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

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Great News at Kharma Bella Yoga

Great News at Kharma Bella Yoga

Yoga Wall: Come check out the new addition to the Kharma Bella Studio.  We have installed a yoga wall.  Book a private session and experience the amazing benefits of working with a rope and wall system for enhancing your asanas and healing your body. Just drop me an email, or give me a call, and we’ll get you set up for your introduction to the wonders of the yoga wall.

Speaking of Privates:  I highly recommend them.  They are great for tuning up your practice, exploring poses deeper, or working at a more therapeutic level, that can only be achieved when working individually with your teacher.  Privates are also great as an introduction to yoga.  If you know of someone who has been hankering to try yoga, but is worried about going to a class of Gumby bodies and feeling left out, this is a great and safe way to discover yoga.

Radio:  I have signed on to co-host a radio show on Mondays at 1:00pm on 1150AM  KKNW.  (I know, this is big news. It took a real leap of faith for me.)  I am joining the wonderful Ajayan Borys of Effortless Mind Mediation on Mind Matters Radio.  Together we will be exploring the intersections of yoga and meditation and all things glorious about your mind, spirit and body.  Tune in next Monday to hear about the first yama, Ahimsa (non-violence) as I discuss the many (obvious and not so obvious ways) this weaves through our lives and our practice.

Music:  Here is a treat: The Toure-Raichel Collective: Wonderful acoustic music. Check out this link, and maybe even attend their show April 28th at the Triple Door.  Thank my son Ben for the link.

Classes continue to fill and expand. Be sure to arrive with enough time to get signed in and settled in, so you can fully enjoy your wonderful self in class.

Happy Spring,
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 Events in Seattle

Summer in Seattle and there is so much to do.

Sailing, hiking, biking, kayaking, dining al fresco, concerts in the park, and of course, YOGA.

Make sure you put the following on your calendar.

Saturday July 16th, 10:00 – City of Hope Fundraiser Class at Samena Club in Bellevue.  I will be leading this special two hour celebration class, and all proceeds go directly to City of Hope.  You may have thought you missed your only opportunity last weekend, but no, we have created one last chance to do yoga and support this superior program for cancer research and treatment.Click here to sign up and learn more.

If you have the time and wanter to go further afield, check out Wanderlust in Squaw Valley California for a weekend of music, yoga and beautiful scenery.  I think this sounds so cool.

Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Yoga Studies: Iyengar & Sacred Activism

I  have spent the last three days immersed in yoga.  Not that I am not always immersed in yoga, it is just that I amped that up three-fold.  I spent Friday and Saturday studying Iyengar yoga with JinSung, my former teacher from the Bay Area, and today I spent all day with Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson studying Heart Yoga,  the yoga of Sacred Activism.

JinSung speaks deeply and clearly about the structural alignment of the body in yoga.  He presents fundamentals of alignment and links them through all poses.  Actions which seems to contradict one another become clear and greater space is found within.  And, he is a master of the use of belts and props.  I definitely learned new ways to strap and wrap the body.  Students beware:  time for more yogi bondage.

Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to join Wisdom University for the first day of a five-day Intensive on Heart Yoga.  Andrew Harvey, one of the our great modern mystics spoke with fire and passion, encouraging us to  examine our own inner obstacles to living vibrantly in the moment.  Karuna, a yogini of deep wisdom, led us in a compassionate and restorative practice, opening our hearts and nurturing our spirits.

So here is a little truth about me:  I consider myself a peacenik.  I hope that every step I place upon this earth is one of creating peace.  In a previous incarnation (e.g. my other professional career) I was a mediator, working to help individuals and groups resolve conflicts and  find opportunities for collaboration.  Living and teaching yoga, while not as”sexy” as  being “international mediation consultant” is also all about resolving conflict and teaching peace.  So maybe I am no longer out there doing dramatic things to negotiate and reduce some of the more public conflicts of our times, but I hope and believe  that by teaching and sharing yoga, I am helping to creating spaces of peace within individuals who will then share that energy with their friends, families and communities.

This is the path of the Sacred Activist.  The path, that given the current state of the world, most of us are treading.  The path to which we must give our hearts fully in order to find the strength to address the grave issues confronting all of us.

So, my fellow yogis, know that in every practice you are creating a better world.  By moving your bodies, removing the stress, finding alignment, and opening your hearts, you are creating peace, not just on your mats, but beyond.  You are all Sacred Activists. Everything thing you do matters.

Thank you,

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Skiing, Sunday Salutatuions and Interfaith

Now there is a title.  Really, I just wanted to let you know that this entry is all about everything, and that everything is connected.

So, I went skiing on Saturday.  Haven’t been in 3 years, and I admit that I was a bit concerned about my ability to stay upright on those skis.  I was afraid of getting hurt (no time for that), and at not being as good as I used to be.  And the good news is, the skiing was wonderful.  It took a couple of runs, but I found my rhythm and I let go into the  joy and beauty of the moment.  I realized that I had let my attachments to the past and my fear of the future keep me from doing something I truly enjoy.  I had also let the business of my life get in the way of my living of life.

On Sunday morning I was back at Village Green Yoga for my Sunday Salutations Class.  This class combines yoga asana with philosophy and spirit.  My day of skiing had left me neither sore nor tired.  In fact, I was stronger and more revitalized than I had expected.  Taking time off from my routine had restored my energy.  I was reminded once again of the importance of staying present and living in the moment.  And I was reminded that our connections to the divine are invigorated by our joyful participation in life.  Class was amazing, and all of us were renewed and inspired by our practice together.

In the afternoon, I attended an Interfaith Gathering called Tending Adam’s Garden.  Jews, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists came together to discuss what we can do together to help repair the world. This is a monthly meeting that brings members of different faith communities together to address the critical issues that are confronting our world today.  At the heart of it, is the understanding that while our faith traditions may be different, our hopes and dreams for a life of full-fill-ment, wholeness and connectedness are shared.  Here are just some of the responses that were given to the question  “What are the essential qualities that are needed to repair the world?”:

  • Open-heartedness, commitment, courage, education, self-awareness, recognition of our interconnectedness, respect for one another and ourselves, compassion, the willingness to listen, patience, belief in our capacity to do good, and a connection to the divine.

As I listened to the group discussion, I was brought back to yoga.  Not only are all of these qualities identified in the 8-fold path, but many of them are also specifically identified in the yamas and the niyamas.  And as I think about our practice of yoga, I am reminded that on the mat we are encouraged to practice with compassion, to study ourselves and the teachings, to listen with an open heart, to practice with ashimsa, and at times we need both courage and patience to find the next pose.  And certainly we must practice with compassion.  If all goes right, and we stay very present, we can’t help but feel our deep and abiding connection to the eternal divine wisdom that lives within all of us.

So, skiing, yoga and interfaith.  It is all connected.  Have a great week.  Do something you love.  Share it with someone who nurtures your spirit.  Practice your yoga with an open hear, both on the mat and beyond.  Look  at the world and pitch in to make a bit better.  And rejoice in our interconnectedness – with each other and the Divine.

 

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi