I never used this term, as I related it to religion and I thought, people pray in a church, mosque, temple or on their own to their god. I even had issues with the term god, as I don’t belong to a religion and don’t believe in god.
Even if this is still the same, my attitude made a full turn-around when I went to India for my teacher training first time and saw how open and easy people deal with their gods (yes they have more) and how they pray. I learned about the Hindu gods, and I love all the stories around them, colorful and beautiful analogies. And I like that they have a name, a family, a face, a body, certain things around them and everything is representing something important in life. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. They seem real. Even with a lot of arms and other magical attributes.
India took away the strictness and tightness I saw in religion as such and showed me a world full of openness, laughter, ease and same time seriousness. I learned to put my hands in prayer in front of my heart center during my yoga practice and nothing felt wrong with it. It wasn’t religious, it felt and still feels as a ritual.
However I still replace the term god with universe when reading a spiritual text and I still don’t pray, but strongly believe, it’s just a matter of definition. I recite mantras, I talk to the universe, I challenge the law of attraction, I ask and give thanks to my angles.
Well, guess some would call it praying.
Particularly during these days, close to the end of the year, we hear a lot about being grateful. However, gratitude is a great tool of mindfulness-based practices and helps creating a more positive mindset.
Why you should establish a daily practice — let me start with Deepak Chopra and what he said:
“Gratitude is good for you; it creates a biochemical shift in the body. The brain responds to positive input and sends life-enhancing messages to every cell.”
Sounds good? Yeah, and there’s more. When practicing gratitude, you will attract more reasons to be grateful for. This is the law of attraction! Meaning you’re not just grateful for what you already have, but also for what you want to have. Practice gratitude to receive. Woop woop, good trick, isn’t it? And it works! Just imagine, visualize what you wish as if you already received it. This way you’re sending the right energy out and the universe will deliver. Additionally, you are reprogramming yourself — in a state of deep gratitude, you will feel soft, released and happy.
How does a practice like this look like? Well, gratitude comes in many forms and there’s no right and wrong how to do it. Go with what feels good to you, but if you like to have some inspiration, here you go:
- Use gratitude as an intention you set at the beginning of a yoga class (it can relate to your yoga practice, but doesn’t has to).
- Say mentally a little prayer at the end of your yoga practice (you might want to thank your body for the great work and don’t forget to thank yourself for making time for your practice).
- When life is going well, remember to be grateful for what you have. Whenever you recognize it, whisper a ‚thank you‘.
- When life is serving lemons — be grateful for the teaching, there’s a reason for it. Give thanks for the teaching as well as for the final state you want to reach, as if you’re already there and looking back.
- While it always works to send spontaneous ‚thanks‘ into the space, create a daily ritual, repetition is key.
I do it every morning, first thing when I wake up. I can recommend particularly this time, as the day is brand new, our brain still in a rest mood. Good to plant a seed. I give my thanks to the universe — couple of things I have and also a couple of things I don’t have so far. A great start into the day!
Gratitude is a practice of creating a state of emotional prosperity — go for it, make it a habit.