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

Yoga can help Insomnia

Sleepless in Seattle

I don’t know if it is the change in the weather, or the shift from summer awareness to winter awareness, but either way, sleeplessness has been a recurring theme for many of my students of late.

Insomnia is a plague for many of us. For some it is the struggle to fall asleep, for others, it is the waking up in the middle of the night, but either way, all  insomniacs are desperate for more/enough sleep.

Can yoga help?  There is a definitive yes.  There are many asanas which you can do prior to bedtime to help relax the body.  Also, having a regular yoga practice, which includes asana, pranayama and meditation will help to reduce stress, and thereby lesson the likelihood of insomnia.

Here is a link to a an article published in Yoga Journal over a year ago, which I have found to be very helpful for many of my students and friends.

If getting to sleep is the issue, it is important to try to go to be at the same time every night.  Take a warm drink with you to the bedroom.  Here is a wonderful ayurvedic recipe for a bedtime drink which is very soothing and soporific.  On the asana front, do a few cat-cows, a couple of twists, and some forward bends. Shoulderstands are also very helpful but please make sure that you are both safe and comfortable in your shoulderstand before trying them at bedtime.

If the issue is waking up in the middle of the night (mine), I have found it useful to get up right away.  Don’t hang out in bed, haranguing yourself, it won’t help.  Go downstairs, make a cup of tea.  Try to avoid going any where near your computer or desk.  Chores are not allowed. So what to do with your wakeful self?

I have begun to look on these hours as a gift.  No one is around to bug me, or ask me to do something for them. The house is quiet. The street is quiet.  It’s like I have the world all to myself.  I curl up on the couch and read and write in my journal.  If after an hour, I find that I am still up, then I will deal with the things that are on my mind/to-do list.  If I am still up, well, then it is time for a hot bath with lavender.  But usually, the cup of tea and boring book do the job, and I am ready to go back to bed within the hour.

I hope this helps. If any of you have other hints and tips, please do add them as comments.
Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi

Changing Your Lifestyle and Yoga Practice to Match the Season

Balancing the Energies of Autumn

Changing your life style and yoga practice to match the season – does it make sense? Yes it does, and adding a few simple changes to your routine can make a world of difference in how you feel.

So, if you are currently feeling any of the following, here is some good news.

Sluggish?
Joints Creaky?
Skin dry and cracked?
Having trouble sleeping?
Harder to get up this morning?

What is going on?

Don”t worry you are not crazy.  Your body is adjusting to the change in seasons.  Ayurvedically speaking we are moving into the Vata season, known in the western world as Fall.  This is one of those times when you are reminded that, not only are we finely tuned instruments, but also that we are all interconnected beings.  Interconnected with each other, and the planet.

As we move from Summer to Fall, as the weather shifts from hot to cool, and as the air becomes wet and blustery, our bodies begin to adjust as well.  We slow down, and begin to let go of the collected heat of the summer.    And depending on our constitutions (doschas) and the balance of stress in our lives, the transitional period may go very smoothly or it may need a bit of fine tuning.

Here are a couple of things you can do to ease the transition from Summer to Fall.

  • Check-in and listen:  If you are tired get more sleep.  Go t bed earlier and maybe even take a short nap during the day. If  you are thirsty, drink more fluids.  I don’t mean to sound trite, but often the first thing we do is turn off the volume and ignore the signals being sent to us by our bodies.
  • Move the system along:  help your body adjust to the change in the season.  Add some cleansing and nourishing practices to your daily routine.  Here are a few things to help bring your body back into balance with the season.
  • Drink a glass of lemon juice and water to start your morning.
  • Brew yourself some ginger tea and drink it throughout the day.
  • Put more twists and longer holds in your asana practice.
  • Spend a few moments in meditation.
  • Take a long hot bath with salts in the evening before bed.
  •  Get a massage – go ahead, you deserve it and it will feel so good.
  • Add oils to your body – both internally (fish and vitamin E), and on the skin (Coconut & Sesame).

If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda, your doscha, and more ways to stay in balance with the season, here are a few good links.  Also, I know there are many of you who read this blog that know way more than I do, so please chime in.

http://www.ayur.com/about.html

http://www.holisticonline.com/ayurveda/ayv-basis-harmony.htm

http://ayurvedaseattle.com/index.php?CID=28

Have a great day,

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Yoga to Balance the Winter Blues

Good Afternoon.

I see snow on the mountains.  The air has changed and now it is surely winter.  That’s okay by me, now I have an excuse to drink eggnog in the mornings and hot chocolate in the afternoons.  Maybe I will even get to go skiing this year.

Another thing that winter brings is an increase in vata energies.  Now I am by no means an expert in ayurveda  ( I can however, recommend a few fabulous practitioners), but I do know that too much of anything can lead to imbalances.  Too much vata energy can lead to an increase in colds, joint pains, arthritis, congestion, dryness of skin, insomnia, and a generalized sense of agitation.

But you don’t need to let the “winter blues” get you down.  Don’t let the wild winds of winter blow away your serenity.  Turn to your yoga practice to bring balance back into your life.  Now is the time to slow down your practice, and build and stoke the internal fires. Start by holding your poses for longer – go deeper exploring the edges of each asana.  Add a few balance poses – Vriksana (tree) and Gururdasana, will bring both heat to the body and calmness to the heart and mind.  Turning further inward, spoil yourself with a deep forward bend aided by props.  Do a long paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) but use bolsters and blocks so you can stay longer.  Finally, add a few minutes to your svasana  – add them at the front end, as you place blankets on and under your body.  Nurture yourself with bolsters and eye pillows.

Yoga and ayurveda have long been the  sister sciences of well-being.  Learning about your doscha, and how seasonal changes effect your doscsha  can help you to stay healthier and calmer regardless of the season, the weather or your “to-do” list.  For more information on ayurveda, here are a few of excellent links:

http://www.chopra.com/ayurveda

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ayurveda-000348.htm

Have a great week, stay warm, and love yourself.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi