G is for Gratitude
While not strictly related to yoga or meditation, a
gratitude practice is a beautiful addition to one’s life. You can choose how often you practice, daily
or weekly, however in my opinion, stopping each day at least once to reflect on
a moment you feel gratitude is just good for the soul.
Google definition time!
Gratitude: a quality of being thankful; a readiness to
show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Even in the darkest moments, there is always something to be
grateful for. A healing touch, kind
words, a hug, the warmth of the sun, the solidity of the earth. There is an abundance of gratitude all around
you once you are open to receive it.
a gratitude journal. Choose a
time to reflect on your day, usually at the end of the day, but anytime where
you can sit quietly for a few moments is best.
Write down 1-3 things you are grateful for that day. For some, the first days can be challenging,
so think simple. These can be people or
animals in your life, the basics of shelter, food and clothing, even modern
conveniences. This practice is about
opening your heart and finding appreciation for what you have right now, versus
what may not be within reach at this moment. With practice, you'll find your gratitude extends out to other moments and people.
on gratitude. This one may feel
a bit more challenging at the beginning, but can be quite rewarding as it draws
your awareness to the many sensations that can come with the feeling of
gratitude. Once again, sit in a space
where you can be comfortable, relaxed and peaceful. You can even do this in bed before drifting
off to sleep. Close your eyes and
breathe deeply. Think of one thing for
which you are grateful today and begin to notice how you feel. Do any physical sensations arise? Warmth, relaxation, softening. Does your breath change at all? Deepening, slowing, becoming more even. Where do your thoughts move as the gratitude
passes through your mind? Are you
focused on an image, color, sound? Stay
with the sensations for several breaths.
it forward. Let’s work on the
second part of the gratitude definition:
repaying kindness. This can be as
simple as holding the door for someone or giving the other driver the parking
space. You can donate items, volunteer,
visit an older neighbor. Plant trees,
call a friend to tell them how much they mean to you (no texting!). Remember, you never know what someone is
experiencing and your kindness may make a lasting impression, no matter how
small it may seem to you. And the most
amazing thing about kindness and gratitude is their ability to grow and spiral
into great abundance.
Do you have a gratitude practice?
(This is part of a series of blog installments
for the A to Z Challenge. I will be covering each letter of the alphabet
as it applies to the practice of yoga, meditation, and self-inquiry.)