Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratitude

Photo by The Lost Coast.

What fills your heart with gratitude?

I'm sitting on the couch curled up under a blanket listening to the rain outside. I have a mug of hot chai tea and a happy dog nearby. I live in a beautiful home and I'm surrounded by loving family and friends. I got to practice yoga this morning and my body is healthy and strong. Later tonight, I get to teach at the studio :)

In this moment, my heart is filled with gratitude.


Now that the holiday season has arrived and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it's a wonderful time to focus our attention on the blessings that surround us.

What are you grateful for? What practices do you incorporate into your daily life and weekly routines to stay grounded and appreciative?

These are my top three favorite things to do to cultivate a sense of gratitude:

1. Write in my gratitude journal. Some days I'll jot down a quick list of things off the top of my head-- just anything I can think of, no filtering. Other days I'll write a longer entry about why I'm grateful for the amazing things happening in my life.

2. Practice yoga, meditate, and chant mantras. These practices help me find a state of peaceful quiet and draw my awareness inside. The yoga poses help my physical body stay healthy, the meditation helps clear my mind, and the singing allows me to remember the power of my own voice. 

3. Talk to friends and family to let them know I care. Love is truly the biggest blessing we can ever receive, and I am surrounded by it daily! I love being able to thank my friends, family, students and teachers, and to show them I care. Sometimes the simple act of writing a love note or preparing a small surprise for someone helps me to feel happier and more compassionate toward myself, too.


Other Gratitude Practices:

This month, here are a few other ways I'll be cultivating gratitude.
  • hosting a free kirtan workshop
  • supporting a friend and fellow yoga teacher with her kids wellness program at a local elementary school
  • cooking new recipes and trying more vegan and vegetarian meal options
  • watching Awake, a documentary about Paramahansa Yogananda, and participating in the holiday season gratitude challenge (details below)


In the spirit of cultivating gratitude, the filmmakers of the award-winning documentary AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, have teamed up with Self-Realization Fellowship and Kindspring.org to create the AWAKE 21-day Gratitude Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to inspire not only a sense of gratitude, but to creatively give back to friends, family and communities in the hopes that they in turn will give back to others.

The challenge is simple: once a participant signs up, she or he receives one email a day with a suggestion for what they can do to cultivate gratitude, whether it’s taking a moment to recognize something normally taken for granted, or acknowledging someone in their life who has inspired them in some way. You can sign up on the Kindspring website here: http://www.kindspring.org/challenge/

How will you celebrate the holiday season with gratitude?

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