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.

Holiday Greetings and Abundance for 2014

Solstice Fire

Solstice Fire

Happy Holidays Everyone

As we turn the corner from darkness to light, we look to the New Year and see so many opportunities for expansion and fulfillment.

River Tree Yoga continues to grow, serving an enthusiastic population of yogis who love the woods, nature and their practice in equal measure.  Yoga in the Pond Room has become a haven for many and our workshops an inspiration for all.  I will continue to teach Wednesday nights 6:30-8:00pm, and alternating Saturday mornings at 9:30am.

Mark you calendar for January 19th, 1:00 – 4:00pm for Foundation for a New Beginning, the first workshop of the year will focus on Ten Fundamental yoga poses – perfect for building your home practice and/or deepening your understanding of the poses you see so often in class.

Village Green Yoga has also expanded, adding more teachers and opportunities for learning across a broad range of yoga styles and techniques.  My classes continue to be popular with students frequently coming early to reserve their favorite spot.

  • Sunday Morning Vinyasa has grown to become such a warm and nurturing community of yogis, that we all look forward to the weekend, just so we can spend our Sunday mornings together yoga-ing, laughing and healing.
  • Monday & Wednesday morning’s Hatha Integration Class is the workshop class for the studio.  Come and explore your favorite asanas, practice pranayama and meditation. Study and Inquiry are the hallmark of this alignment-based class. So much to learn, so many ways to deepen.
  • Tuesday & Thursday Mid-Day Bliss/Gentle is just exactly that; a gentle exploration of posture and breathe, which is massages the mind, body and spirit. An hour of movement in the middle of the day – a beautiful way to renew and inspire.
  • Tuesdays and Thursday Evening Vinyasa Flow is a steady and playful sequence tuned to some awesome vibes, designed to get the heart rate up and the stress out.

I offer to all a bow of gratitude for your continued  support throughout the years.  It has been an honor and pleasure to be your teacher, as you continue to be my muse.

May the blessings of the season and the twinkle of bright lights bring joy and peace to you and your loved ones.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

So Many Yoga Books – How to choose?

Happy Friday Yogis.

 

I hope it has been a good week for you.  Mine has had its share of ups and downs, including a most unfortunate auto accident.  Now I get to practice my own best advice.  Breathe, rest, ice, careful alignment and good posture.  I guess the positive is that as a result of the accident, others around me, are being more careful in their own driving practices.  My husband is convinced that as a result of my accident, he was saved from having one himself, as he was now being more present and cautious at the wheel.

Students in my classes at River Tree Yoga and Village Green Yoga continue to inspire me. This week I was honored by a guest at Tree House Point/River Tree Yoga who said her practice with me on Monday was the best addition to an already perfect vacation.  I figure that is a good thing, seeing as the next part of her vacation was going to need some modification – no she can not go to Mount Rainer.

I just came upon this book list from an article published on YogaJournal.Com.  Many of my students ask me for my recommendations on what to read.  I think this article does a remarkable job of listing and describing some of the best resources in the yoga book world.  This is by no means comprehensive and some of my favorites are not listed, but it is a good start.

One more thing.  Here is a beautiful video of Vladimir Horwitz playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto #23.  It is fun, it is inspiring, and heart warming.  I must say that in many ways this man is a true yogi.  He is so present, skillful, learned, humble and joyful.  Enjoy!

 

Happy Weekend Yogis

Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Core Strength & Core Values

Moving from the core means more than just using your abdominals to instigate movement, it also means moving from the essence of your being.

When you hear there is a workshop focused on the core, does it make you cringe and say to yourself, “no way am I going to take a 3 hour workshop on abdominals, that’s crazy”…Guess what? I hear you, crunches suck and in all honestly I wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours doing that either.

But when you hear that there is workshop focused on connecting to the essence of your being – how you do you feel?  Hopefully, intrigued.

Because next weekend I am hosting a workshop in Cannon Beach designed to help you connect to the core of your being.

Imagine being able to:
move from a place of connectedness, a place of wholeness, a place of inner strength; imagine the infinite possibilities of movement.  Truly, when we move the core of our being all things become possible.

Join me Saturday August 17th, 1:00 – 4:00pm at the beautiful Cannon Beach Yoga Arts studio to find out how to tap into and move from the core of your being.

This three-hour workshop will include  asana, pranayama, meditation and lecture.  We will examine all classes of asana including, standing poses, inversions and backbends.

Hope you are having a great summer.

See you August 17th at the Beach.

Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Sunday Morning Salutations

Tomorrow is Earth Day.

Time for Sun Salutations to celebrate and honor our beautiful, amazing, inspiring, and nourishing mother earth.

Class will start at 9:45 in the Down Stairs studio at Village Green Yoga.

Join us for a very special class designed to celebrate our connections to the earth, each other and our deepest wisdom.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Passover – Traditions which inspire and transcend

Hello to all my favorite yogis.

Sorry, I have not written in a while.  Seems that keeping a proper blog is not in my constitution.  Oh well, I can let that go.

Tonight begins the Jewish Festival of Passover.  Like all good Jewish traditions, this one centers around food.  But it is not just any food, this is a meal, and a week of meals that is designed to remind us that we were once slaves in Egypt, and by the grace of G-d we were able to escape to freedom.

Tonight we will gather around our tables and tell the story of our escape from enslavement.  We will eat foods that will remind us of the tears of our ancestors, the hard work they did building pyramids, and the bread they were unable to finish baking in their rush to leave.

Passover provides us a unique opportunity to remember that we are not the only ones who have suffered slavery.  And more importantly, it encourages us to work to end the slavery that exists in  world today.  Yes, people all over the world are enslaved; children in sweat shops, children in the sex trade, adults in unsafe jobs with unfair/negligible wages, indentured servitude, battered spouses, and unfortunately the list goes on.  We don’t have to dig very deeply to find the ugliness of physical slavery in every corner of the world.

And our enslavement is not only physical. We are trapped by our computers, TVs and cell phones.  We are preyed upon by advertising which makes us think we are incomplete without the newest, latest, greatest whatever.  We suffer hunger, sexism, racism, global warming, etc. We are trapped by our childhood tapes of what it means to be good.   Spiritually and psychologically almost all of us are held by something.

And so here is Passover, and we get a chance to look about and within and choose once again to fight against slavery.  We get to rededicate ourselves to fight for freedom.  Freedom from the shackles of both physical and emotional bondage.

So, here is the work.  Look around and help out.  There are many programs out there that fight against modern-day slavery.  Pitch in, lend a hand  or send a dollar.  To quote  a favorite musician,  “none of us are free if one of use is chained.”

And also look inside, and see what are you willing to let go of this week?  Select something that is holding you back from living fully as your wonderful self.  How are you enslaved, and by what?  I know this is hard work, and it takes a brave heart to begin to let go of those chains.  Even the Israelites were reluctant to leave.    Slavery wasn’t good, but at least they knew it.  Change and freedom is scary, it is the unknown, and in the land of the unknown, we need to reach deep into our hearts for strength.  But isn’t it better that we live lives of wholeness, lives of connectedness, even if it means stepping into the wilderness.

In my classes this week, I will be encouraging my students to use their yoga practice to find the strength to touch their points of constrainment, to use their asanas to open their hearts, to become flexible enough to open the places that were closed within before.  We will be exploring backbends and their counterposes – opening our hearts and stepping into moments of awakening. And then from these moments of awakening, we can connect and be powerful in our openness and our oneness, and walk the path of yoga beyond the mat.

Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi
Issaquah, WA

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

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?