“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
Gratitude is both a state of being and an active practice. It is the conscious choice to turn our attention towards what we are grateful for.
Expressing gratitude does not deny any challenges or sorrow in our life. We remain fully aware of them while at the same time expanding our capacity to notice the blessings that surround us in each and every moment.
With the loss of our current Pacific Grove studio space, I could choose to focus on the anger and sadness that has been a very real experience for me. But I can also choose to focus on being thankful for the time that we have had in our space. Thankful for all of the people that have shared together in practice. And thankful for all of the lessons this unexpected change will bring me.
I can choose to let this moment of great difficulty be my teacher.
I can allow gratitude to lead the way in finding Grace.
The practice of gratitude can be carried over into all aspects of our life – from relationships, our work, to life’s daily moments. Acknowledging and honoring that which is difficult, while choosing to spend more of our time reflecting upon that which is good.
Consciously choosing gratitude is an active practice just like our asana practice, and in time it cultivates our ability to be in a state of gratitude and in the presence of grace.
It is a physical expression of a softened and open heart, with peace and contentment reverberating in our cells.
Gratitude reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and other states of unwellness. The more you practice gratitude, the more grateful you become. It creates space to be able to welcome challenges when they arise, instead of denying, pushing them away, or wishing something to be different that cannot. It is the ultimate surrender and willingness to be fully human.
Just as you would decide to unroll your mat, take a seat onto your meditation cushion, or take a walk in a nature, make the decision to become more conscious of your expression of gratitude. Write your blessings in a journal, say them outloud, share them with friends, count your blessings as you fall asleep, or all of the above!
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It 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