4 Yoga Poses for Gratitude

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Having an attitude of gratitude is one of the key components in living a happy, healthy life. Being grateful for the things you have – like your family, home, friends, and career – is vital to happiness. Yes, it is wonderful to strive to be or do better than you did the day before, but forever feeling as though nothing is ‘good enough’ can lead to a never-ending cycle of disappointment. Simply learn to relax, breath, and cherish each moment as it passes for the most fulfilling life possible.

You may already know that yoga can help ease stress, strengthen muscles, clear your mind, allow you to focus better, and work out knots deep in the tissues of your muscles, but did you know that there are yoga poses specifically designed to help you reflect upon a sense of gratitude? By incorporating a few of these yoga poses for gratitude into your daily routine, you can be certain to start out every day on the right foot.

Position 1: Cat/Cow

The cat/cow yoga position is a fairly common one that you may already know, which is performed on your hands and knees. The pose is designed to help wake up your body, tune in to your inner self, and begin your meditative journey.

To perform this position:

  • Begin on hands and knees, with your back straight. Your legs and arms should be straight and centered properly beneath you, to form a tabletop position.
  • On an inhale, arch your back up high into a rounded ‘cat’ position. Your shoulder’s should move back slightly, and your back should be arched, but your legs should still be straight.
  • On an exhale, release the ‘cat’ position all the way down, allow your back to curve inwards and your shoulders sink to the front. This is a ‘cow’ position.
  • Repeat at least three times to get the most from this position.

Position 2: Warrior II

The Warrior II position is one of the first things you learn in a beginner’s yoga class, right along with tree and corpse poses. This is a position that speaks of power, strength, and steadiness, showing you that you are truly ready for anything the day brings you. The pose is designed to allow you a feeling of gratitude for the strength and balance of your body – an inner gratitude.

To perform this positon:

  • Begin with legs spread wide, feet parallel.
  • Slowly pivot your front foot to face towards the front of where you are practicing.
  • Bend your front knee deeply while ensuring that your back leg is still straight, long and strong behind you.
  • Raise your arms up parallel to your shoulders, positioned with palms down.
  • Slowly turn your neck so that your gaze can rest at the front of the room.
  • Bend your front knee deeper towards the ground, as low as it can go without overstraining yourself.
  • Hold pose for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on your yoga level, before repeating the position on the opposite side.

Position 3: Corpse Pose

Corpse pose is a pose in which your entirely body is relaxed. It is the perfect pose to silently meditate on gratitude for as long as you would like. With your mind clear and free of clutter or distraction, allow your thoughts to gently towards those things you are much grateful for. This is the perfect ending pose to your yoga routine.

To perform this position:

  • Lay flat on your back, legs spread a little wide, and arms out diagonally at your sides.
  • Gently flex your feet, roll your ankles, and work out any kinks in your lower body, before allowing it to fall back into a natural position.
  • Work out the kinks in your upper body and core, as well, and allow them to lay still.
  • Carefully focus on deep breaths, and avoid distraction. Allow yourself to simply ‘be’ instead of ‘do’ for as long as you feel necessary.

Position 4: Seated Forward Bend

This yoga pose is perfect for stretching out your lower back and hamstrings. By releasing built up tension in your body, you will be better able to focus on a sense of gratitude. This is a pose for the gratification of release.

To perform this position:

  • Begin in a seated position on the floor, with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Keeping your back straight, on an inhale, reach out and place your hands on the outside of your outstretched legs.
  • Exhale, and release your back a little lower into this position.
  • On another inhale, stretch your hands just a little further, until you are folded over your legs as far as possible without pain.
  • Exhale, and release any tension, lowering yourself into the position.
  • Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on how long you feel comfortable holding it.
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