What is gratitude?
Gratitude is a feeling of being grateful for something. It is seeing your life through the lens of what you have, not what you don't. Which can be a really helpful slant to put on things if you're feeling a little blue, or like there isn't enough time in the day, or there are certain things in your life you want to be different.
Many Ancient Philosophies and practices teach gratitude or appreciation, including Yoga and Meditation. November is national gratitude month and I felt it appropriate to write a few words on how I see gratitude and specifically how to incorporate gratitude into a yoga practice.
What is a gratitude practice?
A gratitude practice is a daily practice you can do to try and cultivate the feeling of 'gratitude' in your body and mind. You can think of it like strengthening a muscle through doing physical exercise, you are strengthening your ability to switch to an outlook of appreciation by training your 'gratitude muscle.'
A gratitude practice is a Western phenomenon that has increased in popularity over recent years, and probably helped along with the use of social media, and the Pandemic in which we all live. This practice may last for 5 minutes or half an hour, it may involve a short meditation, or some journaling for example. But length and choice of activity really doesn't matter. What matters is your intention to bring about feelings of appreciation and allow them to soak deep down into your bones. Practice, repeat and start to see small changes occur right before your eyes.
Everybody is struggling. Look around you, I bet every person you know has been impacted by the state of the World. Mentally, socially, emotionally, physically, financially. A gratitude practice helps us to flip this belief that we are 'lacking' on it's head, and in stead see all our graces, everything, however small it may be, that we have to be thankful for.
Take a moment now, and say out loud (or whisper if you're in a busy place!) 3 things you are grateful for in your life right now. Please share them in the comments below 🙂
My gratitude list (right now!)
My snuggly homemade wooly jumper that's keeping me warm while I write
My baby napping (finally) giving me a moment of quiet
The window in front of my desk so I can see the clouds whizzing by (it's pretty grey out there but being able to see the clouds moving is lifting me above seeing the soggy cold floor!)
How can I incorporate yoga into my gratitude practice?
Well, the beauty of a gratitude practice is that there is no hard and fast way it has to be done. So whatever it is you love to do, set aside some time and let that be the vehicle to help you to cultivate feelings of appreciation and gratitude.
Practicing yoga is a fantastic way to cultivate feelings of appreciation and gratitude. Not only does it give you a moment to slow down, be present and breathe deep (all fantastic blocks for a solid foundation) but also connecting to the body through the breath can often times cultivate feelings of appreciation and gratitude before you even call them to mind.
Let's give it a go!
Here is a short sequence you can do. Find a clear space on the floor (mat or no mat, yoga clothes or no yoga clothes, it really doesn't matter) and hit play. You'll be back in less than 10 minutes, feeling refreshed and a little lighter! Share your experience below in the comments. I would love to hear. Happy #nationalgratitudemonth.
Here is your 10 minute gratitude yoga practice 🙌
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Carrie is a co-founder of The Frog Project, yoga teacher, and full time stay at home mum to two smalls. When she's not playing with the kids or practicing yoga, you'll likely find her in the middle of her veg patch, trowel in hand and covered in mud. She loves the outdoors, and would camp every night given the chance. She and her partner in crime, Martin, set up The Frog Project with the aim of bringing classical yoga to all, and deliver live online classes with a group of dedicated teachers, to students of all experiences, ages, shapes, sizes, jobs, lives, you name it, from all around the world. Join them now and get 15 days of free unlimited classes. It's just yoga.