From my experience, millennials seem to thrive on multitasking and hustling from one day to the next, and while I applaud our generation’s unyielding determination and drive, I think what a lot of us lack is balance. Blame it on social media or a cut-throat job market, but we’re constantly on the go, and while that might be necessary for our career paths or just to keep up with society in general, we rarely, if ever, pause for a moment and give thanks for the here, now, and what we’ve already been given in this life. An easy way to express our appreciation to both the universe and our individual selves is to practice yoga for gratitude.
I began practicing yoga as a coping mechanism for my anxiety. At first, the cultural aspect felt a little awkward for me, as a person who used to only go to the gym to exercise. I was coming from a world of barbells, HIIT cardio, loud pump-up music, and even louder crowds, where training was mostly about pushing your body to lift heavier and sprint faster.
Yoga, on the other hand, is equal parts body, mind, and spirit. The second you step onto the mat — be it on your living room floor or in a studio space — you’re not only engaging in graceful movements, but the practice itself becomes a lesson that focuses on how your energy is connected to the universe.
If I’ve learned anything from my yoga instructors and solo practices, it’s that when you put out love and gratitude into the universe, it all comes back to you.
In fact, there are actually specific yoga poses dedicated to inspiring gratitude.
In her book Idiots Guides: Ayurveda, certified Ayurvedic, holistic, and sports nutritionist Sahara Rose explains how the mind and body are interconnected, and that when you implement heart- and hip-opening poses into your flow, “you’re sending signals of gratitude to your mind.” She tells Elite Daily,
One of my favorites is wheel pose, called ‘urdhva dhanurasana’ in Sanskrit.
The wheel-pose, a heart-opener, allows you to express yourself openly to new opportunities and love. Any heart-opener requires vulnerability, which is essential for a gratitude practice. Through practicing this pose, you are saying to the universe, ‘Yes I am open to whatever you have in store for me and grateful for it all.’
Incorporate wheel pose into your own practice by lying on your back with bended knees, keeping your feet hip-width apart. From there, place your arms behind your head, palms pushing against the floor, fingertips facing your shoulders. Once you have the correct form, push up with your hands and feet, and move in a circular motion, like a wheel.
Yoga poses like this are designed to awaken the body, but they’re also developed with the intention of sparking emotions, and these sporadic moments of passionate emotion are nothing short of deliciously satisfying.