For those of you immersed in the celebrations, we all know that, awesome as it is to be with our loved ones, it can also be stressful, and sometimes triggering. How disappointing when we’ve been practicing so hard over the preceding months, and years, to discover we can still have our buttons pushed! Getting into your heart energy, and focusing on all there is to be thankful for, can create the right mindset for a peaceful, and happy, celebratory time.
Poses for gratitude include those that open our hearts, those that have us reach up high, and those that bring awareness to our minds, bodies, and emotions, allowing us to be mindful of distractions and focus on our higher vibrations. Expansive, wide, joyful poses are symbolic of opening to all that is, and giving thanks. Intense stretches will help us release tension allowing a more flexible approach. Restful poses give us space to sink into grateful feelings and integrate a thankful intention. Yoga for gratitude will see us happily through the holidays (or through any experience in life).
Start your session in prayer position (Anjali Mudra). Breathe deeply and set gratitude and an open heart as your intention. Give thanks.
Pyramid Pose (Pyramid Parsvottanasana)
Pyramid Parsvottanasana releases tension and invites flexibility into your life. Start in mountain pose. Turn your right foot slightly outwards. Move your left leg forward, creating a wide, but comfortable, stance. Move your arms behind you. Ideally, place your hands in prayer position. Inhale deeply. Lift your chest, looking ahead. As you exhale, bend from the chest toward your left leg. Move your chin toward your chest. Hold. Breathe. Release any tension. On an inhale roll your torso back up from the base of your spine. Place your feet together.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Salbhasana is uplifting and opens your chest and heart area. Lie on your stomach, your arms by your sides, palms facing upwards. Turn your big toes slightly inwards, rotating your thighs. As you exhale, lift your head, torso, arms and legs. Feel the activation in your buttocks. Stretch out through your legs. Push your arms up towards the ceiling. Feel the stretch back through your fingertips. Hold the position for up to a minute, breathing deeply. Exhale. Release back to the floor.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Matsyasana is another fabulous chest opener that extends your heart area and is uplifting in both body and mind. Lie in Corpse Pose, Turn your palms flat to the floor. Place them under your buttocks. Arch your spine, and tilt your head backwards. Gently, tip your head until your crown is resting on the ground. Hold for approximately 30 seconds. Lift the chest further by resting your elbows on the floor. Arch the chest upwards. To release, lower the head, followed by the chest. Rest in Corpse Pose.
Mountain Pose (Tadusana)
For a feeling of joy and expansion, and to embody the energy of giving, and receiving, practice Tadusana with arms high and wide. Stand with feet hip distance apart. Lengthen through the spine, tailbone tucked in, activating your core muscles. Put your hands in prayer position and focus on gratitude as you breathe. Alternatively, sweep your arms wide above your head as you take a deep inhalation. Hold for several breaths. Release as you exhale.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Rest in Savasana. Lie with your back pressed into the floor. Have your legs hip distance apart, toes pointing outwards and upwards. Place your arms at your sides slightly wider than your body, with palms facing upwards. Breathe deeply whilst focusing on all you have to be thankful for.