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Giving Thanks: A Practice of Gratitude

Healing | Health

No matter its history, Thanksgiving is a tradition of mindfulness and emotional giving.

We practice giving thanks for what we have been blessed with, and for the people around us. Sure we should be doing this on a daily basis, but isn’t it nice to have a solid day every year dedicated to such a delicious cause? A reminder that we are in fact blessed no matter what commercialism might tell us and regardless of the self doubt that creeps in so regularly.

Begin your Thanksgiving this year with a little Practice of Gratitude either before, or on the day itself. Here's an example for you to try….

  • Start your practice seated and, with a huge sigh of gratitude, bring to mind whatever it was that brought you to your mat for the very first time. Then, extend that gratitude out to whatever it was that brought you back to your mat today.
  • Clear the passageways that run from head to seat and begin to grow your spine in a tall posture as you lift your arms up and overhead. Lean to the right and then to the left before bringing your hands to heart center in Anjali Mudra, for balance.
  • Consider three things, or people, in your life that you might take for granted and send some thanks to whatever it is that allows you to keep those things or people around.
  • Walk your fingertips out in front of you and come to Child’s Pose, resting your head gently on the mat or a pillow. Rock your head from side to side and fill your upper back with air before exhaling completely.
  • Interlace your hands on your lower back for a loose Rabbit Pose, lifting the arms only as high as feels good and rolling to the top of your head as you lift your hips off of your heels toward the sky.
  • As you press your heart open to the world behind you, breathe into the corners of your body and send a wave of heartfelt gratitude for your health in those corners and for your physical ability to practice yoga in any of its forms.
  • Release Rabbit after 5 long, deep breaths and come to find Anahatasana by walking your fingertips forward and lowering your chest toward the ground as you re-lift your tailbone toward the sky, with your chin or forehead reaching toward or touching the mat. Open your chest to the Earth and send a gracious slice of your gratitude to the Earth for providing for you and your loved ones. Hold for as long as feels good for you.
  • Release back into Child’s Pose and find Downward Facing Dog, slowly unfolding your body and appreciating each movement as you transition your hips skyward. Send a thank you to yourself for the dedication it takes not just to keep practicing but to clear your mind and breathe in each moment of each practice as you peddle out your limbs and dance your hips from side to side.
  • Gradually walk your feet up to meet your hands pausing in Rag-Doll before uncurling up to standing in Mountain Pose. Inhale your arms up and over your head and exhale to slide Anjali mudra down to your heart center, twist to the right and then to the left.
  • Set an intention for the year ahead to recall this gratitude as frequently as possible and to remind yourself of all the tiny blessings you have as well as the big ones. Set an intention to remember that there are people with far, far less and they still manage to smile and understand their own blessings.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Namaste.

Image credit: Dina Ivas

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