Offerings to start your New Year with Grace

Its almost the first of 2013.  What are your plans for the New Year?

How about ringing out the old and bringing in the new,

with an abundance of yoga?

New Year’s Eve Day – Monday, December 31:

Special Good-Bye to 2012 Practice  – Aligning with your Intention
9:30 – 11:00am

Hello 2013 – Tuesday, New Years Day, January 1:

Welcoming the New Year with Grace – Gentle & Therapeutic
Mid-Day Bliss, Noon – 1:00pm:

Rocking Your New Year with a Powerful Vinyasa Flow
Evening Celebration – 5:30 – 6:45

I look forward to celebrating the New Year with you at

Village Green Yoga in Issaquah, WA

Upcoming Schedule Changes

This is a Good News – Bad News Announcement

First the Bad News: Swedish Hospital has decided to discontinue their venture in providing an on-site therapeutic yoga program at their Issaquah Highlands Campus.  How sad.  This was a great and innovative contribution to promoting alternative therapies in more traditional settings.  As a member of the teaching team, I think I speak for all of us in expressing disappointment that the program was discontinued after only one year.  And to all of our dedicated students, I want to say thank you for your support and commitment this past year.  Oh, and did I mention that the yoga space, which is fantastic, will probably be turned into another clinic or office. Oh Well…

Now for the Good News:  My hatha/alignment-based therapeutic yoga class will continue to happen.  Starting on December 27, you can find the class at Village Green Yoga at the exact same time slot. Look for it on the Village Green Yoga Schedule:

gentle_yogaRestore & Renew – Lunch Hour Yoga
Tuesday & Thursday , Noon – 1:00pm

Supportive, compassionate and inspiring environment which recognizes the uniqueness of all bodies, and encourages you to work at your own pace.

If you are recovering form an injury, surgery, have a chronic condition such as osteoporosis, arthritis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome or multiple sclerosis, or are limited in practically any other way, this is the class for you.  We use lots of props and take our time.

60 minutes, all levels, all bodies, all ages welcome. Come be refreshed and inspired! This class is gentle yet invigorating, strengthening and toning, relaxing and stimulating, inspiring and enriching.

Class starts the Thursday after Christmas, so come on down and start your healing soon.

Song for the week (a lot of you have been asking): Alexi Murdoch – Breathe

Have a good week.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhad

Meditating in Difficult Times

The most common reason people say they don’t meditate is that they can’t find the time.

Imagine you actually have found the time and you’re feeling pretty good about your meditation practice.  You are committed.  Some how you found a way to set aside 10, 20, 40 minutes a day a few times a week to meditate.  You didn’t think you could do it, but you did, and you are enjoying the benefits of your practice.

And then life throws you a curve ball.  You thought your life was busy before, but now it is outrageous.

Welcome to my life.

I am a full-time mom.  I teach yoga part-time.  I am involved in several volunteer projects, and I have a home and yard to maintain.  I practice yoga and meditate daily.  My plate is full, but somehow I get it all done – usually.

Then comes the holiday season.  My daughter is a ballet dancer, so there is a lot of shuffling to and fro for Nutcracker rehearsals.  Add in the holiday decorating, present preparation, cooking projects, and shopping.  Add in a workshop or two, and my plate begins to get very full.  Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

But the world continues to conspire against me.  Two weeks ago, I got an early morning call from my 92-year-old father that he has had a stroke and is in the E.R. As he lives in Berkeley and I live in Seattle, I found myself spending a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out care options for him.  Breathe, practice, meditate, I remind myself.  Turns out he didn’t have a stroke and is released from the hospital after two days.  Still weak and unsteady, but no longer in need of hospital care. Unfortunately, he falls three days later and needs to go back to the E.R.   Clearly I can’t manage the situation from afar, and thus an unplanned trip to the Bay Area is required – immediately. Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

I called Alaska Airlines and bought a last-minute ticket.  I scurry around and find folks to cover my classes.  I dash out to the store and stock up on frozen meals and fresh fruit for my kids to eat while I am gone.  I write out to-do lists for them.  I send notes to neighbors asking them to watch out for my kids.  Pack a bag and off I go.  I spend 4 days in Berkeley taking care of my father; dressing his wounds, helping him find new patterns for life, talking to doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, buying medical supplies, setting up care, oh, and did I mention trying to be a good mom to my kids back at home….

Now I am back, playing catch up.  But through it all, my meditation and yoga has saved me.  Yes, it was modified.  I practiced 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, wherever I could fit it in.  And it did make such a difference.  Meditation on the plane made the flight go more quickly.  I couldn’t get up and meditate and do yoga in the morning before I needing to care for my father, but I could fit it in when he rested, before I spoke with the doctors, after I made meals or just before bed.  Whenever and wherever, and always it helped me to be clearer, calmer, more energetic, compassionate and patient.

The last one on that list is the most important.  I am not a saint.  I get tired and overwhelmed and frustrated.  All of us do.  We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we are given.

So if you are kicking yourself because you have let your practice slip, stop kicking.  Instead take 5 minutes sometime today, just to stop and breathe.  Nothing big, just that – breathe and be.  Maybe you will find another 5 minutes later on when you can stretch or do an asana.  The important thing is to give yourself that time and to notice how you feel afterwards.  That is meditation.  That is yoga.  That is healing.

Before I close, I want to say a few thanks:

  • To my yogi friends/teachers who covered my classes at the last-minute – you guys are the best.
  • To all my students for being the best and most understanding students ever.
  • To my friends here and in the Bay Area who kept checking-up on me and supporting me.
  • To the guy on the airplane who gave me a ride home at 11:00 at night.
  • To the staff at Alta Bates Hospital for taking such good care of my Dad.
  • To the doctors and nurses and therapists who have been so helpful and informative.
  • And to my wonderful husband and kids for being so loving and understanding.

Shalom & Namaste
Happy Chanukah
Diana Bonyhadi

 

P.S:  How do you like the falling snow?

Thanksgiving Greetings from your Favorite Yogi

My in-box has been overflowing with reminders of gratitude practices.  It has also been overflowing with opportunities to shop, shop, shop. Personally, I like the former much better.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Family and friends come together for no other reason than to share gratitude and food.

My family has already begun to arrive.  My children are all now home – which brings me so much joy.  The kitchen cupboards and fridge are full, and the scent of baking fills the air.  Actually my son is making risotto which smells almost as good as hot chocolate chip cookies.  More of my family arrives tomorrow and there will be  21 for dinner on Thanksgiving.  Now that will be a bountiful evening.

Here is the thing about the holidays.  Even if this is your favorite time of year, it is the time you are most likely to overdue and wear yourself out.  So instead of reminding you about all the things you have to be thankful for, I will take this moment to remind you to take care of yourself.

Steps to self-care during the holidays

Take time to be alone: Get up a few minutes early to have some time to yourself.  Perhaps you will meditate, or maybe enjoy that first cup of chai tea/coffee by yourself.  Whatever you do – don’t do anything that is on your to-do list.  Just be.

Do your practice:  Even if you don’t have time to come to the studio for classes, do take time to do a few down dogs and warriors, a baby back bend or two, a couple of twists for your digestion and don’t skip svasana.  You can do this all in 20 minutes or less, and you will feel much better for it. And if you can squeeze in a full practice, it will definitely help you to stay calm and cool and centered in the face of any family dynamics or undercooked turkeys.

Nourish your body:  I know you plan on eating lots of turkey, stuffing and pie, but don’t forget your greens, salads, and even a light soup to refresh your body.  Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, my favorite is yogurt, granola and fresh fruit.  This will give you all the energy you need to face the rest of the day.

That’s it.  Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  As you sit down with your friends and family, look around and smile.  Let your heart fill with gratitude and let everyone know how happy you are that they are there.  I found this blessing and thought you might like it.  Direct the prayer to whatever the divine means to you.

Thank you for the elements, which compose our bodies, all of nature and this food we will enjoy.
Thank you for our ancestors who sacrificed for us to be where we are today.
Thank you for the earth and its astounding beauty.
Thank you for love, family, friendship and community.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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

Two Weeks in India – Two Millennia of Indian History & Philosophy

Found this lovely statue lying almost buried on the side of the road.

What do you get when you take a handful of meditators, mix them with three teachers and put them in Northern India on the banks of the Ganga River?

An experience of a life time and a deep exploration of the roots of Eastern wisdom, spirituality, meditation and yoga.

I have been studying yoga for years.  I have been practicing yoga and meditation for years.  I have read the Bhagavad Gita, The Ramayana, the Sutras of Patanjali, and many more texts central to the world of yoga.    In fact, I have even read most of these books several times and always I learn and grow from the experience.  I have even felt familiar with these texts.  But it was not till I traveled to India, that they really came to life for me.

I went to the source of the Ganga River – Devi Ganga and bathed in her waters (brrr).  I joined pilgrims on their trails to shrines and pujas dedicated to Vishnu, Siva, Krishna, Hanuman and others. I sat in the same cave where Arjuna and his brothers rested after their battle in the Marabarata.  I was even served coffee by a Sadu in that same cave as he told us of his practice of meditation and Brahmacharya.  I meditated in the cave of Vishnagupta of the Shankara lineage.  The Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita are now vibrantly alive for me in so many new ways, it will take months for me to be able to unravel and fully absorb these learnings.

I spent hours meditating and practicing yoga.  I explored the towns of Rishikesh, Uttarkashi and Gongotri, and shared their streets with monks, beggars, holy men and holy cows, scavenging dogs and prankster monkeys.  Yes, of course I drank lots of chai and ate lots of curry.  Oh, and I spent hours on the roads of India – which is, in and of itself, an adventure.

There are so many stories to tell and wisdom to share – give me time and space and it will come.  In the interim, I wanted to let you know I am back, teaching full time, available for privates and will be restarting the Meditation Circle next week.

Meditation Circle:  Thursdays at 7:00,  Village Green Yoga.  Join us every week for an hour of guided meditation, pranayama and community support.

Speaking of meditation, maybe you are wondering if you should try it.  Well, according to several scientific studies, meditation is good for the brain as well as for the heart, body and spirit.  Yoga Journal recently published a review article that has done an excellent job of summarizing the most recent findings, click here to read their article.

 

 

With great gratitude and prayers for peace & well-being for all beings everywhere,
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

 

 
Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi
Kharmabellayoga.com

Meditation Workshop

Sign up Now

Space is Limited

Meditation Workshop

Sunday, September  30, 1:00 – 3:00

Village Green Yoga, Issaquah

This is a wonderful workshop for anyone who has ever wanted to try meditation and also for those who have enjoyed a meditation practice in the past. This two-hour workshop will include asanas to settle the body, pranayama (breath work) to focus the mind, chanting and guided meditation. This is a great foundational workshop which will also help prepare anyone who is interested in joining our fall meditation circles, which will meet twice a week throughout the fall.
Cost: $20 in advance. $25 day-of if space permits.
Pre-registration suggested.

I am happy to say that my meditation workshop this Sunday is rapidly filling.  There are only a few seats left.  So if you are interested, contact Village Green Yoga soon.

If you have been wondering what it might be like to start a meditation practice, come to the workshop.  If you are wondering if there was any one else near you who is meditating, come to the workshop.  If you have meditation practice, but need a tune-up, come to the workshop.  If you are looking for answers, they are already inside of you, but come to the workshop anyway.

Have a great weekend.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

New Classes and Workshops!

 

New Classes

Vinyasa Flow appropriate for all levels and all bodies.  Drop-ins welcome

Wednesdays @ 5:00pm at Issaquah Dance Theatre:

Upcoming Workshops

Loving Your Sun: How to get the most out of your sun salutations and learn the fun-damentals of the individual asanas and how to transition safely between them.  Perfect for building your home practice and deepening your awareness.

Sunday September 23, 1:00 – 3:30 – Village Green Yoga

Take the time to Meditate:  This is a wonderful workshop for anyone who has ever wanted to try meditation and also for those who have enjoyed a meditation practice in the past.This two-hour workshop will include asanas to settle the body, pranayama (breathwork) to focus the mind, chanting and guided meditation.

Sunday, September 30, 1:00 – 3:00pm   Village Green Yoga

 

Appreciating the Labors of Living

Hello Everyone,

This weekend marks the official end of summer. Folks are bounding out for their final fling; boating, hiking, beaching, capturing live music. I hope that this weekend you will find some time to celebrate and honor the labors that you have put forth this year.

Often times we find ourselves running from one thing on our “to-do” list to the next. We wonder if we will ever get it all done. By the time we are half way through that list, we are already building the next list. It is this busy-ness of living that wears us down. Without taking time out to appreciate all that we have done, we will forever feel like the mouse on the wheel; spinning and spinning, yet going no where.

This is, I think one of the true gifts of meditation. We set aside time to be in stillness. We give ourselves permission to step off the spinning wheel of the doing and busy-ness of living. This is really hard to do, believe me, I know. I really like my lists. I am a doer of the highest order. And while we may stop our physical activities, the mind is still trying to keep it all going. It takes time for the mind to slow down, and stop making lists and telling stories. But if we get in the habit of sitting, every day, if even for a just a little bit, our bodies and our minds begin to look forward to this time of not doing, to this time of being. If you are new to meditation, or are looking for a refresher class, I will be hosting a meditation workshop September 22 at Village Green Yoga.

So, I am grateful for Labor Day Weekend. I am grateful I have the time to pause and reflect on all that I have done this year. I am grateful to all the workers – that would be all of us – who make this life possible. So a big shout out to farmers, truckers, engineers, laborers, office workers, cooks, writers, yogis, scientists, teachers, all of you who put your time and energy into making a living and making a life. Thank you for your labors of living.

Have a great weekend. Step with ease into the Fall. Lots of interesting things will be happening in the Seattle yoga community. My contributions include a couple of workshops and a meditation circle to begin in October, after I return from a meditation trip to India. A brief summary of my schedule is listed below, more details available through the links.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Upcoming Events:

Loving Your Sun – A workshop exploring the fun-damentals of the sun salutation series

Intro to Meditation – A workshop offering tips and tools to help your meditation practice.

Class Schedule

Day                       Time                   Style                                     Location

Monday         9:30 – 11:00         Hatha Integration        Village Green Yoga

Tuesday         Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration        Swedish Hospital

Tuesday         5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                 Village Green Yoga

Wednesday    9:30 – 11:00        Hatha Integration         Village Green Yoga

Thursday        Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration          Swedish Hospital

Thursday        5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                  Village Green Yoga

Sunday           9:30 – 11:00        Sunday Salutations        Village Green Yoga

Summer Schedule Changes

I find it hard to believe we are half way through summer.  But I know it must be true, because I just sent my daughter off to Camp Nor’Wester for a month, and she won’t be back till the end of August.  That means there are only 6 weeks left of summer.

Earlier in the month I wrote a post about what to do in Seattle in the summer.  How are you all doing with that?  So far I have been to the beach, hiked in the woods and gone berry picking & made some raspberry jam.  I have a lot to do in the next 4 weeks.  Next month, I will cram in all the rest – summer concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, Paddleboard Yoga and a trip to the San Juans, to name a few.  Did I mention I want to go on a food cart junket?

I missed Wanderlust at Whistler (the 3-day outdoor yoga & music festival) – Did any of you go?  How was it?

As you may have noticed there are some changes to my teaching schedule this summer.  New Summer hours:

Yoga at Swedish Hospital:
Tuesday & Thursday     Noon – 1:00    Hatha Integration/Therapeutic Alignment

Village Green Yoga:
Monday & Wednesday Mornings:

9:30 – 10:45     Hatha Integration – Alignment/Anusara Inspired

Tuesday & Thursday Evenings:

5:30 – 7:00    Vinyasa Flow

The Meditation Circle will restart in the Fall.

Speaking of meditation, if you have ever dreamed of going to India to study meditation and/or yoga, there is still time to sign up for Journey to the Source – a 2 week life changing trip to India in October. Travel with Ajayan Borys (Effortless Mind Meditation)and myself to the Majestic Himalayan Mountains and the source of the Ganges River and explore the roots of Yoga and Mediation.  For more information and to sign up, click here.  As the date draws nearer I am getting more and more excited.  Two weeks of meditation and yoga right in the very birth place of the tradition. Ajayan spent many years in this very location deep in meditation, so not will we be traveling to an amazing location, but we will be traveling with an amazing and dedicated teacher. Join us as we reach deeper into the very heart of our practice.

Have an adventuresome August.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi