Giving Thanks: Getting Happiness!

So if you’re living in America, you’re probably already slightly stuffed at this point, and sitting smelling the wafting smells of turkey, and stuffing, greenbeans, and pies coming towards your nose. Most of us, will take a moment around the table, to express a bit of gratitude, for good food and good friends and family. But what if our giving of thanks went beyond just one moment in one day…. what if we took every opportunity we could to give thanks?

Truth is (science supports it) that taking the time to express our gratitude makes us lastingly happier individuals! Simply making a phone call, writing a letter, or saying an extra heart-felt thank you to the grocery store clerk can begin to radically shift your own happiness level. If you’ve got the day off, and want to spend 5 minutes feeling good, watch a movie here that proves it: The Science of Happiness! 

The new movement towards positive psychology– studying positive emotions and what makes us feels good– feels innately tied into the practice of yoga. In yoga, we have the time to slow down, and really value each moment of our short existence here on earth, to notice the subtle shifts in emotions, the subtle shifts in our bodies, the ebb and flow of breath. I also think back to YTT Teacher Trainer Chris’s lecture on happiness from a yogic perspective– High Effort, Low Expectation. This embodies the above experiment– when we express our gratitude,  we put in high effort, but we don’t expect anything back. When teaching class last night, through each vinyasa, I encouraged students to find something to be grateful for, as they dropped into chattaranga, and flowed into upward dog. There are so many ways to begin to incorporate gratitude into the practice, and thus inviting it into our lives.

And today, to practice what I preach, I offer gratitude and sincere thanks to Indira, Chris, Brooke and Katie, and the 14 other amazing ladies (and one gentleman) who I had the honor to train with. Not a day goes by that I don’t think back to some part of that incredible month. Mahalo and Aloha!

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