“The world is full of suffering, but it is also full of overcoming”. Helen Keller.
Coming from a place of gratitude and appreciation helps us observe the things in our lives that are working. As opposed to placing our energy and focus on the things that are not working.
A feeling of gratitude allows us to feel more abundant and appreciate the people and experiences occurring in our life. It helps us become more present and aware…. more mindful.
Being grateful takes us away from our ego. It raises our consciousness. Joy doesn’t evolve from happiness, but rather from gratitude.
Let’s begin today’s practice.
First grounding yourself wherever you may be, whether sitting or lying down.
Gently close your eyes, or find a restful, soft gaze. Grounding yourself with your feet, flat on the floor and your back and seat against the chair. If you’re lying down, feel the connection between your body and the surface you’re on. Fully supported.
Think of your head over your heart and your heart over your hips. Allowing your breath to move up and down the spine. Breathing in, noticing your spine lengthening, a sense of growing taller. And as you exhale notice how your body softens and relaxes, letting go. Move with the rhythm of your own breath while following each inhale and exhale fully. Breathing in, breathing out, inhaling, exhaling. Rolling with it and finding the oneness with each inhale and exhale. How does that feel for you? Just breathe and be.
As we connect to our breath, we begin to connect to ourselves. As you are sitting and the practice today is gratitude, for the next few breaths, quietly to yourself acknowledge how grateful you are for your breath. Inhale gratitude by simply saying thank you and exhale gratitude that your breath can help calm your sense of being, your emotions and release stress. Plus, it also gives you life and optimal health. Notice your breath travelling throughout your entire body.
Sit with this intention for few breaths on your own.
On your next inhale begin to connect body with breath by beginning with a few, gentle neck rolls. Inhaling center, exhaling and dropping your right ear to your shoulder (making sure your left shoulder stays down) and continuing with the exhale all the way back to center. Be mindful to not drop your head back. Two more times on this side. If there is a lot of tightness or tension in the neck, you can also give it a little rub.
Now moving to the opposite side. Inhale, center and drop your left ear to your left shoulder, keeping your right shoulder stable and continuing back to center. Two more times, nice and easy. As you are releasing tension, send in a little gratitude. Perhaps the gratitude can simply be directed towards yourself for simply showing up today.
Now back to center, inhaling shoulders up and exhaling shoulder back and down. Inhale up and exhale back and down.
Now taking your hands and give them a good rub, enough to produce a little heat. You can do both front and back. Keeping your eyes close or the gaze soft. Rub for about 10-20 seconds. When you are done of follow my cue, place them gently over your face or neck. Really try and focus on the gentle warmth coming from your hands, again give a little thanks for our ability to create heat and energy and how amazing our bodies are.
Now as we are slowing down and warming up, we will move into a few rounds of the square breath.
Let’s start by taking a nice deep breath in and a long exhale out.
On the next inhale, breathe in for a count of four, 1,2,3,4, hold for four, 4,3,2,1, exhale 1,2,3,4, and hold for 1,2,3,4. Imagine a square box, inhaling for four up one side 1,2,3,4, along the top, hold for four, 4,3,2,1 and exhale down the other side for four 1,2,3,4 and hold for four along bottom, 1,2,3,4. Now repeat.
Inhale four, 1,2,3,4, hold, 4,3,2,1 and exhale 1,2,3,4 and hold 1,2,3, 4.
Try a couple of rounds on your own. Slow and easy, relax into the practice.
Slowly coming back to the rhythm of your breath. Taking this moment to check in and notice how you’re feeling.
Observe if you are more conscious and aware of your breath, how your body feels right now, even your state of mind/emotions and maybe distractions or sensations that have come up for you. Don’t judge, just be aware. Keep going with your won eb and flow.
In the last few minutes or our practice today, begin to think of someone, something or many things big or small or many people that you feel super grateful for.
Quietly to yourself, giving thanks for these things. If this is at all challenging, simply keep repeating the word thank you… remembering, the little things in life become the big things. So, no need to get caught up in the bigger things, although that is fine too.
Enjoy the next few minutes of filing yourself up with gratitude.
I will bring you back into the space with the sound of the bells.