Happy PLANKSsgiving! Did we work up a sweat this morning or what? From poses that aid digestion to bird poses to marathon recovery poses to relaxation and a guided gratitude meditation we had some serious fun at Priya Hot Yoga. And yes, I made sure to include a sequence of planks because it is indeed a Happy Planksgiving!
Every year at Thanksgiving, family and friends offer gratitude among themselves giving thanks for comfort, for joy, for love, the abundance in our lives and for one another. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the awareness of gratitude comes up. Giving thanks on only one day a year is simply not enough, however, for the benefits of gratitude to take root. Gratitude and yoga go hand-in-hand, both beneficial to our well-being. Yoga teaches us to be grateful in the present moment. It allows us to appreciate the full spectrum of life, from pleasure to pain and joy to sorrow. Through the practice of yoga we even express gratitude for the darker moments, the fear, the anger and weaknesses in human nature and acknowledge darkness in the human spirit is temporary and creates, through contrast, the moments of joy and love that shine even more brightly.
Thank you to everyone who joined me for the Thanksgiving Gratitude Class this morning. It was truly an honor to guide seventeen students through yoga on such a meaningful holiday. An extra special thank you to Priya Hot Yoga for opening their beautiful studio and offering me the opportunity to guest teach on the holiday to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and my efforts on the MMRF Team for Cures. Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and while there is no cure, great progress has been made. I will be racing in the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid on the Myeloma Research Foundation Team For Cures. My commitment is to increase awareness and raise funds for the MMRF over the next six months. It fills me with joy to be able to practice for 75 minutes together and raise $279.25 for the MMRF. The word namaste is an expression of deep gratitude and recognition. We began and ended our practice in Anjali mudra, the seal of gratitude, with our palms together in front of our heart center as we brought awareness to many of the things we are grateful for beginning with the breath.
In a power yoga class I encourage students to push to their edge while at the same time expressing gratitude for where they are today, respecting their limits and honoring when to ease back. We come to yoga for a variety of reasons and although yoga may often be a challenge, yoga is not a competition. Many people are drawn to yoga for fitness or even weight loss, which is a wonderful thing however I encourage you to recognize that fitness is not the intention of yoga. It is simply often one of the results or benefits of a regular practice. Yoga exercises gratitude as it does every other muscle. Just as asana and pranayama practice opens up the breath, and meditation the mind, the practice of yoga contributes to the gratitude that exists within you and our mental, physical and spiritual overall well being. By practicing gratitude, in essence, we create more reasons to be grateful. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.
If you were unable to join us and would like to make a donation to the MMRF your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Namaste and love, Keli