Practicing Gratitude


November 2007
By Heather Eilering

As I sit in mediation at the beginning of my Sadhana (personal yoga practice) the question, “What is gratitude?” pops into my mind. Quite frequently I find myself rushing to get everything done before the holidays and during the actual holiday, and forget to sit and reflect on what I am celebrating. Food to prepare, houses to clean, gifts to purchase… the list goes on and on.

My yoga practice reminds me of the true meaning behind all holidays, that is Union. Experiencing union while I shop for gifts, clean my house, prepare the meal, and bicker with my family! So as I sit and use the breath to help calm my mind and draw me deeper into stillness I set an intention to express gratitude throughout my practice and extend it into each day. My mind calms, my breath slows down, and I feel every nerve and cell in my body dancing in celebration of this calm, still state I am experiencing. I find myself enjoying these sensations but am quickly reminded that yoga is not about choosing for or against anything. It’s about experiencing the unity of everything.

So, I sit and allow the sensations to be as they are. Soon, I find myself flowing into different yoga postures. Sometimes I catch my mind telling me what a great Dancing Shiva I am holding, and then am reminded that good is only referenced to bad. So, once again what is gratitude if it is referenced to it’s opposite? I continue on with my practice and find myself struggling with half moon and am reminded to release my internal struggle so as to relax and fully experience what I am presently doing.

As I lay on my back in shavasana I realize that true gratitude comes from being grateful for each moment, each pose done “perfectly”, each moment I “struggle” in a pose. That when I express gratitude to every part of my practice; I am not dividing, I am not choosing for or against, I am experiencing unity with each and every moment. I thank the universe for sharing this experience with me and then I thank myself for being open to hearing the answer. I wish you all to choose a Thanksgiving and Holiday season filled with gratitude and meaning however it shows up for you.

Jai Bhagwan,

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