The holiday month of November is always about giving thanks; we’ve got a whole day off of work devoted to it. Think for a moment about all of the ways you’ve given thanks over the years and the evolution of your gratefulness. My family’s holiday traditions included opening the meal with everyone sharing their thanks. As a little kid, I was first thankful for my Lady Lovely Locks Princess Dream Castle and my crayons. As I grew older, I remember one year being thankful for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, gymnastics, and Paul Simon. Soon our thanks shift from toys and activities to the people in our lives: brother and sister, cousins and friends, teachers, coaches, pets. Then, we enter a Sophisticated Gratefulness of Higher Concepts: giving thanks for our good health, food on the table, freedom and the people who work hard for it, access to medicine and education, our own peace, safety, comfort.
This November, I’m opening every yoga class with a moment of thanksgiving. We often do this at the end of class, thanking ourselves for coming to the mat and being grateful for our practice. Setting the intention to be grateful at the beginning of class can give us a new focus while we practice, and allow our minds to be flooded with the things that bring us joy.