Gratefulness invokes a feeling of goodness! Why don’t we try to achieve that state permanently? How does one go about cultivating it?
What does gratefulness mean?
According to Eckhart Tolle – It means you appreciate what is. You value, you give attention to, you honor whatever is here at this moment.
Gratitude has been on everyone’s mind for at least the last 18 months or so. Despite many of us having passed through severe turbulence, we may be wondering how lucky we are to have our jobs, home, and loved ones safe in different parts of the world. The pandemic seems to have brought out a reassessment of priorities and focus. So, let us allow ourselves to be awed with the splendor of Nature, appreciate what has been, what is, and what shall be, and love the miracle of life.
One of the Niyamas or observances mentioned in the Patanjali Yoga Sutra is Santosha/ Contentment. The feeling of contentment is a challenge for many people. The culture of needing more – status, recognition, wealth, fame, etc., fuels and feeds our ego but does not lead to contentment. On the other hand, the practice of expressing Gratitude about the good things we already have in our lives can positively impact our lives.
Positive psychology studies have shown that Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, peace of mind, health, and even better sleep. Gratitude-based Yoga practice helps to foster relationships, boost our self-esteem, and shield us from negativity.
Expressing Gratitude on a yoga mat is an excellent way to reflect on our thoughts and bring about awareness from an unaware state of being. Yoga aids your body to secrete the good hormones, endorphins that boost health and happiness.
Here are some simple suggestions on cultivating Gratitude while doing Yoga practice
- While you come for the class, set an intention to appreciate every move, breath, asana in the class. Breath in deeply the air in your lungs, feel good about the stretches you can perform, relax in the asanas.
- During your meditation, enjoy the vibrations in your body while you chant or perform the kriyas.
- The Anjali Mudra is a powerful mudra at the beginning and finish of sun salutation. When you bring your hands together to your heart, it spreads a feeling of Gratitude towards your whole being.
- Keep your focus on “ what you can do” in the class rather than your shortcomings. Once you make this commitment on the yoga mat, you will see Gratitude moving to every area of your life.
- Keep the ‘smile’ on through the class. When a particular pose is challenging, our face automatically cringes. Take a deep breath and bring the smile back to the face. Slowly you will smile more easily, and it will be a part of you.
- At the finish of your practice, express your Gratitude to your teacher, yourself, and everyone around you for making this yoga session happen. This will help you to appreciate all the people who come into your life.
Here are some yoga poses that can inspire Gratitude within ourselves.
1.Mountain Pose with Raised Hands ( Urdva Hasta Tadasana)-
In this asana, our feet are planted firmly to mother earth. We open our hands and heart to the skies in Gratitude, welcoming what the universe has to offer to us with a smile.
2. Padahastasana –
This forward bending asana lets the blood rush towards the brain and heart. It releases the spine of all the accumulated stress. During this asana, allow the stress, worries to roll down the spine to the floor.
3. Child’s pose (Shishuasana) –
You fold your body forward with the chest, chin, and forward in this gentle asana, touching the mother earth. You pay obeisance to Mother Earth and completely surrender to her. A variation of this asana is the Puppy pose, also called the ( Uttana Shishuasana) You would find Gratitude in the total surrender by letting go of things outside our control.
4.Ustrasana (camel pose)-
Ustrasana (camel pose)- Our heart and throat are fully exposed to the skies in this challenging asana. We expand our lungs, thus encouraging deeper breaths. As we open our chest widely, we find Gratitude for overcoming all the challenges that have come our way.
This asana, which is always a hot favorite at the end of the class, inspires Gratitude. Relaxing the mind and body, you will feel kindness and compassion for every being around.
“True forgiveness is when you can, ‘Thank you for the experience.'” OPRAH