Lately as part of yoga teacher training at Sol, I’ve been reading, thinking, and speaking about the five Yamas – yoga’s five ethical principles that invite us to be more intentional about how we treat ourselves and each other. They are: Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess), and Aparigraha (letting go). Each is worthy of its own book, possessing far more depth than initially meets the eye. But what is particularly on my mind right now is how universally helpful the practice of gratitude is in supporting any effort to live more fully each one of these principles.

With the root of all violence being fear, any practice we take on that lessens our fear aids us in doing less harm. When I feel and express thanks, fear is far away.

There is nothing untrue about grateful thoughts. If we are feeling grateful, we stand in a place of truth. The stories and mistruths we carry that encourage us to be less than fully authentic have little sway during our moments of genuine thanks.

When we are in a posture of gratitude, there is an immense sense of abundance – not only that we have enough, but more importantly that we are enough. No matter what we have or don’t have, no matter what is happening or not happening, gratitude signals that right now our life as it is and as it is not, is enough. From this space of plenty, the inclination to take from or diminish another loses its pull. As do the urges to hoard or to cling – whether that is stuff, pleasures, or moments.

No wonder Rumi encouraged, “Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”

Take time every morning to give thanks. I promise you it will make a powerful difference – for you and for those around you.