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.

New Year, New Beginnings

Happy New Year

I am just back from 3 weeks in Mexico feeling refreshed and ready to embark on the New Year.  I admit to being a sun-aholic.  I love hanging out on the beach, playing in the water and living practically full-time out of doors and being warm the entire time.

I believe it is incredibly important to determine what nourishes you spiritually and physically and to make a commitment to setting aside time to recharge yourself.  Vacationing is certainly one way to do that, but we don’t always have the time or the resources to wander off to the retreat of our choosing.  But we can set aside time each week, and even each day to nourish our bodies and spirit.

Take some time to figure out what makes you feel good.  When do you find yourself smiling, both inside and out?  When do you experience a sense of contentment and well-being?  What gives you joy? Make a list, put it some place you can return to easily.  And then you have your own handy pick-me-up protocol.  Here are some of the things I do regularly that keep me happy, grounded and smiling.

  • Daily yoga & meditation
  • Walks in the woods and along the beach
  • Listening to music and having my own private dance party
  • Sipping tea, wrapped in a warm blanket and reading a book
  • Hanging out with my friends – perhaps with a glass of wine in hand
  • Spending time with my husband and kids
  • Cooking and gardening
  • Teaching and studying yoga

Okay, so there you have it, you know my list of nourishments.  I wonder what you will put on your list.

Good News – I am starting a new Tuesday Evening Slow Flow yoga class in West Seattle at Limber Yoga on February 5th at 4:30pm.

Come Check it out.  I am super excited to finally be teaching in West Seattle, and Limber Yoga has a great open light filled space, fully equipped with all my favorite props.

Happy New Year, may it be a year of joy and blessing and good health for you and all those you hold dear.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Winter Solstice

bonfire.jpg

Holiday Greetings Yogis

Today was the shortest day of the year, tonight the longest night of the year.  This morning I awoke to the moon shedding a golden path across the water as it set.  I thought, I am blessed to see this.  Tonight I will join friends and family around a bonfire, hurling into the fire all that we wish to shed from this year. It will be easy to think of  quite a few things we have had to endure this year that we would like to release from our consciousness.   But on the other hand, what if I could let go of/change only one thing, just one thing about myself, what would it be?  Why? And why haven’t I asked this question sooner?  And how would I go about letting that thing go?  Whatever it is.  How about you?  What would you change/let go of?  A worthy question to ponder on this, the longest, darkest night of the year.

November 2017, I removed myself from pretty much all social media.  It’s been a bit more than a year since then.  I don’t particularly miss interacting with people via a computer.  In  fact there are many things about computer socializing I haven’t missed at all. And as a result, I have had way more time to practice yoga, meditate, read books,  work on projects, observe the world around me and study. I have also learned that the forums for socializing on the computer have become the main vehicle for advertising.  I know I shouldn’t be surprised; Newspapers and magazines were for news first, and then advertising; the postal service was for communicating with friends and family news and other events, then advertising.  Now news and social interaction happen via computers, so there too will happen advertising.  I guess what all this boils down to is…

In 2019, I pledge to be more present online.  I will share with you how I have spent my last year (lots of study & meditation), what I am working on, what I am teaching, when and where. I will continue to keep my posts short, but look forward exploring with you some of the deeper explorations into meditation and yoga.  Maybe we can make it more of a dialogue.  Let me know, how your yoga is nourishing you, and what you struggle with.  Yoga lives beyond the mat, so how are you living your yoga?

Again, I offer you my deepest gratitude for your presence in my life, and for your practice.  It brings us all one breath closer to peace.

Happy Solstice & Happy New Year

Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

P.S. I am off to Mexico for 3 weeks.  No computer.  Ahhhh

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

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