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?

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

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

New Classes and Workshops!

 

New Classes

Vinyasa Flow appropriate for all levels and all bodies.  Drop-ins welcome

Wednesdays @ 5:00pm at Issaquah Dance Theatre:

Upcoming Workshops

Loving Your Sun: How to get the most out of your sun salutations and learn the fun-damentals of the individual asanas and how to transition safely between them.  Perfect for building your home practice and deepening your awareness.

Sunday September 23, 1:00 – 3:30 – Village Green Yoga

Take the time to Meditate:  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 (breathwork) to focus the mind, chanting and guided meditation.

Sunday, September 30, 1:00 – 3:00pm   Village Green Yoga

 

Facebook – What’s the Point?

 

Warning this may not seem to have anything to do with yoga.  And then again, if yoga is all about being present and aware of everything we do, and how we do it, and if we are trying to live on the eightfold path…. then this has everything to do with yoga.

Did you notice that I have not been on Facebook for a while?  It’s true, sometime back in July, I decided to give a give Facebook a wide berth.

Perhaps it was due to spending some time with my friend Gail Hand, author of the recently published guidebook to Facebook entitled: Are You SURE You Want to Post That? This is a great little book, providing essential guidelines on what is appropriate to post on line.

Her book got me thinking about what I was posting on Facebook and why.  I had begun to notice that Facebook had become a repository for self-marketing, self-aggrandizement, basic to-do lists and/or manifestations of discontent:  “Buy my product, pat my back, I did so many errands today, I won X, or my work is killing me and politics are crazy.”

And before I knew it, I couldn’t think of a single reason to post anything to Facebook.  I mean, did folks really want to see my pictures of summer hikes, my gorgeous children, or the 22 pounds of berries I picked and made into jam? Was it necessary for me to clog up the pages of Facebook with announcements of my upcoming classes and workshops.  Or was anyone really interested in knowing where I went or reading my thoughts on reality, consciousness or esoteric musings on the nature of the planet?

And so I gave up Facebook.  Didn’t even open that tab for close to two months.  And I am sorry to say I didn’t miss it.  Nope, no withdrawals symptoms here. Periodically it did cross my mind to anti-up and use the FB to do a bit of marketing (self-aggrandizement), but that seemed selfish, so I kept the tab closed.  And then there were those moments when I wanted to know how my kids were doing, but that struck me as voyeuristic, so I picked up the phone and called them instead.

Did I save time? Probably, because once you check your status, and all your friends’ statuses and look at everyone’s pictures, an hour (or two) can easily pass you by.  I did notice that the amount of time I spent in front of my computer screen decreased, which I think is a good thing. Did I miss reading everyone’s posts?  Surprisingly, I did not.  I don’t know if I missed anything really important, but the world seems to have gone on just fine without me. Did I feel better/more superior for not “doing” Facebook?  Thankfully, No. Did anyone notice that I wasn’t posting or responding to post on FB? – I don’t know, and I kinda sorta doubt it.

So not only could I not find a reason to post, I also could not find a reason to read, scan, peruse, or sleuth about in the bowels of Facebook.  The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to consider going back. But as you can see, this is all written in past tense, so go back, I must have.

It was at the beginning of this week.  I don’t know how it happened.  But somehow, the tab popped open and I stayed to look.  The good news, the fantastic news, is that the first thing I saw was a lovely comment on the beauty of the planet, then an inspirational picture of my good friend and fellow yogi, followed by an announcement/invitation to a cause I really care about. Facebook showed me beauty, gave me inspiration and made me smile.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a reason to contribute a post that would not fall into the category of bragging, marketing or kevetching.  I still can’t answer the question “why post?” without the answer boiling down to “come see the cool things I am doing or thinking about” and that still sounds like showing off or bragging to me.  But maybe that is ok.

In this busy busy world where computers and cell phones are a way of life, Facebook is now an important marketing tool and a social connector.  Yes, it can be a vehicle for simply sharing the tedium of one’s life, or it can be a vehicle of inspiration and change.  As with all things, the choice will be our own.  And it will be up to each of us to answer the question: what am I posting and why does it matter?

I welcome your thoughts on this.  How do you “use” Facebook?  Why do you use Facebook? How much time do you spend on Facebook?  And anything else you think is important to consider when choosing to go to or post to the big FB.

Have a great week

Shalom & Namaste,

Diana Bonyhadi

Appreciating the Labors of Living

Hello Everyone,

This weekend marks the official end of summer. Folks are bounding out for their final fling; boating, hiking, beaching, capturing live music. I hope that this weekend you will find some time to celebrate and honor the labors that you have put forth this year.

Often times we find ourselves running from one thing on our “to-do” list to the next. We wonder if we will ever get it all done. By the time we are half way through that list, we are already building the next list. It is this busy-ness of living that wears us down. Without taking time out to appreciate all that we have done, we will forever feel like the mouse on the wheel; spinning and spinning, yet going no where.

This is, I think one of the true gifts of meditation. We set aside time to be in stillness. We give ourselves permission to step off the spinning wheel of the doing and busy-ness of living. This is really hard to do, believe me, I know. I really like my lists. I am a doer of the highest order. And while we may stop our physical activities, the mind is still trying to keep it all going. It takes time for the mind to slow down, and stop making lists and telling stories. But if we get in the habit of sitting, every day, if even for a just a little bit, our bodies and our minds begin to look forward to this time of not doing, to this time of being. If you are new to meditation, or are looking for a refresher class, I will be hosting a meditation workshop September 22 at Village Green Yoga.

So, I am grateful for Labor Day Weekend. I am grateful I have the time to pause and reflect on all that I have done this year. I am grateful to all the workers – that would be all of us – who make this life possible. So a big shout out to farmers, truckers, engineers, laborers, office workers, cooks, writers, yogis, scientists, teachers, all of you who put your time and energy into making a living and making a life. Thank you for your labors of living.

Have a great weekend. Step with ease into the Fall. Lots of interesting things will be happening in the Seattle yoga community. My contributions include a couple of workshops and a meditation circle to begin in October, after I return from a meditation trip to India. A brief summary of my schedule is listed below, more details available through the links.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Upcoming Events:

Loving Your Sun – A workshop exploring the fun-damentals of the sun salutation series

Intro to Meditation – A workshop offering tips and tools to help your meditation practice.

Class Schedule

Day                       Time                   Style                                     Location

Monday         9:30 – 11:00         Hatha Integration        Village Green Yoga

Tuesday         Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration        Swedish Hospital

Tuesday         5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                 Village Green Yoga

Wednesday    9:30 – 11:00        Hatha Integration         Village Green Yoga

Thursday        Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration          Swedish Hospital

Thursday        5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                  Village Green Yoga

Sunday           9:30 – 11:00        Sunday Salutations        Village Green Yoga