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15 Ways to Express Appreciation for Yoga • Yoga Basics

kiran
Written by kiran

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Have you ever noticed that yoga is always there when you need it the most? When your breath is short, your chest feels tight, and your shoulders are locked in place somewhere around your ears, yoga is there to help you recalibrate. But how often do you pause and really appreciate everything yoga offers? Do you struggle with finding ways to express your appreciation and gratitude for your yoga practice?

When I began this article, I wrote a list of all the ways to appreciate yoga. Then I walked away from it and let it sit. Leaving work one day, I found myself on the precipice of anxiety. I couldn’t pinpoint the source. But I could feel the tight chest, the shallow breath, and the rising sense of panic. So, I focused on my breath. And then I took my own advice. I rolled out my mat and incorporated my list on how to express appreciation for yoga. After a few minutes, I noticed I was breathing freely, feeling calm, peaceful, and ever so grateful.

15 ways to express appreciation for yoga

  1. Arrive a few minutes early to class so you can settle into the space. Take your time to roll out your mat, collect your props, and transition into a peaceful place.
  2. Make gratitude a daily part of your practice. Begin or end by giving thanks. Try saying something like, “I am thankful for this space in which to practice, this mat on which to practice, this body with which to practice, and this practice.” You can also practice with gratitude themed yoga videos.
  3. Make time for your practice and practice the whole allotted time. Don’t arrive late or leave early. Savor every moment of your yoga time.
  4. If you typically have shorter practices or go to shorter classes, schedule time for a longer practice. Take the 90-minute class instead of the 60-minute class.
  5. Move slowly and mindfully. Let your breath set the pace. Resist the temptation to jump to the next pose or moment.
  6. Say or think “thank” as you inhale and “you” as you exhale. Use this affirmation with each pose and transition.
  7. Don’t skip Shavasana (corpse pose)! Let your practice and body settle, integrate, and relish in this deeply relaxing pose.
  8. Keep a yoga journal. After your yoga practice, take a few moments to write what you appreciated about that particular experience. This could be a quick list or a longer free write—just get those grateful thoughts down on paper.
  9. Slowly transition out of your practice and into your day. Try to maintain and carry the peace and bliss of your yoga into the remainder of the tasks of your day.
  10. Create a post-yoga ritual. Have a post-practice cup of tea, read some inspirational quotes, or dab your favorite essential oil on your temples. Use this time to reflect and integrate your practice.
  11. Take your practice with you. Return to your breath or even your affirmation (thank you) throughout the day.
  12. Create a designated practice space at home. Build an altar and place only special objects on it that remind you to be thankful.
  13. Share your practice with someone. Invite a friend to class or schedule a practice date. Discuss what you appreciate about yoga and what you loved about the practice.
  14. Keep your yoga and meditation space clean and tidy. At home, have a space to stow your props and keep your altar free of dust or clutter. If you practice in a studio, put your props away neatly and volunteer to clean it!
  15. Write a list of what you appreciate about yoga and share it with friends. Keep your list handy so you can access it when you need some inspiration.

Appreciation helps cultivate contentment (samtosha), the second niyama or observance. Feeling thankful requires awareness and brings us into the present moment. Being grateful increases our feelings of well-being and happiness. Expressing appreciation for yoga through thought, action, and speech can help develop habits that bring gratitude off the mat and into our daily lives.

Share your insights with us!

How do you express your appreciation for yoga? What rituals have you incorporated to savor your practice and relish in your gratitude for yoga? Let us know your tips, thoughts, and insights in the comments below!

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kiran

kiran

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