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.
The positive effect that gratitude has on my overall wellbeing makes it one of my favorite coping mechanisms in daily living. There’s a basic Ayurvedic principle that “like increases like.” And gratitude plays that out, creating a state of joy, contentment, and abundance. Patanjali tells us that yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” –Cicero
I find that invoking the attitude of gratitude simultaneously calms my mind and brings me to my heart center. As soon as I feel the tug of depression or dis-ease creeping in, I dip into the well of gratitude and the knots start to unwind. Gratitude is the suit of armor that protects me from stress and relieves me of negative thought patterns. And the practice of gratitude comes in many forms, is entirely portable (no mat necessary), and has instant benefits.
3-Step Daily Mindfulness + Gratitude Practice
Practice these three simple steps to gratefulness daily.
1. Be Grateful.
Before you get out of bed in the morning, before the ‘to-do’ list comes to your mind, before you check your phone, visualize three people or things that you are grateful for in your life. Notice how the thoughts and visualization makes you feel physically and emotionally. Do you feel happy? Are you smiling? Do you feel relaxed?
2. Feel Grateful.
As you move through your day, frustration, anger, sadness, or stress may arise. When this happens, remember how you felt in the morning, remember what you are grateful for and summon the feelings once again.
3. Pass It On.
Tell someone how grateful you are that they are part of your life. Imagine how you would feel if someone expressed to you how meaningful you are and how much joy you bring to the world. This step could also be accomplished by warmly and consciously saying two words: “Thank you.”
Yoga teaches us that what we practice we become; practice gratitude, be grateful, be happy!
ABOUT OUR EXPERT
Coral Brown is a licensed mental health counselor and draws on her extensive experience in yoga, philosophy, and holistic counseling to provide fertile, open space for the processes of healing and transformation. Her integrative yet lighthearted approach invites students to unite mind, body, and spirit to transcend physical asana and create space for a conscious evolution that aligns with their own natural rhythms. Coral is a senior teacher of Shiva Rea's Prana Flow Energetic Vinyasa Yoga, the director of 200- and 500-hour teacher training programs, and the founder of Turnagain Wellness, a holistic healing collaborative. She leads retreats and workshops worldwide. Learn more at coralbrown.net.