“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
Nemesis came a month ago, in the form of Covid 19. My family members and I tested positive for Covid 19. We fell victim to this virus, a horrid lingering virus that shook us completely. The last three weeks were so strong and perplexing that I don’t actually want to write about “My Covid Experience”. Instead, I want to take a pause to offer thanks and express gratitude for my loving family, amazing friends and the community around me and grateful for their good health and wellbeing.
We were self-isolating and completely avoiding contact with other people.
But strangely this self-isolation brought us closer to people and that closeness reminded me how much we love and care for each other. Family, friends, friends of friends and the community dropped in messages, called and offered support.
So here I am celebrating the blessings of life and to let others know how important they are to me. During the period of sickness, I used my yoga practice to offer gratitude to myself, everyone and everything around me.
How I cultivated gratitude with my Yoga practice?
Remember, I did not have the strength nor the bandwidth to practice a long yoga flow. I just committed to daily sitting on my yoga mat and focus on my breathing and being in the present.
What did I do on my mat?
- Set an intention – To appreciate every moment, every breath and every movement.
- Made my every movement an offering – Whether it was joining hands, opening my hips, opening my shoulders and back, opening my heart chakra. In every pose, I allowed myself to inspire feelings of being loved and cared for.
- Count my blessings with every breath – With every inhale I offered a mental thank you to everyone and everything. In life. With every exhale I would let go of the negative thoughts from my mind and negative energy from my body.
- Thanking Myself – Before getting off the mat, I took time to thank myself and everyone around me who made it possible for me to practice.
Why should you practice Gratitude?
“When we see that in our life, we have received far more than what we deserve or are capable of, then gratitude dawns in us. We become thankful, complaints disappear and abundance grows. A person who is grateful never experiences a lack of anything. When gratitude in you stays, that very gratitude flows out of you as grace.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Numerous research studies confirm the countless benefits of practising “Gratitude Therapy” in every area of an individual’s health and well-being. According to Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on Gratitude calls it an essential part of the process of healing from trauma.
“I think gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life” he says.
How can you practice Gratitude?
Commit yourself to a daily gratitude practice for a month and notice how it affects your well-being. Consider the below list as a menu card. Use it as a set menu or an à la carte menu. Just remember consistency and commitment is the key!
Decide on the practice you are going to follow before you begin your Gratitude Therapy.
- Start a gratitude journal – It need not be a fancy one. A simple notebook or even your laptop will do. All you have to do is to sit down for a few minutes every day (bonus if you set a time of the day for it) and start writing down all the things you are grateful for
- Start a Yoga Practice – Begin a yoga practise with a yoga coach to guide your practice. Yoga helps you to slow down, to open and move your body in a way so that you can connect to the present moment. This awareness of the present moment ignites the feeling of gratitude.
- Practice Gratitude Meditation –
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Sit comfortably in a seated position with your spine straight and eyes gently closed.
- Gently bring your awareness to your breath. Notice how it flows in and out of your body.
- Once you develop awareness with your breath, identify one person/ thing you are grateful for. Take your time to visualise the person/thing.
- Experience the person/thing with all your senses, and reflect on what about them makes you feel grateful.
- Notice how this person/ thing makes you feel.
- Once the timer goes off, take a deep inhale and a deep exhale and slowly come back to the room.
- Mealtime Thank you – As you sit to eat your meal, offer a mental thank you to everyone who contributed to the food on your plate. This could also be an activity to do together as a family.
- Morning Ritual – Every morning let your family members know how much you love them and are appreciate all the things they do for you. (If you do not stay with them, drop them a text message).
Come, let’s take a pause and offer Gratitude!
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