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Surya Namaskar A~ Prayer of Gratitude

Surya Namaskar A is a prayer of gratitude to the sun for providing life on earth. It is how we start our yoga practice and ideally the way in which we greet our day. If every morning we woke up with gratitude in our heart, it would be the most important prayer we could ever live. Recognizing gratitude is a start. In this new year, I am hoping to step into a whole new world of gratitude by sharing it. Think of it as sprinkling pixie dust over those who make a difference in your life, momentarily or monumentally.

Surya Namaskar A is a series of movements driven by breath that include humbly bowing to the heavens and reaching up toward the sun with an open heart. “For thousands of years Hindus have revered the sun, which they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself. One of the means of honoring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskara, better known as Sun Salutation. The Sanskrit word Namaskar stems from namas, which means “to bow to” or “to adore”. The familiar phrase we use to close our yoga classes, Namaste- “te” means you-also comes from this root. The essence of its meaning is “the divine in me honors the divine in you.” Each Sun Salutation begins and ends with the joined-hands mudra touched to the heart.” (Nathalie Croix)

It is important to have gratitude for the things in your life; the “feel- goods” and even more necessary to embrace the challenges that teach us how to be more human. The lessons come when we earn them and while it isn’t intrinsic, we must find gratitude for each and every opportunity to grow. “A skilled sailor a smooth sea never made.” Having gratitude is the foundation for joy, but sharing it is the fullest expression of love that exists. How many times have we noticed someone looking great and not taken the time to mention it even though it may have made their entire day? Haven’t we had someone help us with something and not fully acknowledged the impact their effort made on our day?

Yesterday, I went to the Seagate Hotel to sit in the steam hoping to slay a sinus headache that was a “12” on a pain scale of 1-10. I had to ask for a spa attendant because I couldn’t draw hot water. Yes it was her job, but she did it with a smile.She literally sat with me for 5 minutes while the shower water heated. So when I left, I made sure to ask for her manager and shower her with praise. It took 2 extra minutes and likely earned her a gold star.

I have always been that person who asks for a manager’s name in order to write a glowing letter of thanks for service delivered. I often stop someone I don’t know to say how beautiful their smile is or how much I like their bag. It is in the expression that we feel a connection. It’s an extraordinary act of generosity that requires giving a little something extra. I enjoy thanking someone for being lovelyand that is its own gift. We all just want to be seen and valued so acknowledging someone’s goodness, feeds their soul.

This Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. I am teaching Vinyasa Basics at Yoga Journey. We will be embracing Surya Namaskar A by tapping into gratitude. We will honor a body that carries us, be thankful for the ability to slow down and get ourselves aligned for what’s next, and be reminded of the gift that yoga brings in requiring us to be fully present in each and every moment. These are all skills that make life smoother. We will discover how strong we really can be when it's called for and we will be grateful for the simplicity of moving and breathing in synchronicity. Allowing ourselves to be right where we are without judgment or comparison is the yoga. Waking up every day and seeing the world through grateful eyes is how we practice yoga off the mat.

If you are hungry for soul food, take an early lunch and come roll out your mat. Invite a friend or a colleague to join you. It will be more delicious than anything you could eat and it will keep you satisfied. Create some time for you this year. Move some things around if you need to in order to make it happen. You’re worth it. I appreciate the effort it takes to show up for yourself. It is my hope that when you do, you will step off your mat and back into the world with a renewed sense of gratitude that’s begging to be shared.

Vinyasa Basics, Wednesdays at 11:00 at Yoga Journey

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