"The secret to having it all is knowing you already do"
Spring has officially begun and it is the perfect season to practice gratitude! There are so many benefits to expressing gratitude regularly; I personally love that it puts me in a new frame of mind each time.
What is so important about gratitude?
1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions.
Research and experience shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like change. We adapt to positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new phone, the new car, the yummy food..don’t feel so new and exciting after a while.
Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we get more benefits from it and we’re less likely to take it for granted.
2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. Think about it like this: If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t.
3. Grateful people are more stress resistant. There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly.
4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. Which means that you start to see the value of what others have done for you and once you start to see the contributions that other people have made to your life— that others have seen your value —you can change the way you see yourself.
So what can you do to improve gratitude in your life?
Sometimes feeling gratitude can be the hardest thing to achieve, especially on a hard day but doing so can improve your attitude. I personally like to remind myself of one thing that I am grateful for right when I wake up so that my day starts out positive, even something as simple as being grateful for a beautiful sunny day or being able to get out of bed without back pain or a headache. It makes a huge difference and I encourage you to do the same!
Some people find benefits from making a "gratitude journal" where they write a simple sentence down of something good that happened each day. Got a promotion? Journal it! Mastered a new yoga move? Journal it! Received good news about a potential health problem? You guessed it – journal it! It really is that easy!
Finally, it is important to think outside of the box when it comes to gratitude. Mother Theresa talked about how grateful she was to the people she was helping, the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta, because they enabled her to grow and deepen her spirituality. That’s a very different way of thinking about gratitude—gratitude for what we can give as opposed to what we receive. And that can be a very powerful way, of creating a sense of gratitude.
Expressing gratitude through yoga
Expressing gratitude is healing--and a yoga mat is the perfect place to reflect on and express those feelings.
Here are 5 ways to express gratitude through yoga from a Yoga Journal article that I found are perfect tips for everyone to use in their practice:
"1. Let your intention be to appreciate every moment. Savor the breath in your lungs, the air on your skin, and the stretching sensation in your hamstrings.
2. Count your blessings instead of your breaths. It's nearly impossible to do this for an entire practice session, but you can spend one long held pose (Pigeon is a good one) thinking of one thing you're grateful for with each breath.
3. Focus on the positive. It's easy to get frazzled by what you perceive as shortcomings on the mat--maybe you're not as flexible as you used to be or an injury is inhibiting movement. Make a commitment to use your yoga practice to observe all the amazing things you CAN do instead and gratitude will spill over into other areas of your life as well.
4. Never skip Savasana. All the gratitude meditations in the world can't match the experience that comes when tired muscles finally get to melt into the floor. That's gratitude at its best."
This month of April we will be focusing on gratitude and what it means, I myself am so grateful for Bloom; the life and business experiences and most importantly each and every amazing person I have met at the studio.
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Winters, E. R. (2011, November 22). 5 Ways to Express Gratitude Through Yoga. Retrieved from https://www.yogajournal.com/uncategorized/5-ways-express-gratitude-yoga
Hailing from East County San Diego, Kaleen Moran (she/her) is an English major at Cuyamaca College and a young yoga enthusiast. Her free time is spent out in nature, whether her feet are on the trail, nose is in a book, or notebook and pen are in her hands. She finds solace in mountain tops, her dogs and cat, books and poetry, good vegetarian food, and the loving embraces of her family and friends.
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