At the Montrose Yoga Festival, I had the opportunity to teach a gratitude yoga practice which began with a guided gratitude meditation. A few have requested a copy of the meditation and so I decided to share it here on the blog. I hope it touches you and brings your heart and mind into a posture of thankfulness. There are blessings all around us, what a gift to breathe, to think, to move, with every breath we can be thankful!
Cultivating a life of gratitude requires practice. What we choose to focus on grows and when we choose to focus on a few small things we’re thankful for each day, we organically begin to notice more and more blessings around us. I believe we were meant to live in a spirit of thankfulness, and that it is possible to find gratitude in all circumstances.
To begin the meditation, find a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Draw your awareness to your natural breath. No need to change anything, simply observe your breath just the way it is and notice the rise and fall of each inhale and exhale. Settling in here, letting go of anything that happened earlier in the day and anything that needs to happen later in the day, allowing your whole self to be present. Taking a moment of gratitude for your breath and begin to breathe in thankfulness.
First thinking of a person you are deeply thankful for, it can be someone in this room or someone far away, even someone who has passed away. Someone who makes you feel safe and loved. Think about what it feels like to be with them, maybe imagine they are sitting next to you.
Now thinking of a place you are thankful for, it can be as simple as your living room or as extravagant as a beach in Hawaii. Choosing a place where you feel safe, loved, happy and comfortable. Think about what it feels like to be in that place, imagining you’re there now.
When you’re ready, moving your focus to a specific thing you are thankful for, a physical, material thing. Something you are thankful you have, maybe a piece of clothing or jewelry you love wearing, a favorite book, something that brings you joy. It can be very simple and even something you might think is silly like a childhood toy.
Next, think of an experience in your life you are immensely grateful for, it can be a single moment or a whole day, a time when you were filled with joy, excitement and happiness. Maybe it’s your wedding day or another day of celebration. Often I think of the first time I held my nephew Logan which was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Lastly, think of a challenging or difficult time in your life and I want to challenge you to find something to be thankful for in the midst of the difficult thing. Can you find good in the hard thing? Can you find joy in the challenge? Often these are the things that grow and strengthen us, the things that develop perseverance, character and true hope within us.
Closing our meditation by briefly revisiting each gratitude; a person, a place, a thing, an experience and a challenge. Maybe setting an intention to continue to find small gratitudes throughout the rest of your day, a hot cup of coffee, a smile, a song you love. Take a moment to say the following words aloud or repeat them silently in your mind: “There are blessings all around me, with every breath I will be thankful”
The beautiful thing about this particular guided meditation is that it’s easy to remember and accessible from any place at any time. You can choose the same gratitudes each time or choose new people, places, things etc each time. It can be calming and grounding to take 5-10 minutes to meditate on things you are truly, deeply thankful for, especially during difficult or stressful seasons. I hope this becomes a useful and meaningful tool that you will share with others.