Happy New Year

Happy New Year Yogis

2017 is already set up to be a year of dramatic change.   Not only will we be shifting gears in the geo-political arena, but we will also be seeing many shifts in our own personal space.  And for most of us, change is something we tend to approach with trepidation. Its unsettling. We don’t know where we will be going and what it will look like.  What we know, the current situation, while possibility uncomfortable and painful, is at least familiar.  So how do we prepare ourselves to step into change with an open heart and internal vitality?

One way, is to take time to know what our own internal landscape looks like and feels like. Once we know where we are, it is easier to move forward. This is most easily accomplished through meditation.  Taking time each day, to sit quietly with ourselves and simply observe.  Its best to do this first thing in the morning, before the busyness of life takes over.  But of course you can do it at any time.  Just set a timer (I like to use the app Insight Meditation Timer) and sit.  It doesn’t have to be for very long, 5-10 minutes will give you plenty of time to observe your breath, thoughts and feelings.  Don’t make it complicated, just be with yourself as you would be if you were sitting listening to your best friend.

Sometimes, its hard to just sit.  That’s where yoga comes in.  Moving our bodies, stretching our muscles, aligning our spine; all of these help to make it easier to sit in comfort. Take your time, again it doesn’t have to be very long, to move, strengthen and flex your body.  If you don’t have time to take a yoga class, there are a ton of options online.  A few times a week, and you will feel amazing results.

Also, it is very helpful to challenge yourself.  Do something you haven’t done before. Be it taking a class, volunteering for a cause about which you feel passionately, or pushing yourself in your yoga practice to explore a new pose or taking your postures a little further than you have done before.

I particularly like inversions.  They really do turn your world upside down.  Not only is there is that element of going upside down, but there is also the opportunity to see your world from a whole new perspective.  Not to mention a moment or two of fear. Will I get this?  Am I going to fall? And the moment of exultation.  I did it!  Maybe just a little bit, but I actually got a foot off the ground, or both feet, who knew?

So, whatever changes you may be facing, whatever challenges you are stepping into, I wish you  ease and comfort as you approach them.  Go gently on yourselves.  Give your self time.  Cut yourself some slack.  And at the same time, believe in yourself and your ability to move through change with strength and flexibility and love.

I will be offering a workshop on Inversions at River Tree Yoga.

February  12th, 2:00-5:00pm

Class size is limited, so we will have plenty of space and time to explore, ask questions and move.  The workshop will help you strengthen your inversion practice (headstands, handstands & arm balances) if you already have one, and help you get ready to start exploring inversions if you have never been upside down. Do sign up early if you are interested through the River Tree Yoga Website.

Also, many of you have been asking when will I ever start teaching on the West Side.  Wait no longer, as I will be launching a Mid-Day Bliss class at BendnMove in West Seattle.  This will be a gentle therapeutic yoga class appropriate for all ages and bodies.

12:00-1:15pm, Wednesdays, BendnMove

All my regular classes are back on schedule.  Its good to be back.

See you on the mat or out & about.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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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

February Reboot – Intention Keeping

Happy February,

Actually, we are about half-way through.

How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions?  Not meaning to nag or anything, but this is just about that time where we are either congratulating ourselves on a job well-done, or kicking ourselves for not having more “stick-with-it-ness.”

So, first off, isn’t nice to know you are not alone in this.  Almost all of us set some sort of new intention at the beginning of the year. Some intentions are easy to maintain, others, not so. As we set those intentions we are envisioning a future where we are no longer plagued by this habit or that habit, or we see ourselves having mastered some amazing new accomplishment or skill.  Then, after a couple of weeks, the thrill of the challenge has worn off.  Now it just seems like just so much hard work.  How do we stay present with our intentions? As we work towards fulfilling them, where do we find the support for our resolutions?

Where?  Well, why don’t we look to our yoga sages. Way back when, Patanjali (~400 CE) suggested that our practice should be Sthira sukham asanam. (Patanjali Sutra, II.46).  In other-words, the posture/practice should be steady and sweet. On our mats we learn about developing a steady (sthira) practice, and a sweet (sukham) practice.  We learn not to push ourselves so hard we collapse in a puddle (puddle-of-go-asana) or pull muscles (strain-asana).  We also learn that we must put in the appropriate amount of effort so that we can actually hold ourselves in the posture, but gently.  Too little effort and we won’t get there, too much and we burn out.  We know it can be hard, and if we only focus on the hard (dukha), it is very difficult to maintain the steady (sthira) practice.  So, as we do on the mat, so to can we do with our New Years’ Intentions.  Honor the sweetness, the daily, moment by moment successes, stay steady, and resist focusing on what is not working.  In this manner, our intentions will become manifest.  Stira Sukham Asanam is a mantra not just for your mat, but for living your life.

Was one of your intentions to start or deepen your meditation practice?

Last month I gave you that handy-dandy illustrated guide to meditation.  This month I have a little video for you.  This one is on the scientific benefits of meditation.  I’m so glad this came across my desk when it did, as I was just in the middle of writing a review of the recent research on meditation.  Now I can just encourage you to watch this short video.

On a different note, I’m off to Hawaii on Friday for 10 days of sun, surf, hiking, and relaxing.  Mark and I have even included a side trip to Oahu for some yoga and music at Wanderlust.  I have arranged subs for all my classes, they are pretty amazing, so take this opportunity to experience their unique teaching gifts.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Holiday Gifts

Good Morning Everyone,

It’s Tuesday.  We celebrated Winter Solstice on Sunday night, we are about to celebrate the last night of Chanukah, and tomorrow night is Christmas Eve.  So many opportunities to spend time with friends and family, eats lots of good food and generally have a good time.

Inga and I are offering a free yoga class tomorrow at River Tree Yoga.  9:15am, come in your jammies if you want.  We will be supplying tea and cookies and other such holiday cheer.

I will be teaching almost all my regular classes, except those that fall on Christmas Day, New Years Eve night and New Years Day. So come take care of your body and nourish your spirit.  Lots of yummy poses and meditations are planned for this week.

I came across this  handy guide to meditation I thought you might like.  Yep, one more plug for meditation; you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you know it is good for you.  It is brought to you by Happify, a sort of brain games site for happiness, with the guidance of Dan Harris, ABC News anchor and author of 10% Happier.

Happy Holidays everyone.  Enjoy life, take care of yourselves, give back, nourish gratitude, smile.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

meditation-happify-infographic

Halfway through December, already?

It’s a blustery day in the Seattle Area.  Its windy, its wet, and it’s surprisingly warm.  And I am still coming to grips with the fact that we are almost half-way through December.  Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Winter Solstice is only 10 days away makes me incredibly happy.  It’s just that I catch myself wondering…where did the time go?

I know I am not unique in this wondering.  All of us at some point or another are struck by the fact that while time may seem to move incredibly slowly at one moment, most of us often have the feeling that time just keeps slipping away.  Dates that seemed so far in the offing are suddenly upon us. Babies become children, children become adults, adults become seniors and each of us find ourselves wondering how did we end up here.

The focus of my classes this week have been on Svadhyaya, or self-study.  It is the 4th of the Niyamas, or individual practices identified by Pantanjali (400 CE). This is an integral aspect of our yoga practice. Beyond getting the right alignment for a pose, or moving just so with the breath in a pose, there are also so many questions about our everyday practice. Which poses do we like and not like. Which poses do we avoid? Which poses make us feel powerful? Which bring us healing in times of suffering? Which poses make us mad or make us feel like crying or make us feel triumphant?

Svadyaya is also about the deeper stuff.  Why do we feel a certain way in a pose? Do we always feel that way in that pose? What else is going on for us in that pose?  Are there poses in which we feel nothing?  How is it that putting our bodies in an asana can even elicit that emotional/intellectual response? Why do the asanas do that?  Are we even aware of our thoughts and emotions while in any given asana?  So, not only are we trying to become more aware of our breath and our movements on the mat, but we are also trying to engage more fully in the study of who we are in each moment, and in every breath.

And if you thought this was just about yoga… it’s not… or it is.  It is not just about yoga, if yoga is something that only happens for you on a mat, in a studio, for about an 90 minutes a day.  On the other hand, it is all about yoga if you have begun to notice that your yoga is moving with you beyond the mat.  It kinda has the habit of doing that. Check out this link from Richard Freeman called Yoga Ruins Your Life, in which he talks about the permeability of yoga, as well as showcasing some very nice asanas guaranteed to make you ooo and ah.

Then these questions, this work of self-study really gets deep.  On a daily basis, moment by moment, we begin to explore who we are, what makes us think and feel the way we do, and why.  This is, I believe what we call the examined life – a life of self-study.  This is a life that allows us to answer that question, Wow, how’d we get here?  with  something along the lines of ” I don’t quite know, but at least I was awake for some of it. ”  Through Svadhyaya, we participate in the most important dialogue of all time; the dialogue that begins with ourselves; the dialogue that enables us to be more fully present in each moment.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I hope the Season brings you much light and love.  May the questions you ask continue to deepen and expand.  Don’t let yourself get too attached to the answers, they will probably change (follow this link).  Enjoy the journey and stay full of wonder.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

New data suggests yoga & meditation can help cure cancer

I am pleased to see more and more articles verifying the positive and healing impact of yoga and meditation on the human body.

This just in from Canada

Evidence to suggest that meditation alters cancer survivors’ cells

Sadashiva Pai, PhD, MBA Founder and CEO at Science Mission LLC

Researchers in Canada have found the first evidence to suggest that support groups that encourage meditation and yoga can actually alter the cellular activity of cancer survivors.

Their study, which was published in the journal Cancer, is one of the first to suggest that a mind-body connection really does exist.

The team found that the telomeres – the protein caps at the end of our chromosomes that determine how quickly a cell ages – stayed the same length in cancer survivors who meditated or took part in support groups over a three-month period.

On the other hand, the telomeres of cancer survivors who didn’t participate in these groups shortened during the three-month study.

Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length… onlinelibrary.wiley.com

Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors – Carlson – 2014 – Cancer – Wiley Online Library

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