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Practising gratitude

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Gratitude is a theme I often use in my yoga classes. I mean, how grateful can you be for making you hold plank pose 3 breaths longer than you really want to… (wink wink). Or when you just can’t get out of your head and you’re in a meditative, slow moving class. Whenever we are experiencing discomfort it is hard to practise gratitude and remember that maybe we don’t have it so bad…

Let me tell you something. I don’t find this easy to write but I will anyway… Earlier this week I was in a serious car accident. A car coming from the opposite direction that was driving way too fast didn’t make the curve, ended up on my lane and hit me hard from the driver’s side. I had to climb out of the car from the passenger’s side because my door was so wrecked.

I can look at it this way:

  • I lost my day.
    Waiting for the police, the tow truck, filing forms, giving statements, going home, informing family and friends, processing.
  • I lost the following days too. I could do nothing I had planned for the next days because I was still processing what happened and there are many many more forms to file.
  • I lost my car. It is total loss. For now I have to walk or rely on public transport or on my friends to help me.
  • I nearly lost my life.

All this is true, but it’s not at all what I am thinking about. In all seriousness, over time yoga has changed my perspective on a lot of things. So now I can only think about:

  • How incredibly lucky I am to be alive.
    One or two seconds difference and the crash would have been full frontal. My old babe sure didn’t have any airbags – I would probably not be here to talk about it.
  • How lucky I am to not have been seriously hurt.
    I don’t have a whiplash or concussion, not even a scratch. I was in shock yes. Thinking about the accident still takes my breath away but that will pass in just a few more days as the adrenaline gets out of my system.
  • And I am also wondering what this accident set in motion, for me, for the other driver, for the people passing us after the accident.

Where before most likely I would have been more focussed on my losses I can now honestly say that I am really grateful for what I gained, and was allowed to keep. It really sucks what happened, but it could have been a lot worse.

So how do you bring gratitude into your life?

Practise gratitude right now.

Take a blank sheet of paper, and write down everything you are grateful for. Big or small, nothing is ridiculous. Keep your thoughts flowing and continue writing. It doesn’t have to look pretty. You will be surprised by what you can find. When you are finished keep the paper somewhere safe and whenever you are feeling low, reread what you wrote. It will help to put everything into perspective.

Practise gratitude every day.

Buy yourself a journal and at the start or end (or middle, whatever!) of the day write down 3 things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t matter how bleak your circumstances currently may be, you can always find something! After a while of journalling you might notice it gets easier to identify the things you are grateful for and you might even see that your gratitude practice spills over into your day.

Practise gratitude during your yoga class

Think about how lucky you are that you can move your body, even if you don’t do the pose perfectly. Remember that you are so lucky to have the time to practice.  That others have the time to practice with you, be grateful for your yoga community, and your teacher guiding you. Be grateful for what you learn about your body, your mind, your Self every time you step onto your mat!

Let me know what you are most grateful for today, first thing that comes to mind! :)

Read more:

How to really practice yoga

Sh*t you think about when you meditate

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