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

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Summer Workshop in Cannon Beach

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Discovering the Heart of Yoga

Dynamic Sequencing for Stability, Strength & Intentional Alignment

Moving from our core not only stabilizes our practice, it also invites us deeper into our selves.  Core strength refers not only to the strengthening and toning of the abdominal muscles which hold us in standing poses and allow us to float gracefully upward in inversions, it also refers to our ability to connect to the emotional essence of who we are, so that we may stand in our essence and act from our heart.

This workshop will help you discover the strength and stamina you need to live and move from the center of your being.  We will explore a  range of asanas, including backbends and inversions, as well as breath work (pranayama) and meditation.

Saturday, August 17th, 1:00 – 4:00pm

Cannon Beach Yoga Arts

$40, pre-registration strongly recommended

Workshop limited to 15 students

Register online at:

Cannonbeachyogaarts.com

(503) 440 – 1649

Sunday Morning Salutations

Tomorrow is Earth Day.

Time for Sun Salutations to celebrate and honor our beautiful, amazing, inspiring, and nourishing mother earth.

Class will start at 9:45 in the Down Stairs studio at Village Green Yoga.

Join us for a very special class designed to celebrate our connections to the earth, each other and our deepest wisdom.

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

Martin Luther King Day and the Path of Yoga

My goal in teaching yoga is to help my students to live their yoga beyond their mats.  Yes, yoga will make you stronger and more flexible.  A regular practice will help you to heal the pains of your body. A regular practice can help you to overcome illness and recover from injury.

And, I firmly believe that yoga is more than just an aerobic practice.  It is more than just exercise.  Through yoga we learn to reach deeper into our true selves.  We sweep away the fog from our awareness and find our own paths to strength and truth. We allow ourselves to soften so that we may ease our way into the fundamental strength of our core of true being.

If we allow ourselves to become more flexible upon our mats, then don’t we also find a way to be more flexible in our daily lives?  If we allow ourselves to become stronger on our mats, then don’t’ we also then find more strength to live our daily lives?  If in our practice we find we have more endurance, more will power, more self-awareness, then don’t those also walk with us beyond the studio?

  • What is your dream?
  • What are you willing to stand up for?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for?
  • What is your truth?
  • Where is your strength?
  • Where can you be more flexible?

As you practice today, let these questions be at the forefront of your awareness.  As you step onto your mat, ask yourself, why am I here?  What is important to me?  What truths do I hold to be self-evident.  Where am I willing to apply my strength?  Where am I willing to soften and be more flexible?  What can I give to bring peace and healing, not just to my self but to my greater community.

As you practice today, reach out to the strength and vision of those who have come before us and shared with a vision of peace and community.  Allow yourself to be inspired.

Shalom & Namaste,
Diana Bonyhadi
Issaquah, WA

Upcoming Schedule Changes

This is a Good News – Bad News Announcement

First the Bad News: Swedish Hospital has decided to discontinue their venture in providing an on-site therapeutic yoga program at their Issaquah Highlands Campus.  How sad.  This was a great and innovative contribution to promoting alternative therapies in more traditional settings.  As a member of the teaching team, I think I speak for all of us in expressing disappointment that the program was discontinued after only one year.  And to all of our dedicated students, I want to say thank you for your support and commitment this past year.  Oh, and did I mention that the yoga space, which is fantastic, will probably be turned into another clinic or office. Oh Well…

Now for the Good News:  My hatha/alignment-based therapeutic yoga class will continue to happen.  Starting on December 27, you can find the class at Village Green Yoga at the exact same time slot. Look for it on the Village Green Yoga Schedule:

gentle_yogaRestore & Renew – Lunch Hour Yoga
Tuesday & Thursday , Noon – 1:00pm

Supportive, compassionate and inspiring environment which recognizes the uniqueness of all bodies, and encourages you to work at your own pace.

If you are recovering form an injury, surgery, have a chronic condition such as osteoporosis, arthritis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome or multiple sclerosis, or are limited in practically any other way, this is the class for you.  We use lots of props and take our time.

60 minutes, all levels, all bodies, all ages welcome. Come be refreshed and inspired! This class is gentle yet invigorating, strengthening and toning, relaxing and stimulating, inspiring and enriching.

Class starts the Thursday after Christmas, so come on down and start your healing soon.

Song for the week (a lot of you have been asking): Alexi Murdoch – Breathe

Have a good week.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhad

Meditating in Difficult Times

The most common reason people say they don’t meditate is that they can’t find the time.

Imagine you actually have found the time and you’re feeling pretty good about your meditation practice.  You are committed.  Some how you found a way to set aside 10, 20, 40 minutes a day a few times a week to meditate.  You didn’t think you could do it, but you did, and you are enjoying the benefits of your practice.

And then life throws you a curve ball.  You thought your life was busy before, but now it is outrageous.

Welcome to my life.

I am a full-time mom.  I teach yoga part-time.  I am involved in several volunteer projects, and I have a home and yard to maintain.  I practice yoga and meditate daily.  My plate is full, but somehow I get it all done – usually.

Then comes the holiday season.  My daughter is a ballet dancer, so there is a lot of shuffling to and fro for Nutcracker rehearsals.  Add in the holiday decorating, present preparation, cooking projects, and shopping.  Add in a workshop or two, and my plate begins to get very full.  Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

But the world continues to conspire against me.  Two weeks ago, I got an early morning call from my 92-year-old father that he has had a stroke and is in the E.R. As he lives in Berkeley and I live in Seattle, I found myself spending a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out care options for him.  Breathe, practice, meditate, I remind myself.  Turns out he didn’t have a stroke and is released from the hospital after two days.  Still weak and unsteady, but no longer in need of hospital care. Unfortunately, he falls three days later and needs to go back to the E.R.   Clearly I can’t manage the situation from afar, and thus an unplanned trip to the Bay Area is required – immediately. Breath, practice, meditate, I remind myself.

I called Alaska Airlines and bought a last-minute ticket.  I scurry around and find folks to cover my classes.  I dash out to the store and stock up on frozen meals and fresh fruit for my kids to eat while I am gone.  I write out to-do lists for them.  I send notes to neighbors asking them to watch out for my kids.  Pack a bag and off I go.  I spend 4 days in Berkeley taking care of my father; dressing his wounds, helping him find new patterns for life, talking to doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, buying medical supplies, setting up care, oh, and did I mention trying to be a good mom to my kids back at home….

Now I am back, playing catch up.  But through it all, my meditation and yoga has saved me.  Yes, it was modified.  I practiced 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, wherever I could fit it in.  And it did make such a difference.  Meditation on the plane made the flight go more quickly.  I couldn’t get up and meditate and do yoga in the morning before I needing to care for my father, but I could fit it in when he rested, before I spoke with the doctors, after I made meals or just before bed.  Whenever and wherever, and always it helped me to be clearer, calmer, more energetic, compassionate and patient.

The last one on that list is the most important.  I am not a saint.  I get tired and overwhelmed and frustrated.  All of us do.  We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we are given.

So if you are kicking yourself because you have let your practice slip, stop kicking.  Instead take 5 minutes sometime today, just to stop and breathe.  Nothing big, just that – breathe and be.  Maybe you will find another 5 minutes later on when you can stretch or do an asana.  The important thing is to give yourself that time and to notice how you feel afterwards.  That is meditation.  That is yoga.  That is healing.

Before I close, I want to say a few thanks:

  • To my yogi friends/teachers who covered my classes at the last-minute – you guys are the best.
  • To all my students for being the best and most understanding students ever.
  • To my friends here and in the Bay Area who kept checking-up on me and supporting me.
  • To the guy on the airplane who gave me a ride home at 11:00 at night.
  • To the staff at Alta Bates Hospital for taking such good care of my Dad.
  • To the doctors and nurses and therapists who have been so helpful and informative.
  • And to my wonderful husband and kids for being so loving and understanding.

Shalom & Namaste
Happy Chanukah
Diana Bonyhadi

 

P.S:  How do you like the falling snow?