I am drawn to the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar in his classic work, Light On Yoga, “When we receive a gift, we feel gratitude, through pranayama we learn gratitude for life and gratitude for the unknown source of life.”
The conscious breathing practices of restorative yoga provides for us a canvas to bask in the wonders of a rich inner landscape. As the body melts into its first restorative posture, it begins to cultivate an appreciation for the support of the body, the bones, the earth itself. From here, the body surrenders to the rise and fall of the breath, and to the simplicity of being in each moment.
Get in touch with yourself right now as you read these words. What are you feeling?
Take a deep, long breath and release it, slowly. Soften your heart. Release any holding in your neck and shoulders. Let your spine align itself and lengthen. Have you notice anything? Has your awareness of your body changed or deepened? Adjust your posture to accommodate this new awareness.
What is awareness? One cannot truly be grateful for a thing, without being aware of that thing. Awareness is yet another word for gratitude.
Awareness of gratitude begins in our own bodies. When we practice restorative yoga we have an opportunity to shift our attention to the body and witness “being breathed”. When we truly effortlessly observe, activating our internal, timeless Witness, our muscles relax and we settle into what is, we receive the gift that has always been.
Gratitude is an experience of grace. It is both appreciation and receptivity to the mystery of the universe unfolding. It is the union of fullness with emptiness, giving with receiving.
Restorative practice is a return to the breath. When the breath is effortless, it naturally deepens and merges with “prana” – the life sustaining energy that connects all of life to life and to the all pervading abundance of it.
Together, right now, let us take another deep breath, pause and slowly release it, in universal gratitude.