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Start your Thanksgiving day with eight yoga poses that inspire gratitude. For the best results, hold each pose for five to ten breaths.
1. Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Urdva Hasta Tadasana)
This welcoming, powerful pose kindles gratitude as you open your heart and stand grounded in receptivity. Feel hopeful and grateful for all your dreams and the unknown adventures of the future that give you a sense of purpose and openness respectively.
2. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
This releases the spine and invokes gratitude as you learn to trust your feet to hold you and allow fresh, oxygen-rich blood to move towards your brain for mental clarity. Allow your worries and negativity from the day to roll down your spine and pour onto the floor, and feel renewed with gratitude for the positivity in your life.
3. Child’s Pose (Shishuasana)
This gentle hip-opener inspires gratitude as you fold forward into yourself, get closer to the earth as if you are putting a gentle kiss of gratefulness on the forehead of mother earth. Bow down and surrender. Let go of things that are not serving you. Find gratitude for your very breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.
4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
This challenging pose inspires gratitude as you practice courage and vulnerability while remaining open. As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.
5. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
This hamstring stretch inspires gratitude as you focus your attention inward. As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.
6. Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This relaxing chest opener softens and opens up your heart chakra and inspires gratitude as you allow the props to support you. Think of a friend, family member or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of being nurtured and loved. Feel the gratitude for yourself and those around you radiating out from your heart center.
7. Knees-to-Chest (Pavanmutasana)
Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are.
8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This “ahhhhh”-inducing pose inspires gratitude as you rest completely and let go of all tension. Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles. Finally feel compassion and gratitude for all beings everywhere, wishing them health, happiness, and ease on their journeys as well.
On this Thanksgiving day, I encourage you reflect on what your yoga practice has done for you over the years. Not only will this get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but it will also give your practice new meaning and purpose.
Celebrate Gratitude for a Month
Studies prove that giving thanks can make you happier, and gratitude increases a sense of well-being by 10%. Try it and find out for yourself!
Starting from Thanksgiving day, maintain a gratitude journal. Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude meditation about 3-10 things you are grateful for, both big and small. Simply jot down the little moments of grace that comes effortlessly into your life. You will be amazed at how these small blessings cultivate a beautiful “just right” abundance of love and joy. Make the whole month about giving thanks, not just one day. And you will see that it will become your lifetime habit.
Finally let us remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. This year find gratitude not only for your blessings but also in the challenges that have shaped who you are today.
By Sejal Shah. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com