When you think about the benefits of yoga, what do you think about? Relaxation? Physical health? Both are great examples of what yoga has to offer to those who practice it. As Thanksgiving approaches, however, we want to shine a spotlight on an under-appreciated benefit of yoga: gratitude.
Gratitude and appreciation are both on our minds this time of year. But it turns out that science has shown that feelings of thankfulness also have a positive effect on our physical well-being. In fact, being more thankful can lower our blood pressure, support better immune systems, and encourage a good night’s sleep. And that’s in addition to the fact that it just makes us feel happier.
It’s admittedly not easy to be thankful every day. But yoga can help us improve the way we see our life, and help us feel more grateful than we did the day before. It does this by asking us to stand still in the moment, to check in with our bodies and emotions, and to slow down and take stock of ourselves.
Taking the time to slow down is not easy. Evaluating these simple questions can be surprisingly challenging. But by doing so, we begin to tap into a well of gratitude. And regular yoga practitioners can tell you that, while the change may have been slow, yoga made a difference in their interactions and perceptions of the world.
Yoga encourages us to do and be so much, including but not limited to:
- Be patient
- Appreciate slow and steady improvements in our practice
- Be grateful for what we can do
- Enjoy the oxygen we use to fuel our practice
- Take stock of the now
Yoga, by definition, asks us to live in the moment. It forces us to focus on what we have and can do, rather than what we lack and cannot do. It spotlights the smaller things in life.
And through all of this, yoga can increase a practitioner’s appreciation for the here and the now. It can humble us as we realize the potential we have yet to tap into; empower us as we take stock of how far we’ve come; and help us to let go of the emotions and doubts holding us back.
With so much attention being put on the physical and mental benefits of yoga, gratitude truly is an almost unsung benefit of engaging in a personal practice. But thankfulness is one of the greatest ways a yoga routine allows us to engage in self-improvement. And as Thanksgiving approaches, we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on yoga and what it means within your own life – as well as explore new ways to express gratitude in your poses and practice.
Feeling inspired and ready for a yoga class? Don’t forget to sign up for your favorite upcoming yoga sessions – whether you’re interested in strength, relaxation, or general wellness, Green Yoga can provide the support and instructions you need to address the needs of your body, mind, and overall wellness.