Grounded in Gratitude: How Yoga Illuminates our Many Blessings

There's nothing like a great yoga class to help you remember and appreciate the many blessings in your life. Even the smallest of energetic or physical actions in your yoga practice can awake deep gratitude for something that is so simple and usually taken for granted. What a blessing it is to feel your body moving through space. What a blessing it is to have a healthy, loving, and spiritual yoga community!

Of course, during this time of year, the word gratitude is on everyone's mind. Thanksgiving galvanizes all of us to reflect upon how lucky we are to have our families, friends, homes, food to eat, and all the other things that make our lives richer and full of love. No doubt about it, saying, feeling, and hearing all that we are collectively grateful for is healing--and a yoga mat is a perfect place to savor it. Here are a few ways to make your next yoga practice a total practice of gratitude.

Make your movements an offering! I remember how thankful I am whenever my hands are pressed together at my heart in Anjali Mudra. When we have such abundance, the best thing to do is lovingly offer it back to the Universe to keep the cyclical channel flowing! At every opportunity to pause, collect your hands at heart center and whisper a sweet “thank you.”

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Count your blessings

instead of your breaths!

It's nearly impossible to do this for an entire practice session, but I love to spend one long-held pose (Pigeon is a good one) thinking of one thing I'm grateful for with each breath.

Focus on what you can do! It's easy to get frazzled by what you perceive as shortcomings on the mat--maybe you're not as flexible as you used to be or an injury is inhibiting movement. Make a commitment to use your yoga practice to observe all the amazing things you CAN do instead and gratitude will spill over into other areas of your life as well. Never skip Savasana! Nothing makes me feel more thankful during my yoga practice than a savory, deep, and tranquil Corpse Pose after expanding my body and spirit. All the gratitude meditations in the world can't match the experience that comes when tired muscles finally get to melt as you’re held by the Earth. That's gratitude at its best!