It is the second week of National Yoga Month and this week's topic is about cultivating santosha, which translates to contentment and gratitude for what you already are and have.
Santosha is a key component of yoga philosophy and, like headstand, it does take practice! Of course it can be challenging to live in a constant state of contentment and gratitude. But you can certainly learn to cultivate it in yoga class. When you breathe into the discomfort that tight hamstrings, weak balance, or a distracted mind might bring up for you, you can be a yogi by feeling the discomfort and simultaneously cultivating gratitude for "what is". Give thanks to the muscles that support your bones, or to your feet that are attempting to ground to your mat, or for the blissful moment of internal stillness that you feel as you breathe. Contentment does not imply that there is no discomfort in the world, it asks us to acknowledge discomfort and have gratitude anyway.
Obviously your journal is another wonderful place to meditate on all the things you are grateful for in your life. Consciously taking note of your gratitude can improve your mental and physical health, I know this personally. Try committing to a written gratitude practice during National Yoga Month month and see for yourself.
And if you have a favorite studio or teacher, I dare you to go out of your way and let them know how much their teachings have inspired your journey toward living a more balanced lifestyle. Teachers love to help, and knowing how they are helping enables them to do more of it. Even something very simple like introducing yourself, smiling, or saying thank you at the end of class shows gratitude and contentment for your teacher and your journey. Extra karma if you express thanks when your yoga class has a sub.
Expressing gratitude opens you up to the abundance of clarity, graciousness and contentment that surrounds, connects and flows through you.