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Coming from a Place of Gratitude

As we come into the month of November, the month of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), we begin to see on various social media the posts of gratitude or thankfulness. Even if we don't actually participate in sharing what we are thankful about in a public forum, I'm sure reading others' posts and experiences does inspire us to explore what we, in our own lives, are grateful for.

I often encourage students in a yoga class to dedicate their Sun Salutations to whatever they are feeling gratitude toward. Flowing through these poses and moving with the breath offer an opportunity for meditation. So what better time to focus on our attitude of gratitude? I'm sure some of these students are chuckling to themselves right now while reading this, thinking about the "encouragment" to meditate while doing Sun Salutations!

Which leads me to share my own feelings of thanks. I thought last night while on the mat, that I'm so very thankful that my body moves and flows with strength. That I can breathe without stopping to use my resuce inhaler! And I'm grateful that I finally made the commitment to nurture my health instead of punishing my body with food restriction and torturous exercise. I am grateful that I eat like I love myself, and workout and practice yoga in a way that makes me strong and balanced. My attitude of gratitude extends to the mind/body connection that I am practicing on a daily basis because of yoga.

I am especially grateful for my yoga practice. The health benefits I have experienced personally have been an improvement in Peak Expiratory Flow Rate, improved lung function, and an increased exercise tolerance. Along with the medication I use to control asthma, the deep breathing and breath control have only improved my ability for aerobic activity. I never in a million years thought I would be a runner! But going on five years now, I run anywhere form 2.5 to 4 miles regularly. Six years ago I couldn't walk across the room without hitting a rescue inhaler. So, I am very grateful to be able to breathe.

But yoga has so many evidenced benefits to health. Here are just a few: increased flexibilty, muscle strengthening, better balance, stonger immune system, better posture and brain function, lower blood sugar, bone strengthening, improved emotional and psychological health.

My attitude of gratitude also extends to the yogis that come to class. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to share such a beneficial science with others, having faith in the process that they will find a connection in the practice. To teach is to learn, and I learn from the students that are present, to be patient, to be kind, to be compassionate, to lead, and to follow. And I am oh so thankful for their continuing support.

So let's enjoy this month, the changing color of the leaves, the opportunity to gather with family and friends around a loaded thanksgiving feast, or the quiet and peace of a holiday alone or with a special someone. Taking a moment to relfect on our many blessings, whatever they may be. And as always, beginning with ourselves, having an attitude of gratitude.


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