“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought;
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
~ G.K. Chesterton
On this Thanksgiving Day, it can be challenging to step out from the busyness and the activities and truly remember to be thankful. This day is a reminder to us that we can be in a state of thanksgiving and gratitude every day and to try to be present wherever we are.
Here at Sunrise Yoga Studio, we often get calls asking us, “What is Yoga?” The interesting answer to that question is, “What do you need it to be?”
The reason we answer it this way is because of the individual experience involved. Your experience will be different than someone else’s because your goals are unique, what type of yoga you do varies, and how you approach the techniques and guidance can be different. One of the advantages you have of coming to see us is that we consider what your needs are, such as wellness, fitness, mental clarity, spiritual growth, peace of mind, stress relief, vitality, healing, balance, pain relief, posture, better sleep, and stamina.
We are thankful yoga can provide so many benefits in ways that are as unique as the individuals participating in yoga. And we hope that, through your yoga journey, a deeper sense of gratitude will develop.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.
In an article for Greater Good Magazine, he states, “We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:”
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The benefits of gratitude and the benefits of yoga are not surprisingly similar! How can you incorporate gratitude development in your yoga practice?
“It can be hard to live in a constant state of gratitude, but you can learn to cultivate it by practicing yoga,” says Lena Schmidt of The Chopra Center. She suggests, “Next time you’re on your mat, try these eight yoga poses that inspire gratitude. For the best results, hold each pose for five to 10 breaths.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Find gratitude for your breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.
Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Setu Bandhasana Variation) – Consider a friend or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of love and gratitude in your heart.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – Find gratitude for your feet and all the adventures they take you on.
Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Tadasana + Urdva Hastasana) – Find gratitude for all of your hopes and dreams and the unknown adventure of the future.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – Find gratitude for an aspect of your life or a talent you hold that you appreciate.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.
Final Resting Pose (Savasana) – Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles.
What are your thoughts on how yoga can help create a greater sense of gratitude? We’d love to know!