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

Meeting Hanuman on the Bridge in Rishikesh

The leaves are plummeting to the earth.  My lawn is once again buried in red and gold.  I will have to go out and rake again.  Or, I could also put it off for another day or so and just enjoy the colors.  The sky is clear, the mountains are showing off for me.  And I am feeling wonderful about being alive in this moment, right here and right now.

So much news.  First thank you to everyone who participated in the election this week.  Your care for the future of this country and planet and your vote does make a difference.  I actually could have done with quite a bit less participation from the advertisers and superpacs.  Wouldn’t it be better if we just put a cap on how much is spent on any and all political campaigns.  Candidates would have to win on their goodness and wisdom, and all that money (I think the grand total was 1 billion dollars) could be spent on services and programs much needed in our country.  I’m just saying…

Meditation:  The Meditation Circle at Village Green is up and running.  Every Thursday evening 7:00pm – 8:00pm in the upstairs loft.  If last week was any indication of the energies for the future, this is going to be the best event of your week.  Asana, pranayama and guided meditation; we all practically floated out of the room at the end of the night.

Yoga Classes:  Classes continue to grow.  The morning hatha classes are a great way to explore the depth of your asanas and learn more about alignments and therapeutics.  The evening vinyasa class is a steady flow of postures, linked by breath and some juicy and inspiring music.  And then of course there is the Sunday Morning Salutation Class – this is one amazing class – we all come together and restore one anothers’ soul through the depth of our practice and our commitment to wholeness and well-being.  All of these classes are available for drop-in by pre-registration at Village Green Yoga in Issaquah.

If you are looking for something more personal, sign up for a private session.  These can be scheduled at your convenience, and are a great way to address specific therapeutic issues or to up-level your practice.  Perhaps you want to put it on your holiday wish list – a three session gift package is available for only $175, a savings of $25, and will probably be the best present you get this year.  Shameless advertising I know, but I honestly, it is true – private sessions have made such a difference for so many people, isn’t it time you tried it?  Contact me directly to schedule your private session.

India:  More stories! you say.  What was my big take away? you ask.  What was the high point?  Okay, Okay.  Here’s one for you.  I realized I am afraid of monkeys.  This is weird, because I didn’t think I was really afraid of anything, so learning to accept my fear of monkeys was indeed a big deal.

In Rishikesh, there are two halves to the town.  To travel from one side to the other, you must cross the Ganges River, by one of two suspension bridges.  Both are narrow, both are crowded.  As a pedestrian, you share the bridge with motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, people, cows, dogs and MONKEYS.  At first I was charmed.  I mean the monkeys are quite cute, and when they have their babies hanging from them their bellies, they are even cuter.  But there are lots of them and they are swinging up and down the cables, and jumping on and off the cables and onto the bridge.  They are reaching for your bags, they are reaching for anything in your arms.  They aren’t afraid and they don’t necessarily let go when you ask them or jump upwards in fright. And you just don’t know if you will be the one the monkeys decide to pick on.

Hanuman Shrine, just down from the Bridge of Monkeys in Rishikesh – click on image for surprising details

And there was another time when a couple of us were walking up from the river at sunset.  We looked up the dirt road and saw about 50 monkeys coming our way.  Yes, I admit that fear was what filled my heart and brain.  This was not my home, it was theirs.  I was the alien, the visitor without permission.  And of course I had heard those horror stories about people being attacked by monkeys without any provocation, and I wasn’t about to go tromping right through that clan of monkeys.

Fear can lead to humiliation, and then right on to strength.  In this case, our fear inspired us to turn around and go back down to the river and ask some locals for help.   One of them looked at us sympathetically, smiled, and asked us to follow him.  Back up the road we went, but this time we had our guide and he had a couple of rocks in his hand.  He tossed the rocks up the road, the monkeys scattered.  He laughed, we smiled, (sheepishly) and proceeded up the dirt track, a bit chagrined and a maybe a bit wiser.

So there you have it, another story about India.  And another couple of lessons learned by yours truly:  1) I am afraid of monkeys.  2) It’s okay to ask for help.  3) The results are sometimes inspiring and sometimes humbling.  And most importantly, 4) opening that door to acceptance has enabled me to look at some other things in my life that are a bit scary.  The more we are able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities, the easier it is to move forward and perhaps overcome them.  Funny that I should relearn these lessons about overcoming obstacles from monkeys – Hanuman is after all a monkey god.

Have a great week.  Happy Fall

Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi

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

We Are Made of Light

We are made for Light. There are moments of perfect happiness, moments when one feels so well, at peace with oneself and with others. Such moments of fullness exist. They are rare, perhaps, but we have all experienced them. Each of us is capable of living such moments. They continue to send signals to us even when we are in despair.

(Jacques Gaillot)

Reflections on Yoga & Gardens

Happy Spring/Almost Summer. 

 
Wow! I am amazed at how much growth there has been in my garden this week.  Flower beds that have been dark and empty all winter are now overflowing.  Honest, I haven’t  planted anything. I just get to watch and enjoy.  I guess it’s just that the conditions were perfect for emergence.  The soil had all the nutrients, there was plenty of water, a burst of sun and some careful attention, and plenty of space to allow for expansion and abundance.

 
And that is what we do in yoga, we create conditions which enable us to emerge from the darkness.  We sow the seeds of abundance and create space in which to grow.  We kindle the natural energies of expansion – earth, fire, water, air.

 
And it is from this place of nurturence that we find our deeper selves rising to the surface.  Our bodies begin to shed the densities of the winter months and perhaps even years of dormancy.  As we move slowly, with compassion and integrity, our bodies begin to heal and strengthen.  Injuries and traumas from years past which have remained buried and stuck can be carefully addressed.  Injuries of the spirit and soul which have become stored within the body memory, can also be released.

Plant the seeds of your healing, nourish with healthy food and plenty of water, build some heat, and add some prana, breath deeply and aerate, allow space for growth, and be open to the growth and change that can and will happen.

Have a great week.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Brain Research Confirms Yoga Lessons

V.S. Ramachandran is one of my heroes. He manages put into simple and clear language the most revolutionary ideas in neurology and brain research. In the video below, he may have just provided us with scientific proof that indeed we are all connected.

As I go deeper into my studies of Yoga, I continue to be amazed that the yogis of so many hundreds and hundreds of years past were already exploring these areas.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is consciousness?
  • What is self and not-self?
  • How am I connected to you and everyone?
  • How do I deepen my awareness in each and every moment?
  • How does knowing a bit more about brain chemistry and function make a difference to my awareness of self and my yoga practice?

So here it is, another amazing video from the folks at TED Talks.

V.S. Ramachandran on the Brain Chemistry of Empathy

Please let me know what you think.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi