The Practice of Gratitude

Autumn is in full swing, and like many people, you might find yourself in constant reflection. Autumn does that to people. Everything is changing around us in our natural environment, and naturally, we feel it. In anticipation for the winter, animals begin to prepare for hibernation. In a sense, winter is like a hibernation for us as well. We tend to spend less time outdoors, and seek warmth. As we begin to literally go inwards, towards the warmth, we also have a great opportunity to go inwards, within ourselves.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I've been encouraging my students to be grateful not only for all the wonderful things they have experienced this year, but also for all the challenges they have been faced with or continue to work through. Why? Because no teacher in the entire universe is parallel to challenge. Challenge is an opportunity to learn about ourselves. Not getting what we want and/or how we want it is often a blessing. It gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves why we feel the way we feel, why we act the way we do, why we say the things we say, and how we can become a better, wiser version of ourselves.

It's hard work to embrace challenege, and if I ever figure out the best way to go about it, I'll be sure to post it on every social media portal that is available on planet Earth and announce it on a megaphone at the top of the nearest mountain. The reality is that shifting our mindset and approach to challenge is a practice. I definitely don't pretend that when something or someone challenges me that it doesn't bother me at first. It totally does, because I'm a human being with a list of issues longer than the list of people that Donald Trump has offended so far on his Presidential campaign (which, by the way, I am completely convinced is a huge, practical joke that is being played on us and will air as an ABC reality/comedy show next year). Again, it is a practice, but if we set our intention to continue the practice of cultivating a different relationship with challenge, then at least we are on the right path.

It's also important to remember that there is no such thing as a life without struggle. Peace doesn't mean life is going our way and there is no hard work or challenge. Peace is being among the chaos and still being calm in our heart. 

In honor of gratitude, self care, love, blah blah etc, here are two postures I've been having students do in my classes and my workshop. Thanks to my dear friend and one of my favorite souls Gopi for modeling for me at her kickass studio Bhakti Yoga DC

Supta Baddha Konasana (left) is a classic and one of my favorites. It stretches the heart center and solar plexus (4th and 5th chakras), which helps move undigested emotions and aids in healing the heart center. The hips also get a stretch, which helps release stress and trauma (among many other things). 

Viparita Karani (right) is great for the nervous system. It helps alleviate depression and anxiety. You also get a stretch in the chest. 

 Supta Baddha Konasana

Supta Baddha Konasana

 Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani

I am setting an intention to write/post more. I haven't been great about posting as I have had to travel quite a bit these last few months, have had freelance work, and basically a whole other list of excuses that are very uninteresting. I also question whether or not anyone actually would read my blog, so that played a roll in my laziness. I guess if one person does (Hi, sister), then I'll be sure to post more for the 1 person that might read.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and good luck to all that are hosting (including my fiance and I). I'll leave you with this semi-offensive SNL Thanksgiving video. #namaste

Love and Gratitude,