How To Turn Your Yoga Practice Into A Gratitude Meditation
As gratitude continues its rage (or rather spread of the looove) across the Internet, sometimes it can seem more of a duty than a joy to find things to appreciate amidst the daily grind.
Finding three (or more) things to be grateful for, each and every day, can feel forced and perhaps a little trite. Butwhen we are lucky to have yoga in our lives, it’s easy to appreciate the opportunity to live the life of a yogi.
So…what if you could turn your asana practice into a gratitude meditation? And then what if you could take that ‘great attitude’ easily, seamlessly, joyously off the mat?
Here are few suggestions:
1. Yoga Breathing
Whether it’s pranayama deep breathing or any other breathing practice, we get to appreciate the very gift of life when we give our breath our full attention. We can give thanks for the life-giving prana we inhale, as well as the chance to exhale pain and frustration. And we can be especially thankful that each breath we take is not our last!
2. Sun Salutation
It’s not hard to appreciate the sun when you’re saluting its energy—literally bowing before it! A sun salutation brings this gratitude to the fore even on the most cold and rainy day, when the sun doesn’t want to shine outside. Simply change the weather on the inside!
3. Half-Moon Posture
Not forgetting Mother Moon, Ardha Chandrasana, ‘celebrates’ the lunar cycles and the beauty of ever-changing nature. We can appreciate how nature changes with the moon cycles and the seasons and so learn to welcome the benefits of change in our lives.
4. Warrior Series
When we strike a Warrior posture, we can be grateful for the strength and focus we are able to bring to the challenges we’ll inevitably face. We can know that by anchoring in the past, while focusing on the future and grounding in the present, that we can be brave and strong whatever life holds.
5. Reclining Hero (Supta Virasana)
In surrendering into Reclining Hero pose, we can be grateful for resilience and the quiet heroism of endurance. We can appreciate the humble heroes in our lives—those people who are always there for us without fanfare, and we can value our own steadfast determination.
6. Spine Twist
When we twist, we get to really look back and take that perspective forward as the gift of hindsight,and then as we twist around the other way, we get an almost 360-degree view of our lives. We get to appreciate a range of different perspectives that can help us make better choices.
7. Child’s Pose
By resting in Child’s pose, we are transformed to a simpler time in our childhoods when we could just curl up and fall asleep. We can appreciate anew the safety and security in our lives, and the value of slowing down and resting…rather than always rushing and pushing.
8. Tree Pose
Tree pose teaches us gratitude for the earth that grounds us, for the opportunity to soar into the sky, and for the ability to grow strong in balance between the two.
9. Standing Bow Pulling (or Dancer’s pose)
I just love the yin-yang balance in this one; the pull of the leg backwards and the pointing of the arm forwards that work together to create balance. I love the metaphor for how we try to find balance (and beauty) as we dance through life. I love that my daughter can do the full Dancer’s version and how beautiful she looks. And I am very grateful for my daughter.
Perhaps you have a personal favourite posture that you really appreciate, or even better, one you’ve struggled with and have had to surrender into…because the greatest gift of gratitude comes through surrender.
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~Yogi Bhajan