What are you Thankful for Today?

Thankful for My Brother

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. We are having dinner with our family and friends in the party room of my mom’s apartment. My boys are very excited. I asked them if they knew what Thanksgiving was all about. My son Patty (that’s him on the right grudgingly accepting a kiss from his brother) said that it was for celebrating family and saying thanks. He wasn’t quite sure what we were saying thank you for  but his answer made me smile and I think he was heading in the right direction!

Thanksgiving is of course a time of gratitude. It is a chance to reflect on the wonderment of life.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude or thankfulness is a positive emotion, a feeling of appreciation for everything. Historically, it has been an important part of many different religions. In the field of psychology, gratitude has recently become the focus of new research.

Gratitude is a very powerful form of mindfulness practice. According to the Buddha, any human birth is precious and worthy of gratitude. By practicing gratitude consistently,  we can create a greater connection with life and everyone around us. We begin to realize that we exist in a much larger context and our own story is only a small part of that.

I really like the following quotation because it so clearly illustrates how important it is to be appreciative all of the time and not just save our gratitude for certain traditions, situations or times of the year.

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” ~G.K. Chesterton

Gratitude and Wellness

It is not much of a stretch to be thankful for all the great things in our lives. However, it is certainly much more difficult to be thankful when things aren’t exactly going as planned.

In an article for Yoga Journal, Philip Moffat writes that practicing gratitude is not an antidote to life’s problems. But he says;

“The understanding you gain from practicing gratitude frees you from being lost or identified with either the negative or the positive aspects of life, letting you simply meet life in each moment as it rises.”

Research has shown that people who are more grateful have a greater feeling of well-being. They are happier, less stressed and more satisfied with life. They have more positive ways of coping with difficulties that they face.

Yoga and Gratitude

In a yoga class that I sometimes attend, after savasana the instructor always reminds us to take a moment to feel appreciation for something or someone in our lives and also to be thankful for our ability to do yoga. I love that.

Yoga helps us learn to be grateful for the present moment. It allows us to find peace with the entire spectrum of experiences including sadness and joy. The darker moments in our lives are lessons that enable us to grow.

In Yoga, gratitude  is one of the Yamas or precepts yogis strive to live by.

Acknowledging abundance (Aparigraha), we recognize the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose of our worldly existence. ~ The Secret Power of Yoga – Nischala Joy Devi

In the Secret Power of Yoga, Nischala Joy Devi describes an exercise for experiencing abundance whereby we let things go…  She suggests that we clean out our closets or a drawer and give away the contents to a charity with which we feel connected. Creating an empty space makes room for new things to abundantly fill our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving and a special thank you to all of you for your interest in exploring yoga with me and for taking the time to read what I write.

2 thoughts on “What are you Thankful for Today?”

  1. Charlotte Bradley

    Hi Tina, I am happy it meant something to you. I just read the post that you wrote on Oct. 12 and can see that it was quite a crazy day!! You are so amazingly honest in your writing. It had me in stitches because I could so identify with the roller coaster nuttiness of life sometimes … Here’s to finding gratitude someplace in the mix- cat piss and all 😉

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