Discovering the Heart of Yoga – October Workshop

Dear Seattle Yogis,

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering the amazing workshop which completely sold  out this summer one more time this year.  Be sure to sign up early , as class sign is limited.

 

Discovering the Heart of Yoga

Dynamic Sequencing for Stability, Strength & Intentional Alignment

Moving from our core not only stabilizes our practice, it also invites us deeper into ourselves.  Core strength refers not only to  the strengthening and toning of the abdominal muscles which hold us stable in standing poses and allow us to float gracefully upward in inversions, it also refers to our ability to connect to the emotional essence of who we are, so that we may stand in our essence and act from our heart.

This workshop will help you discover the strength and stamina you need to live and move from the center of your being.  We will explore a range of asanas, including backbends and inversions, as well as breath work and meditation.

October 27, 2013
1:00 – 4;00PM

River Tree Yoga
6922 Preston-Fall City Road
Issaquah, WA, 98027

$40/student, pre-registration strongly recommended.
Workshop limited to 15 students

Contact Diana Bonyhadi to sign up
425-765-3173
Diana@KharmaBellaYoga.com

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Passover – Traditions which inspire and transcend

Hello to all my favorite yogis.

Sorry, I have not written in a while.  Seems that keeping a proper blog is not in my constitution.  Oh well, I can let that go.

Tonight begins the Jewish Festival of Passover.  Like all good Jewish traditions, this one centers around food.  But it is not just any food, this is a meal, and a week of meals that is designed to remind us that we were once slaves in Egypt, and by the grace of G-d we were able to escape to freedom.

Tonight we will gather around our tables and tell the story of our escape from enslavement.  We will eat foods that will remind us of the tears of our ancestors, the hard work they did building pyramids, and the bread they were unable to finish baking in their rush to leave.

Passover provides us a unique opportunity to remember that we are not the only ones who have suffered slavery.  And more importantly, it encourages us to work to end the slavery that exists in  world today.  Yes, people all over the world are enslaved; children in sweat shops, children in the sex trade, adults in unsafe jobs with unfair/negligible wages, indentured servitude, battered spouses, and unfortunately the list goes on.  We don’t have to dig very deeply to find the ugliness of physical slavery in every corner of the world.

And our enslavement is not only physical. We are trapped by our computers, TVs and cell phones.  We are preyed upon by advertising which makes us think we are incomplete without the newest, latest, greatest whatever.  We suffer hunger, sexism, racism, global warming, etc. We are trapped by our childhood tapes of what it means to be good.   Spiritually and psychologically almost all of us are held by something.

And so here is Passover, and we get a chance to look about and within and choose once again to fight against slavery.  We get to rededicate ourselves to fight for freedom.  Freedom from the shackles of both physical and emotional bondage.

So, here is the work.  Look around and help out.  There are many programs out there that fight against modern-day slavery.  Pitch in, lend a hand  or send a dollar.  To quote  a favorite musician,  “none of us are free if one of use is chained.”

And also look inside, and see what are you willing to let go of this week?  Select something that is holding you back from living fully as your wonderful self.  How are you enslaved, and by what?  I know this is hard work, and it takes a brave heart to begin to let go of those chains.  Even the Israelites were reluctant to leave.    Slavery wasn’t good, but at least they knew it.  Change and freedom is scary, it is the unknown, and in the land of the unknown, we need to reach deep into our hearts for strength.  But isn’t it better that we live lives of wholeness, lives of connectedness, even if it means stepping into the wilderness.

In my classes this week, I will be encouraging my students to use their yoga practice to find the strength to touch their points of constrainment, to use their asanas to open their hearts, to become flexible enough to open the places that were closed within before.  We will be exploring backbends and their counterposes – opening our hearts and stepping into moments of awakening. And then from these moments of awakening, we can connect and be powerful in our openness and our oneness, and walk the path of yoga beyond the mat.

Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi
Issaquah, WA

Early Morning Inspiration

Good Morning.

I was wondering what to write about today.  Vacation?  Yes, I highly recommend it.  Family?  Definitely worth cherishing.  Yoga?  Keeps you limber and strong, is good for your blood pressure, joints, and mood. Meditation?  Yes, do it every day to find out more about yourself and to help you deal with the challenges life throws at you.  Okay, covered those topics, what to write about?  And then I found this video of a young woman in South Africa.  She brought smiles and tears to my eyes.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I did.

http://youtu.be/BPszAxLjFSs

 

 

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

 

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Issaquah, WA

Why I didn’t set any New Years Resolutions

Summary
This blog is too long.  You are too busy to read all of it.  Here’s what you need to know:
Give up New Years Resolutions – set a single word intention instead.  Carry it every where with you.  Use it to realign your life and allow you to be more present.  Take ten minutes every day for yourself and let the intention seep into your pores. Wait, Stop, you are too busy for that – never mind.

Happy New Year!

This year I thought I would throw out the tradition of setting New Years Resolutions and replace it with setting a New Years Intention.  My goal was to distill my hopes for the year into a single word that I could paste to my computer, mirror, desk and other such assorted places.  A word that would call me back to the moment and remind of what I want to embrace in 2013.

Choosing the word/intention wasn’t as easy as I thought.  I mean if it was to become my mantra for 2013, I’d better choose pretty carefully.  But of course there is always that problem of over-thinking.  What the heart puts forward is usually right, even if my brain wanted to do an override.

On Sunday, as I was listening to a free jazz concert at Seattle First Baptist Church (Sunday Jazz Vespers – first Sunday of every month)  my intention rang out.  Enjoy!  I had toyed with words that were similar: chill, relax, smile, cherish, relish, but when “enjoy” popped through I knew it was right.  There I was in a great old Seattle church listening to some really good jazz.  It was wonderful. But as often happens, my mind would wander and I would find myself thinking about what I had to do this week.  The music would fade and for a few moments I would no longer be there.  As the mantra enjoy crept back in, I would return my attention to the moment and immediately I was happy, thrilled in fact to be sharing this moment with my husband and loving the music.

My goal for 2013 is to bring more joy to my life.  Or maybe a better way to say it is, I want to take time to truly enjoy my life and all the beauty that surrounds me.  I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, I live in a beautiful place and I have the best job in the world.  On top of that, there is so much to see and do here in Seattle and on this great planet.  So why not enjoy it?  What keeps me and so many I know from feeling truly happy?  I am too busy.

I posted this link on my Facebook page and I encourage you to read it.  The author Reggie Ray reminds us that most of us are so caught up in our busy-ness that we lose our ability to simply enjoy the moment.  This really struck a chord with me.  How often do we find ourselves rushing from one programmed event to the next, telling ourselves and everyone around us how busy we are.  Busy-ness has seemingly become a badge of honor.  “Hi, how are your?  I am super busy, how about you?  Yep me too, you should see my to-do list…” I think that it is this busy-ness that has gotten in the way of our simply enjoying the moment.   We run from one thing to the next, each event important, but each losing its value as a result of our obsession with doing so much all the time.  It gets so bad that we find ourselves unable to stop.  And even if we do stop, we are busy planning how we will get the next thing(s) on our “to-do” lists done.

So for 2013, I will embrace joy.  Joy in the moment. Joy in doing less.  Joy in not multitasking.  I am reminded of the Tasahara monk who spoke of the joy of dish washing.  Now dish washing can be a drag, especially if I spend the time washing dishes thinking about what I am to do next, and next after that and so on.  But if I harness my awareness to the dish washing itself, then I can enjoy the feeling of warm water, silky soap and squeaky, clean dishes.  Even the sense of completion when the dishes are done. And so it goes with all things.

Being present in the moment enables us to find more joy in whatever we are doing.  And if it turns out that as we become more fully present, we realize that what are doing brings us no joy at all, then at least we have attended carefully enough to know we must create change.  We learn to identify that which brings us joy and that which brings us pain.  With this knowledge we can then make choices that will enable us to gather more joy into our hearts and to let go of those actions, commitments, activities that simply contribute to our busy-ness and not to our fulfillment.

To those of you who are now firmly convinced of my polyanna-ness, let me acknowledge that I know most of you are householders, as am I.  Householder is a term used to recognize our need to work and maintain a home/family.  We all have jobs and burdens to carry, and families who need us. Our workloads may be heavy, the kids may be tiring, our parents my be challenging, but that is our life.  The question is how do we live our lives and  not just pass through them.

For me it has always been through yoga and meditation.  But this year I plan to up the ante and embrace joy.  What will you do?

Questions to ponder:

  • How much of my life is consumed with busy-ness?
  • How present am I in my daily actions (e.g.driving, walking, bathing, working, playing, resting)?
  • How often do I simply stop and rest for 10 minutes without trying to do anything?
  • Could I set aside 10 minutes for myself on a daily basis?
  • Did I set some resolutions for 2013?  What do they have in common?
  • What single word could I choose as my intention for the year?

 

Happy New Year

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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?

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