There are many “-ism’s” my yoga instructor Dominique shares with us during our classes. They could be things she has experienced during her own practice, things she has read about, or things her own instructors have said. The point is these “mantras” are what she bases her classes and flow around, so during meditation we can come back to it and bring notice to it.
Before I get into the purpose of this post specifically, here are some of my favorite Dominiqueisms that I try carry with me on a daily basis or during our classes:
• “The hardest adjustment in any pose is the adjustment of your mind.”
• ”Remember to breathe through the chaos.”
• ”In stillness you are able to hear. In silence you are able to feel.”
So it’s no surprise that when I went to class on Tuesday she said something to us after a particularly difficult and challenging Sun B flow. We were in child’s pose and Dominique was telling us to return to our breath (mine had gotten pretty choppy) and practice with gratitude.
At the time, my friend Andrea and I kind of did a side glance at each other from our mats in a silent “Are you kidding me? We’re freaking tired as hell here!”, but then Dominique continued.
She told us that when we are tired or in a state of frustration because we couldn’t nail down a pose, or maybe had a bad at work, had an argument with someone or even got frustrated for another reason, we have to remember to practice things in life with gratitude. Being thankful for something doesn’t have to only be acknowledged or recognized at Thanksgiving. And that last phrase got me thinking!
It seems easier said than done, right?
Try to ask yourself how many times a day do you stop to really give thanks for the things you have? I know there are people out there who do this a lot, which is great! For me personally, I could be better about it. Sure, I’m not ungrateful for the things in my life, but do I really stop to recognize the things I am grateful for? No. So I think we could all take a little time and just remember to be thankful. It doesn’t have to be for any particular thing, but remember to just give thanks. It’s a simple thing, really.
On that note, here are my takeaways from class on how to better practice with gratitude:
• I showed up to my mat. Sometimes that’s simple enough to practice with gratitude!
• Setting an intention at the beginning of class is a very easy and direct way to practice with gratitude. Whether you set an intention for yourself or for someone else who couldn’t make it to their mat, it’s an offering. And a positive one at that!
• Return to your breath and notice. Where did the ujjayi (deep “ocean” breathing) go? It also seems like a pretty simple concept, but it’s another practice of gratitude and another Dominiqueism. Remember to stop, take a deep breath, and come back to your breath. Come back to the intention you’ve set and be thankful for it.
• Trying to stay positive and staying focused while practicing can be so hard when a pose proves to be challenging, hurts, etc. When we return from rest and hug our knees to our chest, it’s a way to silently thank yourself during your practice. Seems silly but hug yourself!
So for any of you who do practice yoga, or just want a little mantra for your day or week, remember this one.
Practice with gratitude.
Happy Friday and have a good weekend, friends!
What are some sayings or mantras you carry for yourself during the day or week?