If we wait only for the days when we are feeling 100%, we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to flex our “gratitude muscles”.
Yoga has changed, not only since its establishment a few thousands years ago, but also in the last five years. From social media to athleisure wear as everyday wear, yoga is shifting in the same way we all are.
Does it really matter if we do a physical practice? The roots of yoga and ancient Sanskrit texts from the early days of the practice would say no. You can call yourself a yogi or a yogini merely by the presence and mindfulness you bring to any moment of your life.
Yoga is sometimes translated as “union”. We all have different aspects of ourselves that we unify to beautifully form our complex uniqueness. For example, is there a part of you that loves hanging out with your friends, but another part that equally loves a night in? Do you enjoy the feeling of getting up early on some days, but relish extra hours in bed on the others? Does a yoga practice feel empowering in its sweaty glory on Wednesday, but by Friday all you really want is the final relaxation pose?
Yoga says, be as you are. Listen to what is, and be grateful for all of it.
If we wait only for the days when we are feeling 100%, we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to flex our “gratitude muscles”. Yoga has more modifications than poses, so we shouldn’t limit ourselves on days when we’re not feeling our best.
When your back hurts, you can do poses for back care and appreciate the sweet relief that follows, due to your nourishing self-care. When you are feeling grumpy, set aside ten minutes and lay back on a bolster, and take note of how quickly transformative rest can be. When you need a shot of energy, a small backbend can energize you even more than a trip to the vending machine or the mall.
A wonderful meditation to bring you into the moment of now is a very simple one. Start by sitting down or lying down, then inhale and think to yourself: “Breathing in, I see myself as…” At this point insert your truth. You can even be disorganized, disheveled, or discontent. Then exhale and think to yourself, “Breathing out, I am…” and let the truth of who you are shine forth. It can be as simple as saying your name softly. You might feel at peace by exclaiming, “I am.” Meditations like this make us aware that our moods and thoughts are transitory. Gratitude is not just a way of being, ultimately it is who we are.
Whether you are doing gymnastic forms of yoga or acquiring a PhD in lying on the floor, your yoga practice is up to you. You know you are doing yoga when you are connected with your body, and while you’re looking beneath the surface. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Yoga can help us to see the latter perspective while becoming gratitude, rather than having it.