Every year as the holidays approach, there begins to be a lot of talk about gratitude. It’s no secret that we live in an extremely fast-paced world, with so many things to do, people to see, appointments to go to, errands to run, etc. Living in NYC can make it exceptionally easy to take life for granted and to overlook all of the things I truly have to be grateful for.
The holiday season gets super busy for everyone! And I personally know this is when my meditation practice dips off. Sometimes, trying to juggle the myriad demands of daily life leaves me little time to unwind and settle down, let alone make time each day to mindfully express gratitude. But what i've realized is that expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be a formal practice like yoga, meditation, or prayer; it's an attitude. Being thankful for the blessings I have in this life shouldn't just be cultivated around the holidays, it should be a daily mantra. Practicing gratitude has its own magical way of allowing my mind to be in the present moment and to cultivate inner peace. I've realized that saying thank you throughout the day is all it takes, and it's really just that simple. I can then pass this attitude along and let it manifest in my actions and interactions. When I practice this attitude, I realize that gratitude is our greatest teacher, and it doesn't cost a thing!
"The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living, and is the biggest truth, the highest truth. If you are grateful for what you have, then Mother Nature will give you more…. If you do not acknowledge what you have, in gratitude, you will never have more….So be in gratitude. Make an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you". Yogi Bhajan
Here is a very simple exercise to try, and it's a really nice way to begin your day!
Sit in a comfortable seated position with your hands resting lightly in your lap. Gently close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly, in and out through the nose.
On your inhale, say to yourself, "I am grateful for"...
On your exhale, say whatever comes to mind...
Some examples may be; my family, my friends, my health, my job. But also be sure to include some aspects about yourself and your body. For example; my strength, my courage, my yoga practice.
Make sure to count the blessings that you already have, and take a moment to relish them in the here and now. Breathe in the present moment in this state of gratitude to embrace life fully!