This Thanksgiving will look a lot different for many people. Because of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, a lot of people have put their travel plans on hold this year. My family has decided to try a Virtual Thanksgiving get together. It will be very different, but we are sure to still have lots of laughter, connection, love and joy. And food! Even though we are all making our own Thanksgiving instead of coming together, I am committed to finding the family joy in the day. Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday. It’s cozy, it smells amazing because of all the baking and cooking, we get to savor the food and savor feelings of gratitude. Start your Thanksgiving Day with these lovely six yoga poses to inspire gratitude.
1. Mountain Pose with Raised Hands
With the feet together or hip width apart, extend your arms upward.
This is a welcoming, simple yet deceptively powerful pose that can kindle gratitude as you open your heart and stand grounded in openness. Allow for feelings of hopefulness and gratefulness for all your dreams and the unknown adventures of the future that give you a sense of purpose and receptivity.
2. Standing Forward Fold
The feet are placed together flat on the ground, the legs are straight, and the body hinges forward from the hips. The neck should be relaxed.
One of my favorites for feelings of release. This pose helps releases the low back and spine and summons gratitude as you learn to trust your feet to hold you and allow your head and neck to relax. Allow your worries to roll down your spine and pour onto the floor and bring forth renewed gratitude for the positivity in your life.
3. Child’s Pose
From all fours, sit back on your heels with your knees hip-width apart and your palms on the thighs. Lower your torso toward the thighs while your arms stretch overhead and the forehead and palms rest on the floor. Finally, bring your arms back to your sides, palms facing up.
A particularly gratifying yet gentle hip-opener can inspire gratitude as you fold forward into yourself, get closer to the earth as if you are summoning your core of inner strength. Surrender and let go of things that you no longer need. Find gratitude for your breath—a sign that you are alive and that right now in this moment, in this breath, everything is ok.
4. Seated Forward Fold
Your legs are outstretched straight in front of the upper body. Then your chest is folded forwards, resting on your thighs or onto a pillow (or a couple of pillows, this is Thanksgiving Yoga!). Your hands reach for the feet, either clasping them at the toes, the sides, or propping them on your pillows.
An elongating hamstring stretch can be used to inspire gratitude as you focus your attention inward. As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful. Maybe it is not your hamstrings in this moment, if your hamstrings feel particularly tight, but maybe so! Take a moment to appreciate your body and all it allows you to do throughout your day.
Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are.
6. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This “ahhhhh” pose inspires gratitude as you rest completely and let go of all tension. Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles. Finally feel compassion and gratitude for all beings everywhere, wishing them health, happiness, and ease on their journeys as well.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I invite you to reflect on what your yoga practice has done for you. Not only will this get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but it can also give your practice new meaning and purpose.