Embody Gratitude

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Embody Gratitude

You’ve heard the phrase “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses?”  Like most sayings, it exists because there is truth in it.  Each of us views the world through our own custom glasses.  Imagine yours – are they funky and colorful, or drab and monotone?  Take a minute to slip them on.  Notice the lenses.  It would be great if they were crisp, clear lenses that allowed you to see clearly, both close up and far away, but that’s generally not that case.  Imagine that the lenses in your glasses started out with a hint of color and some scratches from hurts and old beliefs you’ve brought into this life.  Then imagine that each new belief you’ve added to your mental library has skewed the color a bit more and each trauma you’ve experienced has added a scratch or two.  By this point, your glasses provide you a pretty distorted view of what is actually happening in your world.

To truly embody something, you must not only understand it mentally, but it must deeply resonate within you and be part of the lens through which you see the world.  It must be something so ingrained that you are unaware of its existence – it’s simply who you are.  And it can’t compete with any existing hues or scratches on your internal set of lenses – anything that conflicts with it must be healed/resolved or at least reconciled so the two can co-exist.

So when we consider what it means to embody gratitude, it may require you to truly look within yourself to understand any/all obstacles that keep you from doing so.  Do you come from a place of scarcity and competition, always feeling you do not have enough?  Are you holding on to anger regarding people or situations?  Have past traumas left painful imprints?  Do you have body image issues?  If the thought of cultivating a heartfelt feeling of gratitude just doesn’t seem possible, start with some personal reflection.  Also know that using the intention to have a grateful heart, which is embedded in this month’s daily and weekly meditations, will assist you in working through any issues that may be standing in your way.

To embody gratitude is to deeply recognize the beauty and gifts in the world, even in the midst of difficulty.  It’s to see the good in all things, first and foremost, and to come from a place of love when dealing with tough situations.  Just the ability to feel gratitude is a gift, as it usually brings joy and peace along with it.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

This month, set an intention to do the following:

Take 3-5 minutes each morning to sit and breathe before you start the day.  Inhale from your navel to your nose, like you are filling a pitcher with water.  Exhale from your nose to your navel, feeling the rolling motion as the breath leaves the body.  Let your breath be slow and easy.  As you breathe, contemplate at least 5 things for which you are grateful.  Notice the warm feeling that comes with this exercise and cultivate it with each inhale, breathing in light and love.  With each exhale, let go of negative thoughts, stale emotions, and stuck energy.   Continue until you feel a lightness about you, as though there is more space in your body than mass.  Resolve to maintain this feeling of gratitude as you go through your day, seeing events and interactions through a lens of gratitude.  At first, it may be ‘faking it until you make it,’ but with ongoing practice, you will start to see your perspective change and you will truly start to embody gratitude.

Listen to your short yoga nidra recording every other day

Listen to your long yoga nidra recording once a week

You will likely be doing other wonderful yoga related work  – going to studio classes, doing the asana practices provided at home, reading the blog posts – but let the list above be your minimum baseline.

Relax and enjoy your daily 23 minute May yoga nidra recording.  This meditation focuses on gratitude.  Ensure you are comfortable and ready before starting the recording.  Enjoy!

Start Meditation

Relax and enjoy your weekly ‘Embodying Gratitude’ yoga nidra recording.  This 32:30 minute meditation is focused on infusing you with gratitude.

You will be prompted to hold your breath during this meditation.  If you, for any medical reason, should not hold your breath or create undue pressure within your head, breathe normally during these sections.

 

Start Meditation

This recorded yoga nidra meditation is specifically designed for bedtime.  Listen to it as you lie in bed and begin the process of falling asleep.  Because this meditation is intended to drop you into a relaxed state and leave you there, there is no final section (body awakening and final return to awareness).  Note that there are two versions of this meditation: one with ambient music and one without.  Nighty Nite!

You will be prompted to hold your breath during this meditation.  If you, for any medical reason, should not hold your breath or create undue pressure within your head, breathe normally during these sections.

Start Meditation

 

Bonus Meditation – Enjoy!

Start Meditation

Reminder: Any poses or breath techniques I cue in an asana practice are merely suggestions.  Your body and your doctor know more than I do, so only do what makes sense and is recommended for you.

Your first asana practice warms up the body with bends, twists and lateral stretches.   This practice is 20 minutes long and is intended to ready the body for yoga nidra meditation.

Props:  Mat & an optional block.  Have a blanket, bolster and eye pillow ready if you will be meditating after the practice.

Your second asana practice is a slow flow that expands on the pose set included in the short gratitude practice.  This practice is 65 minutes long.  Remember to enjoy a 10 – 15 minute savasana when its done, or listen to a guided yoga nidra meditation.  Note: there were audio issues with the last 2 minutes of the video, so I replaced the audio with voice narration.  Don’t be alarmed if there are lip sync issues :).

Props:  Mat, 2 blocks and a blanket.  Have a blanket, bolster and eye pillow ready if you will be meditating after your practice.

 

Start Practice 1

Start Practice 2

Fill a bowl with a mix of healing crystals and other talismans that will help you cultivate the feeling of gratitude.  You might include rose quartz, a heart stone known for fostering unconditional love, peace and contentment.  Perhaps pietersite, a stone that fosters appreciation for the earth.  Perhaps larimar, which is very calming and brings an appreciation for the beauty in life.  Consider including your birthstone, which reminds each of us to appreciate that we are alive on this beautiful planet, or another stone that is significant to you in some way.  Take a trip to Pema Dawa, if you live in Crested Butte, or to your local crystal store, and enjoy looking for a few crystals that help YOU cultivate gratitude.  Add in any other talismans that resonate with you as well.  Place your bowl in a special place where you can see and enjoy it every day.

This month’s yoga journal has a lovely article on several crystals that will help you cultivate various types of energy, plus instructions on cleansing crystals: Yoga Journal, May 2018 edition, page 34.

For those of you who enjoy essential oils, there is a nice write-up regarding a gratitude-specific blend on this page: http://www.theoildropper.com/gratitude-essential-oil/

bowl of stones

 

Eggs and Feathers on wood
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