Yoga: a large-hearted way of thinking and being

What would you write on a freshly installed gratitude board?

As I looked at a freshly installed “Gratitude Board” on the coffee shop wall, a fully formed thought popped in my head. I knew immediately what to write. I didn’t actually “think“ the thought. It just arrived, fully formed. 

I wrote: “I am grateful to have a yoga practice which provides me with a path to a steady, compassionate version of myself, anytime I need it. My practice allows me to tap into the beauty of life and the best part of myself, so I can live from that space as I move through life. For that, I am immensely grateful. To the teachers who discovered, kindled and shared this practice: Thank you for this wonderful gift you’ve kindled and shared through the years.

Yoga has brought me role models and friends who embody the practice, and allow me to watch how they move through life’s difficulties and successes from a place of ease and compassion.

I am grateful to the thyroid condition which got me to try yoga initially, and to my friend Clare Sheldon Manz who took time to look through her veterinarian books to help me understand treatments, such as yoga. There are so many teachers I am grateful for, beginning with my first yoga teacher: Jen Queally and including every teacher I’ve taken classes and trainings with especially Heidi McVane and Danielle Toolan, Jen Morrison, Jacqui Bonwell, Kim Moody, David Vaughn, Mark Stevens, Sagel Urlacher, Erin Compton, to name a few. So much gratitude to my sister Kate my photographer, studio painter and “spiritual guide”. And to my childhood best friend who lives 800 miles away but still shares my path: Michelle Abbott. To all of you, I bow.

Beyond local friends, I have found yoga studios around the world containing people with the same large hearted attitude toward life. Even in a pandemic, yoga provided me a place to check-in (if only digitally) and connect with myself and with like-minded people, who are not cranky or judgmental. That is not to say yogis are without judgement, but that we seem to put that away when doing yoga. The yoga mat fosters a way to exist in a clear minded, authentic, usually happy space. I am so grateful to have access to this large hearted way of thinking and being in the world.
Yoga, I bow to you.