YogaJournal.com is challenging you to get in the season’s thankful state of mind with gratitude-geared practices all month long. Share yours using #yjgratitudechallenge.
As yogis, we are encouraged to show and express gratitude regularly. It’s part of the practice. Because when things seem rough or shaky in life, often we just need a change of perspective to bring us back to everything there still is to be grateful for.
See alsoTaylor Harkness’s Happiness Plan
This time of year reminds us that the people in our lives are truly where the goodness is kept. It’s so true for me personally. Without my loved ones, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They have kept me grounded, solid, happy, and have encouraged me to keep shining and chasing my dreams. That support sustained me through all kinds of shifts over the last few year—finishing school, moving away from my family and to a new city, and embarking on a new career path.
I am grateful beyond measure for the happiness and fullness the people in my life—friends, family, co-workers, students, teachers, and even strangers—bring me regularly. Every interaction, every warm embrace fills me up and fuels my heart. This time of year, my heart can reach the point of overflow.
This giant heart opener is the perfect pose for letting your gratitude runneth over. I hope you enjoy this variation of Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) that I often call “Rockstar.” This time, let’s dedicate a heart-wide-open, love-overfilled Gratitude Rockstar to all of the people who support us. Stay grateful. Shine on!
TO START Warm up with a few “Sun Sals” (aka Surya Namaskar) to get the shoulders and spine primed. When you’re ready move slowly and purposefully through the following steps.
Come into a Downward-Facing Dog and fly your left leg into Three-Legged Dog.
Shift forward to Plank Pose while sweeping your left knee across your body to your right triceps. Pause for a breath and smile!
Extend your left leg, reaching your left foot out as far to the right as you can and drop your back heel in for added balance.
Lift your right hand and lean back, shining your big, grateful heart to the sky. Smile, take a breath, and consider all that you’re grateful for. Combining these good feelings with feel-good poses multiplies the effects energetically. Feel like a Gratitude Rockstar.
TIPS Relax your shoulders and keep your shoulder blades glued back toward your spine for full shoulder girdle support. The further you slide the foot away from the body, the deeper the expression
To come out, return your right hand to the ground and fly your left leg back to three-legged down dog. Sweep it down to meet the right leg. Then repeat this on the other side.
About Taylor Harkness
Taylor Harkness is a yoga teacher bent on moving people both on and off the mat with skillful action, an open heart, and gratitude. His motto, “Shine On,” is a reminder to be your best self through honesty, vibrancy, and compassion—while encouraging others to do the same. An avid rock climber, yogi, rookie sky diver, hungry learner, and paramedic, Taylor is inspired by his medical background which fostered his passion for anatomy and the complex workings of the body. In his spare time, you can find him on the water as a Bliss Paddle Yoga Ambassador and writing for DoYouYoga.com and YogaJournal.com. Catch one of his upbeat classes or workshops around the world and you may just find your frown turned upside down.