Ebb and Flow. Inhale and Exhale.

Posted By Katrina Ariel On February 13th, 2015
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Ocean01I once spent a month sleeping in my tent on a beach, while I attended a yoga teacher training. The first night, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore kept me awake. It wasn’t until I came to the realization that the sound wasn’t going to stop that I could finally relax.

Waves are, after all, the breath of the ocean.

Conscious breathing is the most fundamental practice of yoga. It supports every action, contemplation, and moment of stillness. Your breath is your guide and most intimate companion—one which is with you throughout your entire life.

As life continually changes, your breath reminds you that nature always has ebb and flow. The cycles of the moon and seasons reflect this, the waves of the ocean as well, yet you need look no further than your breath.

In each challenge, your breath is there. A deep, centering breath can remind you that the challenge is there to help you grow, even if you can’t see the sense of it. In each joy, taking a deep breath helps you be more mindful to experience it fully.

Mini-Meditation:

Take a moment to arrange your body so you are sitting in the most comfortable and optimally aligned position possible.

Settle into your breath.

Feel the earth below you, the sky above you, supportive and expansive.

Now imagine yourself sitting by the ocean. Hear the rhythmic sound of the waves.

Notice how your breath responds to this visualization.

Feel each breath as a wave of nourishing life-force within you.

Take a few minutes, or as long as you’d like, and enjoy each inhale and exhale to the fullest!

 



Growing Stronger with the Light

Posted By Katrina Ariel On January 24th, 2015
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born-againAs the days get longer, the moon waxes, and my twin boys grow, I am noticing a welcome change in myself and my yoga practice.

And, though this writing is mainly an expression of where my own practice is growing and changing, it’s an example of how yoga is always available to each of us, in some form, no matter where you happen to be in your life.

For over a year my asana practice was reduced to a bare minimum of stretches and strengthening poses that helped me stay sane and care for my body. In that year, yoga has guided me through the emotional and physical loss of a miscarriage, the roller coster ride of pregnancy, the trauma and wonder of birth, and the long road to recovery postpartum.

Though my abdominal muscles are still learning how to return to an optimal position and state, my belly still somewhat soft from being pregnant, my body has become so much stronger.

Each day, given the time, I explore my capacity. Sometimes I only have enough time for what I call my “maintenance practice,” but more and more often a pose that had been out of reach becomes possible again.

bakasana New Years Day

Flying in crow pose on New Year’s Day

You probably know the exhilarating, empowering feeling of finally getting a yoga pose that had been elusive before. You find yourself there, breath moving, totally focused on that one moment, and it feels great!

On New Year’s Day I had that experience with two familiar but temporarily retired poses: crow (Bakasana), and forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana). I felt strong in crow, so I tried forearm stand, which happens to be one of my favourites. Though it was a definite challenge, I did it!

Coming out of the pose, I laughed and then cried.

Since then, I’m rediscovering poses on a regular basis, and it feels amazing! I’ve even been playing with the idea of teaching again, though it would need to be a very small amount since my full-time, joyful job is being a momma. We shall see how that thought emerges into reality . . .

Yoga is such a wonderful, powerful way to see and feel yourself grow.

Savasana with my son, Zachary

Savasana with my son, Zachary

Sometimes the growth is inward, and the practice teaches you how to be patient, back off, rest and be gentle with yourself. Sometimes the expansion is graceful and strong, energetic and playful.

Always, yoga offers itself to you, meets you wherever you are. It has carried me through fear, picked me up off the floor of hardship, and helped me climb out of the depths of depression.

It has given me a way to cultivate balance in my life and to recreate the strength I need and want, offering healing physically and on every other level.

Whether it is the physical practice of yoga, the peaceful anchor of meditation, or the ever-present philosophy that guides me to look for the beauty, trust in the process, and remember the bigger picture of All That Is, I remain extremely grateful that I have yoga in my life.

As the year opens up and the days get longer, may you find the aspects of yoga that are most supportive for you, and grow stronger (or softer if that is what you need) with the light. 



Winter Blessings and an Invitation to Rest

Posted By Katrina Ariel On December 20th, 2014
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As the season invites us to turn inward, we have a unique chance to find inner peace in a different way. Winter in the northern hemishpere, and especially in Canada, is a time to slow down, even hibernate a bit, and take time to rest.

I think many of us don’t get enough rest. It isn’t something our society seems to value. Sure, we’re told that relaxation is good, but in general it seems productivity is encouraged far more often.

I’m not against getting things done. Creative endeavors especially (I’m writing a novel while tandem breastfeeding. Yeah.) But there is something so nurturing about giving yourself permission to rest.

As a new mom, rest becomes even more sweet and valued. My boys are actually letting me sleep a decent amount most of the time, for which I’m grateful. I sure notice a difference in my ability to conjure the infinite patience and sparkling love with which I want to raise my children when I’ve had enough rest.

No matter who you are and what is going on in your life, when you listen to the whisperings of nature and adjust your life accordingly, it can be so rewarding. Winter invites rest, inward contemplation, and a sense of peace that is as beautiful as the blanket of snow that surrounds my mountain home.

For my part, I wish you the sweetest winter blessings. May the longest night of Winter Solstice bring you deep abiding peace, and may the return of the sun signal another year of personal growth. May you and those you love have joy, health, and abundance of all things good!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Bright New Year to you!



Mindfulness While Being a Momma

Posted By Katrina Ariel On November 26th, 2014
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Katrina and boys

They were so tiny! But a good size for twins. 5 lbs 10 oz and 6 lbs 3 oz, delivered at full term!

I’m always fascinated by how my yoga practice has changed to meet the varying needs of my life.

For instance, there was a time when I did two hour yoga practices. Sometimes six hours if I was at a training.

Now I sneak a 10 or 20 minute practice in each day, and feel great about it. My meditations are done while breastfeeding, or as I’m falling asleep. I practice deep breathing and Mountain Pose (Tadasana) while pottying babies. I do a forward bend and shoulder stretch before late-night and early morning feedings—it helps me wake up and not be so uncomfortable as I’m bending over a nursing pillow tandem feeding my hungry boys!

I’m not sure I ever pictured myself the mother of twins. I’m still blown away by the fact that I have two sons!

I love it, though. I feel incredibly blessed. Sure, it’s pretty intense when they both melt down at the same time, but that doesn’t happen very often. For the most part my boys are happy, and I’m totally in love with them.

While I was pregnant, I had to change my physical yoga practice to one that created more stability in my pelvis and core. I couldn’t do lunges, and had to stick to all symmetrical postures, or my pubic synthesis felt unstable. I basically did 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the evening, and a few squats in between. I was so big, by the end of it, that just rolling over in bed was a monumental task. Yet yoga helped me keep it all in perspective, finding gratitude even in the discomfort. Read more…



Creativity in Abundance

Posted By Katrina Ariel On July 4th, 2014
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Abundance is the nature of the Universe.

We each have creative energy in abundance. It is a matter of allowing that energy to flow in the ways that are best for you. What is your passion? What makes you feel good when you’re doing it?

We’re all creative in different ways. For me, music and writing are two of the most enjoyable and natural ways to express my own creativity.

Spending time doing something you’re passionate about is so fulfilling. It’s the purpose of life, really, and “following your bliss,” is an excellent way to live. Part of that is allowing your own creativity.

However, it’s not always easy to find bliss in the day to day business of being human. We have to work on it a bit, sometimes.

Truly, living well is about feeling good. What feels good to you? It might be yoga, it might be music, it might be a walk in nature or time sitting in stillness. Or maybe it feels good to you to clean your house, spend time fully present with your loved ones, or nurture your creativity in some way.

Perhaps you want to make a little list right now of ways you enjoy being creative . . .

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

My Latest Creative Projects: Building our Dream House, Writing a Novel, and Growing a Baby

The House: A lot of my time lately is spent managing the construction of our home addition. I’ve learned tons about construction, concrete, electrical, and so many other aspects of building. There have been EPIC trips to Home Depot, lots of little trips to Rona, dump runs and hauling construction materials up in my truck.

The great thing about being pregnant through all this is that everyone wants to help me. And, because I’ve reached the point in my pregnancy where everything seems to be an effort, I am learning to ask for help. That’s a new one on me!

One of the fun (and challenging) parts of being the general contractor for this project is making all the little decisions that need to happen. Paint colours and light fixtures, interior walls and where the electrical outlets go—all in all it’s quite a creative endeavour! Fingers crossed that it’s in a decently finished stage before the baby comes. :)

The Novel: A little over two months ago I got a huge creative surge and started writing a novel. I’ve written 400 pages since then, and have many more adventures in my mind to put on paper.

What’s it about? Well . . .

It’s an epic adventure of romance, music, time travel and parallel realities: an unexpected expedition that forever breaks the boundaries of culturally conditioned ideas. There are Highlanders, gunslingers, medicine women and seers, Vikings, Druids, Gods, Goddesses, elves and dragons (of course)—with one brave, talented and rather confused woman at the center of it all.

I have no idea how long it will take me to finish the novel, find a publisher, and get it out to the general public, but I do intend to do that. For now, it is sheer joy to write such a fun and emotionally rich story, nurturing my creativity in a beautiful way.

The Baby: Let’s see . . . I’m just about 30 weeks pregnant, and—as I said earlier—I’ve reached the point where everything seems to be much more of an effort than before. There’s a lot of sighing and moaning and groaning every time I move. Heh.

I’m doing great, baby is strong and healthy, and overall I feel good. That said, I’m quite big for my stage, owing to the fact that my body is rather petite. I’ve had to change my yoga practice entirely, reaching out to other teachers for ideas to stabilize my pelvis and find ways to clear the tension that wakes me up at night.

Again, I’m doing great, and it’s a fascinating journey. So it’s uncomfortable. I’m okay with that, because I’ve got a Star Child on the way, and it’s all so temporary. It also gives Casey and I a chance to bond in a different way. He’s going to be an incredible father! I can’t wait to see him with our child.

That about sums it up. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little update, and hope you find an abundance of  joy and fulfilment in your own creative expression.

Blessings!

 



“Goodbye” and Best Wishes from Yoga Boot Camp

Posted By Katrina Ariel On March 7th, 2014
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Well, this is it!

It’s time for Yoga Boot Camp to say goodbye, for now at least.

Though I don’t want to say it’s forever, it seems it’s time for YBC to close its doors. Who knows, maybe there will be a revival sometime in the future. If so, we’ll let you know.

The truth of the matter is that we simply don’t have anywhere near the numbers we need to make this program thrive. And it isn’t much fun to struggle with a business, no matter how awesome it is at its essence.

So, like all good things, change is upon us. When one door closes, another opens.

The messages below are from the heart. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook so we can keep in touch!

(And be sure to read the P.S. below too!) Read more…



The Heart’s Song (Poem)

Posted By Katrina Ariel On February 26th, 2014

Maha Shivaratri is here, and so it is a fitting time to go far into the Infinite.

Then again, any moment will do.

This poem is a contribution to the unending number of voices that turn their focus to the divine. It has a likening to Rumi, a tip of the hat to The Fionavar Tapestry, and a soundtrack of hope-bright harmony.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Heart’s Song

The most essential truth of all
Is made of Light
of Fathomless All
wrapped in Oneness
Infinite and Unending in Its expansion. Read more…



For the Love of You

Posted By Katrina Ariel On February 13th, 2014
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Self-love is one of the most vital, beneficial, and worthy forms of self-care. Yet so many people find it difficult to even like themselves, much less LOVE who they are completely!

Part of this is a deep rooted misconception in our society that caring for yourself makes one arrogant or selfish. This is completely, utterly false.

Being able to extend love, compassion, kindness and acceptance to yourself is an essential part of being a whole, balanced human being.

It allows you to feel fulfilled within, rather than trying to find what you’re needing from outside sources. And by cultivating this ability to love who you are, including all the mistakes, flaws and quirks that go along with being gloriously human, you are in a position to genuinely love and care for others without depleting yourself.

If you already have a practice of self-love (yes, it’s a practice—some days are easier than others), then you probably have ways you remind yourself that you are worthy, complete, and beautiful exactly as you are right in this moment.

However, if you’re looking for some ways to integrate this practice into your life, here are a few ideas:

1) Every time you find that your self-talk is unkind, respond as if you were comforting a child. Be gentle with yourself, soothing your own thoughts toward yourself in a way that shows compassion. You might feel like you’re having a conversation in your head at first, but gradually you will find that those unkind thoughts are replaced by kind ones.

2) Look yourself in the mirror, in the eyes, and say, “I love you” either out loud or in your mind. Do it every single time you look in the mirror, and you’ll begin to believe it!

3) Tell your body, even your cells, how much you love and appreciate them—especially any parts of your physical body that are in need of healing or you have judged in the past. This is a very healing practice! Sending your physical body love and gratitude can go a long way in repairing energetic and physical issues.

4) Forgive yourself for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you feel needs forgiving. Ho’oponopono is a great way to do this if you don’t have a preferred method.

5) Use the affirmation, “I love myself completely. I accept myself completely.” Again, repeat this until you really feel its truth. It may take some time, but it is an incredibly transformational practice!

Remember, loving and accepting yourself are your birthright! A child comes into the world knowing it is perfect, knowing it is made of love. Experiences along the way can change that perspective, but the underlying truth is this:

You are worthy of the most complete, unconditional, innocent and intimate love! Tell yourself how much you love YOU, every single day.



Om Namah Shivaya – A Song of Peace and Love (VIDEO)

Posted By Katrina Ariel On January 29th, 2014
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Music moves us in so many ways. Mantra in particular can help us to find ourselves again.

How you resonate, or the vibration you feel, can be a conscious choice. The more you choose your vibration consciously, the more you can influence life to unfold in the direction of your choosing.

For instance, if you continually bring yourself back to love, peace, joy, kindness, and the like, then these are the influences that will most often show up in your life. This is the “thoughts become things” theory in practice on a moment to moment basis.

But sometimes it isn’t so easy to stay in a pattern of love and joy, is it?

That’s where music can be so very helpful.

When you listen to (or create your own) music that brings a resonance of light and goodness, it is so much easier to bring the harmony you desire into your own vibration and surroundings.

So, without further ado, here is a music video that has both music and images to help brighten your heart and your day!

If you enjoyed this, please share! You’ll help others grow the feelings of love and peace in their own hearts (and therefore the world)!

This song is on my album, “Gratitude.” Click on the image to the right to purchase on iTunes.



Creating a Feeling of Freedom

Posted By Katrina Ariel On January 24th, 2014
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To all of us, freedom is something that is of the highest importance. We each want to feel sovereign to ourselves, able to choose what is best for our own lives and act accordingly.

But for so many people that liberation is blocked by feelings of scarcity (not enough time/money, etc.), or by very real obligations that seem to get in the way of you feeling truly free.

The key is to create freedom within.

In the words of the great Bob Marley, “None but ourselves can free our minds.”

And once you have found freedom within, that feeling informs the rest of your life–no matter what you are doing in the outside world.

Mini-Meditation:

Sit tall and comfortably, letting go of any tension in your face.

Take three slow, deep breaths: in through your nose, and out your mouth.

Feel the Earth below you, supporting you and sending you tremendous love.

Now, bring your focus to your heart.

Feel the rise and fall of your chest as your breath moves.

Your heart center calls you back to your true, divine self.

Remember who you truly are: a child of the Universe, infinitely loved. Take a moment to acknowledge that you are a bright, beautiful spirit!

Keep breathing deeply, bringing your awareness now to your third eye.

Imagine the purest light in the center of your head, even with your brow.

This light bathes your pineal gland and helps to clear your mind.

Take three (or more) slow, steady breaths, allowing this light to literally free your mind and align your mental energy with your heart energy.

As you feel this alignment and the light of your mind and heart come into harmony, bring that beam of light down into your root chakra at the base of your pelvic floor. This aligns your mind, heart, and body, bringing forth the light of your true self into the manifest world.

Take as long as you need, making sure you feel grounded and at ease.

To the freedom of us all!

Katrina

P.S. Music often creates a feeling of freedom without you having to work at it (isn’t that great?!) Check out my mantra album, which so many people have said makes them feel uplifted, peaceful, and free.