It is believed that gratitude practices have its root in the yoga tradition, with the earliest yoga texts, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written before 400 CE, encouraging positive emotions to counter the negative thoughts that plague our minds. In Sanskrit, the word used to describe gratitude is Kritajna. It is derived from the root words krita, which means “cultivated or acquired,” and Jna representing “a state of consciousness or awareness.”
The latest research continuescontinues to highlight that gratitude plays a vital role in finding that cultivating gratitude can increase your immunity, improve your energy and creativity, and create an increased sense of connection to others. It’s a straightforward practice. However, I’ve discovered that combining it with the strength of yoga can be far more effective.
Create a gratitude intention
The most effective and first place to start by incorporating gratitude into a yoga practice is to start with the clarity of your Sankalpa, also known as an intention. A powerful Sankalpa is a concise, specific, positive, and precise description of what you would like to achieve for yourself or the benefit of everyone. “When we create a Sankalpa with commitment and determination and use the tools in our yogic toolbox to support our growth, then our intention becomes our reality,” Yoga teacher Kelly Golden.
Create a new habit of setting an intention for gratitude at the beginning of each yoga class. Below are several examples of gratitude intentions to help get you to begin:
I wish to appreciate and appreciate the blessings within my own life.* I will show gratitude for my success, joy, and happiness with every breath.
I want to see everything that I can be thankful for in my life.
Thank you for the sweet blessings that be my companions as I practice yoga today.
Try meditation for a calm and uncluttered mind
In the modern world, our thoughts can often have negative biases. To reverse this, you must be mindful of negative thinking to ensure that gratitude and positive feelings and thoughts can flourish and grow.
Spend 5-10 minutes daily to sit and close your eyes. Take a deep breath, then let go of worries and worries.
Incense is to cleanse the area around you free of any negative energy. Candles can be lit to symbolize the inner light of your being and goodness. Once you’ve settled your mind and gotten rid of negative thoughts and thoughts, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for, staying conscious of the gratitude feelings rising in your heart.
Practice heart-opening asanas
A simple way to add gratitude to your exercise is to include more opening postures for the upper body, particularly yoga poses that stimulate the throat and heart chakras. If you are already a regular practitioner of these poses, consider doing them for a few extra breaths than you usually practice. Enhancing these asanas by paying attention to your gratitude for Sankalpa when practicing these poses is possible.
The breath is our physical connection to the world around us and provides constant reminders to appreciate the precious and fragile existence we have been gifted. While you move through the yoga poses you are practicing, ensure that you are connected to your breath, and consider every breath as an act of gratitude. Consider how much beauty, happiness, joy, and appreciation you can develop with every breath.
Place your hands in Anjali Mudra
Mudras are the subtle physical movements the hands perform that activate certain energy pathways within the body. Hand mudras are typically used for meditation. However, they can be used during asanas and pranayama and when you are in a quiet moment of your daily life. Anjali refers to “prayer” or “offering” This mudra is a great way to invoke an intense sense of gratitude.
To perform Anjali Mudra and evoke emotions of gratefulness, raise your hands in a prayer posture in the center of your heart and gently push your thumbs into the sternum.
Create a gratitude altar
Creating an altar to yoga within your practice area can be a wonderful way to be grateful throughout your exercise. On a shelf or table, set up a few images of things you’re grateful to have, for example, photographs of your family or friends. Set these images with candles, incense, or gemstones you love. When you begin and finish each practice, just take a moment to examine your sacred altar and remind yourself of everything you’re thankful for.
Give back to the community through yoga karma
Giving time and effort to those who need help is a great virtue that takes away guilt, soothes one’s soul, and encourages inner peace. Research has proven that volunteering and utilizing your talents to assist others helps reduce melancholy and produces feelings of happiness. Yoga studios often provide opportunities for practicing karma yoga or selfless action within the community or in the studio. Also, look out for occasions to do tiny acts of compassion to your teacher and fellow students in yoga.
Make sure to thank them
Develop a habit of acknowledging the goodness and kindness of other people by giving “thank you” to them, whether out loud or in your mind. The power of these two phrases is amazing. The power of these two words is immense. Meister Eckhart wrote famously, “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
Look for ways to express gratitude throughout your day and in practicing yoga. One way to do this is to simply express gratitude to your yoga teacher following class. However, you could also seek out instances in your practice where you can silently say thank you to your students, your yoga studio, and yourself.
If you decide to try any practice of these eight yoga gratitude practices, you might consider recording their results as a journal of your yoga practice. If you begin to integrate the practice of yoga with gratitude, you’ll surely discover several other ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily life.
We’d like to hear about your experiences when yoga and gratitude. Share your experiences in the comments!