“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. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Yoga practitioners share a common bond. It might sometimes seem limited to the brand of chai we drink, the mats we buy, the devotional music we do or don’t like—even the style of yoga pants we insist on wearing. But, at best, a strong sense of community—and a feeling of gratitude for the teachings—inspires and empowers yoga practitioners and teachers throughout the world to come together and make things happen.
This week is typically when family and friends gather together to give thanks and to share their abundance—of love, time, and food—with one another. So how best to do that? Here are three ways we’ve come up with at Yoga International.
Practice asteya or non-stealing, the third yama from the Yoga Sutra. How does not stealing from someone teach us how to show gratitude? Glad you asked. Irena Petryszak has some thoughts on the subject here.
Practice mindful eating. Before digging into your next big meal, spend 15 seconds doing nothing. Simply pause, close your eyes, and take a few full breaths. This not only helps you overcome the urge to eat everything in sight—it’s Thanksgiving dinner after all—but it also helps connect you to the source of your food—from the seeds in the ground to the farmer who planted them; from the sun and rain and loving care that helped them grow to the folks who harvested the fruits, veggies, and grains on your plate.
Spread the love. Don’t forget those whose lives have been ravaged by the early winter storms this year. Volunteer—by yourself or encourage your yoga community to join you—to serve community meals, gather much needed supplies, or raise money to help these communities and families get back on their feet.
Feel the blessings. To be able to eat, laugh, and spend time in the company of friends new and old—that’s where magic happens. That’s what yoga’s really all about.
Dakota Sexton – Yoga Journal International