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Gratitude Practice: Cut the Stuffing Out & Let Life Overflow

“Let the thankful heart sweep through the day.” –Henry Ward Beecher

I really love this photo. For me it is the perfect representation of the practice of gratitude. If you can imagine your Self as this bowl, or sacred vessel, then you can visualize filling it up with sentiments of gratitude until your bowl is overflowing. In this way, you’re able to experience the abundance of life all around you.

I recently posted about the overwhelming daily messages of need more, want more in our society. Yoga practice gives us the tools to fill up on all the good stuff the universe has to offer and by so doing, we become more present, aware, and enriched.  Filling up is more than just an exercise. When done consistently it becomes a way of life.

Look at this picture and see the bowl as your Self. As it is right now, it’s an empty vessel. But when you get to the bottom of it, it asks “what are you grateful for?” In the same way, when our spirit or life vessel is running on E, look inside and ask “what am I grateful for, right now?” Let the question settle before rushing to find the answers. The answers will come. If you’re stuck, start out with something easy like “I’m grateful for the air I breathe.” Now revisit your bowl and see that it is no longer empty!  Continue in this way until you are overflowing with gratitude for everyone and everything in your life. Be patient with the process. In time, it will help to lift your spirits and see life in a whole new way.

I find journaling to be the best way to fill up your gratitude quotient quickly. When my list is down on paper I can visually see all that I’m grateful for. Having this physical manifestation of my gratitude practice right in front of me makes it more accessible. I no longer need to rely on my inward thinking thoughts—it’s right there! As I continue this practice, I see that there is abundance all around me and that I really do have all I need.  With this practice, I learn that in fact, my vessel is teeming with life, my heart is full of love, and I’m more open to all that comes my way.

How do you practice gratitude? Do you find that your vessel is more empty than not? What exercises help you maintain a gratitude practice?



Rachel is a yoga teacher that loves learning, creating and exploring the world through yoga. She chronicles her ups, downs and all around on her blog

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