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Gratitude Begins with Presence

In the process of preparing to teach my Thanksgiving morning class with a focus on Gratitude, I did what any person would would do…I Googled it.

Google defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I find it’s easy to be grateful for things that make us happy. When we are happy, we are typically practicing a lot of presence because we don’t want whatever is happening to end-we want to “soak it all in.”

It’s harder to find gratitude in the every day. In the little things. Sure there are lots of coffee mugs, yoga teachers and Instagram quotes that tell us to do this, but the actuality of practicing it is much more difficult.

Why is this?

The practice of continual gratitude starts with continual presence. When we are present, open and willing to receive, we can show up with an appreciation and willingness to give thanks in each moment.

How do we become more present? As yoga practitioners, we get on our mats and take time to connect our body, mind, and spirit beyond the distractions of our  lives outside the yoga room. We did that today. But what if you couldn’t make class?

Take a quiet moment and read what I said to the class this morning:

Visualize the support of the earth beneath you working in harmony with the sky above you and the world around you-all conspiring to bring you right here, right now. As you feel this cooperation of the universe working always in your favor, know there is purpose to this moment

and this one.

and this one.

Acknowledge this is you practicing awareness of your connection to all things.

As you inhale, visualize the prana, the life force, that you are taking in from the universe. Feel it’s support, it’s fullness.  And as you exhale know that you are giving something back, contributing something-maybe in this moment you are giving back that energy of presence. This practice of peace. This simple act of mindful breathing contributing to the world in a small, but meaningful way.

Remind yourself that you are grateful to simply be alive to experience this cosmic balance.

With all this in mind set an intention for this day.

Later today, observe your thoughts practicing the art of presence. Remind yourself this is the gift you are giving yourself an effort to be aware to appreciate more and experience gratitude.

Remember that the practice of gratitude begins with the practice of presence, the ability to see the beauty and unmistakable magic in each and every moment. This ability to see life through the lense of gratitude builds as we become more present through the discipline of our yoga practice and our commitment to bring it beyond the mat to our every day lives. Before we know it, we are seeing the abundance that has always been there for us. And we are more alive for our ability to recognize, experience and appreciate it.