Isn’t it Ironic, that the holiday of Thanksgiving, where we express gratitude for all we have, and each other, is followed, just hours later, by Black Friday, which is all about gratification! If we could just hang onto the feeling of gratitude for a while longer, think how much money we could save!
In our everyday lives, it can be difficult to stay content. Studies in positive Psychology show a gratitude practice can enhance your well-being and satisfaction with life, and your relationships with others. Often, at the end of a Yoga class, you’re invited to consider someone, or something that you are grateful for. It’s one of the tenets of Yoga: Santosha, or Contentment. This practice reminds us that we have everything we need, and the practice of repeating that to ourselves, keeps us centered and happy in the abundance of all we have.
You can even Bio Hack your gratitude practice, by imagining your desired outcome like it already happened. For example, if you’re healing from an injury, or perhaps anticipating a surgical procedure, you might think: I’m Grateful for a strong body, and the ability to heal.
“Emotions like gratitude and appreciation open your heart and lift the energy in your body to a new place-… It teaches your body emotionally that the event you’re grateful for has already happened, because we usually give thanks after a desirable event has occurred. -from You Are the Placebo: by Joe Dispenza
So, just like we can make ourselves anxious or angry by re-hashing an argument in our mind, or imagining a scenario that may never happen (aka worry) we can alter the state of our mind to a positive emotional state by bringing to mind something we are thankful for. Notice if you experience a lift in your heart, or a smile, the ultimate sign of an elevated mood😊
Give it a try and report back!
It’s fall here in New England, we’re seeing the last blast of color this week, before the trees release the last of their leaves. I’ve seen some memes on Social Media that say ‘the leaves are about to show us how beautiful it is to let go”, which has a nice ring to it. However, I’m realizing that I don’t like to let things go, and I don’t mean the Marie Kondo type of letting go, that, I’m ok with. It’s the letting go of the things I enjoy doing, my habits, rituals, or if Athleta stop making my favorite style of leggings, without a good replacement option, I’m not ok.
As a creature of habit, I like a predictable schedule, I cling to it. This is something I am sitting with in my Yoga practice lately because my routine changed a few months ago, when my Yoga teacher took some time off. I really miss her presence, and her class. I still get to see my lovely friend and teacher, but not in a teacher, student capacity. It feels super trivial to even consider this a “problem”, I know, I’m so lucky to be in a community packed with amazing teachers, with lots of times available for me to join a group class, and I do. But just like all chocolate chip cookies are good, many are great, gourmet even, there’s something about Grandma’s cookies that make them the best, there’s something about that teacher that’s so special. And, I get that the issue is 100% my inability to let go, and make space.
Turns out, there’s a Yama for that! Aparigraha: Non Possessiveness, also translated as non attachment, or non greed. It’s easy to become attached to things that bring us pleasure. The first cookie was good, so we go for the second and third, seeking that same yummy taste, the pleasure. Aparigraha, invites us to enjoy life, eat the cookie, but stop at one. Be able to let go, enjoy life fully, care deeply, without attachment to an outcome, or attachment to when the next cookie will come along!
This Yama, or Ethical Guideline in the Story of Yoga, asks us to let go, make space and trust that nourishment will come.
That’s where the bananas come in, paraphrased from The Yamas & the Niyamas by Deborah Adele:
There’s an ancient process of capturing monkeys in India, in this process, small cages with narrow bars are made and a banana is placed inside the cage. The monkeys come along, reach inside the cage and grab a banana. Then the monkeys begin the impossible task of trying to pull the banana thru the bars. And here’s the amazing thing- at the moment the monkey catchers come along, the monkeys are completely free! There’s nothing that stops them from getting away when they hear someone coming… except letting go of the banana!
If we can’t let go of the banana, our expectations will keep us captive and we find ourselves disgruntled. And it’s not about never enjoying the banana, it’s realizing when the attachment to that banana is causing us to suffer. So, Yogi’s, I invite you to notice what you’re clinging to, and release your bananas. Trust yourself, let go. Your cage is not locked!
In the Spring, I did participated in Lisa’s Cleanse, and have just signed up for the Fall Cleanse, so scroll down for the link should you want to join also! What I really like about this program, is the focus on mindfulness, and how good it feels to fuel ourselves with the right food, and the slow elimination of the foods and habits that are not serving us. I’ve maintained a lot of the habits from the last cleanse, but my sugar intake is a little out of control, hello Pumpkin Lattes and Apple Crisp!
Here’s the scoop:
If you want to lighten, brighten, and set yourself up for a healthy fall and winter, treat yourself to the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse! This program will help you achieve your wellness goals and then some with delicious food, the best self care, and awesome support. You get 28 days of inspirational daily emails, a comprehensive eBook, loads of delicious cleansing recipes, a conference call, membership in the private Facebook group, videos, recordings, and tools for transformation! $150 – well spent. To learn more or register, go to www.urcleansing.com/cleanse/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
September is a return to routines, whether you’re a student, a parent, a teacher, or none of the above! The air gets crisp and the days get shorter, it’s great walking weather, and always good yoga weather, right?
It’s also a as good a time as any to fall into a good book. In the summer, I like a good story, my 2 faves this summer were Pachinco and Where the Crawdads Sing. Moving into the fall, I’m working my way through You are the Placebo, by Dr. Joe Dispenza. So many of my lovely Yoga Teacher friends have recommended this one to me, and it is a super interesting read about the power of mind over matter. It’s reignited my interest in meditation, and the power of slowing down and taking 10 minutes to examine your thoughts, and if those thoughts are serving you.
Any other good reads I should add to my list?
Fall Class Schedule: Monday and Wednesday 930-1030 at Millworks, and Saturday Mornings from 9-10am.
Hour of Power Thursday night @ RCY Acton, 8-9pm.
Hope you see you on the mat and stay tuned for an upcoming Beginners Yoga Series, coming soon!