In November, Yoga Modern is focusing on the theme gratitude. Throughout the month we have invited notable contributors from a variety of backgrounds to comment on how gratitude relates to their practice and their life. If you would like to contribute to the conversation you can either comment on a post in the Yoga Modern Blog or you can join the Yoga Modern Community and create your own Kula “community” blog post by clicking here.
Yoga Modern explores this month’s theme of gratitude from a variety of angles. The historical origin of the word ‘gratitude’ is the Latin word gratus which means thankfulness. In India the word for gratitude is Pranam which literally means ‘to offer up all of one’s parts.’ This is directly linked to the union of opposites, the yoga, that exits when we fold both the left and right hands together before the heart and bow the head to give thanks in ‘Namaste’. This gesture carries tremendous dignity and honor and expresses the essence of gratitude as it relates to surrender, humility and selflessness.
Throughout many cultures, both ancient and modern, as the new year approaches it is considered necessary to take time to pause in order to give thanks. However in today’s society where things are expected to come quickly, it is easy to overlook the importance of this pause and to lose touch with the depth and significance of gratitude.
As we all know, thanks comes in many shapes and sizes. There are those simple warm feelings of thankfulness that bring a sweet smile to the heart. And then there is the great open hearted as open as the heart can be gratitude as well. But no matter wether the dose of gratitude is large or small it has the power to heal the wounded spirit, prepare the way for devotion and is an important step on the path of love.
In asana, practicing forward bends draws us inward so we may take that calm pause and pay homage to the gift of spirit and the beauty of the unique human expression. In turn, backbends stretch the skin of the heart like salt water taffy awakening a greater capacity to be thankful.
Ultimately, gratitude reveals the splendor of life and how precious this human existence is and it is directly tied into the notion of grace. Though most often we experience ourselves as the doer, the grace of spirit exists behind every thought and action. And it is humbling to reflect upon the tremendous web of interconnected perfectly orchestrated variables that make possible the seemingly simple lift of a finger.
The writers and staff at Yoga Modern are deeply grateful to you for sharing this path of inquiry and development with us. May you be blessed by the grace of gratitude.