Accessing your Gratitude: a Meditation

by Liz Geifman


It’s human nature to focus on the negative.  A hundred things can go right in a day, most of which we won’t even notice or realize. Yet one wrong thing happens and we completely lose our minds. We obsess, we beat ourselves up, and we waste precious emotional energy allowing the negative to take over our day.

How do we redirect our focus and reframe our perspective?

We access our gratitude.

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Gratitude connects us to the greater world that we live in.  It elevates our mindset, refocuses our energies and reminds us of our priorities.  Accessing our gratitude can dig us out of the despair we might find ourselves sinking into when life gets stressful and overwhelming.  It reminds us of our value to ourselves, our community, our world.

There are times when true tragedy impacts our lives. Our focus and our emotions must give these situations the attention they require and deserve.  But, in order to live the fullness of our existence, we must allow ourselves to be aware of and to appreciate the blessings in our lives.

We live in a world filled with natural beauty.  Breathtaking landscape full of vibrant colors, scents, and sounds.  Whether your happy place is in the mountains, on the beach, or your own backyard, allow your mind to imagine that place.  Find gratitude for the beauty of this world we are so blessed to live in.

From there let your mind travel to your home, whether it’s your own private sanctuary, a place you share with a partner or with your loving family.  Find gratitude for the roof overhead, the shelter from the storm, the place where you can let down your guard and be the most authentic and relaxed version of you.

Let your mind travel to your family, the people who you are the most grateful to have in your life.  The love you share knows no bounds or conditions.  It is heartfelt and pure.  Find gratitude for the love, the deep sense of caring, and the unbreakable bond that is family.

Sometimes the lines between family and friends blur.  There are those in our lives whose love and support are essential to our making it through each day. It is with these amazing friends that we choose to share our struggles and our joy, and it is with much gratitude that we recognize that they have chosen for us to be in their lives too.

We are blessed with all of this good because we are blessings.  We have so much that is positive and good to offer. When we give of ourselves, when we allow our unique selves to shine, the world is enhanced by our brilliance.  When we look at ourselves with compassion, when we truly see and appreciate the many layers that make up our being, we can access our gratitude and find love for all of who we are.

With the holiday of Thanksgiving on the horizon, we are reminded to think about the blessings in our lives.  Gratitude is available for us to access always.  Find moments throughout your day to notice blessings.  A loved one’s smile, a meaningful conversation with a friend, a triumph at work.  Let these moments sink in deeply.  The more you look the more you will see, and in doing so, you will undoubtedly have found access to your gratitude.

Find Liz at Evolution:

Mondays 5:30-6:45pm Vinyasa Flow

Wednesdays 5:45-6:45pm Mixed Levels

Yoga & the Holidays

by Erin Ipjian


The holidays are drawing near, and I’m going out on a limb here guessing I’m not the only one experiencing a palpable increase in the chatter of the mind. Longer to-do lists, hopes of fulfilling expectations around the holidays, and the complications of family relationships are just the kind of fuel the monkey mind loves.

Thankfully, we have yoga. As the outside world becomes more frenetic, we find our time on the mat to be even more precious. With patience and curiosity, we mine the body and mind, shining a light on the habits, thoughts, and patterns that unconsciously shape the way we move, think, speak, and act in the world. And we empower ourselves with a greater awareness that allows us to do better. With this clarity, yoga begins to expand beyond the four corners of our mat, to the holiday dinner table, and into the rest of our lives.

So, here’s to a holiday season grounded in greater awareness, understanding, and compassion. If you’d like to practice with me, you can find me at my weekly yoga offerings @evolutionyogaglenview .

Tuesday’s 9:30-10:45am mixed levels
Thursday’s 9:30-10:45am mixed levels
Sunday’s 12:00-1:00pm intro to yoga/gentle

Thanksgiving morning, my Thursday 9:30am class will be a donation class benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Sign up online or join us in the studio. Use your class package, membership, or drop in and we’ll donate the proceeds.