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.

katrinaariel-screenshot

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

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Into the Sanctuary of the Heart

wildthingReconnecting with yourself is what yoga is all about. Not just part of who you are, but the wholeness, the fullness of YOU.

In every day life, it’s easy to get caught up in your mind, tangled in thoughts of past and future, and often just scrambling to get by. Your sense of self can become cloudy or dulled by inside pressure and outside events.

Yoga offers a way to create clarity: to breathe away the inner “dust” on the mirror of the heart and remember your true, sparkling nature.

I hope you’ll join me for a very special two hour yoga class in two weeks, Sunday, May 3rd.

I don’t plan to teach another class until the fall (if then), so please come out and enjoy this chance to immerse yourself in the flow of your practice and the sound of my voice.

My theme for this Sunshine Sunday is “Into the Sanctuary of the Heart.” Here’s what you can expect:

I’ll lead you through an invigorating, active asana session that will help you get out of your head and into the moment. Though challenging, this portion of the class is still moderately paced and variations are offered for any skill level.

After some juicy hip openers and freeing chest openers, we’ll slow things down and I’ll invite you to follow your breath right into the center of yourself with a short but satisfying meditation.

supta-baddhakonasana02We’ll finish with a deeply healing restorative session, allowing every system of your body, including your internal organs and nervous system, a chance to relax and receive nourishment on a profound level.

And, of course, I will sing to you in savasana.

The ultimate practice, of course, is to maintain a sense of presence in each moment.

And we can all do this, day by day, holding the intention to come back to the heart again and again, each time we get pulled too far into our heads.

Classes like the upcoming Sunshine Sunday help to restore that practice by creating a clear, powerful resonance with who you truly are. Not that it is ever lost, for YOU are always full and whole, it’s just a chance to remember that truth in such a way that the experience is enhanced in a beautiful and profound way.

I hope to see you there! Click Here to Register Today

jnanamudra

Into the Heart:

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. ~ Swami Sivananda

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Growing Stronger with the Light

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. 

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Winter Blessings and an Invitation to Rest

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!

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Mindfulness While Being a Momma

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.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Creativity in Abundance

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!

 

Facebooktwitteryoutube

“Goodbye” and Best Wishes from Yoga Boot Camp

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!)

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Yoga Invites Spaciousness and Simplicity

Seeking Simplicity and Spaciousness

I’ve been unlpugging a lot lately.

As much as our computers, internet, smart phones, iPods, iPads and other gagets are incredible tools, they can also drain our energy in a big way. I don’t mention TV in there because I unplugged from that a long time ago. It just isn’t a part of my world.

Sure, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people and let others know what’s happening. But too much time on email, social sites and the like can leave us feeling scattered and drained.

Yoga, on the other hand, invites us to just BE.

Yoga asks us to breathe, move, slow and still . . . to connect to that which is the essence of life and remember how simple and profound that connection feels!

I’ve noticed that, by spending less time on email and Facebook, I have more time to myself. I feel like I have more energy and focus.

But there’s always a catch, right?

For me it’s difficult because, as a self employeed person, if I don’t send out an email or post on Facebook then you might not think about coming to class as often. And as much as I sincerely love your presence and would totally teach with joy if money wasn’t a concern, the bottom line is this is also my livelihood. So I have to be online and maintain a presence as a part of my business.

Yet it can feel overwhelming, and there are other things I want to focus on in life right now, such as buying our house and creating an environment in which to raise a family.

So, I’m asking for help.

You’ll soon hear new voices in my Yoga Boot Camp emails if you subscribe to those, as friends and fellow yoga instructors start contributing. This will provide valuable new perspectives on topics that are of importance, while allowing me a break from writing the content.

If you would like to help me all you need to do is come to class, and invite friends and family to join you if you’re so inspired!

I’d like to re-extend the soaring gratitude I always feel when you bring friends to class. I pour all my skill and passion for yoga into my teaching, and your referrals are a vital part of my business.

Thank you so much for your support in whatever form it takes.

May you find more space and simplicity in your own life, and may yoga be a welcome support in creating the connection you seek with yourself and the world around you!

Quotes on Simplicity:

“And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.”
~ Nicholas Sparks

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Facebooktwitteryoutube

The Words and Meanings of the Music on the album “Gratitude.”

Q. What is the music of “Gratitude” like?

A. It’s a collection of original songs and mantras. It is uplifting, bringing a feeling of calm and peace. You’ll hear beautiful vocals with occasional hints of tribal beats, blues inspired moments, and enchanting tranquility.


To purchase the album, please click here, or download on iTunes by clicking below:

Gratitude - Katrina Hokule'a Ariel

I have been singing to my students in savasana for years.

Singing is part of my dharma, my spirit, my purpose in life, and a gift that I can freely offer out to the benefit of others and myself simultaneously. It feels good to sing, just as it is a joy to receive a song full of the purest, sweetest meaning.

Mantra is the repetition of sound, typically seen in the form of sacred song. One of the purposes of mantra is to take you into the heart of yourself, and also to help you recognize yourself in all that is around you.

This album, which I finally made after years of being asked to do so, is a collection of mantras.

However, though there is ancient tradition in all of these songs, many are original mantras in the way the words are combined, and all of the musical arrangements (i.e. melody, meter) have been inspired within my own heart.

Now, on to the words and meaning of the songs themselves.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

A Lesson from the Bhagavad Gita: Letting Go and Living Fully

The last chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is my favorite. Though the entire book is so full of wisdom that you could unpack it and contemplate it for lifetimes, I am drawn most to its last teachings.

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most cherished ancient writings. It is said that Gandhi read from it every single day.

What we have in the Gita is a collection of teachings that are given in conversation between the warrior Arjuna and his friend and charioteer, Krishna. They’re having this conversation in the middle of a war, in the calm before the storm of a battlefield.

Which makes me think that the modern equivalent would be the crazy-busy-fullness of life these days. When life feels chaotic, it’s so good to check in with the wisdom of the ages.

Dr. Douglas Brooks describes the Gita thus in his book Poised for Grace:

The Bhagavadgita, the Song of the Blessed One, is a defining moment in the history of yoga. It is a response to moral chaos; a guide for the perplexed; and a prolonged meditation on the nature of God, the immortality of the Self, and the practical needs of everyday life. Its importance only continues to increase as centuries of interpreters try to wrest its meanings from its inspired poetic vision.”

At the end of the Gita, after we have learned about the true nature of things, that all is one, and many guiding wisdoms to navigate life, Krishna (the Divine, Universal Consciousness, God – whatever name you prefer) goes on to speak of the most essential teachings of all:

He says, “Let go. Don’t cling to the fruits of your actions. Live your life and be unattached to what happens. Do this and you find real freedom.”

This is the key to overcoming worry and anxiety.

Don’t cling. Show up, let go.

And be who you are. Live your personal path, for your unique self contributes to the whole of life.

These two particularly powerful verses (again, from Poised for Grace) speak on the importance of living your truth, no matter what:

“A person obtains a true perfection by committing to one’s authentic task.”

“Better one’s own Dharma imperfectly disposed than another’s Dharma well-performed.”

Here’s how I sum up Chapter 18 of the Gita in my book, Yoga for Dragon Riders:

“By honoring your own unique experience with Nature and answering your calling you glorify God. Living your truth you align with the Highest Truth. Here Krishna brings Arjuna back to honoring his darma (duty and path in life).

Krishna tells Arjuna, and thus the reader: do what must be done as it is your work–your dharma. Yet, as you walk your path in life, if you choose to give every thought, word and action to God, you will experience complete freedom, worry will vanish, and you will be carried by the wings of immersurable Love.”

Show up.

Let go.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Show up.

Let go.

Facebooktwitteryoutube