The Good Life with Erin Halla

The Good Life with Erin Halla

Hey! Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are:

My name is Erin Halla Shakespeare and I'm a contemporary artist, and I teach yoga and meditation. I'm a person who craves inspiration and deep connection within myself, my life, and my relationships.



You embody love and growth in your work and in life, where do you think this perspective comes from?

Transformation is my life's theme, and I have always been drawn to experiences that I think will grow me. To transform through love, is the greatest challenge with the greatest outcomes. Every time I think I've figured that out, I realize there's another layer of love to unlock within myself. And as far as work goes, I've never been interested in compartmentalizing my work and my life. My life is my life, work is a part of that, and I want to feel connected to every part of my life.


Erin Halla artist with three paintings


What inspired your journey towards art and yoga as a passion and career?

Both art and yoga have been tools in my toolbox to help me process life, and all the big emotions that come with it, for a long time. Art has been both an escape, and a processing tool for me since I was a child. Drawing on the walls is a habit that I've barely grown out of. But I didn't consider it as a career until I was in my mid twenties. Even while going to art school, I didn't think I would be "an artist" afterwards. I thought maybe I could work in a gallery or something like that. But after devoting all my energy to a different career path, I realized that the absence of art in my life left a very large, gaping hole. Not everyone needs to turn their passions into their careers, but I get excited by the extra layer of transformation that it offers. And it enables me to spend more time doing what I love.

Yoga came into my life when I was 12 years old, and already feeling the overwhelm of school, sports, social pressures, etc. I didn't fully understand the practice at the time, but I knew that I felt better after yoga than before. It helped me process grief and depression as a teenager, and taught me how to listen to my body while recovering from major head traumas. And then teaching yoga became my lifeline out of art school. I felt so defeated throughout my post secondary education, and felt like I was drowning in a narrative of pessimism and insecurity. Yoga was a different conversation altogether, and transitioning from student to teacher felt natural.


Erin Halla artist with painting on mantle


Finding inspiration in everyday moments takes paying attention and focus. There’s beauty in everyday but not everyone sees it, how do you cultivate this mindset?

I wish I could say that it comes easily to me, but it doesn't. I stay committed to a morning meditation practice because it reminds me to slow down and experience the present moment. I know that I want to live a colourful and inspired life, so I'm constantly looking for the beauty in the mundane. I need to remind myself to let myself feel the love in a hug, and really see the colour of the leaves or sky. When I do? Life becomes a whole lot richer, and I have an endless supply of inspiration for my classes, and my artwork. When I don't? Life starts to look a lot more grey. But we can't see or feel any of that good stuff when we are in fight or flight, so I try to start with my nervous system first. Then a wonderful cycle begins, where present observation helps regulate the nervous system, and the more regulated you are, the more magic and beauty you notice.


Erin Halla artwork


What are some ways we can have a more compassionate relationship with our bodies, and how does our physicality facilitate our emotional and spiritual experience?

I have so much to say in response to this question. I have struggled a lot with having a body, because of long term pain, illness, and deep insecurity as a young woman. There was a period of time where my spiritual practice was a place I went to escape my physicality. But over the past few years, I have begun to learn that working with the physical realm can translate into much deeper transformation.

After so many years of fighting my body, I've come to learn that she wants to feel good, just as much as I do. That her and I are on the same team, and that by fighting against her, not only was I delaying my healing, but I was also damaging something on a heart level. My body now holds a space in my heart, near my inner child. I treat her with love, and respect, and the more I do that, the stronger and more able she becomes.

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, or that you were put on Earth to have a spiritual experience, then you cannot separate your body out of that equation. I like to offer this to people who are newer to yoga, and may be skeptical about the physical-emotional connection: Think of the last time you were nervous for something, and felt hot, breathless, or maybe nauseous. Think of when you are excited and you feel bubbly and expansive.

We all have experienced our emotions through the body, but we are not always aware of when we put a stopper on those experiences. If we cut off our emotions by repressing the giggle, forcing back the tears, "pulling it together" in some way, then we are trapping our emotions in the body. That's where somatic practices, including yoga, can help process and release those feelings. When we process our emotions, and free up the body, we open up space for more beauty, love, truth, and spirit.


Erin Halla artist signature


Who’s someone that’s shown-up and supported you on your journey through life?

I have been blessed with lots of love in my life. My mom is a spiritual soulmate, and helped nurture my creativity and imagination as a child. My husband has supported me in grounding and deepening my journey in adulthood. He looks at life from a different perspective, and challenges me with love and kindness, all the while tolerating our kitchen table being covered in art supplies and wet paint. The female friendships in my life help me believe in greater possibilities, and keep encouraging me to dream when I start to doubt myself.


Erin Halla art with flowers


How do you like to wind down at the end of the day?

Blanket, fireplace, tea, chocolate, catching each other up on the day and either a good TV show or book. Meditating....sometimes.

What is a good life to you?

To me a good life is one where I feel inspired and excited by my work. A good life feels like warmth, love, depth and silliness. A good life is one where I tend to my relationships as if they are the fruit in my garden, which they are. And something I'm currently working on: a good life continues to grow and expand into new forms of experience and adventure.


Erin's work can be found at and on Instagram @erinhalla_art.

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