Namaste, in this month, this year and this life of gratitude. I am grateful in offering a guest contribution to Zen Revolution from Kendra Thornton. Thank you Kendra, blessings for who you are on this planet. Enjoy her post on what yoga and the pilgrims have taught her. Be well. Be love. ~Thomas
Guest writer: Kendra Thornton
As one of the best holidays during the Festive Season, I look forward to Thanksgiving each year. It helps me to reaffirm my belief in generosity and thankfulness towards others. Because Yoga is also an integral part in my life way, I take this perfect opportunity to be thankful for the true gifts in life—the human connections represented by my family and friends. Thanksgiving and yoga allow me to both feel and demonstrate that deep sense of interconnectivity with my world, and to truly revel in the freedom of a thankful heart.
The practice of yoga is bound up in the idea of an awareness of the self—body, mind, and spirit. The holiday of thanksgiving centers on concepts of bounty—both that of the earth and that of the human community. That’s why I’ve paired the two concepts to investigate their similarities and the gifts both reveal upon closer inspection in a piece reminding me of “What Yoga and the Pilgrims Have Taught Me!”
1) Steadfastness of Faith: Much as the Pilgrims abandoned everything known to them in order to seek a home that allowed them greater religious freedoms, I am reminded that I too must seek greater enlightenment while remaining grounded within myself, and steadfast to what is truly important to me. While motherhood requires an intense flexibility to changing circumstances, yoga helps me to still the hectic frenzy of the outer world and know greater peace within.
2) Travel Within and Without: Much like the Pilgrims setting their sails into the vast uncertainty of a transatlantic voyage, I realize that I must carry my lodestone with me. No matter where I travel, I can find opportunities for yoga to connect with both the outer world and that within. On a former business trip to Orlando, I was able to stay in a hotel that offered complimentary rooftop yoga classes at sunrise. It was absolutely fabulous and it was great to bring the ‘om away from home” still.
3) Triumph Over Fear: While the first winter took an enormous toll on the colony, they persevered. Yoga is about testing the understood boundaries of the Self, and trusting your body. Through practice, I succeed and grow past fear of pain, inadequacy, or failure.
4) Education Through Community: The pilgrims would not have survived if they had not accepted the guidance of the indigenous peoples about the new environment in which they had settled. Through learning, they were able to adapt. Yoga classes are centered on education and practice. Everyone works towards the same centered sense of peace. Accepting guidance and assistance is a key component of a vibrant, dynamic practice. Everyone is on the same path together.
5) Thankfulness: It has become a part of the National mythos that the First Thanksgiving was a feast shared between the Pilgrims and the Pokanokets in 1621. Much like this sharing of bounty in thanks, yoga practice doesn’t begin and end on the mat. That expansive sense of connection and deep gratitude infiltrate every aspect of my daily life.
Thanksgiving is a day that signifies all the people and things for which I am deeply grateful. Yoga helps me to focus on the enriching energy of true gratitude and mindfulness.
How do yoga and Thanksgiving enrich your life?
Kendra is a former Director of Communications, an avid travel enthusiast, writer, PR business woman, TV spokesperson and writer, as well as a proud mom of three wonderful kids. You can follow her on twitter @kendrathornton: https://twitter.com/KendraThornton