4 Yoga Poses for Gratitude

This short sequence includes 4 yoga poses for gratitude to help you appreciate yourself and your blessings!

As we wind down the year, it’s a great time to reflect on the things we are grateful for in our lives. In fact, scientists have found that gratitude has a number of benefits for our physical and mental health.

For instance, grateful people are more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and visit the doctor regularly. According to research, they also report feeling less pain and having better sleep, and are less likely to suffer from disease.

Gratitude also helps us cope with stress and adversity. People who are grateful are more resilient and have an easier time recovering from trauma. They also tend to be more optimistic and have a more positive outlook on life, and they also tend to be more charitable towards others.

There are many things we can do to help us focus on the things we are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can be very helpful, as can meditation.

But did you know that your yoga practice may also help you find gratitude in your daily life – both on and off your mat? According to this article,

Cultivating a sense of gratitude extends beyond external expression, more than saying “thank you, I appreciate you.” The embodiment of gratitude allows us to become present to the abundance and beauty that not only surrounds us but is within us.

Since yoga excels at helping you focus on the present moment, it’s no wonder that it can be a great addition to your daily gratitude practice.

Here are 4 wonderful yoga poses to help you tune into all that you have to be grateful for!

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Follow the instructions here to move into Child’s Pose, then begin to extend your arms forward.

In this variation of Child’s pose, let the backs of your hands rest on the earth and your palms face up, then connect your pinky fingers as if you are creating a bowl with your hands. Letting this gesture with your hands be a way of offering your practice to your highest self. An expression of gratitude for arriving here today.

Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana 2)

From Child’s pose, bring yourself forward back into a tabletop position. Curl your toes under and lift the hips towards the sky to come into Downward-Facing Dog. Take a few breaths here to arrive, deep inhales through the nose and steady exhales through the nose. You might find movement through pedaling your feet if that feels good or hold in stillness for a few breaths.

When you’re ready, bring your right foot forward towards your right thumb. Connect your left heel to the mat behind you and cartwheel your arms up into a T position to land in Warrior 2. Allow your shoulders to stack over your hips and wrists to be loosely over your ankles. To bring in a sense of surrender and a sense of gratitude here, allow your palms to face up once again. Notice if the shoulders get a little bit softer or if any tension you were holding on to begins to dissolve.

Where can you express gratitude for yourself in this shape?

Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana)

Keep the same stance with your legs from your Warrior 2 shape. Guide your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers. From there, with an inhale, press your hands gently towards the earth and feel your heart lifting towards the sky. As you’re ready to exhale surrender your head and your heart towards the inner right leg, bowing forward into your Humble Warrior…

Can you remain in a space of curiosity about how the body communicates with you? Tap into a space of gratitude for all of the wisdom within and all of the ways the body sends messages to you.

When you’re ready, begin to make your way out of this shape and switch sides. Start by drawing your left foot forward to land in Warrior 2. From there move towards Humble Warrior and find that same curiosity as you breathe here.

Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

From a Downward Dog, make your way into Child’s Pose as you transition to this more grounded space. From Child’s Pose, shift your seat to one side and extend your legs forward. Your sitting bones will be connected to the earth and your legs will be extended any amount along the length of your mat.

You can let your knees remain slightly bent and place a rolled blanket underneath for support if you like. You can also elevate the hips by sitting on a pillow or folded blanket. Feel free to use any props that make you feel more comfortable in this pose.

On an inhale reach your arms over your ears, extending your fingertips into the sky then as you exhale, fold forward over your legs. Your hands might connect to your toes, they might land on the shins, or they might land on the ground framing your legs. Wherever the hands land, allow them to settle and get grounded. No need to force or push the body here.

As you cultivate gratitude on your mat, settle into all that exists here and now. Feel gratitude for all that you are and all that you are becoming as you honor each moment.

Each of these poses provides an opportunity to tune into your body and find what is special about it – and about YOU. As you embrace gratitude on your mat, with each inhale and exhale, you may also want to focus on a mantra such as “I am grateful,” or “I am enough.” Let these words remind you that you are a special human being with much to give the world, and feel grateful for the ability to be who you are!

See the full sequence at Chopra.com


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