do we find ourselves rushing from one programmed event to the next, telling ourselves and everyone around us how busy we are.  Busy-ness has seemingly become a badge of honor.  “Hi, how are your?  I am super busy, how about you?  Yep me too, you should see my to-do list…” I think that it is this busy-ness that has gotten in the way of our simply enjoying the moment.   We run from one thing to the next, each event important, but each losing its value as a result of our obsession with doing so much all the time.  It gets so bad that we find ourselves unable to stop.  And even if we do stop, we are busy planning how we will get the next thing(s) on our “to-do” lists done.

So for 2013, I will embrace joy.  Joy in the moment. Joy in doing less.  Joy in not multitasking.  I am reminded of the Tasahara monk who spoke of the joy of dish washing.  Now dish washing can be a drag, especially if I spend the time washing dishes thinking about what I am to do next, and next after that and so on.  But if I harness my awareness to the dish washing itself, then I can enjoy the feeling of warm water, silky soap and squeaky, clean dishes.  Even the sense of completion when the dishes are done. And so it goes with all things.

Being present in the moment enables us to find more joy in whatever we are doing.  And if it turns out that as we become more fully present, we realize that what are doing brings us no joy at all, then at least we have attended carefully enough to know we must create change.  We learn to identify that which brings us joy and that which brings us pain.  With this knowledge we can then make choices that will enable us to gather more joy into our hearts and to let go of those actions, commitments, activities that simply contribute to our busy-ness and not to our fulfillment.

To those of you who are now firmly convinced of my polyanna-ness, let me acknowledge that I know most of you are householders, as am I.  Householder is a term used to recognize our need to work and maintain a home/family.  We all have jobs and burdens to carry, and families who need us. Our workloads may be heavy, the kids may be tiring, our parents my be challenging, but that is our life.  The question is how do we live our lives and  not just pass through them.

For me it has always been through yoga and meditation.  But this year I plan to up the ante and embrace joy.  What will you do?

Questions to ponder:

  • How much of my life is consumed with busy-ness?
  • How present am I in my daily actions (e.g.driving, walking, bathing, working, playing, resting)?
  • How often do I simply stop and rest for 10 minutes without trying to do anything?
  • Could I set aside 10 minutes for myself on a daily basis?
  • Did I set some resolutions for 2013?  What do they have in common?
  • What single word could I choose as my intention for the year?

 

Happy New Year

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Meditating in Difficult Times

The most common reason people say they don’t meditate is that they can’t find the time.

Imagine you actually have found the time and you’re feeling pretty good about your meditation practice.  You are committed.  Some how you found a way to set aside 10, 20, 40 minutes a day a few times a week to meditate.  You didn’t think you could do it, but you did, and you are enjoying the benefits of your practice.

And then life throws you a curve ball.  You thought your life was busy before, but now it is outrageous.

Welcome to my life.

I am a full-time mom.  I teach yoga part-time.  I am involved in several volunteer projects, and I have a home and yard to maintain.  I practice yoga and meditate daily.  My plate is full, but somehow I get it all done – usually.

Then comes the holiday season.  My daughter is a ballet dancer, so there is a lot of shuffling to and fro for Nutcracker rehearsals.  Add in the holiday decorating, present preparation, cooking projects, and shopping.  Add in a workshop or two, and my plate begins to get very full.  Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

But the world continues to conspire against me.  Two weeks ago, I got an early morning call from my 92-year-old father that he has had a stroke and is in the E.R. As he lives in Berkeley and I live in Seattle, I found myself spending a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out care options for him.  Breathe, practice, meditate, I remind myself.  Turns out he didn’t have a stroke and is released from the hospital after two days.  Still weak and unsteady, but no longer in need of hospital care. Unfortunately, he falls three days later and needs to go back to the E.R.   Clearly I can’t manage the situation from afar, and thus an unplanned trip to the Bay Area is required – immediately. Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

I called Alaska Airlines and bought a last-minute ticket.  I scurry around and find folks to cover my classes.  I dash out to the store and stock up on frozen meals and fresh fruit for my kids to eat while I am gone.  I write out to-do lists for them.  I send notes to neighbors asking them to watch out for my kids.  Pack a bag and off I go.  I spend 4 days in Berkeley taking care of my father; dressing his wounds, helping him find new patterns for life, talking to doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, buying medical supplies, setting up care, oh, and did I mention trying to be a good mom to my kids back at home….

Now I am back, playing catch up.  But through it all, my meditation and yoga has saved me.  Yes, it was modified.  I practiced 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, wherever I could fit it in.  And it did make such a difference.  Meditation on the plane made the flight go more quickly.  I couldn’t get up and meditate and do yoga in the morning before I needing to care for my father, but I could fit it in when he rested, before I spoke with the doctors, after I made meals or just before bed.  Whenever and wherever, and always it helped me to be clearer, calmer, more energetic, compassionate and patient.

The last one on that list is the most important.  I am not a saint.  I get tired and overwhelmed and frustrated.  All of us do.  We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we are given.

So if you are kicking yourself because you have let your practice slip, stop kicking.  Instead take 5 minutes sometime today, just to stop and breathe.  Nothing big, just that – breathe and be.  Maybe you will find another 5 minutes later on when you can stretch or do an asana.  The important thing is to give yourself that time and to notice how you feel afterwards.  That is meditation.  That is yoga.  That is healing.

Before I close, I want to say a few thanks:

  • To my yogi friends/teachers who covered my classes at the last-minute – you guys are the best.
  • To all my students for being the best and most understanding students ever.
  • To my friends here and in the Bay Area who kept checking-up on me and supporting me.
  • To the guy on the airplane who gave me a ride home at 11:00 at night.
  • To the staff at Alta Bates Hospital for taking such good care of my Dad.
  • To the doctors and nurses and therapists who have been so helpful and informative.
  • And to my wonderful husband and kids for being so loving and understanding.

Shalom & Namaste
Happy Chanukah
Diana Bonyhadi

 

P.S:  How do you like the falling snow?

Thanksgiving Greetings from your Favorite Yogi

My in-box has been overflowing with reminders of gratitude practices.  It has also been overflowing with opportunities to shop, shop, shop. Personally, I like the former much better.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Family and friends come together for no other reason than to share gratitude and food.

My family has already begun to arrive.  My children are all now home – which brings me so much joy.  The kitchen cupboards and fridge are full, and the scent of baking fills the air.  Actually my son is making risotto which smells almost as good as hot chocolate chip cookies.  More of my family arrives tomorrow and there will be  21 for dinner on Thanksgiving.  Now that will be a bountiful evening.

Here is the thing about the holidays.  Even if this is your favorite time of year, it is the time you are most likely to overdue and wear yourself out.  So instead of reminding you about all the things you have to be thankful for, I will take this moment to remind you to take care of yourself.

Steps to self-care during the holidays

Take time to be alone: Get up a few minutes early to have some time to yourself.  Perhaps you will meditate, or maybe enjoy that first cup of chai tea/coffee by yourself.  Whatever you do – don’t do anything that is on your to-do list.  Just be.

Do your practice:  Even if you don’t have time to come to the studio for classes, do take time to do a few down dogs and warriors, a baby back bend or two, a couple of twists for your digestion and don’t skip svasana.  You can do this all in 20 minutes or less, and you will feel much better for it. And if you can squeeze in a full practice, it will definitely help you to stay calm and cool and centered in the face of any family dynamics or undercooked turkeys.

Nourish your body:  I know you plan on eating lots of turkey, stuffing and pie, but don’t forget your greens, salads, and even a light soup to refresh your body.  Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, my favorite is yogurt, granola and fresh fruit.  This will give you all the energy you need to face the rest of the day.

That’s it.  Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  As you sit down with your friends and family, look around and smile.  Let your heart fill with gratitude and let everyone know how happy you are that they are there.  I found this blessing and thought you might like it.  Direct the prayer to whatever the divine means to you.

Thank you for the elements, which compose our bodies, all of nature and this food we will enjoy.
Thank you for our ancestors who sacrificed for us to be where we are today.
Thank you for the earth and its astounding beauty.
Thank you for love, family, friendship and community.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi