Thank You. Yoga and Gratitude

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There is a lot of talk about gratitude these days. Gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. It may seem cliché, but I believe that embodying gratitude is powerful and transformative.

I am filled to the brim with gratitude this week. My mom fell and has been in the hospital. Although she has some work ahead of her, she will be ok. I am thankful for our health care and support systems. I am thankful that I have a strong and loving sister who has come here to help us out.

And I am so thankful for my own health and the practices that keep my body and mind strong.

Yoga is my pathway to health. And an awesome yoga class is always a reminder of the many blessings in life. To be able to stretch your body, twist, turn upside down, balance and move – how lucky we are! To be able to take a deep long breath, feel it fill your lungs and then slowly let it go. Don’t you love mindful breathing? It’s a reminder that we are living, vibrant beings.

Gratitude in your Yoga Practice

Here are some ways you can bring gratitude into your yoga practice.

Set an intention to appreciate each moment.

Before you start, ask yourself, “What do I love about yoga?” Then bring the essence of that answer into your practice. Savour the intensity of that hip flexor stretch in Pigeon pose. It is wonderful to have the freedom to move your body that way. Feel the breath tickling your nose as you inhale and bring fresh oxygen deep into your lungs. Then say thank you as you gently let it go.

Focus on the positive

It’s so easy to get down on yourself, even in yoga, which is about forgiveness and love. This can be particularly true with age or injury. There are some things that you may just not be able to do anymore. But instead of focusing on these things, focus on all of the amazing things that you CAN do.

Count your blessings

Practicing gratitude doesn’t mean that you deny the difficult or terrible things that happen. But it does allow you to meet these things with an open heart. It is a buffer that lets you lean into life, even in difficult times so these things don’t harden you. Next time you are holding a yoga pose, mindfully count your blessings. For each breath you take, try to think of one thing you are grateful for.

Practice heart opening poses

Backbends open the heart. They encompass a quality of lifting and reaching up. Practice postures such as camel (Ustrasana), cobra (Bujangasana), dancer’s (Natarajasana) and bridge (Setu Bandasana). Release the tightness in your chest and you may feel lighter and more receptive to the positive things in your life.

Make time for Savasana

This is your time to integrate the entire practice. Give your body and mind the gift of just being. Melt into your mat after an intense yoga practice. Thank your body for taking you there and your mind for letting you feel every moment. Gratitude.

The ability to truly appreciate things in your life is a powerful practice that can only change things for the better. How do you express gratitude in your yoga practice and daily life? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Speaking of gratitude, thanks so much for being here. It makes me happy that you are 🙂

 

 

 

 

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