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


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

Why I didn’t set any New Years Resolutions

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

Thanksgiving Greetings from your Favorite Yogi

My in-box has been overflowing with reminders of gratitude practices.  It has also been overflowing with opportunities to shop, shop, shop. Personally, I like the former much better.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Family and friends come together for no other reason than to share gratitude and food.

My family has already begun to arrive.  My children are all now home – which brings me so much joy.  The kitchen cupboards and fridge are full, and the scent of baking fills the air.  Actually my son is making risotto which smells almost as good as hot chocolate chip cookies.  More of my family arrives tomorrow and there will be  21 for dinner on Thanksgiving.  Now that will be a bountiful evening.

Here is the thing about the holidays.  Even if this is your favorite time of year, it is the time you are most likely to overdue and wear yourself out.  So instead of reminding you about all the things you have to be thankful for, I will take this moment to remind you to take care of yourself.

Steps to self-care during the holidays

Take time to be alone: Get up a few minutes early to have some time to yourself.  Perhaps you will meditate, or maybe enjoy that first cup of chai tea/coffee by yourself.  Whatever you do – don’t do anything that is on your to-do list.  Just be.

Do your practice:  Even if you don’t have time to come to the studio for classes, do take time to do a few down dogs and warriors, a baby back bend or two, a couple of twists for your digestion and don’t skip svasana.  You can do this all in 20 minutes or less, and you will feel much better for it. And if you can squeeze in a full practice, it will definitely help you to stay calm and cool and centered in the face of any family dynamics or undercooked turkeys.

Nourish your body:  I know you plan on eating lots of turkey, stuffing and pie, but don’t forget your greens, salads, and even a light soup to refresh your body.  Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, my favorite is yogurt, granola and fresh fruit.  This will give you all the energy you need to face the rest of the day.

That’s it.  Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  As you sit down with your friends and family, look around and smile.  Let your heart fill with gratitude and let everyone know how happy you are that they are there.  I found this blessing and thought you might like it.  Direct the prayer to whatever the divine means to you.

Thank you for the elements, which compose our bodies, all of nature and this food we will enjoy.
Thank you for our ancestors who sacrificed for us to be where we are today.
Thank you for the earth and its astounding beauty.
Thank you for love, family, friendship and community.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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

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

Meditation Workshop

Sign up Now

Space is Limited

Meditation Workshop

Sunday, September  30, 1:00 – 3:00

Village Green Yoga, Issaquah

This is a wonderful workshop for anyone who has ever wanted to try meditation and also for those who have enjoyed a meditation practice in the past. This two-hour workshop will include asanas to settle the body, pranayama (breath work) to focus the mind, chanting and guided meditation. This is a great foundational workshop which will also help prepare anyone who is interested in joining our fall meditation circles, which will meet twice a week throughout the fall.
Cost: $20 in advance. $25 day-of if space permits.
Pre-registration suggested.

I am happy to say that my meditation workshop this Sunday is rapidly filling.  There are only a few seats left.  So if you are interested, contact Village Green Yoga soon.

If you have been wondering what it might be like to start a meditation practice, come to the workshop.  If you are wondering if there was any one else near you who is meditating, come to the workshop.  If you have meditation practice, but need a tune-up, come to the workshop.  If you are looking for answers, they are already inside of you, but come to the workshop anyway.

Have a great weekend.

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi