Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of Mind and Body & Helpful Online Resources

It’s been a long time since last I wrote….

I have had many requests of late.  Friends, family, students, all asking for what they can do to nourish themselves in this time of Covid 19.  I am honored to be asked, and humbly offer you the following:

There is a glut of information online about how to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.  By this point, we all know to maintain physical distance from one another, keep our bodies and living spaces as clean as we can, eat well, exercise and get fresh air and plenty of rest.  To this, I am going to add, that we really don’t need to check the news every hour.  I worry that the tendency to do this will only feed our fears and further stress our bodies.  Sure, check your news feed in the morning or once some time during the day, but you probably don’t need to do it all day long and especially not right before bed.  If you frequent social media sites, check-in with yourself, notice if the time spent there is making you feel calmer and more present, or if it is making you more anxious and stressed.  If it is the later, maybe it is time to pick up a book, work on a puzzle, make some art or music or practice yoga or meditation.

I know many of you have asked me to make you a video.  I might just do that, but in the interim, there are so many very good offerings out there, I encourage you to explore them.

If you don’t have a home practice, and just want some coaching and guidance and want to feel like you are part of a class, there are numerous online yoga and meditation resources that have been around for years and provide a deep well of information and teachings.  Many of these require a paid membership, but in these times, that may be a worthwhile expense.  Some of these are free and offer super high quality accessible classes (Veterans Yoga Project and Insight Timer).

These are the ones I tend to return to again and again.  Just click on the links to check them out:

Yoga:

YogaInternational.com, yogajournal.com, YogaGlo.com, gaia.com, Yoga with ADRIENNE,

Veterans Yoga Project

Meditation:

Meditation Insight Timer, Waking UP, calm.com, Sounds True, Shambala

Zoom Classes:

In addition, most studios in our area and across the country are now live streaming their classes, as are many master yoga teachers who would normally be hosting large group teacher trainings.  Some of these classes are free for the next week or so, some are already fee-based.  Most yoga studios and teachers operate on very narrow margins, and as a result of the mandatory closures, they are finding it hard to make ends meet.  So taking their classes online enables them to pay their teachers and hopefully re-open their doors once this virus has run its course.

In order to take these live-streamed streamed classes, (practicing with the teacher in real time with the teacher), you will need to click on a link that will take you to a Zoom window in your browser.  The process is pretty self-explanatory, but it does require a bit of computer savvy, so do give yourself some time to figure out the technology or you will miss the start of class.

Here are the links for a few of local studios that have been posting classes.  I only post these, as I have taken the classes and know the teachers. However, there are many more out there to explore.

TwoRiversyoga.com

rivertreeyoga.com

dayafoundation.org

seattleyogaarts.com

twodogyoga.com

Home Practice Essentials:

Before you get started, make sure you have everything you might need near by.  Choose how long you want to practice and make a commitment to that.  Even 10 minutes a day will make a difference. Get a drink of water or tea.  Turn off your phone, ask housemates to join you or at least not interrupt you.  Sit down and center yourself before you begin.  Remember svasana at the end.

Props:

Yes, one of the benefits of going to the studio or gym is that they will have all these wonderful props.  Of course you can order your own online, but you can also make do with some common household items.

Yoga Mat  – or anything that will keep your feet from sliding out from under you

Straight backed chair – for support and chair-based practice

Yoga Blocks – or books or anything that raises the floor a bit will support your hands

Yoga Straps – or belts, or scarves

Yoga Bolsters – rolled up blankets/towels or pillows or sofa cushions

Yoga Blankets – firm blanket that is not slippery to provide support and comfort

 

That’s it for now.  More to follow soon.  If you have online resources you’d like to recommend, please do share.  Seems I have and abundance of time these days to practice yoga and meditation.

February Reboot – Intention Keeping

Happy February,

Actually, we are about half-way through.

How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions?  Not meaning to nag or anything, but this is just about that time where we are either congratulating ourselves on a job well-done, or kicking ourselves for not having more “stick-with-it-ness.”

So, first off, isn’t nice to know you are not alone in this.  Almost all of us set some sort of new intention at the beginning of the year. Some intentions are easy to maintain, others, not so. As we set those intentions we are envisioning a future where we are no longer plagued by this habit or that habit, or we see ourselves having mastered some amazing new accomplishment or skill.  Then, after a couple of weeks, the thrill of the challenge has worn off.  Now it just seems like just so much hard work.  How do we stay present with our intentions? As we work towards fulfilling them, where do we find the support for our resolutions?

Where?  Well, why don’t we look to our yoga sages. Way back when, Patanjali (~400 CE) suggested that our practice should be Sthira sukham asanam. (Patanjali Sutra, II.46).  In other-words, the posture/practice should be steady and sweet. On our mats we learn about developing a steady (sthira) practice, and a sweet (sukham) practice.  We learn not to push ourselves so hard we collapse in a puddle (puddle-of-go-asana) or pull muscles (strain-asana).  We also learn that we must put in the appropriate amount of effort so that we can actually hold ourselves in the posture, but gently.  Too little effort and we won’t get there, too much and we burn out.  We know it can be hard, and if we only focus on the hard (dukha), it is very difficult to maintain the steady (sthira) practice.  So, as we do on the mat, so to can we do with our New Years’ Intentions.  Honor the sweetness, the daily, moment by moment successes, stay steady, and resist focusing on what is not working.  In this manner, our intentions will become manifest.  Stira Sukham Asanam is a mantra not just for your mat, but for living your life.

Was one of your intentions to start or deepen your meditation practice?

Last month I gave you that handy-dandy illustrated guide to meditation.  This month I have a little video for you.  This one is on the scientific benefits of meditation.  I’m so glad this came across my desk when it did, as I was just in the middle of writing a review of the recent research on meditation.  Now I can just encourage you to watch this short video.

On a different note, I’m off to Hawaii on Friday for 10 days of sun, surf, hiking, and relaxing.  Mark and I have even included a side trip to Oahu for some yoga and music at Wanderlust.  I have arranged subs for all my classes, they are pretty amazing, so take this opportunity to experience their unique teaching gifts.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Halfway through December, already?

It’s a blustery day in the Seattle Area.  Its windy, its wet, and it’s surprisingly warm.  And I am still coming to grips with the fact that we are almost half-way through December.  Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Winter Solstice is only 10 days away makes me incredibly happy.  It’s just that I catch myself wondering…where did the time go?

I know I am not unique in this wondering.  All of us at some point or another are struck by the fact that while time may seem to move incredibly slowly at one moment, most of us often have the feeling that time just keeps slipping away.  Dates that seemed so far in the offing are suddenly upon us. Babies become children, children become adults, adults become seniors and each of us find ourselves wondering how did we end up here.

The focus of my classes this week have been on Svadhyaya, or self-study.  It is the 4th of the Niyamas, or individual practices identified by Pantanjali (400 CE). This is an integral aspect of our yoga practice. Beyond getting the right alignment for a pose, or moving just so with the breath in a pose, there are also so many questions about our everyday practice. Which poses do we like and not like. Which poses do we avoid? Which poses make us feel powerful? Which bring us healing in times of suffering? Which poses make us mad or make us feel like crying or make us feel triumphant?

Svadyaya is also about the deeper stuff.  Why do we feel a certain way in a pose? Do we always feel that way in that pose? What else is going on for us in that pose?  Are there poses in which we feel nothing?  How is it that putting our bodies in an asana can even elicit that emotional/intellectual response? Why do the asanas do that?  Are we even aware of our thoughts and emotions while in any given asana?  So, not only are we trying to become more aware of our breath and our movements on the mat, but we are also trying to engage more fully in the study of who we are in each moment, and in every breath.

And if you thought this was just about yoga… it’s not… or it is.  It is not just about yoga, if yoga is something that only happens for you on a mat, in a studio, for about an 90 minutes a day.  On the other hand, it is all about yoga if you have begun to notice that your yoga is moving with you beyond the mat.  It kinda has the habit of doing that. Check out this link from Richard Freeman called Yoga Ruins Your Life, in which he talks about the permeability of yoga, as well as showcasing some very nice asanas guaranteed to make you ooo and ah.

Then these questions, this work of self-study really gets deep.  On a daily basis, moment by moment, we begin to explore who we are, what makes us think and feel the way we do, and why.  This is, I believe what we call the examined life – a life of self-study.  This is a life that allows us to answer that question, Wow, how’d we get here?  with  something along the lines of ” I don’t quite know, but at least I was awake for some of it. ”  Through Svadhyaya, we participate in the most important dialogue of all time; the dialogue that begins with ourselves; the dialogue that enables us to be more fully present in each moment.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I hope the Season brings you much light and love.  May the questions you ask continue to deepen and expand.  Don’t let yourself get too attached to the answers, they will probably change (follow this link).  Enjoy the journey and stay full of wonder.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

New data suggests yoga & meditation can help cure cancer

I am pleased to see more and more articles verifying the positive and healing impact of yoga and meditation on the human body.

This just in from Canada

Evidence to suggest that meditation alters cancer survivors’ cells

Sadashiva Pai, PhD, MBA Founder and CEO at Science Mission LLC

Researchers in Canada have found the first evidence to suggest that support groups that encourage meditation and yoga can actually alter the cellular activity of cancer survivors.

Their study, which was published in the journal Cancer, is one of the first to suggest that a mind-body connection really does exist.

The team found that the telomeres – the protein caps at the end of our chromosomes that determine how quickly a cell ages – stayed the same length in cancer survivors who meditated or took part in support groups over a three-month period.

On the other hand, the telomeres of cancer survivors who didn’t participate in these groups shortened during the three-month study.

Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length… onlinelibrary.wiley.com

Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors – Carlson – 2014 – Cancer – Wiley Online Library

Sun Salutation Workshop – Rescheduled for November 2nd @ 1:30

Sun Salutation Workshop

Sunday, November 2nd

1:30 – 4:00pm

There are still a few spots left available for the Sun Salutation Workshop this weekend.  

Sign up now to reserve a place for your mat. 

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

Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar  is nothing less than a prayer to the sun, the earth and all that is in between.  As we move through these poses we nourish the body and spirit in deep and powerful ways.

This sequence of 8-14 poses can be found in its entirety or separately in almost every yoga class.  If you have ever wondered how to step fully into and through each of these powerful poses, then now is the time to learn to own them, enjoy them and truly benefit from them.

This workshop will focus on the elements of alignment within the poses, techniques for transitioning between the poses and the role of the breath throughout the poses.

The workshop is suitable for all bodies and all levels.  Learn how to modify and adapt the poses to ensure safety, and enhance your practice.

$40
Call early to reserve a place for your mat.

425-765-3173

or email me,

Diana@kharmabellayoga.com

All the Better to Hear You With, My Dear

Greetings Yogis,

I told you earlier this month that Fall is the Season of Change.  And so it is for me.

My server doesn’t like handling my mailing list.  Sending out a regular newsletters was becoming oh so very cumbersome. And I was concerned that not everyone actually associated Kharma Bella Yoga with me, Diana Bonyhadi, the yoga teacher at several different studios.

So, I have decided to create a newsletter and an online presences as Diana Bonyhadi Yoga, and I will be using Mail Chimp for distribution.  I have done the research and have determined that it is a safe and respectful service and includes easy to opt-in and opt-out features which will allow you and other yogi friends to choose exactly how often you want to hear from me.

The newsletter will be short, keep you informed of upcoming workshops, changes to my teaching schedule, interesting local yoga events, thoughts on yoga, and perhaps some other  juicy yoga tidbits on anything from philosophy to fashion (?), to book reviews, asana, music, food, etc.

If you are not on my mailing list you can easily join by completing the form at the bottom.

The Blog/this website will continue as before.

Do let me know how you like the changes.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the mat or out and about.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

 

 

Sun Salutation Workshop

Sun Salutation Workshop

Saturday, September 27

1:00 – 4:00pm

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

Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar  is nothing less than a prayer to the sun, the earth and all that is in between.  As we move through these poses we nourish the body and spirit in deep and powerful ways.  

This sequence of 8-14 poses can be found in its entirety or separately in almost every yoga class.  If you have ever wondered how to step fully into and through each of these powerful poses, then now is the time to learn to own them, enjoy them and truly benefit from them.

This workshop will focus on the elements of alignment within the poses, techniques for transitioning between the poses and the role of the breath throughout the poses.

The workshop is suitable for all bodies and all levels.  Learn how to modify and adapt the poses to ensure safety, and enhance your practice.

$40

 
Call early to reserve a place for your mat.

425-765-3173

Fall Newsletter; New Classes & Upcoming Workshop

Labor Day has come and gone, and so we bid adieu to Summer.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, our long warm days have been  filled with adventure, friends and family.  As we turn our attention towards Fall I hope you will carry the nourishing energy of the sun with you as the days begin to grow shorter and cooler.

For many of us, September brings a return to structure.  The kids are back in school and we can resume our regular routines, or maybe even begin new ones. What do you look forward to returning to?  What new routines do you seek to embrace?  How can your yoga help to strengthen your commitments to yourself and others?

This week, I return to my regular teaching schedule and look forward to seeing all of my students again.  I’ve missed you! Most of the classes will stay the same but I have added an advanced practice class on Tuesday evenings.  If you are looking to up-level your practice be sure to join me for this deep and expansive class featuring stronger asana variations and more time for pranayama and meditation.

To welcome the Fall, I will be hosting a workshop September 27, 1:00 – 4:00pm at River Tree on Structure and Dynamic Transitions of the Sun Salutations.

Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar  is nothing less than a prayer to the sun, the earth and all that is in between.  As we move through these poses we nourish the body and spirit in deep and powerful ways.

This sequence of 8-14 poses can be found in its entirety or separately in almost every yoga class.  If you have ever wondered how to step fully into and through each of these powerful poses, then now is the time to learn to own them, enjoy them and truly benefit from them.

This workshop will focus on the elements of alignment within the poses, techniques for transitioning between the poses and the role of the breath throughout the poses.

The workshop is suitable for all bodies and all levels.  Learn how to modify and adapt the poses to ensure safety, and enhance your practice. Space is limited, so do sign-up early.  Call 425-765-3173 to reserve a place for your mat.

 

 

Holiday Greetings and Abundance for 2014

Solstice Fire

Solstice Fire

Happy Holidays Everyone

As we turn the corner from darkness to light, we look to the New Year and see so many opportunities for expansion and fulfillment.

River Tree Yoga continues to grow, serving an enthusiastic population of yogis who love the woods, nature and their practice in equal measure.  Yoga in the Pond Room has become a haven for many and our workshops an inspiration for all.  I will continue to teach Wednesday nights 6:30-8:00pm, and alternating Saturday mornings at 9:30am.

Mark you calendar for January 19th, 1:00 – 4:00pm for Foundation for a New Beginning, the first workshop of the year will focus on Ten Fundamental yoga poses – perfect for building your home practice and/or deepening your understanding of the poses you see so often in class.

Village Green Yoga has also expanded, adding more teachers and opportunities for learning across a broad range of yoga styles and techniques.  My classes continue to be popular with students frequently coming early to reserve their favorite spot.

  • Sunday Morning Vinyasa has grown to become such a warm and nurturing community of yogis, that we all look forward to the weekend, just so we can spend our Sunday mornings together yoga-ing, laughing and healing.
  • Monday & Wednesday morning’s Hatha Integration Class is the workshop class for the studio.  Come and explore your favorite asanas, practice pranayama and meditation. Study and Inquiry are the hallmark of this alignment-based class. So much to learn, so many ways to deepen.
  • Tuesday & Thursday Mid-Day Bliss/Gentle is just exactly that; a gentle exploration of posture and breathe, which is massages the mind, body and spirit. An hour of movement in the middle of the day – a beautiful way to renew and inspire.
  • Tuesdays and Thursday Evening Vinyasa Flow is a steady and playful sequence tuned to some awesome vibes, designed to get the heart rate up and the stress out.

I offer to all a bow of gratitude for your continued  support throughout the years.  It has been an honor and pleasure to be your teacher, as you continue to be my muse.

May the blessings of the season and the twinkle of bright lights bring joy and peace to you and your loved ones.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Live Music at Gratitude Workshop

Dear Seattle Yogis,

Are you ready for an amazing workshop, guaranteed to open your heart to the abundance of the Holiday Season?  I can’t wait for this Sunday.  I just got off the phone with our musicians and I am so psyched.  We are going to move and chant and be moved by their incredible voices and rhythms.

See you soon.

Diana Bonyhadi

A Practice of Gratitude
Sunday, November 24th
1:00 – 4:00pm

Welcome the Holidays with this Essential Heart Opening practice featuring live music by Tova Ramer and Steve Grant.

Steve has been singing Kirtan for years and has performed with his Bhakti Bliss Band as well as studied with Jai Uttal and Gina Sala. Tova has been singing for years in Jewish, interfaith and folk rock groups in the Seattle area.  She’s inspired by Snatam Kaur, Gina Sala and Deva Premal.

This workshop features heart-opening asanas such as backbends to help you open more fully to the experience of the holidays and digestive asanas to help with you process the physical and emotional  abundance of the season.

Our flow will be beautiful and deep and enhanced by the sweet sounds of live kirtan.

Open to students of all levels.

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