Salute That Sun!
There is this theory out there in the yoga world, or maybe in the whole world, that the more you practice gratitude the more content you will be in your own life; and that gratitude is a muscle that if flexed on a regular basis, grows. I’ve been thinking about this. October is a month we tend to think of as thankful, and this year I am blessed to be helping organize a family reunion. My family is awesome in every sense of the word, but trying to organize over 90 of us for an entire weekend of meals and activities is a little like trying to herd lovable kittens, of a tenacious descent.
So, I’ve been trying to strengthen my gratitude muscle. I know I confess a lot of things in this blog, especially about yoga, but here’s a new one…it took me a really, really long time to appreciate Sun Salutations. Surya Namaskar is a series of yoga poses you move through in conjunction with your breath. It’s actually a great vinyasa flow, it can be modified for all levels and is designed to help rid our bodies of the other junk, like stress, tension and exhaustion that get in the way of us feeling grateful. Still I never loved it, in fact, some days I hardly even liked it. Sometimes when you’re new, it’s a struggle to remember when to inhale, or exhale; or maybe you’ve done so many, it’s hard to keep your mind focused and you feel like you are just going through the motions.
Then one day I read, if you are struggling through sun salutations, practice saluting (read appreciating), the sun. Once again, I realized that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I knew it was a sun salutation, I practiced it lots, taught it often; I even knew it was developed in honour of the sun, I just never thought to practice it actually, well, saluting the sun.
So, the next time I stepped to the top of the mat, I tried it. I practiced feeling gratitude for the sun, because really, where would we be without it? And strangely something started to shift. Maybe it’s not so strange, yoga is magic. Expressing gratitude for the sun leads us to feel gratitude for clean water, fresh air, First Responders, warm clothing, etc…even for the 77th email about chili from your family, because really, where would we be without them.
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