Commit to the YJ Gratitude Challenge and take a moment each morning this month to give thanks. Make your list, post it, share it, and tag us @yogajournal and #yjgratitudechallenge. We’ll show our appreciation for you by sharing our favorite reader posts on Thanksgiving Day. Here, Jason Crandell shares his gratitude practice and humbly admits to struggling to stick with it regularly.
My Gratitude Practice
I have an inconsistent gratitude practice, which, honestly, is ridiculous since I have so many things I’m genuinely thankful for. When I engage with the practice it’s very simple and not very ritualistic. My intention has been to be more consistent and structured with the practice—maybe this will give me the impetus! My practice is usually in the evening, when I’m settling in with my family or going to bed, or during my daily asana practice or while I’m teaching. I simply list the things in my head that I’m grateful for and allow the feeling of those things to sink in for a moment. When my students are in Savasana, I always take a moment to register the feeling of being thankful for their support. I’ve taught for almost 20 years and I’ve never taken my students for granted. I understand the resources and time my students invest when they come to my classes and I feel fortunate that I can make a living doing what I love to do.
How I Get Grounded To Get Grateful
When I practice, I usually start by slowing down internally and setting aside my to-do list. When I’m able to drop in like this, I’m always thankful that I have a yoga practice—and I’m thankful for everything on the list below.
My Gratitude List
1. My practice, which continues to ground me, focus me, and provide me with the tools to live a more comfortable, healthy, and sane life
2. My wife, whose strength, love, intelligence, sense of humor, and wit, provide me with the daily support and companionship that make for a damn good marriage
3. My daughter, for flipping the switch in my life from black and white to techno-color and for hanging all the stars and the moon in my sky
4. My students, for putting up with my questionable humor and the fact that I don’t play music in class, for supporting my passion, and forgiving me an ongoing sense of purpose
The Yoga Pose I’m Most Grateful For
This is tough—and I don’t want to overthink it. I’m going with Down Dog since it’s the first posture that comes to mind. My back-body and shoulders accumulate tension at ridiculous rate. A couple minutes in Down Dog—which is not too easy and not too difficult—feels like a dry-erase board for these knotted regions. The pose also reminds me to breathe, focus, and relax. I can always use those reminders.
ABOUT JASON CRANDELL
This longtime Yoga Journal contributing editor is based in San Francisco but spends much of his work life leading teacher trainings of his own and workshops in Asia and Europe. You can also catch him in any of his Yoga Journal DVDs and on: