Bhakti Yoga & Gratitude
Join me Tuesday nights
Free Yoga Class. Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/284954703
Today’s practice will be the 3rd practice of 9 in honor of George Floyd and our exploration of Bhakti Yoga for Peace. This week we will be exploring the practice of Gratitude. By expressing gratitude, we are honoring the divine in all things.
From the Gita “Arjuna, I am the taste of pure water and the radiance of the sun and moon. I am the sacred word and the sound heard in air and the courage of human being. I am the sweet fragrance in the earth and the radiance of fire, I am the life in every creature and the striving of the spiritual aspirant. My eternal seed, Arjuna, is to be found in every creature. I am the power of discrimination in those who are intelligent and the glory of the noble. In those who are strong, I am strength, free from passion and selfish attachment. I am desire itself, if that desire is in harmony with the purpose of life.” 7.8-7.11
Simple gratitude is so powerful. It has the power to shift your attention from what is not working in your life to all the many beautiful things that are. It also allows you to see the benefit of challenge and unrest, because it is often through our challenges and pain that true self understanding, and transformation happens. Even in the upheaval and uncertainty we are living in right now, we can use the tool of gratitude to find refuge and even change our perspective.
This week, I invite you to practice gratitude. Really practice it. Every day write down or simply state, 3 things you are grateful for. They don’t need to always be light and sweet, like sunrises, flowers or concrete such as food and shelter – while they certainly can contain these elements. Gratitude can be about pain too. I am grateful for the pain of this social unrest because it has opened my eyes. I am grateful for my sleepless nights because it gives me another opportunity to pray for peace.
Another way to practice gratitude is to do it while doing a mundane task. This morning I did it while washing the dishes. It went something like this: Oh, I’m so grateful for this hot water, and this soap. So grateful to just have soap and hot water available and that I didn’t have to make it. Oh, I love this mug. This is my morning coffee mug. Mug, I’m so glad to have you. I so enjoy our time in the morning together. So grateful for running water! How fantastic it is to just be able to turn it on and off. Hands! Oh yes, so grateful for my hands to be able to wash these dishes….this baking dish from last night’s dinner….that was such a delicious dinner. I’m so grateful that I can cook and for the delicious food I have in my refrigerator and the good talk my husband and I had about what is going on in our lives…..etc. You get the idea. Really dive deeply into gratitude while doing the task. Then check in and see how you feel after.
Move through your life for the next 7 days, really bringing gratitude to the front of your mind, even in the most mundane task or most upsetting interaction, embrace gratitude and see how it shifts your heart.
There is quite a bit about the health benefits of gratitude. Gratitude can change your brain for the better and help with anxiety and depression. Here are a few links you can read if you are interested. Here, here, and here.
Tonight, bring your gratitude to class. Bring your prayers. During our centering meditation, we will have a moment at the beginning of class to share these gratitude and prayers if you’d like. In class we will continue to chant the mantra: Lokah Samastah Suknino Bhavantu which translates as “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” At the end of our asana (posture practice) I will chant this chant 108 times. You are welcome to join me or to simply find a restorative posture and allow the vibration of the mantra to wash over you, like a sonic bath. You can read more about chanting and this chant here.
Hope to see you!
Dive Deep to Ascend,
Andrea Carvalho, musings on the journey to vibrant embodiment.