On a sunny Sunday morning many years ago, a car ran me over. A sweet, apologetic 80-year-old man hit me as I walked across the street and kept right on driving.
One moment I was mobile—easefully walking, moving, breathing—and the next I was lying on the ground, broken and unable to move. Eventually, through years of rehabilitation, yoga and the support of doctors, family and friends, I recovered my health beyond what I had before.
And I Am So Grateful!
People often ask me why I began teaching. The main reason is that I don’t want you to have to lose something in order to understand that gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Melody Beattie eloquently explains:
“[!gratitude!] turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."~Melody Beattie
Sometimes all it takes to reconnect to active Gratitude is coming back to the mat to gently remind us how fortunate we really are. We do not have to lack or be without in order to give thanks. You don’t have to lose mobility in order to realize how awesome it is to walk onto the mat on your own.
"Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts." Alan Cohen
Yogically speaking, gratitude and appreciation are known as aparigraha. Aparigraha means to be grateful for what you have and not get attached to your stuff, whether objects, ideas or concepts. This Yama suggests that when we practice active gratitude, we live from “the fullness of life” embracing abundance all around us.
No matter the situation, we can always find something for which we are grateful. It is most often when we work too hard, or stretch ourselves too thin that we tend to feel impoverished. Trungpa Rimpoche calls this the "poverty mentality." In those moments of stress, breathe. And—if nothing else—remember to be grateful that you were chosen to be alive today!
This week, instead of collecting more poses, appreciate those poses that are available to you in your body in this moment. After all, the goal of yoga is simply this: Be grateful for the process.
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful. Buddha
My hope in every class I teach is that you never have to lose something in order to be grateful for the people and circumstances in your life. From now on, thank the people around you for every kindness they offer you. Be grateful for the circumstances in your life that allow you to be alive. It will change your life!