“Gratitude is a daily practice. Perseverance is a survival skill. Love is what we are made of”
We often think of yoga as mostly a physical practice filled with bendy poses and some sweat. Yoga is, in fact, so much more than that! It is a way of life, the way we travel through times in this world, the way we see ourselves and others. Of course, we can stick to just the physical practice, there’s nothing wrong with that, but why take just a bite when you can have the entire cake?
On this 10 plus years of teaching, yoga has saved me many times. It has helped me stay calm, healthy, it has fixed the severe hip trauma I had after many doctors told me there was no improvement to come, it has transformed bad days into good days, shaped my body, made my mind flexible, worked on my muscles, toned my humility, just to name a few. Yoga has made me stronger and more resilient, body and mind.
One of the most beautiful yoga practices is to me is a very simple and yet often forgotten one: the yoga of gratitude. We spend so much time focusing on what is not, on what we are yet to achieve and become that we move away from the present and into an imaginary future only to find frustration and tiredness. Oh yeah, do you know how much energy we waste criticizing, judging, expecting, analysing? Do you know how much one can do with that same amount of energy, when used in a constructive way towards positive attitude in the present moment? And we all do that, don’t we?
The yoga of gratitude consists on developing a habit to pay attention to what is instead of what’s not. To simply look up at the sky and admire its beauty as the breath flows through this vehicle called the body, to allow that moment to be all that is. The yoga of gratitude can be practiced anywhere and anytime as long as we create the awareness of what we are, the awareness of our surroundings. When we connect with the heart and the love force that we are, it becomes easy to live in the present moment, grateful for each breath, each meal and so forth. This is a transforming practice that enhances life quality and health and defeats anxiety and stress.
Another technique I frequently used is what I’d like to call reverse gratitude, when you literally flip your complaint into something to be grateful for. Let’s say you’re stuck in traffic and upset, then you flip that moment and start noticing you are dressed in nice clothes, sitting in a car, going somewhere, alive, breathing and safe. Or if you have 6 loads of laundry and instead of feeling overloaded, you become grateful for having so many clothes to wear. Changing the perspective changes our attitude towards anything. Give it a try. Take your yoga outside the corners of your mat and become a yogi for life.