The month of November brings an opportunity to reflect and consider the things we’re thankful for in our lives. Research shows that acts of intentional gratitude can have positive effects on your overall well-being. Grateful people sleep better, have improved self-esteem and overall better mental and physical health.
Interestingly, the benefits of intentional gratitude seem to perfectly mirror the transformative benefits experienced through the practice of yoga. There are many ways to experience and express thanks. Here are a few simple ideas on how you can proceed with intentional gratitude, both in life—off the mat, and in yoga—on the mat.
Off the Mat
- Write it Down: Start your gratitude practice by recognizing three things you’re thankful for that day—and write them down. Writing allows you to define the things you feel positively about and forces you to break the cycle of focusing on the challenges of the day.
- Pause and be Present: It is easy to get caught up in worry about the events of the day or potential situations ahead. In these moments, step back, breathe and be fully present. You will find that just a few minutes of grateful reflection will help you recognize the goodness tucked into your day and waiting ahead.
- Be Kind to Yourself: As with anything new, developing a gratitude practice won’t always be easy. There will be days when you just feel off. That is okay. Celebrate your determination to take on the challenge of finding gratitude in everyday life.
On the Mat
- Intention: The next time you attend your favorite Yoga Body Shop class and the yoga instructor asks you to set an intention, let it be to appreciate every moment. Savor the breath in your lungs, the air on your skin, and the stretching sensation throughout your body.
- Breathe Blessings: Count your blessings instead of your breaths. While this may be difficult for an entire yoga class, selecting one long held pose and reciting one thing your grateful for with each breath is definitely achievable.
- Again, Be Kind to Yourself: Remove thoughts of your perceived shortcomings on the mat—like your change in flexibility with age or an injury preventing movement. Instead commit to use your yoga practice to observe all the amazing things you CAN do. This energy of gratitude will improve the impact of your yoga practice, and spill over into other areas of your life.
Although November, and the season of Thanksgiving, is perfect for starting a consistent practice of gratitude, you will find benefits doing so the entire year. There is nothing like a great yoga class to help you remember and appreciate the many blessings in your life. Expressing that gratitude is healing—and a yoga mat is the perfect place to reflect on and express those feelings. So, won’t you join us?
Yoga Body Shop is all about creating community with inspiring people, great energy and simply great yoga. As you get started with Yoga Body Shop, we suggest the $39 Introductory Two Week Special to get started on your yoga journey. By trying a variety of classes, you will learn the basic poses of our Baptiste yoga studio and grow with confidence in your yoga practice.