Thanksgiving 2014

thanksgiving 2014

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to cultivate a sense of gratitude or thankfulness. So in honor of the annual Thanksgiving Day holiday celebrated in my home country the United States, I’ve decided to make a series of posts about gratitude in yoga and life. I’m dedicating the entire month of November to Thanksgiving 2014!

Before you wander off thinking to yourself,  “I can’t take a whole month of giving thanks,” read the rest of this post. If you are into yoga… or into a productive and happy life for that matter, then you just might find this the one place you want to visit every day this month.

A Little Yoga Philosophy For Thanksgiving 2014

In the method of yoga as described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, the first two of the eight steps of yoga are called the Yamas and the Niyamas. You could describe the Yamas as five key concepts regarding your relationship with others and with the outside world. The Niyamas could be considered the five key concepts regarding your relationship with yourself.

[N.B. there are other texts on yoga with less and more Yamas and Niyamas… maybe at a later date we can get into those. For now, to simplify and because the Yoga Sutras are really the starting place for any serious yoga study, we’ll stick to the 5 and 5. One more thing… Yama translates as restraint.]

Back to our Thanksgiving conversation… The 2nd of the five Niyamas is called Santosha or Samtosha, depending on the transliteration. Santosha means contentment.

Over the coming days I’ll be getting more into Santosha but I’m going to leave it for now with this thought I learned from my teacher…

thanksgiving 2014

Yogacharya Aadil Palkhivala says that gratitude or thankfulness is the single most important quality to develop to connect with the sense of santosha or contentment.

The easiest and most effective way to develop Santosha is by cultivating gratitude. In other words, if you learn to become truly thankful then you can quickly tackle one of the most fundamental aspects of the personal development system we call yoga. Thankfulness leads to contentment.

Recently there was a gratitude game going around Facebook… where each day for five days you had to find five things for which you are grateful (I think that’s how it worked… I didn’t actually participate but wish I had).

This practice of identifying people, places, things or situations in your life and expressing gratitude is not new. The reason it has remained near the top of the list for those who desire to continually grow and evolve is because of the sense of contentment it brings. In a world where many people are unhappy even with so much abundance, gratitude is like a daily dose of pure bliss.

One of the things I’m going to do over the course of this month is identify some of the people, places and things for which I’m grateful.

I sincerely hope you’ll come back this month for some laughs and some inspiration and perhaps a little insight into how you can achieve true happiness in your life.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. …my two beautiful children whose shadows you can see in the picture. My little boy Oscar is 7 and Annabel is 4. They are awesome!
  2. …my adult son, Drew Thomas, and his wife Ashley and their son. They are outstanding and upstanding young adults with an amazing and humbling ‘groundedness’ about them. You inspire me to be a better person!
  3. … in case you think I forgot… my wife Eleanor. I’ll get back to her later this month. Love you!

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