Posted by: Bruce Black | January 1, 2016

Gifts Bestowed

For many of us, the gifts of our yoga practice extend beyond the mat into our daily lives, into our work and our relationships, into the very essence of our existence.

Each of the poses that we explore day in and day out–whether we find ourselves wobbling, swaying, or firmly rooted to the earth–have the power to remind us of these gifts.

For some of us, it can take years to develop the ability to see how our response to a specific experience in our lives has as its underpinnings in a certain quality that we learned from exploring a specific pose on our mats.

This kind of vision, the kind that lets us see a connection between what happens on our mats and what happens off them, is part of the beauty of yoga, but it doesn’t come the moment we begin our practice.

It can take years to become aware of this cycle of learning, to glean lessons about life from our mats and incorporate these same lessons into the experience of our daily lives, and vice versa, and to see these lessons as gifts.

It can take years to learn how to tap into this ever-present loop of energy, to understand it as a nurturing process that helps us learn and grow physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

As the years of practice add up, this loop of energy between on-mat and off-mat can become almost tangible, a resource in times of stress and challenges.

And as we begin to perceive the gifts of our lives–the gifts of vision, taste, hearing, smell, and touch–we can learn the pose of gratitude.

We can learn to offer thanks:

For the gift of sight with which we can see the beauty of the world;

For the ability to sit up each morning and get out of bed and walk across the room and go to the bathroom;

For the softness of our mat, the chance to stretch our body in a way that helps us feel better;

For the words of our teachers, and for our ability to hear their words;

For the touch of a partner, a lover a friend;

For the memory and anticipation of love;

For the sweet taste of chocolate or a morning cup of coffee;

For the coolness of a mat beneath our feet on a hot summer day;

For the way our knees bend and the way our spine supports us;

For how our body allows us to walk and bike and drive and climb and make love and sleep;

For the sweet breath that fills our lungs each day when we awake and before we shut our eyes each night;

For life and love and trust and faith;

For the gift of a new year and new beginnings…

For whatever gifts we have that we might have forgotten, let us offer gratitude.

Practice Journal: Make a list of the things in your life that you’re grateful for. Start with the phrase “I’m grateful for the gift of…” Write: 10 min.

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