CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

It’s October in New York! This is my first autumn here and I’m loving the change of seasons! Quite a big change from Southern California, the place I called home for 38 years. I’ve been here a little over 7 months now and I love walking, even though my feet and lower back have taken a beating! But, like yoga, there’s always a work-around to everything and I am finding my balance.

I’m fortunate to have found a lovely yoga studio in my neighborhood where I can teach and plug into.

This new blog spot will be my weekly OM to you. My gathering of thoughts, prayers and meditations on the world around us. The topic I have chosen here is fitting for this season. After all that growth and Summer sunshine, it’s time for the harvesting of our GRATITUDE!

This is a time of finding balance. Summer has ended. The Winter Solstice of the long night is approaching.

The days are getting shorter and night is coming sooner. We are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway.

HARVEST YOUR BLESSINGS. This is a season in which farmers are or have been harvesting their fall crops, gardens are beginning to die and the earth gets cooler every day. It is a time of giving gratitude for the crops and for the blessings received. Cultures across the millennia have made rituals for this time of year. As a yogi, this is a special time to look inward and count your blessings.

TAKE STOCK. Think about the harvest theme. We can take stock of our spiritual journey, our harvest of abundance. What have we gone through this year and what can we hold close to our heart, like a seed, to germinate for the long winter ahead and the coming year? After all, this is when our ancestors figured out how well their crops did, how fat their animals have gotten. How did the seeds you planted this year do? How “fat” did your growth get?

CELEBRATE AND ACCEPT. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead. But under the cold, seeds and plants, trees—are going dormant to save energy for the spring ahead. This is a very powerful time for nature. So I like to bring this focus into my life, into my meditation and my classes at this time.

CULTIVATE GRATITUDE. Symbols of Harvest and of the Cultivation of Gratitude are all around us. Look for them:

  • Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
  • Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
  • Seeds, nuts and seed pods
  • Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
  • Sickles and scythes
  • Grapes, vines, wine
  • Yin and Yang, light and dark
  • The colors of leaves changing

BALANCE. This is a season of change and a time for reflection and of perfect balance; it’s not too hot, not too cold. It is a brief moment of cosmic equilibrium between the seasons and a great time to foster a sense of healthy balance in our own lives. The hectic holiday period and a winter filled with short days and long nights will soon be upon us. So with fall’s seasonal shift, we will practice yoga and meditation with a focus on centering and balancing ourselves before winter sets in.

And remember: “THERE IS NO MORE PERFECT POSTURE THAN THAT OF GRATITUDE.–W. L.

Maggie Parker has recently moved to Manhattan from Los Angeles and delights in sharing her decades of yoga practice at Naam Yoga! Join her Slow Flow/Restorative class on Tuesdays 5:15-6:15, naamyoganework.com

 

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