All month long, my students and I have been practicing gratitude. Not just the expression of a “thank you”, but the true embodiment of the feelings of thankfulness, appreciation, contentment, kindheartedness. We committed to gratitude journals, writing every day who we are grateful TO, what we are grateful FOR, and how we are grateful THAT…We reminded ourselves of our blessings, our fortune, our inner wealth; and we remembered that we are not alone in all of this and how we NEED others as much as they need us. Even in spite of challenges in our lives ranging from health issues to tragedy to hardship to loss, we realized that practicing gratitude helps us face these hurdles with strength, confidence, and hope.

Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean that thankfulness is over for another year. When we make gratitude a regular practice, we recognize that every day is a gift. Dwelling on the negative only reinforces the negative! Seeing the positive and consciously acknowledging it creates more ease in your day, and helps you deal with whatever comes your way with a more grounded, centered perspective. Bad stuff will happen – that’s a guarantee – and we will surely feel the effects. But when we can step out of the darkness, even for a moment, to appreciate even the smallest of things, we begin to pave the way for light to shine through.

As I write this, I am basking in the glow of a wonderful day retreat with my students. The weather was glorious, the food was excellent, the venue was stunning, the service fantastic, and the energy of all of us together living our yoga just filled my cup to the brim. To simply say “thank you” seems so not enough…yet it is everything.

Click HERE for a great article on gratitude from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley.