Support Your Local Yoga Teacher – An Interview with Diana Bonyhadi

I met up with Diana Bonyhadi, a fellow graduate of Pacific Yoga Teacher Training, at Grimaldi’s, a great local coffee shop in Issaquah, Washington. Her husband showed up for a short minute to give her a kiss and shared a cookie with us, and was off to work, leave me to chat with her.

What made you want to be a yoga teacher?
I’ve been practicing for 15 years. I grew up in Berkeley in the 60s, yoga was part of my life, but I didn’t actively practice until 1990. I had a lot of people asking me to be a yoga teacher, and I couldn’t ignore it.

What’s the hardest thing about being a yoga teacher?
When I have a student that comes to class regularly and the correction is always the same, and it makes me wonder if maybe this isn’t the class for them? Should I have to ask them to leave? You have to let people walk their own walk and ask, “What is it that has to happen when they refuse to take the adjustment?” Also, helping students to do that om.

What comes naturally for you in your teaching?
Sequencing really comes naturally. When I talk to the students and see what they need, it becomes so clear what the sequencing should be.

What has changed the most in your teaching?
The reliance on notes. I would write up the whole class and study them beforehand. Not to say that I don’t have a teaching plan, but now it comes more naturally and intuitively.

How would you describe your signature teaching style
It’s a Vinyasa style class with therapeutics element and alignment-based. I would start with a seated meditation, then opening up the arms and working through the shoulders, the rib cage and the hips, all are sequenced with breath. You will always get pranayama in my class. There’s always good music.

How do you tend to your own practice?
I do it every day, and it always has a meditation component.

What have you learned about teaching?
You can’t model the full pose, when you look up you’re out of alignment. Also, different people come with different energy and different bodies and i really enjoy that. No matter where you are, you don’t need a yoga room. You can gain deep wisdom from your students no matter where you teach.

What would you tell an aspiring a yoga teacher?
Go study, go get your certification. Learn alignment.

Diana teaches at Samena Club in Bellevue and Urban Oasis in Issaquah. You can learn more about Diana at Kharma Bella Yoga and follow her blog Living Yoga Beyond the Mat.

Issaquah yoga teacher Diana Bonyhadi

Issaquah yoga teacher Diana Bonyhadi

Here’s a tip from Diana on getting started on chanting Om.