Autumn is a fabulous time to think about gratitude. The weather is changing, nature is gorgeous, plants are blooming, so much is happening! Not to mention we’ve got the holiday season to remind us how much we have to be grateful for. For this Thanksgiving week, Erin and some of our Bad Yogi Blog contributors have weighed in on the topic of gratitude.
It goes without saying that I’m incredibly grateful for my family and dear friends, but I want to honor my Bad Yogi Family by highlighting my gratitude for them. Every day that I wake up and sit down at my desk, I go to work for them. Every blog, free class, every silly Facebook post, each new yoga program, every future plan— everything I do is for this incredible community, and not only have they given me purpose, but they’ve given me an extended family that I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of. Every day I make a point to write down a few things I’m grateful for, no matter how simple or basic. It’s not an innovative idea, but it forces me to put things into perspective when I’m stressed or the news is weighing heavily on me.
For me, gratitude is a daily reminder of how much I have been gifted and how I can contribute to this world. I truly believe that each of us was placed on this earth with a specific purpose: it could be something as small as being a good friend to those in your life, or something as big as becoming the next president. There are people with so much less than I have. When I am grateful, I remember all the paths I have taken to get to where I am. I remember how those in my life have shaped me. I am thankful for every experience I have ever had, with no resentment or anger, that has molded me. Gratitude is a daily practice.
My gratitude starts with my health. I’m so thankful for a body that works, adapts, grows, changes, and reflects what I do with it. I’m thankful for yoga and sports and physical activity of all kinds, because they’ve shown me what this magnificent body is capable of.
Every morning I sit down and take a few silent moments to myself to reflect on where I am and where I once was. I notice the things I have now that I once hoped and prayed for. In these moments of reflection I am able to recognize just how abundant my life is in the present moment and how powerful perception can be in our life when we tune it to the right channel. I then go on with my day, every day knowing I’m fully supported and taken care of always and no matter what things may appear to be at first glance, they always turn into what I need them to be!
I am thankful for being blessed with such a strong, independent and unique mother, who always gave me the freedom to explore my own individuality. Throughout my life, she has continuously inspired and motivated me to be the best version of myself by constantly striving to be the best version of herself. I consider her to be not only my mother, but my soulmate, sister, best friend and confidant.
As a newbie yogi, I’m thankful for the benefits of my yoga practice, which just seem to pop up out of nowhere. Here’s one case in point: my hobby of playing the drums. I’m a 40-something soccer dad/rocker dad and I play with various garage-rock bands made up of other oldsters like myself. The last few years, I’d gotten “stuck” in my playing … it didn’t seem to matter how much I practiced my drums, I never seemed to get any better. This spring, I took up yoga and not long after, one of my bands was booked to play a gig. In the rehearsals and at the actual show, my playing felt smoother, more relaxed, more natural. My wife came to the gig and told me afterward, “Usually your sitting posture is awful and you don’t seem very confident back there. But you sat up straight, you played well … I think it’s got to be the YOGA!” (My wife has never been wrong.) So, I’m grateful that getting into a rhythm on my yoga mat has led me to more enjoyment behind my drum kit!
I’m grateful for a lot of things…a fantastic husband and kid, a supportive family, incredible friends, a really awesome job…but this year in particular I’ve been really focused on gratitude for my health. For anyone who knows me, that probably seems counter-intuitive, since I’ve had a lot of health issues this year. But that’s just the thing. I’m grateful for being in a situation where those issues didn’t totally take me down, and for a body that keeps on fighting. I’m grateful for the opportunity to use yoga and meditation to help my mind and body heal, and for my Camp Gladiator teammates that keep me accountable to putting myself first.
Right now, I am grateful for the crossroads we come across in life that force us to make tough decisions and lean on our support systems. I am also grateful for that support system who, no matter how far away, always comes forward to lend an ear and a hug (even if it’s virtual). I work on a college campus and rather than listening to music or looking at my phone, I try to express gratitude toward the sights and sounds around me. How lucky I am to work in such a beautiful place! I am grateful for yoga because it provides me space to reflect on tough decisions, challenge myself both physically and mentally, and ground myself in the present.
The only way to truly live and experience all that life has to offer is through gratitude. The month of November is a great reminder but we must practice gratitude every day. This can be done so simply. Imagine if everyday you woke up with the realization that the day is a gift. You did nothing to earn it, but it has been given to you, for reasons we can not understand. All of the good, the bad, and the in between has been presented in front of you and the day you are experiencing is one of a kind, unique, and will never happen again. Say thank you.
Over the past year, I have been face to face with a lot of change. A lot of this change has not been easy to swallow, but above all else, I am thankful for each and every moment of change. When my husband and I got married last year I vowed to step up to what makes me the most uncomfortable, embrace the changes, and surprise myself (and my husband) by the actions I take. We moved to a new state which ultimately spurred the cycle of changes. I dedicated much of my time to learning, becoming certified as a paralegal, counselor for victims of domestic violence, and as a yoga instructor. I started my own yoga business, started writing my first book, and was promoted at my full-time job in an engineering firm. We have also been faced with family moving away and illnesses that struck our hearts and our lives like a brick wall. Instead of viewing all of these changes as challenges, I have been redirecting my thoughts and view each moment as an opportunity. I am so thankful for all the opportunities my husband and I have been blessed with this year! Although some of these opportunities spur harsher emotions than others, they are still are chance to spread as much love and positivity as we can!
When life gets difficult, it can be hard to see all the beautiful things we have to be grateful for. A while ago I made an effort to bring about positivity in my life by doing a gratitude journal, and by receiving daily motivational texts. Now it’s second nature for me to look for beauty in my life every day, and yoga nurtures this. When I practice yoga I am centered, which allows me to see all the wonderful things in my life for which I am grateful.
How about you, yogis? What are you grateful for? How does gratitude show up in your life? Tell us below!