There’s nothing like a great yoga class to help you remember and appreciate the many blessings in your life. I often find myself on the commute home from a particularly amazing class thinking something along the lines of: “I really love breathing!” I realize that this probably seems ridiculous to someone who hasn’t experienced this feeling, but I am incredibly grateful for those moments that I really appreciate those simple things that I usually take for granted.
Of course, this time of year gratitude is on everyone’s mind. We think about how lucky we are to have our families, friends, homes, food to eat, and all the other things that make our lives richer. Expressing that gratitude is healing–and a yoga mat is the perfect place to reflect on and express those feelings.
Here are 5 ways to express gratitude through yoga.
1. Let your intention be to appreciate every moment. Savor the breath in your lungs, the air on your skin, and the stretching sensation in your hamstrings.
2. Make your movements an offering. I remember how thankful I am whenever my hands are pressed together at my heart in Anjali Mudra and when I come to standing at the end of a Sun Salute.
3. Count your blessings instead of your breaths. It’s nearly impossible to do this for an entire practice session, but I love to spend one long held pose (Pigeon is a good one) thinking of one thing I’m grateful for with each breath.
4. Focus on the positive. It’s easy to get frazzled by what you perceive as shortcomings on the mat–maybe you’re not as flexible as you used to be or an injury is inhibiting movement. Make a commitment to use your yoga practice to observe all the amazing things you CAN do instead and gratitude will spill over into other areas of your life as well.
5. Never skip Savasana. Nothing makes me thankful like a nice, long Corpse Pose after an intense yoga class. All the gratitude meditations in the world can’t match the experience that comes when tired muscles finally get to melt into the floor. That’s gratitude at its best.