Charley Yoga Fremantle

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Some of you may have heard of an exercise called the three blessings or a gratitude exercise. From what I understand, it’s a commonly used tool in positive psychology where you ask a person to think of three things that they are grateful for in their day that has been. I thought this was a great thing to introduce to my kids to so every night before bed so I ask my young son to recount to me three things in his day that he is grateful for. Being such a smarty pants (not sure where he gets that from?) he’s come up with a handy little cheat that works every single time. His third item is always “right now” at which point he gives me a hug and kiss. The reason it’s so smart is that as well as knowing I’m a sucker for his kisses & cuddles which he adds in as the kicker, he knows that “right now” is where true happiness is. This is because we’ve discussed it many times, however, I totally get that he is only saying it to please me as he knows it is what I want to hear. I’m not saying he is enlightened and ahead of his time by any means, just cheeky! We’ll keep doing it though in the hope that these concepts might be carried into his adulthood and seep into his much more “serious” adult life.

The gratitude exercise is a challenging one to begin with, especially when you’ve had a “bad” day but like any other practice, it gets easier with time.  These days, I find because we practice this so often, we are able to see the things we are grateful for much more easily as we are regularly mindful of what it is in life that we are truly grateful for. Sometimes we have four or five things each and find it hard to pick out only three! This is a good example of “Tapas” in yoga which means discipline or regular practice. This regular practice means that gratitude becomes easier and more natural over time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a believer in turning everything into a positive, this is both unreasonable and unattainable. We talk about the bad stuff too but this little exercise stops us from becoming overwhelmed by the bad stuff. This is a good example of “Santosha” or contentment – being able to find contentment amongst the full spectrum of emotion that we go through in our daily lives. The good, the bad and the times where we are tempted to simply write-off the day completely and start again tomorrow thus ignoring our innate ability to be content in the moment if we simply allow it.

Yoga Sutra 1.1 tells us “Atha yoga anushasanam” which can be taken to mean “Now begins the practice of yoga” – Now meaning right now, here, in the present moment – see, I told you my son was a smarty pants cheater!

Can you bring to mind three things in your day that you are grateful for? How about on a “bad” day? I’d love for you to give it a try 🙂

Charley Hickey

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