15 Mar A Sequence to Cultivate Gratitude
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
If yoga has taught us anything, it’s that gratitude can literally change our life by simply changing our perspective. And conveniently, yoga is one of the best ways to cultivate a little more gratitude in day-to-day life. Bringing more gratitude into your life often starts with being settled and content in the moment you’re in. Allowing that moment to be all you need. How can we want for more when we’re present?
Here are some of our favourite types of poses, movements, and techniques to bringing in the gratitude.
Starting low and slow
When we start our practice low to the ground, the body has time to really connect into the physical space and the sensations that are there to be felt. And the same goes for starting with slow movements. There is time to feel them, experience them, rather than rush through them. There’s nothing better than space and time for allowing ourselves to become more stable and connected to the physical space.
You might start on your back, take some twists, a few gentle hip stretches, then move to cat cow, thread the needle, even some seated twists and folds before making your way to your first downward facing dog or standing forward fold.
Not only are heart openers great for spine health and posture, they can also be incredibly beneficial for our emotional bodies as well. It’s said that we hold tension, fear, and other emotions in our heart space. Once we allow ourselves to fearlessly open that space, we can release a lot of past tension that may have been holding us back. This can highlight what we have now and how we no longer need to live in the past and respond to fear.
You can start small like cat and cow and more your way to bridge, camel, wheel, wild thing, flip dog, the list goes on. Get creative as you move.
A beautiful way to close your practice, open your practice, or scatter throughout your practice, forward folds are incredibly calming on the whole system – body and mind. This can be an amazing way to draw your attention back inwards to your body, your breathing, and what you already have. Rather than constantly looking outwards for stimulation and satisfaction.
You can take forward folds on the floor, legs out long, or even feet together and knees wide, or you can take them throughout your standing practice, perhaps feet hip distance apart, or even feet nice and wide.
Breathing and meditation
Whether done at the start or the end of your physical practice, or any time, anywhere, breathing and meditation can be the best way to allow gratitude to flow into your life. Put simply the act of gratitude is allowing what you already have to be enough. To look at your life and be thankful for what’s there, not looking to fill it with more. And when we stop and breathe, we allow ourselves to sit right into the present moment.
From this place, we can start to drop into meditation. Which can simply be sitting and watching your breathing for a longer period of time, maybe 5 or 10 minutes to start with. You can do this before you start your physical practice, at the end, or even at your desk at work, in bed before you fall asleep. Any time you can take 5 minutes to yourself.