November is a time to reflect and be grateful. As yogis, gratitude is naturally integrated with our practice, but how often do we take the time to be grateful for the practice of yoga itself?
We all have the freedom to reflect on our own personal journeys and think about what we’re most grateful for as we continue to grow and develop our practice. Here are a few highlighted aspects of yoga to help spark your sense of gratitude.
Grateful for This Life
The self, or “the ego,” often gets a bad rap for its tendency to inflate its self-esteem or self-importance. But ego isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s very good when it’s balanced with enough self-awareness.
Be grateful for this life that you get to live as a human being, along with a sense of self that allows you to quite literally be the narrator of your own story. As an extension of the Universe in this body that you have, you get to experience what it means to truly love yourself and to grow to your fullest potential by living/becoming your most authentic desires.
Grateful for Learning
Yoga makes us aware that the greatest gifts in life lie on the other side of some of the greatest challenges. We learn by messing up, facing rejection, and failing. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves and about reality.
If yoga taught you to learn to love your flaws, be grateful. If yoga taught you that you’d have to practice consistently for five long years before you could learn to master the advanced poses, be grateful. If yoga taught you that you are not your thoughts, be grateful. Whatever challenges you faced in your practice that taught you big lessons, never forget to be grateful.
Grateful for Connection
Yoga’s emphasis on self-exploration, self-inquiry, and self-growth reveal to us the paradox of our existence. We have a “self,” but on the deepest level we are also everything and everyone. We’re all connected as one.
By developing greater self-love and self-compassion, we also develop more love and compassion for everything and everyone around us, and that’s certainly something to be grateful for. Whether yoga has helped you connect closer to someone in your life or to Mother Nature, that’s something that’s seriously special, because not everyone is conscious enough these days to be aware of how deeply connected they are with everything and everyone around them.
Grateful for Now
The simple stillness of mind is definitely something to be grateful for — especially in today’s fast-paced world where we’re taught that being busy and successful is what we should be constantly striving for. Yoga teaches us to slow down and get out of our minds so that we can see that what really matters is what’s happening in the present moment.
Now is really all we have; everything else is a memory or a projection that exists only in the mind. Take a moment to appreciate how a quieter mind has blended into your everyday life in ways that have helped you stay more grounded and at peace.
Grateful for Wonder
Lastly, yoga has a way of allowing us to get so deeply in touch with ourselves, with others, and with what’s around us in the present moment that it broadens our awareness of the infinite possibilities of what can’t be understood by the human mind or experienced by the five senses. To experience wonder and awe is to really be in touch with the here and now.
We can all be grateful for what we can never know or understand. There’s something remarkably beautiful about the vast mysteriousness of the Universe, and while our naturally human curiosity about it will continue to serve our growth and expansion along with it, feeling appreciative and at peace with uncertainty and inexplicability is just as lovely as trying to understand it — if not more.