10 Reasons Why We’re Thankful For Yoga
By Cynthia McDermott
The holidays are a time of joy and togetherness, but sometimes in all the hustle and bustle, we lose sight of what we’re actually celebrating. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to reclaim your happiness — gratitude! Cultivating a daily gratitude practice can help tremendously with regaining focus, increasing positivity and reducing stress. In the spirit of our upcoming holiday of gratitude, we offer you 10 reasons why we’re grateful for yoga.
#1. Grateful for union.
The union of body, mind, and spirit is the very essence of yoga. Beyond this personal integration, yoga brings people together to share in the practice of taking care of themselves and each other. The energy that we collectively cultivate in class is so present and powerful, it leads us to be more compassionate with ourselves and with one another.
#2. Grateful for compassion.
We carry that peaceful and compassionate energy that we build in our practice out into the world, and it not only shapes how we treat our friends and loved ones, but also how we interact with our neighbors, strangers, and even enemies. Yoga helps us realize the true profound connection that we all share.
#3. Grateful for acceptance.
Accepting ourselves just as we are is the first step to making the changes we want to make, and yoga provides so many opportunities to practice self-acceptance, by continually checking in with exactly where we are mentally, physically, and emotionally in any given moment, and learning to accept just how it is.
#4. Grateful for the attention to breath.
We tune into our life force when we practice yoga — how amazing is that? Paying attention to the breath benefits us in so many incredible ways. When we breathe deeply and intentionally, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and encourages a sense of calm and relaxation.
#5. Grateful for the power to heal our own bodies.
Our bodies receive endless positive and restorative benefits from asana and meditation practice. Not only do we keep our bones and muscles strong and limber, we also calibrate our circulatory, nervous, vascular, and endocrine systems by linking breath and movement.
#6. Grateful for making healthier choices.
The good feelings we get from practicing yoga often lead us to choose more wisely what we put into our bodies and what we do with our time when we’re not on the mat.
#7. Grateful for coping with stress, anxiety, and depression better.
Tuning into our breath and bodies is a powerful tool we can use to offset the feelings of anxiety and depression that sometimes plague us in life. The practice of noticing and cultivating gratitude can profoundly transform how we perceive our lives, and how we cope with our struggles.
#8. Grateful for the ability to deal with distractions better.
A huge part of practicing yoga and meditation is learning how to maintain focus; to acknowledge distractions but not give in to them, or to return to your focus once you notice it has wavered. When we learn how to conquer our fears and distractions, we can live our lives more fully and happily.
#9. Grateful for constant change.
The world around us is always changing, and so are our yoga practices. We never do a pose in the exact same way, and relating this idea to life is a powerful reminder that every moment is unique, and that we always have a choice.
#10. Grateful for awareness.
Through yoga and meditation, we come to recognize our true divine nature, and that we are all inextricably woven together in the precious and beautiful fabric of life.