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Yoga and Gratitude: Poses to Foster Thankfulness

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Yoga is not just a physical exercise; it is a holistic practice that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. One of the key principles of yoga is gratitude, which involves acknowledging and appreciating the blessings and abundance in our lives. Cultivating gratitude through yoga can have profound effects on our overall well-being and happiness. In this article, we will explore the connection between Yoga and gratitude and discuss specific yoga poses that can help foster thankfulness.

the science of gratitude

Before delving into the specific yoga poses, it is important to understand the science behind gratitude. Numerous studies have shown that practicing gratitude can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Gratitude has been linked to increased happiness, improved relationships, better sleep, reduced stress, and enhanced overall well-being.

One study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that individuals who regularly practiced gratitude experienced greater feelings of joy and happiness, had more positive social interactions, and reported fewer symptoms of physical illness. Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that gratitude can increase resilience and help individuals cope with stress and trauma.

These findings highlight the importance of incorporating gratitude into our daily lives. Yoga provides a powerful platform to cultivate gratitude, as it combines physical movement, breath control, and mindfulness. Let’s explore some yoga poses that can help foster thankfulness.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana, is a foundational yoga pose that helps to ground and center the body and mind. This pose serves as a reminder to stand tall and strong, just like a mountain. By practicing Mountain Pose, we can cultivate a sense of stability and gratitude for our bodies and the earth beneath us.

To practice Mountain Pose:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and distribute your weight evenly.
  2. Engage your leg muscles and lengthen your spine.
  3. Relax your shoulders and extend your arms alongside your body.
  4. Close your eyes and take deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of your feet connecting with the ground.
  5. As you hold the pose, reflect on the things you are grateful for in your life.

Mountain Pose can be practiced at any time of the day and is particularly beneficial in the morning to set a positive tone for the day ahead.

Heart-Opening Poses

Heart-opening poses, such as Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana), can help cultivate gratitude by opening up the chest and heart center. These poses not only stretch the front of the body but also invite a sense of vulnerability and openness, allowing us to connect with our emotions and cultivate gratitude.

To practice Camel Pose:

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downward.
  3. Press your hips forward and lift your chest toward the ceiling.
  4. Drop your head back if it feels comfortable.
  5. Breathe deeply and focus on opening your heart center.

Bridge Pose can be practiced as follows:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  2. Press your feet into the ground and lift your hips off the mat.
  3. Interlace your fingers beneath your body and press your arms into the ground.
  4. Roll your shoulders back and open your chest.
  5. Take deep breaths and feel the expansion in your heart center.

These heart-opening poses can be practiced individually or as part of a sequence. As you hold these poses, focus on cultivating gratitude for the love and connections in your life.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose, also known as Balasana, is a gentle resting pose that promotes relaxation and introspection. This pose allows us to surrender and let go, creating space for gratitude to arise. Child’s Pose is particularly beneficial when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, as it provides a sense of comfort and security.

To practice Child’s Pose:

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees wide apart and big toes touching.
  2. Sit back on your heels and fold your torso forward, resting it between your thighs.
  3. Extend your arms forward or alongside your body, palms facing up.
  4. Close your eyes and take deep breaths, allowing your body to relax and release tension.
  5. As you hold the pose, reflect on the things you are grateful for in your life.

Child’s Pose can be practiced at any time, especially when you need a moment of calm and gratitude.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Corpse Pose, also known as Savasana, is the final relaxation pose in a yoga practice. It involves lying flat on your back with your arms and legs relaxed. Savasana allows us to integrate the benefits of the practice and cultivate gratitude for the present moment.

To practice Corpse Pose:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms relaxed alongside your body.
  2. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths.
  3. Scan your body for any tension and consciously release it.
  4. Allow your mind to become still and focus on the sensation of your breath.
  5. As you hold the pose, express gratitude for the practice and the opportunity to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Savasana is typically practiced at the end of a yoga session, but it can also be practiced on its own as a relaxation technique. It is a powerful pose for cultivating gratitude and deepening our connection with ourselves.


Yoga and gratitude are intertwined practices that can greatly enhance our well-being and happiness. By incorporating specific yoga poses into our practice, we can cultivate a sense of thankfulness and appreciation for the blessings in our lives. Mountain Pose, heart-opening poses, Child’s Pose, and Corpse Pose are just a few examples of poses that can foster gratitude.

Remember, gratitude is a mindset that can be cultivated both on and off the mat. Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for, whether it’s the support of loved ones, the beauty of nature, or the simple pleasures in life. By practicing gratitude through yoga, we can experience a profound shift in our perspective and find joy in the present moment.

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