In times of uncertainty, it can be hard to find things to be grateful for. Luckily, yoga is a great way for us to deepen our connection to ourselves as well as make time for gratitude.
Today, we’re #HereForYou with Jessica – a yogi and author. She’ll lead you through an enlightening yoga session that’s also an impressive exercise in gratitude.
Begin your journey and find gratitude through yoga!
Bringing Gratitude to the Mat
Although it’s tough to practice gratitude during these difficult times, we still have plenty to be grateful for. In fact, gratitude is quite possibly more powerful when it’s harder to do.
Bringing gratitude to the mat allows you to find it while you connect with yourself. You’ll leave this yoga session feeling refreshed and enlivened.
Starting Off with Shavasana
Begin your session with Shavasana. Lay flat on your back and feel your weight. Be conscious of the Earth below you and ground yourself to it.
Take a moment and notice your breath. Be aware of each inhale and every exhale. The breath is such an automatic process that it’s often overlooked. Along with the breath, the heart pumps, neurons fire, and blood circulates. All of these life-sustaining processes are usually taken for granted.
Here’s your first opportunity for gratitude. Be aware of all of the systems that must work together in order to facilitate that breath. Be grateful for your body and your ability to take these breaths.
Continue breathing deeply and consciously. As you inhale, think of something you’re grateful for. As you exhale, expel anything that no longer serves you. Do this a few times.
Bend your knees and bring your heels closer to your body. Slowly open your eyes and relax any areas of lingering tension. Bring your knees to your chest, wrap your arms around them, and hold.
Breathe as you ease your grip and roll over onto your side. Feel the Earth beneath the palm of your hand, and move into a seated position.
From a Forward Fold to Standing Position
Transition out of your seated position into a forward fold — you may bend your knees as much as you’d like. Cradle your elbows and sway side-to-side as you come into Ragdoll. Let gravity take control and drop your upper body down toward the floor.
When you’re ready, roll up into a standing position. With your arms at your side and palms extended, lengthen your arms and reach out with your fingertips feeling your spine.
Inhale and bring your hands above your head. Bring your hands down, maybe grazing the third eye — on your forehead — into your heart’s center.
Exhale and drop down into a forward fold. Bring your feet back and take up a plank position. Slowly exhale — bending your elbows — and bring yourself all the way down to your mat.
Rest your forehead and the tops of your feet on the mat. Breathe and release. Now, bring your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees as you come into a tabletop position.
Dropping into Cat Cows
From your tabletop position, drop your belly while lifting your head and heart as you come into a cat cow. Exhale, push down into the matt, and arch your back. Do this a few times.
Bring yourself up into a downward-facing dog. Bend your knees, and take this opportunity to make any movements you’d like or enjoy your stillness.
Step forward into a halfway lift, bring your arms above your head and straighten, and come back down into a forward fold.
Drop down into plank pose. Exhale, rock forward, and come down into Chaturanga. Flip your toes, lift your thighs, and push into upward-facing dog. Exhale into downward-facing dog and breathe.
Take this time to reflect on your blessings. Find gratitude in being able to move your body in this way.
Coming Up into Warrior Pose
Inhale and lift your right leg up to the sky. Bring your right knee forward and step outside your elbow. Drop your left knee down behind you. Do this a few times.
Now, bring your left foot forward and drop into a Mālāsana squat. Use this time to fall into your hips and lift your shoulders. Continue to feel your breath and your heartbeat while you do this.
Extend up into a chair pose. This pose is a difficult one. What can you be grateful for here? The burning sensation in your legs? The bit of anxiety in your mind? Or simply just that you can move your body in this way?
Bring your right foot up along your leg and place it flat against anywhere but your knee. As you move into your tree pose, you may bring your hands to your heart or extend them above your head.
Step back for a lunge and switch your feet — either with a step or a jump. From here, spiral up into Warrior II with your right knee over your right ankle. Extend both arms and gaze out from your front hand.
Here you’ll drop into downward-facing dog. Bring your left knee forward and outside your left arm, and repeat the poses you just did on your opposite side.
As your practice winds down, you’ll relax into child’s pose and breathe. Then, drop into pigeon pose and finally come back into Shavasana.
Bring Gratitude Away from the Mat
Yoga is an excellent way to connect with yourself and discover what you’re truly grateful for. It’s especially powerful during these difficult times.
Take this gratitude with you as you leave the mat and stay appreciative of all that you still have and are able to do.
Stay tuned for more #HereForYou tips from the Shapermint family.