I define gratitude as honor, thanks, and deep appreciation. Having the opportunity to practice yoga, a 3,000 year old tradition, brings forth tremendous gratitude as I give thanks for every generation, every person before me, who has passed this tradition on.
One type of yoga, Bhakti yoga, is the yoga of love and devotion, and it incorporates gratitude in its philosophy. To practice yoga with a peaceful, grateful heart is the main focus, and yet one does not have to practice bhakti yoga to have gratitude in their practice. Incorporating reverence and gratitude to your practice can be a mantra or a word repeated throughout practice to remind your dear heart to stay open and grateful. Poses such as humble warrior and child’s pose in which your head is lower than your heart call forth a physical feeling of humility and gratitude.
Going beyond the mat, there are gratitude practices such as a gratitude journal, 30 Days of Gratitude challenges, and random acts of gratitude. Incorporating a gratitude practice into your daily life usually has a snowball effect - a grateful heart becomes an even more grateful heart. As your heart grows and expands, you begin to find that your ability to be grateful is limitless. You may find that you become grateful for everything, everyone, and every experience.
Below is a gratitude meditation.
Take a comfortable seat and place your hands, palms up, on your thighs. Lift your shoulders up and draw them back, allow them to gracefully fall down your back. Open up the space surrounding your big, beautiful heart. Breathe. As you breathe in say in your head (or out loud) a person or an experience you are grateful for, and draw gratitude into your heart with your breath. Exhale. Take a few breaths and allow the gratitude for this person or experience to saturate your being; let every cell in your body fill with gratitude. Do this two more times, pausing in between for a few breaths to take in gratitude and send out gratitude. Give each person, each experience, your breath, your love, your gratitude.
At the end of your gratitude meditation, bring your palms together and draw your thumbs to your forehead, and say out loud, “May I have gratitude in my thoughts.” Now bring your thumbs to your lips, “May I have gratitude in my words and actions.” Lastly, with your hands in front of your heart, “May I have gratitude in my big, beautiful heart.”
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2017