As we head into this final season of the year, especially this year, it’s time to reflect upon what really matters in this life and all that we have to be grateful for. By definition, thanksgiving means: the act of giving thanks and expressing deep gratitude for all that is good. Thanksgiving Day is set aside for this act, but cultivating gratefulness is a practice that benefits us year round. Practicing gratitude will help you focus on the positive things in your life, clearing your head and heart to be present with yourself and your loved ones. It has been proven that giving thanks can make you happier. Recalling a “feel good” moment from your past, recognizing a blessing in the present, and dreaming of a positive future, while offering thanks allows you to live a healthy and well balanced life.
Spend some time on your mat this week and incorporate these yoga poses to offer up some thanksgiving and feel that sense of gratefulness throughout your entire being. Hold each pose for about 10 breaths before moving on to another.
10 Yoga Poses to offer Thanksgiving
1. Child’s Pose
Could there be a more tried and true yoga pose? This one is so simple, yet carries so much meaning. It’s often the way a yoga class is started, and that is intentional. We bow forward offering thanks, whether that be to our higher power, or just to ourselves for getting to our mat. With a traditional variation we bring our arms by our side and hands back to cup our heels, really turning inward. It is here that we can listen to our breath and begin to focus on all that is good.
Seated Forward Fold
2. Seated Forward Fold
Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, reach your arms high and stretch upward as you then fold forward, again bowing down in gratitude. With every inhale, extend the spine and every exhale, bend deeper. Holding here, acknowledge what your breath and body give to you.
Mountain Pose with Raised Arms
3. Mountain Pose with Raised Arms
Come to a standing position near the top of your mat. Take a moment to feel an even balance in the body. Weight is distributed evenly between each foot. Roll the shoulders up and down drawing the chin back. Then, lift the arms up in thanksgiving turning the palms toward the sky.
Low Lunge with a Back Bend
4. Low Lunge with a Back Bend
From Mountain Pose, step back with one leg into a low lunge. Feel free to stay on the ball of the back foot, or drop the knee for more stability. Raise the arms up overhead, then bend at the elbows to come into a cactus arm variation as you take a slight backbend opening your heart to release gratitude out to the Universe. Step into a forward fold after 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
5. Humble Warrior
Step back into Warrior 1 from Mountain Pose. Clasp the hands behind your back to open your chest. Then, bow forward towards the inside of your front leg. Keeping your hands clasped together and either allowing the arms to extend up behind you, or soften the arms, releasing your hands from one another to rest on your low back.
6. Reverse Warrior
From Humble Warrior, rise up, release your hands, letting arms raise up to find Warrior. Flip your front palm and tilt back letting your back arm rest along your back leg. Lift
your gaze up towards your hand. After 10 breaths, step into Mountain Pose. Repeat Humble Warrior and Reverse Warrior on the other side.
7. Camel Pose
Thanksgiving poses are all about opening the heart and folding forward. Kneel down on your mat, but stay tall on your knees. Making fists with your hands place them at your low back, elbow pointing behind you. Lean back to open your heart.
Knees To Chest
8. Knees to Chest
Come to lie on your back. Hug your knees in towards your chest as you wrap your arms around your shins thanking yourself for taking this time. Rock and roll a bit, or just hold still.
Reclined Bound Angle
9. Reclined Bound Angle
Release your legs and let feet come to touch in a butterfly position. Bring one hand to your heart, and one to your belly. Breathe. Once again, giving thanks for the life that is within you as you feel your heartbeat and your belly rise and fall with each breath.
Of course, Savasana. Always our favorite friend. Savasana is really all about being still and in the moment. There are different variations on this theme giving you the chance to choose what is right for you. Lying on your back with palms up offers thanksgiving. Taking a belly down approach repeats the bowing down action. For a deeper heart opening, place blocks or a bolster underneath your back and head to open your chest.
Breathe and relish in all you have to be grateful for.
- In addition to practicing gratitude on your mat, they are other ways to show your gratefulness.
- A gratitude journal where you can list 3 things each day for which you are grateful
- Send a message, virtually or hand written, to someone expressing how thankful you are for them or their acts of kindness
- Do something nice for someone who has done something nice for you
- Pay it forward- Do something nice for a stranger who will hopefully keep the chain going
- Look for things to be grateful for in times of stress and sadness
We, at Inspiring Actions, are eternally grateful for our students and instructors. Join us for a Gratitude Practice on Thanksgiving day, November 26th, 8:30-9:45am. This class will be held both in person at our Hudson studio and Virtually via our Facebook group. Click here to register and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or help registering.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a
house into a home, a stranger into a friend. – Melody Beattie.