November rolled in with quite the chill this past weekend, and I for one am ready for the cold weather. I’ve got my eyes peeled for that first time the snowflakes start spitting from the sky and dancing down to the ground. For me, it’s one of my happiest fall/winter moments, always bringing a huge smile to my face and filling me with feelings of gratitude and peace.
It’s no surprise November has become the month we hail as a time for thankfulness and gratitude. I’ve come across no less than 20-30 articles on how to incorporate ’30 Days of Gratitude’ into each and every day of this month. From the Glitter Guide version to the numerous results you get by searching on Pinterest, if you’re having trouble with ideas, there’s plenty out there! But what is gratitude really? And what does gratitude mean to you?
In my yoga class yesterday, we were challenged to cultivate gratitude through our practice. With yoga, you move into poses that sometimes need great strength and stamina yet at the same time require you to relax your mind and your heart into the muscles holding you up and keeping you steady. This can leave you feeling quite vulnerable while at the same time liberated and at peace. It’s at this point where you can plant the seeds for love, for trust, for gratitude, appreciating the ground beneath you, the quality of your breath, the movement of your body. During half pigeon, we were asked to count our blessings instead of our breaths. When focused on those things we are thankful for, you forget about any pain or discomfort. You move through that pain to a place of peace.
Great gratitude ultimately comes from a place of humility whether in the yoga studio or in our day-to-day life. In this place, you can begin to notice things you might be taking for granted. Yoga can draw out parts of you that you might not know exist and leave you in a better place, with a better mindset, with the ability to tackle almost anything. The practice is so powerful for the mind, body and soul.
As you move through the month of November, take a moment to find out what gratitude really means to you. How can you incorporate thankfulness into this day…this week…this month…this year?
Instagram It: Positively Present hosts a gratitude photo challenge each November. You are provided a topic each day and challenged to really look at the world around you, having to be a bit more specific on what you are grateful for. It’s one thing to post a photo describing visually what Beauty means to you. It’s another to really dig deep and consider why you are grateful for the visual image you post.
Mindless Ness?: During yoga you are asked to be present, to be mindful of your breath and your body. But in the final yoga pose, in Shavasana, my mind wanders. I try to focus on my breathing, but it’s inevitable I’ll be off following my thoughts down the rabbit hole as they enter my mind . And sometimes I think that’s ok. There’s been plenty of times after Shavasana I’ve come up with an answer to a problem I’ve been trying to solve just letting my mind wander. Creative types out there – it’s ok to zone out.
A Different Kind of Challenge: Not only can you challenge your mind and soul this month, you can also challenge your closet! The Everygirl has challenged us all to stop the spending and try 30 day of wearing the wardrobe you own. Fall in love with your closet again. And for those pieces your heart doesn’t pitter patter for anymore, donate them. Create space in your heart and your closet.