Give Yourself Permission to Rest

We often measure success based on productivity. There are always too many things that need to be done, and the sense of accomplishment when you complete a project (even if it’s just getting the kitchen clean) can be wonderful!

But I think there’s another measure of success that’s worthy of note, and that’s the way you feel.

My body has been craving rest in a big way lately, and sometimes it’s hard to balance the things I want to do with my very real need to stock up on sleep. It’s why I haven’t sent out a message in a couple of weeks. I’ve been going to bed soon after my kids, and sleeping as long as they’ll let me. And it’s been SO GOOD!

Today’s message is a reminder that rest is important. Vital.

It’s okay to go to bed early, in fact, it’s a gift you can give yourself that costs nothing at all. When you get enough rest your cells regenerate, your body renews itself. When you feel well rested, you have more to bring to whatever projects you’re focusing on in your life.

I invite you to give yourself permission to rest. That might mean a nap, an early bedtime, legs up the wall pose, or a long savasana (maybe even all of the above). And, if you’re honest with what your body needs, it might mean you give yourself these things on a regular basis, not just once in a blue moon.

Enjoy that rest. You deserve it, and your body will thank you!

With kindness,

Katrina

P.S. For an alternate source of energy, inspiration does the trick! You might like my latest blog post on Wonder Woman.

P.P.S. When you’re tired in the middle of your day, sometimes a few deep breaths can give you that renewal you need, at least for a little while. Maybe try it now. Take your time. Let your breath lead.

Deep breath in . . . deep breath out.

Deep breath in . . . deep breath out.

Deep breath in . . . deep breath out.

So nice!

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Slow Down Already! Applying Yoga’s Wisdom to the Infuriating Illusion of Time

We, as humans, live within the overarching structures of time and space. Though both have their issues, time seems to be the real problem for most of us.

There’s never enough of it.

It’s been a year since I last wrote on this blog. It’s been over three years since I stopped teaching yoga classes (though my book Yoga for Dragon Riders keeps finding its way into the world, so I guess my legacy lives on).

My twin boys are two and a half. This picture, with the Mini Cooper I used to race around in at speeds I wouldn’t dare now that I’m a mother, is at least 6 years old! (Probably older, but let’s not nitpick.)

In some ways, time has flown.

In other ways, time has flown and things set in the dimension of space have stopped. Like the addition we’ve been putting on our house for three years. (OMG! Three f’ing years of renovations. AHHHHH!)

Time drags when something is unpleasant, and skydives when you’re having fun.

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A Sweet Reminder – Any Time Will Do

crystalcaveOne of the best things about meditation is that absolutely any effort can be beneficial.

Five minutes a day is fabulous. Ten minutes before bed is lovely. Sitting in your car (parked, of course) for three minutes of silence and calm is totally worthwhile.

Did you do your meditation this morning? I didn’t. But, as my twin toddlers played happily by themselves, I found a few minutes this afternoon to sit, breathe, and re-connect. It made a big difference, even if the room was nothing like silent.

This is a sweet reminder to take the time you have and reconnect with your whole self.

Sit. Breathe. Relax. Reconnect.

Do you have two minutes right now?

Close your eyes. Turn inward. Breathe.

Ah, that’s so nice.

The same rule goes for the asana side of yoga: any effort is worthwhile.

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The Wild And The Sacred (Mini-Meditation)

shiva-shaktiInvite yourself to drop all ideas of what ‘sacred’ looks like, and how ‘enlightenment’ is bestowed, for the divine is revealed in the most curious of places.

You can have wild fun and still be immersed in the most sacred of practices.

The union of deep devotion and profound play is one of the joys of embodiment. Yoga is about being fully present, engaged in your own authenticity.

It’s how you live, not just how you meditate and move on your mat.

Balancing the study of the Self and the myriad worldly experiences can be a wonderful game! When you are able to be mindful of the source of the blessings in your life, gratitude pours fourth and more blessings appear. When you can rest concerns on the healing bed of truth, knowing that all truly is taken care of, the current of Grace carries you.

When you can give yourself over completely to the dance, to the music that moves you, letting thoughts dissolve into the ecstasy of the heart, you move into union. This is yoga.

This connection can happen in the silence of nature, in the busyness of work, and at the loudest of parties.

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Pranayama Yoga: Even Breathing (Ujjayi)

leavesbranchAs you take this breath, can you feel your body respond to it?

What if you rise up taller and make more space for your breath – what does it feel like now?

Breath is the movement of life. It is a gift offered in each moment, one that we are often not aware of receiving. Breathing is the act that connects each and every living being to one another. It is a beautiful flowing guide.

So much of yoga is based on the breath. When you do an asana practice, you lead with your breath. Pranayama, an entire branch of yoga, is the practice of dancing with the breath using techniques that can cleanse and heal the body, focus the mind, and connect with the spirit.

It is very important that you never force or strain when working with your breath, and always let go of a technique if it creates any anxiety or strain, returning to your natural breath. Working with the breath is all about being aware and co-participating in the act of breathing; of being in the flow of nature.

Turning your awareness to your breath is a secret of finding peace on every level, allowing you to align with your true nature and tap in to the vast, loving energy of the universe.

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“Thank you, Universe, for taking care of all the details.”

What do you think of the following quote?

“Thank you, Universe, for taking care of all the details.”

I’m pretty sure I got this from Mike Dooley, but I’ve used it so often it feels like my own. Every time I find my mind focusing on minutia, or worried about something, I fall back to this statement of trust.

gold buddha budLife, according to the wisdom of yoga and other traditions, is a pattern of showing up and letting go.

For me, one of the most important ways to show up is to set intention every day. I sit quietly each morning (even if there is toddler mayhem happening around me), and choose the qualities I want to bring into my day. For example, “Today I choose joy. I am a patient and loving mother. I am healthy, creative, and choose a day full of goodness.”

Something like that. My intention is generally surrounded by gratitude music, as well. Setting intention and bringing forth an abundance of gratitude help me train my mind to show up to the present moment.

But, no matter how often you envision what you want to happen, the crucial piece is letting go, and trusting that everything will unfold perfectly. Especially when things don’t look like you think they should.

Here is one way to do that…

Mini-Meditation:

Adjust your posture so you are tall and comfortable.

Take several deep breaths, pressing pause on the rest of your day.

Bring your mind to the moment by thinking of a few things for which you are grateful.

Now, what is your intention for today?

Be clear, as you invite your higher self to help you, and set the tone for your day.

Once you’ve stated your intention (silently or out loud), let it go. Know that the energy is even now rippling out to manifest.

If you like, you can end with the affirming statement: “Thank you, Universe, for taking care of all the details.”

Sit for a little longer, enjoying the stillness of meditation.

 

When you take just a few moments to do this every day, it is AMAZING the difference it can make!

If you play in the realm of social media, please click the button below so we can tweet/facebook/youtube together. 🙂

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A Surge of Creativity

Happy New Year!

I love fresh beginnings, don’t you?

One of the best things about starting anew is the invitation for creativity. So, what are some of the ways you enjoy expressing your own personal creativeness?

pink flowerWhat do you do that, when you’re in the thick of it, fills you with excitement and joy?

Do you sing or play music, cook up wonderful meals, paint or draw, garden, dance or play outside?

Any activity can be creative (even dusting the leaves on your plants can create happiness for you, and for them), so it’s really about finding the bits of life that feel the most juicy, and diving in with your whole heart.

It could be rolling out your yoga mat and dancing with your breath, creating peace and harmony, mind, body, and spirit.

For me, one of the most enjoyable things is writing. In fact, I just finished writing a novel. It feels AMAZING to be creative in this way.

So today’s exercise is to think of something that brings you joy, and do it!

Maybe you can start right now, or maybe you can write down when you are going to engage in this creative endeavor, but give yourself that gift.

You deserve it!

“Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach

“The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.” -Mike Dooley

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3 Minutes of Yoga, 3 Minutes of Meditation – VIDEO

3min-meditationThe following video helps you fit a quick, high quality yoga and meditation practice into a busy day.

By moving with your breath, you get in tune with it, and release tension in your body. The easy, seated yoga practice at the beginning of the video increases circulation and vitality.

Then, once you’ve done a bit of movement to help your body and mind feel more at ease, the three minute meditation takes you into a place of calm centeredness.

As always, please be sure to adapt as needed in order to make the practice right for your body and circumstance. You want it to feel great!

Do you know anyone who could benefit from this short practice? Share the love and send them the video!

Thank you for visiting. Have a great day and I hope to see you here again soon!

Katrina

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Check Out My New Digs – KatrinaAriel.com

Oh, I get so excited about creative projects. Lately, I’ve been doing lots of writing, and have wanted a site to focus more specifically on my work as an author and musician.

Now, there’s another blog for you to enjoy. This one is more personal, though it still has a professional flair.

I give you www.KatrinaAriel.com.

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The blog categories, so far, are: Writing, Music, and Family.

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Happy Winter Solstice!

goddess-shastaI love this time of year. Okay, so maybe I’m over winter by February, but the magic and celebratory nature of late December is special to me.

One of the things I enjoy the most is balancing the busy-ness of the holiday season by tuning in to nature’s wisdom.

Winter Solstice, otherwise known as Yule, is the longest night of the year. It invites us to turn inward, to embrace the nurturing, creative potential of darkness, and be grateful for all that has come before.

It also invites us to see the light renewed, as, from this point forward, the days will grow until we reach Summer Solstice once again.

On the cycles turn, asking us to flow with the ever changing weaving of life.

I offer you this meditation as one way to observe this potent time:

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