New Fall Schedule

Dear Yogis & Yoginis,
I hope you have had a marvelous summer. Truly, summer in the Northwest is a wonderful thing.  And now with the rain pouring and the skies filled with thunder and lightning, it officially feels like Fall.
I have spent the summer meditating, yoga-ing, gardening, going to concerts, berry picking, making jam and pickles, reading, and enjoying my family. I  also traveled to Cannon Beach to host a workshop on core movement. It was a sold-out success, so there is a very good chance I will offer it again here in the Fall.
I am returning to my regular teaching schedule in September, along with a couple of new additions. While I enjoyed my “mini-sabatical,” I have missed being with my students on a more daily basis.  However with the Jewish High Holy Days beginning this week, it will be a couple of more weeks before I resume my morning classes.  A big thank you to the most wonderful Bonnie Dike for nourishing my classes while I was on leave.  Isn’t she amazing?
I am very excited to announce that I will be teaching alongside my dear friend Inga Rouches at our new endeavor River Tree Yoga at Tree House Point in Fall City. Come out to the woods and experience the beauty and magic that is River Tree Yoga, a studio dedicated to inspiration, connection and growth. River Tree Yoga is conveniently located on the Preston Fall City Road, minutes away from Sammamish, Issaquah, Fall City, Snoqualamie & Carnation. Click here to see our beautiful new website, get our class get schedule, or find directions.
River Tree Yoga, Fall City, WA
Wednesdays
5:30 – 7:00pm     Hatha Integration

7:30 – 9:00pm    Yoga Bliss

 
Village Green Yoga, Issaquah WA
Tuesdays & Thursdays

Noon – 1:00pm    Midday Bliss

5:30 – 6:45pm     Hatha Flow

Sundays:

9:45 – 11:15am Hatha Flow

 

 

KharmaBellaYoga, Sammamish, WA

Private, small-group, corporate, and offsite yoga services designed specifically to meet your yoga needs.

Call to schedule – 425-765-3173

I Look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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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

The wisdom of having a spiritual practice

Hi Everyone,

Hope you have been having an awesome, amazing and abundant summer.  How did you do on that Pacific Northwest checklist of fun?  Let’s see, just this week, I logged:

  • Blueberry picking
  • Camping
  • Visited the San Juan Islands
  • Watched the Orcas swim by
  • Jumped and played in three separate lakes
  • Danced to Pink Martinis at Zoo Tunes
  • Meditated – lots and in some really cool places
  • Finished a couple of books

Whatever you decide to do these next few weeks make sure it nourishes your soul.  So often we forget about that in the hustle and bustle of living, and then I wonder if we really are living.  Find Joy & Embrace it.

Next month (September) I will be hosting two workshops at Village Green Yoga.  More info to follow shortly, but mark your calendars now.

  • Loving Your Sun – learning the fun-damentals of the Sun Salutation Sequence
    Sunday, September 23, 1:00 – 3:30
  • Taking the Time to Meditate – opening to the heart of a meditation practice.
    Sunday, September 30, 1:00 – 2:30

And here it is, the reason for the title of this posting.  This is an excerpt from a letter from my rabbi on this week’s Torah portion.   The whole of his writing is powerful, but this short bit says it all.  Enjoy!

 

When we make spirituality an essential part of our existence, however, what we are able to see is radically different. Because our spiritual path serves to reconnect us to Source, it expands our awareness beyond the tunnel vision of the ego. In removing our blinders and opening our eyes it also opens our heart. As we become spiritually aware, we are able to see the essential goodness of the world, the miracle of life, the unfathomable gift of our own birth, and the preciousness of relationship. We are able to hold the pain and suffering, the struggling and the fear with acceptance, understanding and compassion. The existence of love brings up feelings of gratitude, the wonder of aliveness, feelings of pure joy. In such awareness the other is no longer seen as a means to satisfy one’s needs; one is able to leave the past in the past, welcome the future with an open heart, and be fully present to one’s experience in every moment, just as it is. When awareness transcends the ego, one can’t help but see abundance and love.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Practicing Yoga and Forgiveness

In the Jewish Tradition, this past week and weekend were the holiest of Holy Days – the Days of Awe.  For 8 days, Jews the world over, participated in a period of reckoning. In preparation for the Jewish New Year, we have spent a week looking back over the year and doing a little personal housekeeping.  We our paid off our debts, reconciled our promises, and made amends.

We spend quite a bit of time focused on the following phrases.  They are simple and profound.  Just a couple of sentences which encompass just about everything.

For all the things I have said or done consciously or unconsciously which may have caused pain and suffering to others, I am sorry, please accept my apology.
For all the things I have said or done consciously or unconsciously which may have caused pain or suffering to myself, I am sorry, please accept my apology.

There you have it.  An acknowledgment that even when we don’t mean to, we can do things or says things that are hurtful.  I know this one pretty well.  I have a tendency to open mouth – insert foot.  I have the best of intentions, but sometimes things just don’t come out the way I envisioned and people get hurt.  I am sorry, I really didn’t mean to.  Or sometimes my commitment to honesty gets in the way.  I know, not everyone needs to know how I really feel or think about something.  I am sorry.

Then there are those time when I fail to speak up about the things that are really important – politics, the environment, community issues, etc.  Sometimes, I fail to say or do what needs doing/saying.  For those moments of omission, I am sorry.

Now for the big one.  For all those times when I hurled unjust judgments and recriminations at myself, I am sorry.  I know I must be willing to give myself a chance to be human, and therefor fallible.  I must let go of all those “would’ves and should’ves” and just let the past be the past.  This is so hard, I really want to be a better person. I hate screwing up.  But I have to be willing to forgive myself.  We all do.

In yoga, we strive to stay in the present moment and connect with the interconnectedness that we are.  We move and breath, hopefully linking our breath with the movement, to assist the brain in settling in to the present  We practice asana and pranayama so we can sit in mediation, focusing and releasing the thoughts, slipping into the eternity of the here and now.  And it is a challenge.  That is why Patanjali in Sutra 1:14 states that “the practice becomes fully grounded with we attend to it over time, without a break and with earnestness.”  In other words, keep trying, don’t give up, and do this practice with care, and effort.  Be serious about it.

So, yea, I know I make mistakes, we all make mistakes.  We are human.  The trick is to keep trying and  to pay attention to our thoughts and deeds.  Try to not to hurt others or ourselves.  This is the essential practice of Ahimsa.  And next year when Yom Kippur rolls around, maybe the sorry-list will be shorter, and maybe it won’t, but if we will keep trying to attend and be earnest in the effort, the world will be a better place.  And that’s what its all about, isn’t it?

Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi

Yoga, Passover and Easter; Connecting the Paths of Faith

I am practicing asana but at a level where the quality is meditative. The totality of being, from the core to the skin, is experienced.  Mind is unruffled, intelligence is awake in the heart rather than in the head, self is quiescent, and conscious life is in every cell of the body.  That is what I mean when I say asana opens the whole spectrum of yoga’s possibilities.
– B.K.S. Iyengar

Fuse the powers of the sacred heart with the energies of the body and you transform everything.
– Pierre Teilhard De Chardin.

Good Morning

Here we are at the end of the week of Passover and the eve of Easter.  In the Northwest the sun is finally shining, and everywhere flowers are bursting forth.  It is no wonder that  there are major religious holidays at this time.  Clearly this is a time to celebrate.  We have hopefully seen the last of the dark cold days of winter, and can now  begin our planting and playing in the sun.

From the Jewish perspective, we have spent this past week reliving our journey from enslavement to freedom.  A metaphysical journey from dark to light.  I know that there are many ways in which we are all still enslaved, so as i crunch on my matzah, i am reminded to continue to keep my heart open, and to seek ways to help others escape slavery – both physical and mental

Yes slavery is still alive and kicking the world, think child labor and sex trade, coal mining and diamond mining.

And while I am not a member of the Christian community, I know many who have spent the last 39 days trying to give up something for Lent.  Chocolate, coffee, sugar, anything that they really liked, so that they can in some small way, experience the suffering that Jesus experienced.  Sunday, they will be released from their vows of abstinence and will be free to celebrate and consume as they wish.

But for more than a month, every time they almost ate/drank their favorite substance, they were reminded of others who have suffered or who are still suffering.  They brought the darkness of limitations to the forefront of their consciousness through a personal act of abstinence.

And now here we are, about to be set free from the restrictions we have set upon ourselves.  We are about to be free from the physical reminders of the suffering of others.  We are about to enter into the light and fullness of spring and summer.  I think perhaps our spiritual forefathers had something here.  They knew that there needed to be a “right of passage” a “moment of awakening”  “a space of rememberance”  at this moment of transition as we move from the cold days of winter into the warmth of summer.  We need to stop and pause and celebrate the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.  We need to remember that even in the best of times there is suffering, and, even in the darkest moments of suffering, there is room for birth and growth.

Okay, so what does this have to do with yoga?  Everything.  As yogis we come from many traditions.  Being a yogi does not mean you are no longer a Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian.  You are all that and more.  Let your yoga practice be a celebration of your spiritual practice.  Allow your breath to flow from the deepest recesses of your being.  Step into your asana practice with deliberation, awareness, and rememberance.  Your body is more than just a physical entity, allow it to be a vehicle for helping you to connect with the divine, and to live in greater connection with all beings.  Allow your meditations to be full of connection and wonder.

Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi

A Week of Enlightenment

A Week of Divine Enlightenment

Well no, I can’t say that I have become an enlightened being this week, but I did set the intention for the week to open myself up to the possibility of experiencing the divine fully in each and every moment. And what a great week it has been.

It started as a simple question; “If I were truly an enlightened being, how would my actions in the moment change?”  The first thing I noticed was a shift of awareness.  My internal critical self took a step back.  Enlightened beings are not so judgmental – wow what a relief that was.  In my practice, I found it easier to open more fully to each asana, delighting in the postures for their own sake.  My breath flowed more gently and my meditations were longer and deeper.  In my daily life, I discovered that the traffic was less annoying and chores became vehicles for nurturing my family – not dreaded tasks.  In short, I found myself more open to the positive in every situation and more supportive of everyone around me – even those teenagers with whom I share space.

As a yoga teacher, this has turned into a deep blessing.  Opening each class with an invitation to honor the divine within, allowed all my students to reach deeper into their practices.  As a result the room became a sanctuary, and each student a manifestation of the divine.  Literally, all of us were glowing.  The asanas shimmered and the meditations were nurturing and affirming.

When we invite the divine into our lives, we are making the choice to fully acknowledge the grace, beauty and sacredness of our world. If my experience this week is any indication, creating space for the divine is a pathway for creating greater possibilities for peace in our lives and the world.

Finally, a comment on the numerous articles in the press about the perceived conflict between yoga and religions.  First, yoga is not a religion, it is a philosophy.  It is best viewed as a road map for our intrapersonal and interpersonal interactions.  Yoga – which literally mean yoking or union – strengthens the connections between the individual and their own religious commitments. In my practice this week, I found support and clarification of my Jewish faith, particularly as expressed through the Sh’ma: “Listen Israel, Adonai is holy, Adonai is one.”  By embracing the divine, I embraced the concept of the holiness of all beings and the interconnectedness of everything.  I mean, if I am divine, then you are too, and he is, and she is and he is, and so forth.  What a beautiful sparkling world of divine beings we are.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

L’Shana Tova & Patanjali Sutra II.5

Anitya asuci duhkha anatmasu nitya suci sukha atma khyatih avidya

Sutra 2-5

The need for pleasures and the source of suffering comes from identifying with
that which is not eternal. True self is pure and eternal.

`L’Shana Tova

Happy New Year.  I spent most of yesterday and the evening before in synagogue.  It’s Jewish New Year and so a time for deep reflection.  We are called to reach deeply into that reflective space and ponder where we have been and where we want to be in the future.  This is the time when we take stock.

Traditionally, we call this the time of repentance.  The ten days of awe, when the book of life is opened and we get to re-write ourselves into the book of life.  It is the time when we look back at the past year and hold ourselves accountable for all that we have done.  For many it is a time of self-flagellation.  Our minds fill with the “I should’ves, Why didn’t I, Why did I?” And we ask for forgiveness.  Some of us even write the difficult letters, or make the phone calls to those we love and have hurt during the year.  But most importantly, it is a time of letting go.

I belong to a unique synagogue.  We practice an integrative form of Judaism which is draws upon ancient Jewish practices of mysticism, meditation and chanting. It also draws upon the wisdom teachings of Buddhism and Daoism.  I find that the combination of song, prayer and meditation allows me to go deeper into myself and to nurture the divine spark that lives within.

According to our Rabbis, the real work to be done during this week is the work of self-love.  Yes, look inside, take stalk, but also forgive yourself and let go. I don’t know about you, but I certainly am my own worst critic.  So to be presented with the task of looking inside and practicing self-forgiveness is a deep spiritual challenge.

This is a time of catharsis.

And I find that my yoga practice is deepened by my Jewish faith and vice versa.  We meditate on the mat and we meditate in synagogue.  We honor the divine that lives within in our yoga practice, and we honor the One that is Universal Being in our Jewish faith.  Patanjali reminds us that our attachments to what has been and what could be, keep us from living fully in the moment, and thus lead to pain.  The days of awe remind us to look back, take stalk and then let go, and embrace the New Year with an open heart and a clean slate.

So to all my fellow yogis and yoginis, and to all my Jewish brothers and Sisters, may I wish you a sweet New Year.  I encourage you to open yourselves up to yourselves.  Take time for silence and meditation. Listen quietly to the clear voice that lives within.  Know that we are all manifestations of goodness.  And celebrate your unique unfolding, on the mat and in your life.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi