Inspired by the Sun & Surf

I spent last week on the beach in Mexico.  I played in the waves and soaked up the sun and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family.  Being a California girl, I find that I sometimes need a break from the  Pacific Northwet.  I am so grateful that I was able to take this time to restore and renew.  A big shout-out to my subs for covering for me while I was away.

Indeed I am recharged.  I am looking forward to a busy teaching schedule for the next few months.  I am pleased to announce that I am now part of the wellness team at a Naturopathic clinic in Redmond.  Starting next week I will be teaching a Hatha and Wellness class on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at 9:15am at Alpine Integrated Medicine in Redmond.  If you are looking for a more natural and holistic approach to your health care, do check them out.

Classes at River Tree Yoga (located at Tree House Point) continue to grow.  We have tweaked our schedule just a bit to further meet the needs of our students.  There is now a single class on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00pm.  You no longer need to choose flow or restorative, this hour and a half class provides a comprehensive practice which will help you to work out the kinks in your system, inspire you to reach deeper, and allow you to relax more fully.  We also offer classes on Saturday mornings at 9:30 – Vinyasa Flow Style.

And don’t forget about Village Green Yoga, where I have been teaching for several years now.  Monday & Wednesday mornings we study alignment, Tuesdays & Thursdays at noon, its an hour of gentle therapeutics, and Tuesday & Thursday evenings we get the music out and flow.  Sunday mornings its all about going deeper with great music and fun times.

This weekend I will head down to Oregon for the Cannon Beach Yoga Arts Festival.  If you don’t have plans for the weekend, I highly recommend this event.  It features exceptional teachers in a beautiful and low key environment.  Oh, and did I mention beach?

Quote for the week by David Gershon:

How can we create sustained positive impact in the world, in the shortest amount of time, for the highest number of people?

That’s it for now.  Check out the schedule page for class times and locations.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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

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

I Do Not Live Here Alone

I came across this poem today, and since its been so long since I’ve done a post I thought I would keep it short and sweet.   I do believe that everything we do is interconnected. That every action is significant, and that every person is important and perfect.

I Do Not Live Here Alone

Each breath I take affects the air all around me


Each word I utter falls on someone else’s ears.

That which I touch is felt by another
.

That which I do will certainly affect another
.

That which I do not, will also affect another.

We never know how far-reaching something we say or do 
really is, until it returns to us.

And it always does.

All things in life form a circle
.

Whether or or not we see the circle.

I do not live here alone.

Meditation Blog – I will always be a beginner

So I have been meditating off and on for over 20 years.  That seems like a long time when I put it down on paper.  But in actuality, it feels like a short time.  Why?  Because I still feel like such a beginner.

This Fall I rededicated myself to my meditation practice.  I promised myself I would meditate at least twenty minutes a day every day of the week.  Twenty minutes isn’t that long.  Particularly if you think of what a small fraction it is of a twenty-four hour day.  But actually taking out twenty minutes from every day to meditate has been harder than you might think.

And it is not that I don’t want to meditate.  I do.  In fact, I love meditating. It’s just that I can find all sorts of reasons to procrastinate – too much going on around me, I might be interrupted, I just need to make that phone call, and return an email, I woke up late, I will get to it later….

The trick I have found is to either do it first thing in the morning, or at mid-day during my lunch break.  Getting to it in the evening never seems to work.

You can probably tell by all this that I haven’t always meditated every day, but I think that getting to it at least 5 days a week is a good start.

Now about those 20 years of practice.  I have learned/tried a lot of different styles of meditation.  Living in the Bay Area in the 1970’s, Transcendental Meditation (TM) was all the rage.  Since then I experimented with several other kinds of meditation, with varying degrees of satisfaction.

I can’t say there is one best way to do it.  I view all the different styles as useful paths to get to the same place.  Some are more rigid and demanding than others.  All offer tools and techniques to assist you in your journey.  The main thing I have found is that it takes patience and practice.

Here are few tools I have found to be very helpful this year.

  • Listen to Dharma Talks:  They are readily available on the internet.  Google Dharma talks and see where it takes you.  I have over the past year had the privilege to listen to so many wise teachers just by checking out their audio blogs online.  I have learned so much about myself and my practice, and the Dharma path.
  • Insight Meditation Timer:   This is a handy app available for both Droid and IPhone formats.  I turn my phone to silent mode, and choose a preset timer, and off I go.  I have created several presets, so that I can choose whether I will have a 10, 20 or 40 minute meditation.  I love the interval gongs and the ending gongs, and the journal and statistics options are helpful.   It is also nice to see who else around the world is meditating with you.
  • Find a Teacher:  Meditation is both hard and easy.  It is helpful to have someone you trust to whom you can direct your questions.  You will be amazed at what you discover about yourself and your mind while in meditation.  Having someone to talk to about your experiences and to guide you is nourishing.
  • Meditate with Others:  If you have a commitment to share meditation space with others it will help to ensure that you will actually practice on that day at that time.  This is the obvious benefit.  But there is also the amazing energy of being in the same room with other folks who are meditating.  Their energy will support your energy.  For all you know, they too could be wondering about the dust in their navel, but maybe, just maybe, they are deeply connected to the energies of the universe, and that is good mojo.
  • Give Yourself a Break:  Okay, so you skipped the meditation this morning.  The world won’t end.  Okay, so you spent your entire meditation doing your errands in your head.  That’s happens too.  Meditation is not about being perfect.  It is about learning; learning to  watch the mind, learning to calm the mind, learning to learn and learning to connect. Meditation is about everything else and nothing else, and so, it is about learning to give yourself a break.

Yes, after all these years I am still a beginner.  I don’t know what my meditation practice will yield on any given day.  I don’t know if I will be able to sit comfortably or not.  I don’t know if I will have one of those amazing moments of connection and stillness.  I may have none or a may feel transported for the entire session.  But I do know, that just by trying, my response to my world has gotten calmer, and for that I am grateful.

Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi

 

 

Great News at Kharma Bella Yoga

Great News at Kharma Bella Yoga

Yoga Wall: Come check out the new addition to the Kharma Bella Studio.  We have installed a yoga wall.  Book a private session and experience the amazing benefits of working with a rope and wall system for enhancing your asanas and healing your body. Just drop me an email, or give me a call, and we’ll get you set up for your introduction to the wonders of the yoga wall.

Speaking of Privates:  I highly recommend them.  They are great for tuning up your practice, exploring poses deeper, or working at a more therapeutic level, that can only be achieved when working individually with your teacher.  Privates are also great as an introduction to yoga.  If you know of someone who has been hankering to try yoga, but is worried about going to a class of Gumby bodies and feeling left out, this is a great and safe way to discover yoga.

Radio:  I have signed on to co-host a radio show on Mondays at 1:00pm on 1150AM  KKNW.  (I know, this is big news. It took a real leap of faith for me.)  I am joining the wonderful Ajayan Borys of Effortless Mind Mediation on Mind Matters Radio.  Together we will be exploring the intersections of yoga and meditation and all things glorious about your mind, spirit and body.  Tune in next Monday to hear about the first yama, Ahimsa (non-violence) as I discuss the many (obvious and not so obvious ways) this weaves through our lives and our practice.

Music:  Here is a treat: The Toure-Raichel Collective: Wonderful acoustic music. Check out this link, and maybe even attend their show April 28th at the Triple Door.  Thank my son Ben for the link.

Classes continue to fill and expand. Be sure to arrive with enough time to get signed in and settled in, so you can fully enjoy your wonderful self in class.

Happy Spring,
Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Inspiration in the Holiday Season

Saturday Morning Ramblings:

The sunrise was amazing – I no longer sleep in like a teenager, instead I get up, meditate and watch the sunrise.  Pinks and purples on snow-capped mountains.  I know I should have taken a picture to share with you, but I was too caught up in the moment.

Speaking of being caught in the moment, here is a video that should blow your mind.  Balance, Strength Endurance – is this yoga, ballet, dance, or meditation?  Whatever, you want to call it, it took my breath away.  I love Cirque du Soleil.

It has been a busy week for this blogger.  I have found blogging to be like yoga and meditation and practicing piano.  I have to set aside time to do it every day.  Otherwise, I won’t get to it.  It is not that I don’t like doing any of these things, I love doing them all, but they each take careful attention, quiet space, effort and energy.  And I am a perfectionist, so sometimes it is easier to put something off, than take the chance of just not getting it right. Oh there is a whole blog in that last statement. I won’t go into it now, but I’ll give you a hint – how do I let go of that inner judge and just flow in the present moment?  How can I do this in all aspects of my life and not just on the mat?

My son turned 18 this week.  Hard to believe that he can be that old.  And here is something I especially appreciate about him.  He loves being a child.  Not in a childish, whiny, self-indulgent, needy 2-year-old way, but in the love of the moment way.  He likes to play, read, and hang out with us.  He really enjoys each moment, and is not afraid to be silly or sad, quiet or loud, intellectual or goofy.  He is not afraid to be himself.  I wish I was that clear when I was his age.

Gyrokenesis: Here is something new to try.  Developed by a former ballet dancer, gyrokinesis, is a gentle flowing of the body, and lubricating of the spine and joints. After the hour-long session I felt warm, energized, and calm.   “Gyrotonic incorporates three-dimensional circular motion to promote coordinated and efficient movement throughout the body while simultaneously strengthening the muscular attachments and ligamentous tissue.”
The Gryotonic Movement Center in Wallingford is a good place to go check it out – from a yoga perspective, it felt very much like getting in touch with the Kundalini, and if you haven’t done that yet, you should.

Holiday Cheer:  I do love this season.  Well, actually, I don’t like being cold, but I do love the lights, the spirit, the parties and the food.  Speaking of food, you must check out this website.  I plan on making everything in their most recent post.  Another thing I love about this season is the Nutcracker.  Probably because I have two children who are ballet dancers, but also because I really like the music.  Try plugging this in while you do your holiday baking and see if it doesn’t put a bounce in your step.

Holiday Giving:  Another thing I like about this season is the giving of gifts.  There really is something special about finding just the right gift for your brother/sister/husband/wife/best friend, etc.  But sometimes it can be a challenge to find just the right thing.  In this time of extreme abundance and poverty, we don’t want to be cluttering our friends and families’ home with just more stuff.  So, I share with you my go-to, living-in-balance and doing-a-mitzvah gift of the season: Nothing But Nets.  These guys have figured out a way to save lives, fight malaria, and work together with local NGOs and communities in the Horn of Africa to stop the spread of malaria.  A $10.00 donation could save five young lives and that is a big deal.

Okay, I am off to go gather cedar boughs for the home, string up some twinkling lights and watch my children create magic on stage in the Nutcracker.

Have a great week.  Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Thanksgiving – Begining a Practice of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Our to-do lists are full, as are our shopping lists.  We will spend a significant amount of time this week cleaning and cooking, and preparing to welcome friends and family into our homes.  We may even travel to join our friends and families in near or distant locations.  This is the time of year when we as a culture sanction taking a few precious moments out of our busy schedules to open our hearts to gratitude.  And we do it in community.  Perhaps we all become yogis on Thanksgiving.

I believe that gratitude is the foundation of yoga.  We start our practice with intention setting and we finish it with gratitude for the practice and our teachers.  We strive to cultivate the niyama of santosa (contentment) on the mat by letting go into each of our asanas; accepting and rejoicing in each asana for the strength and energy it brings to us.  We seek to be present and content for each moment and for each breath during our practice. And finally, we bring our hands together in Namaste in recognition and gratitude for the divine spirit which lives and breaths in all of us.

But once we leave the studio, and move beyond the mat, shouldn’t we also seek to build a mindfulness practice of gratitude?  Medical studies from such esteemed institutions as the Harvard Medical Center note the health benefits of engaging in a practice of mindulness meditation.   Indeed, such practices have been shown to reduce the effects of stress related to chronic health concerns, and loss of loved ones.

The question then, is where and how to begin.  Why not this week with Thanksgiving?

As you prepare for the holiday, take time to note the beauty around you. Notice the red and yellow leaves as they fall to the ground.  Take a moment to be consciously grateful for friends and family. Remember those moments of joy shared with different family members.  Appreciate the bounty in the stores, the truckers who delivered it there and the farmers who brought it forth from the earth. Open your heart with gratitude for the artists who bring beauty to our eyes and ears; for the activists and foundations who provide shelter and services to those in need; and the for physicians who bring healing.  The list can go on and on.  Be thankful for each moment of life, the beauty that surrounds you and the kindnesses you experience.

Lest someone should accuse me of polyannaism, let me state that there is no denying that these are difficult times we’re living.  Challenges of hunger, poverty, racism, sexism, exploitation and yes death are a part of our daily existence.  The goal though, is not to descend into to pain of these experiences.  The understanding gained from practicing mindful gratitude keeps us from getting lost in the loss of freedoms and life.  So even when you are stuck in traffic, late for a meeting, low on blood sugar, or suffering from illness or the loss of a loved one, you can still allow gratitude to soften the moment.

Breath in, look around and remember many wonderful moments in your life and community.  Practice santosa and gratitude, both on the mat and beyond.
Happy Thanksgiving
Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Jean Houston on Public Radio Network

“Tending the gardens of our lives involves a kind of cosmic yoga; we yoke ourselves back to remembering that we are made of the same stuff as the Universe from which we continuously arise second by second”

Jean Houston

Have you ever had a chance to hear or see Jean Houston?j

She is one of those magical women who reminds us of who we really are and all that we can be.  She leads us on a journey of self-discovery and helps us to see our part in the global cosmos. She is also really cool, insightful and very vibrant and funny.

And guess what?  This time you don’t have to cough up any money to hear her.  Which is unusual, as she is the real thing and people all over the world turn to her for leadership on personal, interpersonal and international issues. And usually you do have to pay.

But tomorrow it is free.

So, check it out Friday at 2:00pm PST on PRN (Progressive Radio Network)

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Insight from a weekend with Sara Powers

Greetings,

I spent this past weekend with Sara Powers who is the founder of Insight Yoga.  Sara and her husband Ty have been leading yoga classes and workshop for many, many years, and although I had not yet had the opportunity to study with her in person, I had been familiar with her through her video “Insight Yoga.”  As the only yoga video with which I like to practice, it felt like re-meeting an old friend when I walked into to take her workshop.

Sara Powers has set her heart and mind to the integration of yoga, meditation and transpersonal psychology.  So to spend a weekend with her, was an experience focused within, on the prospect of “being in yoga”, rather than of “doing yoga.”  And what a pleasant prospect it was.

As everyone knows who reads this sporadic blog, my focus has always been on “living yoga,” whether it occurs on the mat or hopefully even beyond the mat.  Thus to spend a weekend focused inward, breathing our way into the deepest parts of ourselves, was a great blessing.  I will admit however, that I am not so adept at being still for such long periods of time.  Not only did my body shout out its discomfort, but my brain was also busy, sending me all sorts of messages.

And yet that was what we were there to do.  Become aware of the ramblings of the brain.  We sat meditation before and after asana practice.  We practiced meditation in the asana practice.  In fact, yoga with Sara is meditation in stillness and in motion.  Our work in meditation was not to shunt away the messages of the brain but rather to become “mindful” of them.  Instead of noting a thought and saying “I see you now go away,” we were to acknowledge the thought and follow it. By allowing ourselves to follow a thought, we engage in a process of self-acknowledgement, and self-affirmation.  It becomes liberating to enter this process, and a bit entertaining.  For example, here is just one of the thought trains that I followed…

“Breathe in to the hara. Awareness of breathing into the hara. Am I thinking my breath?  Am I focusing on my breath? Am I focusing too much on my breath? Am I distracting myself from my breath? Am I really meditating?  Mindfulness… What happens if I spend the whole time analyzing the focus of my breath?  Will I no longer be practicing mindfulness? Follow a thought … There are no thoughts … How did I do that?  Oops, there is a thought.  My thighs are beginning to hurt … Should pay more attention to hip openers, or maybe I should pay more attention to closed hip positions … how to teach this balance …  Are my students getting it?  How can I serve them better”

Okay, you get the idea.  Not only did my mind search around for things to latch onto, but under it all, was a common thread of “am I good enough?”  And I doubt I am the only one out there who is constantly filled with self-doubt.  But that is the power of a mindfulness practice.  We can see how often we go to these places, and by doing so disempower those voices of self-doubt.  Recognizing our communal need for love and affirmation, and the collective tendency towards self-doubt, we in turn become more accepting and nurturing as individuals and as community.

Now that is pretty darn cool.

So, take some time (ten minutes) to sit in contemplation of your thoughts.  Acknowledge them  for what they are.  Enjoy the process.  Enjoy letting go.  Live your yoga.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi