Yoga Practice for Memorial Day

Thoughts on a Memorial Day Practice

Honoring those who continue to inspire and guide us

Class today was supported by inviting in and celebrating the energies of those whom we hold sacred in our lives.  We chose to remember people whose very existence has deepened our own experience on this planet.  It didn’t matter whom we chose to bring with us into our practice.  Some may have chosen their mothers, or grandmothers, or friends, or maybe they invited Lao Tsu, or Rumi, or Leonardo DaVinci, or Ramakrishna, or Abinhavagupta or Gandhi.

We didn’t discuss who was inviting whom to class, or why.  We simply chose in our hearts, one or two people to celebrate during our practice.  And what a magnificent practice it was.  Heads bowed to open hearts, warriors were courageous and strong, mountain poses were the embodiment of strength and endurance, and forward bends – poses of stillness and embrace were soft and nurturing.

I am grateful to my wonderful students today who chose to honor Memorial Day through their yoga practice, and in doing so, honored their heroes, ancestors, and sacred teachers as they celebrated and nourished themselves.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

One – The Event

The tenth anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York is this weekend.  September 11th changed the course of American history.  This was the first time we felt any physical effects of war upon our own soil.  We were struck by surprise; at the hatred and animosity that engendered the attack, and by our own fear and hatred in response.  Thousands of lives were lost in an instant and many thousands more have been lost over the years as we sought to assuage

our pain through war.

But war is not and never has been the answer.

And I am happy to announce that in Seattle this weekend, there will be an historic event of remembrance for September 11th.

This September 11, Choose Love and Unity.

Tens of thousands of people will be joining musicians, speakers, and celebrities, both live and on the web to intentionally send love, compassion and unity to all of humanity. Come to he Memorial Stadium at 3:46 PM Pacific Time on September 11th, and be a part of this monumental transformational event will be happening in Seattle at exactly 10 years and 10 hours after the 9/11 tragedy.

Click on the link in blue and learn more.


ONE with ourselves
ONE with each other
ONE with our planet

This is Karma Yoga, yoga of action.  This is living your yoga.  Make this September 11th truly a day of remembrance – remembering our interconnected with all beings.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

A Week of Enlightenment

A Week of Divine Enlightenment

Well no, I can’t say that I have become an enlightened being this week, but I did set the intention for the week to open myself up to the possibility of experiencing the divine fully in each and every moment. And what a great week it has been.

It started as a simple question; “If I were truly an enlightened being, how would my actions in the moment change?”  The first thing I noticed was a shift of awareness.  My internal critical self took a step back.  Enlightened beings are not so judgmental – wow what a relief that was.  In my practice, I found it easier to open more fully to each asana, delighting in the postures for their own sake.  My breath flowed more gently and my meditations were longer and deeper.  In my daily life, I discovered that the traffic was less annoying and chores became vehicles for nurturing my family – not dreaded tasks.  In short, I found myself more open to the positive in every situation and more supportive of everyone around me – even those teenagers with whom I share space.

As a yoga teacher, this has turned into a deep blessing.  Opening each class with an invitation to honor the divine within, allowed all my students to reach deeper into their practices.  As a result the room became a sanctuary, and each student a manifestation of the divine.  Literally, all of us were glowing.  The asanas shimmered and the meditations were nurturing and affirming.

When we invite the divine into our lives, we are making the choice to fully acknowledge the grace, beauty and sacredness of our world. If my experience this week is any indication, creating space for the divine is a pathway for creating greater possibilities for peace in our lives and the world.

Finally, a comment on the numerous articles in the press about the perceived conflict between yoga and religions.  First, yoga is not a religion, it is a philosophy.  It is best viewed as a road map for our intrapersonal and interpersonal interactions.  Yoga – which literally mean yoking or union – strengthens the connections between the individual and their own religious commitments. In my practice this week, I found support and clarification of my Jewish faith, particularly as expressed through the Sh’ma: “Listen Israel, Adonai is holy, Adonai is one.”  By embracing the divine, I embraced the concept of the holiness of all beings and the interconnectedness of everything.  I mean, if I am divine, then you are too, and he is, and she is and he is, and so forth.  What a beautiful sparkling world of divine beings we are.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

108 Sun Salutations

108 Sun Salutations, are you kidding?  All in a row? One right after the other?  Why?

There are a lot of good reasons, and I will give them to you in a minute, but for now, let me give you the details.

Yoga for Hope

Fundraiser for City of Hope

Cancer Research

July 10, 2010

Registration @ 9:00am

Salutations begin @ 10:00am

Memorial Stadium at the foot of the Space Needle

Seattle, WA

Nine of Seattle’s leading yoga instructors will teach an outdoor class focused on the sacred number 108-practicing 108 Sun Salutations underneath the Space Needle at Memorial Stadium in hopes of bringing the spirit of health and community together! The instructors have partnered with City of Hope, a leading biomedical research, treatment and education center, to help raise support and awareness for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Researchers at City of Hope understand the importance of complementary and integrative therapies like yoga. Their Integrative Medicine Program, by incorporating complementary modalities with state-of-the-art medical care, is seeking to understand the mind-body-spirit connection to assist those battling life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Click here to register, and support this fine project. It will be a great day, a great practice, a fantastic experience.

Tomorrow I will share with you about the wisdom and history of this amazing practice.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Abiding in Gratitude

Everyone once and a while I am called to notice how full my life is, how much I have to be thankful for.  I guess you could call it counting my blessings. Honoring our blessings is indeed a “practice that takes us beyond the mat,” for as we take a moment to express our gratitude, we open our hearts to blessings and are open to the energies of healing.

Last week was Yoga with a Purpose Week.  My classes were full, and we raised some much-needed funds for the African Village Survival Initiative. I am thankful we could all be part of helping others less fortunate develop means for economic sustainability.

This weekend I spent with my book club friends up on the Olympic Peninsula.  Wow, what a gorgeous spot: Snow-capped Mountains in the distance, water lapping at the deck, seals and eagles playing for our amusement, and sun!  Oh, I am so thankful to live near the Puget Sound.  If you haven’t given yourself a 24 vacation, do so soon and visit Kingston, WA, just an hour and a half (including ferry ride) north of Seattle.

No book club retreat could be complete without the book discussion.  This weekend we discussed the Help by Kathryn Stockett.  This book is so worth the read. The author deftly combines history of the 1960’s, race relations in the south, and explorations into the meaning of family and friendship.  This is a book that will keep you laughing and crying and glad to be alive.  I am thankful I can read,and thankful that such great books exist, and that I have a community of friends with whom i can share my love of reading.

Mother’s Day.  Okay, it’s a gimme, but I gotta tell you.  Those hand-made cards and poems from my family rock my world.  Thank you Hallmark for giving me a moment to revel in the love of my family.

I think that is enough for now.  I think I will add my list of thank yous to my daily meditation practice.  Perhaps you will join me.



Yoga with a Purpose

Yoga with a Purpose

Word is getting out.  People are beginning to live their yoga beyond the mat.  Yogis are giving of themselves to make this world a better place.  And they are doing it by doing what they love – yoga.

Here is an example, of a really cool project, which I will be supporting  by donating the proceeds from all of my classes on Thursday May 6th.  I hope you will also join me in supporting:

2nd Annual Yoga with a Purpose Benefit Week

May 2-9, 2010

Last year almost 50 studios around the United States joined together to support the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI). AVSI is a program created by the African-led Uhuru Movement for community-based economic self-reliance. The African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI) is working to equip the Uhuru House, in St Petersburg, FL with a recording studio, and a commercial kitchen for community based economic development projects.

AVSI Uhuru House projects are designed to support the  African community in addressing and resolving the critical issues that confront them by uniting Africans together all over this country and the world for self-determination.

This program addresses a critical need both here and abroad – African peoples must gain sustainability and economic independence.  The building of community kitchens and sound production studios in Florida and on the African continent is a clearly achievable and reproducible goal.  The need is clear – more than 50% of the African population here in the US lives below the poverty line and on the continent it is way worse.  Building commercial kitchens and sound production studios will enable the African communities to engage in economic activities which will allow them to become self reliant (recordings, meals, restaurants, bakeries, etc).

This is not a project that is limited to persons of African descent.  It is a project that begs all of us to attend.  To quote a favorite musician “If one of us is chained, none of us are free.”  Years of slavery and economic and social abuse have unfortunately marginalized the African community.  No longer can we keep our eyes closed and our hearts barred.  Here is a chance to make a difference.

If you live in the Seattle area, come and take one of my classes at Urban Oasis on May 6th.  All proceeds from those classes will be donated to Yoga with a Purpose.  The monies then will be used to support AVSI.   If you are a teacher/studio owner – sign up to donate your classes.   It’s a win-win: You get great yoga, and you get to support a good project at the same time.

Take a moment to check out how many studios across the country are already signed up to do this.  Pretty cool, huh? I loved looking through the list and seeing all those studios across the US contributing classes.  Makes me want to visit those studios when I visit those towns.


A partial list of contributing studios

Laughter Yoga with Purvi Jani
285/287 Newton Ave, Oakland

Hawthorne Yoga
1241 Carpenter St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

O15 Workout – High Intensity 15 Minute Workout
201 S. Camac Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Khalsa Healing Arts Center
Meditation Class – Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa
301 Oxford Valley Rd Suite 1504
Yardley, PA 19067

Hawthorne Yoga
1241 Carpenter St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

1206 North 5th Street, Studio C
Northern Liberties
Philadelphia, PA 19122

DiBella Yoga Studio
Depot Shoppes
31 Plank Avenue #304
Paoli, PA 19301

Dhyana Yoga Rittenhouse
1611 Walnut St, 4th Floor
215 222-YOGA (9642)

Evolution Physical Therapy & Yoga
20 Kilburn Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401

The Awareness Center at Fit
62 Rockford Road
Wilmington, DE 19806

Saraswati River Yoga – Denyse
408 York Rd, suite 2
New Hope, PA 18938

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
1200 Arguello Blvd in the Inner Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco.

Dhyana Yoga Rittenhouse
1611 Walnut St, 4th Floor

4 West 43rd Street – Suite 501
NY, NY 10036

Vallejo Yoga in the heart of downtown Vallejo, CA

Studio 34
4522 Baltimore Avenue in West Philly

Dhyana Yoga West Philly
3945 Chestnut St.,
2nd fl in the HUB
215 222-YOGA (9642)