I end all of my yoga classes with the same phrase-
"thank the body for its ability to move in this way".
Sometimes we need to remember the simplest parts of life we are grateful for. For me, that is when I remember that my body has the ability to move and that I love to be able to teach classes that move my body. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and even more.
This year has brought us many things to be grateful for. The simplicity of being alive, precious time spent with friends and family, being at home and enjoying your space, being more connected to the body and mind, projects you may have started, working on new goals; the list goes on.
At times I have felt confused about being grateful because I have focused on the things that may have been lost or time that has passed us by because we haven't had opportunity to do more. But then I urge myself to take a shift in focus to the things I am grateful for. To be thankful for the prospect of change and the future and that things can always get better. I am thankful for my health, my mental health, my home, my body's ability to move in the ways I want it to, to be surrounded by love, by friends and family; my awareness to do better and be greater. All of these we can be grateful for.
In yoga, we are taught a practice of non attachment or Aparigraha. Aparigraha is one of the Yamas in Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. Yamas are a way of living, like moral guidelines. I am learning that to be grateful means to be less attached to my expectations of the way things should be. I don't have to have the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect body, or even simply the perfection of a yoga pose. Clinging to what we have takes away our truest self and our genuine transition into being enlightened. Really, this expectation involves an addiction to more; to needing more in life and never being satisfied. Our society is absorbed in consumerism and we are somewhat conditioned to this craving of more. I am guilty of this often. A close friend reminded me of an intriguing challenge to have a no spend month. This year I am choosing the month of September and I plan to do this each year. The challenge reminds you to only spend money on gas and food. The two realistic things we need in order to live and work. Other than that, most other objects are unnecessary.
~The root of suffering is attachment~
There is a sense of contentment when we need less. At times I have felt a challenge with being content because I often correlate that with having less ambition. This is part of my personality and something I must work on often; to remind myself that sometimes slowing down can be just as important as giving my all. Contentment doesn't have to equate to non ambition but rather means not needing the satisfaction from a milestone...I need this job, now this promotion, now the house, a bigger house, a partner, a partner everyone else sees as perfect, next-kids, not just one but two...these expectations we put on ourselves are not only exhausting but most of the time unrealistic.
Practice allowing yourself to become unattached, to see the smaller parts of life that are fulfilling in the purest ways. This is how we become grateful for the life we have right now.
We can free ourselves from the suffering of wanting more.
This also works on our ego. The ego plays a big role in our life and how we perceive others or how we hope they perceive us. Our ego can maintain an expectation on ourselves that is not usually authentic. The ego drives disingenuous qualities and the world today makes this more difficult, especially for women. Our social media creates an environment where we are constantly comparing and therefore craving more even when that may not be what we truly care about achieving. The age of social standing has evolved into so much more than classes. We have a constant measuring scale staring in our faces and we tend to take it way too seriously. The reality is most of what we see from others is probably not happening in the real world. I have done this many times and when I notice I am comparing to another's life I try to take a moment and remember we are all on our own path.
This also brings up a great topic around being grateful towards others too. Because we often compare our lives and ego can take over our perception of others we can revert into forgetting to be happy for another's achievement or success. Again, something I am guilty of. Especially for women, we have times where we forget to lift other women up and be grateful for their happiness and instead respond with ego driven jealousy. Lets all stand for each other in support and love.
To be grateful is to stand with compassion, support, love, and to remove attachment expectations for yourself and others.
Mantras to remember for gratitude and non attachment:
~Be with what is~
~I have love in my life and I am capable of love~
~I release attachment to anything that does not serve my highest self~
~I am here, I am free within me~
Join me in no purchase month! Join in the challenge to remove materials and live a little more simply. (Purchase as you see fit for your lifestyle needs-of course these requirements are different for everyone). Once you complete a month maybe spread the word to a friend and challenge them!
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Yoga Instructor at Light On Yoga Fitness
Health and Wellness Advocate