Be Grateful

A grateful mind is a great mind, which eventually attracts to itself great things. Plato

Gratitude is universal. It crosses all boundaries, genders, ages, and nations. Gratitude is the glue that bonds societies and relationships. 

Gratitude in leadership can make an employee feel recognized, a co-worker feel appreciated, a manager feel acknowledged.  

Gratitude in business can make customers feel heard, clients feel important, people feel valued.

Gratitude in life can bring joy to chaos, meaning to misery, clarity to complexity.

Gratitude has the power to change everyone and everything. Research has shown that both the practices of gratitude and savouring the positive moments have many health benefits, emotional and otherwise. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. 

“Gratitude can turn common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

Practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to strengthen your mental health while helping to amplify positive emotions. When you cultivate a sense of gratitude in your daily life, anxiety and negative emotions can often soften over time, while stress resilience increases. Feelings of gratitude can be grounding, relaxing, and peace-promoting, and a gratitude practice can also help shift your mindset in positive ways during challenging times.

If you’ve been musing over your goals for the coming year (I have!), note that creating a creative gratitude practice for 2019 can help you hone in on your next-year goals, while potentially boosting your mood in the process. And no matter what your goals for 2020 may be, if your aim is to practice more gratitude, you have options beyond your typical gratitude journal.

So whilst our My Kind of Yoga Ambassadors’ classes this month is all about being grateful, here are some tips to help you practice gratitude:

  1. Daily gratitude journal. Writing down in a journal, perhaps at the end of the day, three to five things you were most grateful for that day can help integrate into your psyche more of the positive aspects of your life you may take for granted.
  2. Prayer or meditation of gratitude.  Start off your prayer or meditation by giving thanks.
  3. Notice and reflect on at least three things to be grateful for, with a focus on the small things – a flower, a kind word from a neighbour, a smile from a stranger, the sun shining, the rain helping the flowers in your front yard to grow. If you find this difficult to do on a daily basis, start with a few times a week and build the practice to every day.
  4. Integrate repetitive messages of gratitude throughout your day. You might start by creating frequently-used computer passwords that include the first letters of a phrase of gratitude—the letters in IAGFMB@7, for instance, could be used to stand for “I am grateful for my brother”.
  5. Intentionally practice to express gratitude, either by word or deed, to at least one person every day. Include an expression of gratitude toward yourself on a regular basis as part of that practice, too.

Be the change you want to see in the world by making gratitude a part of each day. If we all practice gratitude more regularly, the world will be a better place. Practicing gratitude can take so little to do, but yields a lot over time. By choosing a few ways to mindfully note and honour who and what you’re grateful for every day, not only can you strengthen your own capacity for appreciation and positive emotions, but you can add value to others’ lives, too. And that’s something to feel great about as you head into 2020.

Be Energised

“Your youth is certainly finished and old age has definitely arrived if you feel that you are losing enthusiasm, excitement and energy towards your dreams and goals.”
― Amit Kalantri

Do you ever get “that” feeling?

That you do not want to get out of bed. That you would rather curl up on the sofa and watch trash TV. That you are knackered?

Or, is it just me?

I reckon that since I have been peri-menopausal, the fatigue at times sets in and I certainly do not feel full of beans. What I have learnt though, is to listen to my body and rest when I need to. Some women have said that they avoid napping in the afternoon because they are not sleeping at night. Why not? What is obvious to me is that if you are not sleeping at night, grab a nap when you can.

I am also more aware of how I am treating myself because I do believe that where I am in life and what I am experiencing is the byproduct of what I have sown in the past. What I have been fuelling my body with, the books I have read, the people I hang out with. We are where we are because of our actions. So if that is the case, then we should consider every moment, what we are doing. I alway remember my yoga teacher saying that he was taught that yoga teaches you how to life with foresight, rather than hindsight.

You can create the health, vitality, and happiness you desire and deserve. Here are six powerful tips will help you stay energised and all day long.

  1. Go Outside: Natural sunlight signals to your brain that it’s daytime. It also stimulates vitamin D production, which is essential for healthy immune function, mental health, and hormonal health. So, get outside first thing when you wake. Go for a walk outdoors, and if that does not appeal to you, simply stepping outside, breathing in the fresh air and stretching out can wake up your cells.
  2. Break fast with a Protein Smoothie: Smoothies are nutrient dense, yet easy to absorb and digest. They bring you sustained energy for the morning, without sending you on a blood sugar rollercoaster and making you reach for an unhealthy snack. Personally, I have a vitamin and mineral fortified vegan protein blend. For extra nutrients, toss some organic frozen fruits and greens into your protein smoothie. You can even supercharge your smoothie by adding a scoop of greens.
  3. Skip Coffee: Coffee may give you an instant and temporary buzz, however, in the long run it is not a good source of energy. The energy you get from coffee is not long-lasting and leads to crashing, fatigue, and coffee or sugar cravings for another quick fix. Because caffeine is a stimulant, you can develop an addiction and become dependent on coffee. As you develop a tolerance, your body will crave more coffee to experience the same energy boost. Coffee can also increase your stress hormones, which can contribute to fatigue, inflammation, and disease. I prefer to have a vitamin B drink instead.
  4. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Lunch and Dinner: Food is medicine. Avoid foods that are inflammatory, and instead focus on nutrient-dense fuel. Inflammatory foods have no place in your diet as they contribute to inflammation, leaky gut, autoimmunity, and other chronic health issues. Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. Foods to exclude or reduce in your daily consumption include:
    • Processed and refined sugar
    • Processed food, junk food, and fast food
    • Trans and hydrogenated fats
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Additives, preservatives, dyes
    • Alcohol
    • GMOs
    • Gluten
    • Dairy
    • Eggs
  5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely necessary in order to have the energy you need throughout the day. I recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Following a similar routine each evening will signal to your brain that you are preparing for sleep.

Our yoga practice this month is all about being energised, so if you can get along to one of our teachers around the country, give it a go.

It is all about enabling yourself to create the energy you desire in your life.

Be Moving

“Life is a movement, a constant movement in relationship; and thought, trying to capture that movement in terms of the past, as memory, is afraid of life.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

As I sit on a train heading for London, the sun is rising and it is always stunning when the horizon starts to glimmer in a kaleidoscope of oranges and reds. It makes me wonder in awe at the amazingness of life and this planet we call home. October is also the time of the year (at least in the United Kingdom), where the nights are starting to draw in and you can feel a slight chill in the air. 

Sandwiched between summer and winter, autumn is the “cooling off” season. Most vegetative growth decreases. Animals begin to prepare for the dearth of food that generally comes during the winter, gathering supplies or traveling to warmer climates. Our digestive system starts to slow down, ready for hibernation.  We start to move less. The property market tends to slow down. Trees are starting to shed their leaves in preparation for winter.

Autumn tends to be windy, changeable, dry, rough and cool.

It is generally regarded as the end of the growing season. Also known as the harvest season, autumn ushers in a time of celebration for many farming cultures when they gathered in their crops.

Generally, this time of the year is a time to focus on stability, grounding, warming and nurturing. What we also want to prevent a sense of heaviness setting in too soon, before winter, is to keep our systems moving gently.

So, here are some tips to help you through this time of the year:

  • Develop a daily routine of waking and going to bed at the same time. Whilst we want to keep moving and prevent sluggishness and lethargy from setting in, we also want to contain that within a structure that will support us during this time of change.
  • Regular physical activity. Be moving. Find something you love doing, and keep doing it. Get to the yoga studio. Go to the gym. Get outside for a walk. Put your favourite tune on and dance around the house to it. Anything! Just keep moving. This will also help our digestive system moving well.
  • Have a nourishing diet that will help balance the characteristics of air, space and movement, which are prominent in Autumn. Soups, stews and warm grain ‘porridge’ are ideal choices. Cooking with warming spices such as cloves, ginger, cardamon, nutmeg and cinnamon will be beneficial to maintain balance and wellbeing throughout the colder months. Avoid cold and raw foods. Sip on warm water/herbal teas throughout the day.
  • The change in season is a good time to detox an rid the body of accumulated toxins. Ayurveda focuses strongly on prevention. Now is the time to prevent seasonal changes affecting your health and wellbeing over the coming months. Swap your personal care products over to cleaner ones. Do a 30 day detox (which I’ll be doing starting October 7th), to give your digestive system a break.
  • On that note, go for a colonic irrigation session. I had my first many years ago, and the therapist recommended having it done twice a year, when the seasons and our diet change.
  • Read. Keep your mind active by nourishing it with a good book.

Ultimately, find the balance and ride the shift in the season. Till next time ….