By Alexandra McLaughlin, November, 2007

The November Focus of the Month is ‘Gratitude,’ and is defined in the dictionary as ‘an appreciative awareness and thankfulness, as for kindness shown or something received.’ All of these words are often used and heard in yoga class and during this amazing time of year it may become easier to understand their meaning. We have abundance from our local surroundings to appreciate, from the farmer’s crops to the crisp air, changing leaves and even these incredible lingering warm sunny days. After yet another bustling season in the Hamptons, we again find peace and quiet. You may arrive for class and notice there is a little more room around your yoga mat to spread into as well.

Sometimes our practice on and off the mat however, can stir up more than just the good stuff. Physical, mental and emotional obstacles lead us from our path. We can easily forget to slow down, drop in, and even how to take a deep breath. Often we lose sight of the big picture, getting caught up in the mind chatter, focusing on everything we don’t have rather than what we do.

The Thanksgiving holiday is soon upon us and can be a reminder to prepare with humility and gratitude more than just shopping lists and schedules. Perhaps as a community of yogis, regardless of level or of what state the mind/body is in at the moment, we can together set an intention this month to sincerely give thanks. Creating an appreciative awareness for all that we receive. I wonder how that intention might alter our practice or shift our outlook within a day? We all can attempt extending kindness towards ourselves as well as strangers, embracing loved ones, or simply taking a moment to stand in tadasana, watch the sunset or swim in the ocean. Whatever connects you to the earth and its unbelievable bounty!

Alexandra McLaughlin

Though she has a degree in fashion from FIT, Alex also has received certifications from Sivananda, Jivamukti, and, most recently, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor, where she teaches weekly. She is grateful to all of her extraordinary teachers: Sharon Gannon and David Life, Manorama, Patricia Borrego, Mary Buffo, Jessica Bellofatto, and Colleen Saidman Yee.

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