Attachment and Letting Go

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I’m sad to announce, that this is my last week teaching at Village Green Yoga and River Tree Yoga until June. Truly, I will miss teaching and my community. You guys bring such light to my life through your dedication, compassion and humor. But it is only a month and I will be back to my regular schedule very soon. In the interim, I have arranged for some excellent subs. So keep doing your yoga and your practice will grow from the wisdom of others.

As I prepare to spend the next month in Berkeley helping my father downsize to a small apartment in a continuing care community, I reflect on what this might mean for him, as well as for myself.

Moving is difficult for everyone. I have read that it is one of the top five stressors in life. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like for my father who is 95 and has lived in his current home for the majority of his adult life. He has not only lived in this house for over 50 years, he also designed it himself. It is perhaps his finest work as an architect and is truly a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. It sits on a wooded lot in the Berkeley hills with sweeping views across the San Francisco Bay. Floor to ceiling windows and doors on all sides, beautifully decorated with antiques from Europe and Asia; it is simultaneously inspiring and comforting. He is deeply attached to his home and the separation will be difficult for him. I think perhaps it is part of his identity, and so the stress of moving will be compounded by the separation from a part of his self.

I must also recognize that this is the home in which I grew up, so I am not only dealing with his loss, but I am also dealing with my own. Once he is moved, I will need to sell most of his/our belongings and let go of the security of having a place to land in the Bay Area; a place to share with family and friends, a place which I have always referred to as home. It is a home that is much loved and will be deeply missed.

And yet I am reminded of the yoga teachings concerning attachment. Our attachment to the past, to things being as they were; our attachment to the desire for things to be different from how they are now; and our attachment to material things in general can all lead to pain and suffering as well as distracting us from our ability to reside in the direct experience of the present moment. At this point I will spare you a full dissertation on all of Patanjali’s Sutras which discuss non-attachment, and only lead you in their direction.

  • Sutras I.12,I.15, I.16 – explains that through non-attachment we consciously realize that attachment can create short and long term negative effects.
  • Sutra II.3 – notes that the causes of suffering include ignorance, egoism, attachment, repulsion and  fear.
  • Sutra II.7, II.8 – suggests that attachment is the consequence of pleasure as aversion is the consequence of pain.
  • Sutra II.39 – reminds us that persevering on the path non-covetousness leads to a deeper understanding of the meaning of life.

So, as I get myself ready for this seemingly Herculean task, I will hold fast to my yoga, the practice and the principles. I will remind myself that this too shall all pass. And that this is simply another step in the trajectory of my life. I am grateful to have lived in such a lovely home, grateful that my father has lived such a long and healthy life, and grateful that I have the flexibility to be able to help him in this difficult time.

I thank you in advance for your support and understanding. I look forward to seeing many of you this week, and send you wishes for a happy May.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Tips for Healthy LIving in Times of Change

Full Moon, Red Moon, Super Close Moon
End of the Summer
Beginning of School
Season of Change
Returning to You

Dear Yogis,

If you haven’t felt it yet, be prepared.  This is a time of big transitions.  A time in which you may find yourself feeling restless, untethered, slightly at odds.  You may have just experienced some major changes in your life (I sure did) or be about to step into a whole new era of your life.  Truly this can be unsettling. But the good news is that you are not alone, and you are most likely  moving into such wonderful goodness it will make the all the flux worth it. And there is much you can do to weather these transitions more smoothly.

Here are some suggestions to help you sail the seas of transitions with greater equanimity.  These come from the scientific/medical limb of yoga known as Ayurveda.  You can choose to adopt some or all of these practices. You can even consult with an ayurvedic doctor near you to help you design a program specifically for your doscha.  The most important thing to remember is to take care of and nourish your self, and to honor your body’s need to cleanse, and your spirit/mind’s need to reflect.

Recipe for self-care in times of transition:

Get more sleep – go to bed earlier, but don’t sleep in too late.

Take naps – yes a 20 minute nap can make a huge difference in how you feel.
Take warm baths – they warm you up and give you time for reflection.
Walk at least 20 minutes 3-4 times a week (daily is best) – its good for your heart.
Practice yoga – hold poses longer and add restorative poses to your practice.
Meditate – even just 10 minutes a day will make a huge difference.
Drink less caffeine – when you feel tired, try that 5-10 minute meditation.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol.
Reduce or eliminate sugar, dairy.
Drink more warm fluids or soup.
Add Ghee (clarified butter) to your diet – it lubricates the digestive system and helps to rid the body of toxins.
Avoid spicy foods.
Eat your big meal at mid-day.
Get a massage or two.
Give yourself a massage – rubbing your hands, feet arms and legs with massage oil.

I hope you find this helpful.  For more information, refer to Guru-Google and search ayurveda, doscha, fall equinox, etc.

Speaking of changes, by now many of you know I have moved to West Seattle.  Its a big change and I am incredibly happy. Don’t worry, I will  continue to teach all my classes this Fall at Village Green Yoga and at River Tree Yoga. Unfortunately, I no longer have my home studio, but will be happy to offer private sessions to all of my clients in their homes or at a local studio on the east side.  And if you want to practice with a view of the water, I welcome you here in my home.

Warm Wishes for a healthy Autumn.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Holiday Gifts

Good Morning Everyone,

It’s Tuesday.  We celebrated Winter Solstice on Sunday night, we are about to celebrate the last night of Chanukah, and tomorrow night is Christmas Eve.  So many opportunities to spend time with friends and family, eats lots of good food and generally have a good time.

Inga and I are offering a free yoga class tomorrow at River Tree Yoga.  9:15am, come in your jammies if you want.  We will be supplying tea and cookies and other such holiday cheer.

I will be teaching almost all my regular classes, except those that fall on Christmas Day, New Years Eve night and New Years Day. So come take care of your body and nourish your spirit.  Lots of yummy poses and meditations are planned for this week.

I came across this  handy guide to meditation I thought you might like.  Yep, one more plug for meditation; you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you know it is good for you.  It is brought to you by Happify, a sort of brain games site for happiness, with the guidance of Dan Harris, ABC News anchor and author of 10% Happier.

Happy Holidays everyone.  Enjoy life, take care of yourselves, give back, nourish gratitude, smile.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

meditation-happify-infographic

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

A Practice of Gratitude

Dear Seattle Yogis,

Seriously, how can Thanksgiving and Chanukah be in two weeks?  That’s not possible.  Okay, maybe it is, because they have a bunch of Turkeys, Christmas stuff, and even a Chanukah gift basket for sale at  CostCo, and there have been numerous articles saying that this won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. If you want more details on why this is so, click here.  Anyway, I doubt I will be around in 70,000 years, so I had better make this year’s co-joined feasts both phenomenal and memorable.  And so, I find myself thinking of turkey and stuffing and latkes and pie and family logistics.  I notice that I am already feeling full and maybe a bit overwhelmed.  Anybody else out there feeling this way too?

The good news is that I will be offering a new and  inspirational workshop next Sunday at River Tree Yoga. This one is specifically designed to help you get ready for the holidays. Come to this workshop so you can be truly open and present for the bounty you are sure to consume, both physically and emotionally.

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

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

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