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Mom-asana: Opening Your Heart to Gratitude

The next installment in Janet Stone's series of weekly "mom-asanas" for strength, fitness, and grounding at any stage of motherhood is gratitude-asana.

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Internationally recognized yoga teacher and mother of two Janet Stone, who will lead our upcoming Yoga for Moms online course (enroll now and be the first to know when this mom-inspired course launches), is offering YJ readers a series of weekly “mom-asanas” for strength, fitness, and grounding at any stage of motherhood. This week’s gratitude-asana: Open your heart.

Gratitude. We lose track of this simple practice, getting caught up in the constant stream of thoughts that lead us to believe that we are not enough. As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s pause for a moment and consider all we are and all we have.

Upon becoming a parent, messages about how I was to be the perfect mother, wife, and housekeeper at home, all while still contributing to the world at large, became something to beat myself up about. I found that I was trying to live up to messages about how I needed to be as a parent, AND the message that I should keep up with everything I used to do as well. This ever-growing list of all the things I didn’t have time to do became my personal “not-enough” list.

The Practice of “Enoughness”

It’s easy to waste our time and energy comparing ourselves to others, as well as to the ideals that we hold. Instead, let’s pause, open our eyes and look lovingly and clearly both inward and outward. The practice of ENOUGHNESS is ultimately leading us to a deep and true sense of gratitude. One that originates deep inside and permeates our entire being and our entire life. It goes beyond simply placing gratitude on top of discontent, which will not last long and can lead us to feel even more divided. This would be like placing a façade over a crumbling building. If we don’t rebuild the foundation from within, we will know on some level that our gratitude is not authentic. Yet, when we dive deep into the shadow of our discontent, noticing the ways it pulls us from the experience of our lives, perhaps we let go of the outside voices fueling any sense of not having. That letting go allows us to find clarity around all that we do have.

It’s time—time to embrace all we already are and all we already do. When we pause to notice all that we have — even simple things that so many people in this world can’t take for granted, like shelter, food to eat, the miracle of clean drinking water that flows at the twist of a lever — we remember how many things we have to be grateful for.

Make a list

So, together, let’s take this week and make a list (or many lists) of all that we already are and all that we already have. When I embark on this practice — and yes, I must revisit it often to clear the clutter of dwelling on lack — I recall that each moment really is enough. I like to begin with the most obvious things: heart beating, lungs breathing, vision, ease of movement, health, and so on. After we complete our personal list or lists, we’ll move back into our days with a renewed sense of gratitude and fullness. Rather than focusing on what we lack, we’ll be able to see the endless blessings of each moment of our days and our lives.

See alsoYJ Gratitude Challenge: 5 Things on Janet Stone’s List

Mom-asana of the Week

Your “mom-asana” this week is the simple act of standing strong with your feet rooted into the ground and your heart open to this moment and to the abundance within and all around you.

San Francisco-based yoga teacher Janet Stone started her practice at age 17. A student of Max Strom and meditation teacher Prem Rawat, Stone teaches vinyasa flow at events around the world. Her new kirtan album with DJ Drez, Echoes of Devotion, hit number 1 on iTunes’s World Music chart this year. Stone has two daughters and offers this advice to moms: “Motherhood offers infinite lessons in the realms of surrender, empowerment, grace, mistakes, and patience, and then some more patience—as well as the endless unfurling of transitions and change. Practicing yoga amidst this adventure can support us in myriad ways to find our center.” Learn more about her upcoming course, Yoga for Moms.