Opening a View of Gratitude

“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


opening a view of gratitude





gratefulness, for me, like most things in life, is a continuum and a process…


Adan Lerma
Adan Lerma

some things i’ve always had gratitude for, some things i’m learning a gratefulness of, and some things i’ll just be grateful i learn of them at all…



a recent post by kristin shephard on her yoga journal blog “beginner’s mind” got me thinking about gratitude during savasana, then in general…

her article, “gratitude admist chaos,” even if you’re not familiar with live community theatre, is worth a wry-smile and read 😉

in her article, kristin describes some of the “chaos” and how her practice of savasana helped her cope with directing the play :

“Here’s what I’m grateful for: Hours before this bedlam began, I was on my living room floor in Savasana, thinking, ‘Thank you, thank you, for everything that happens today.’ No matter how chaotic the day becomes, I will be back on my living room floor tomorrow morning, saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, for all of this…’

“It’s because of this, I think, that I never feel lost in the chaos. The nuttiness feels temporary, superficial, and less jarring than it used to. It is something I’m doing, not something I am…

“Has yoga given you this?”

the whole concept appealed to me, and i responded :

“having done outdoor-amphitheatre and community theatre in the past, for nearly 10 years, with all three of my kids in tow at various times in the shows, i can, now, pleasantly relate 😉

“however, your description of your use of and for savasana, i hadn’t thought of or come across, i really really like it (kinda like liking sally fields at all her academy awards 😉 )

“i wanna think on it, dwell on it, practice, then introduce it into my own classes

“thanks so much! sincerely,


so i did, i thought about it, dwelled on it, practiced at home, then introduced it into my class, as a variable

this is what i came up with


The Process

First Foray

i’d already introduced the practice of visualization, as a variable to choose in pose work, in my classes, and my idea was to now incorporate the notion of gratitude

Gratitude, Sheila, Beginning
Gratitude, Sheila, Beginning – Original Photography Adan Lerma

within the simple movement of prayer hands from the heart up and outward –

(what some call the beginning of a swan dive; plus recognizing some people’s outward hand/arm movement would not go above their heads due to blood pressure concerns) –

images that brought the person something positive were suggested –

a brain smile, a small smile, a chuckle or laugh, a grin, lighted eyes…

whatever they saw, and saw as something positive for them


The Window

breaking down the hands-to-the-heart and beginning of a swan dive movement, the outstretched arms and hands seemed a nice place to pause and rehearse what might be visualized – and visualized as something positive –

we began with opening drapes from a second floor window –

and seeing something pleasing –

Gratitude, Sheila, Searching
Gratitude, Sheila, Searching – Original Photography Adan Lerma

children playing, greenery and flowers, nearby branches with chirpy birds, an outstretched ocean…

we repeated this segmented movement three times, each time holding our chest-opening arms wide a few breaths longer than before, each time imagining feeling calmly surprised how the scene seen through the window was as nice or nicer than before…

– that the pleasing scene was still there each time we looked through that window

– that one was glad (grateful) it was so –

and upon closing the curtains felt assured one could depend on seeing something good, again…even if only in our fun playtime together there…


The Skylight

the class, in the following session, repeated the same idea, but this time opening a lacy gauze of curtain to an easily reached skylight –

seeing a beauty of a morning sky with lightly streaked cotton wisps of clouds –

followed by a softened sunset of changing reds and pinks and yellows –

and finishing with the deepest star filled night remembered…

each sequence again held a few breaths longer –

again growing grateful for the continuity


Self Initiated

adapting the open-arms open-heart movement posture, and letting each person further adopt their own images, gave results like :

– finding keys that’d been mis-placed

– coming across a grandchild’s lost toy

– seeing money on a shelf

– spotting a favorite food

– remembering a scent or smell of something special

it’s endless of course, as it should be if it reflects living in our world 😉

the only requirement was they had to fashion something from feeling good

it’s hard to be grateful for anything, without that confirming caress from our hearts

Gratitude, Sheila, Finding
Gratitude, Sheila, Finding – Original Photography Adan Lerma

and it’s harder still, but necessary, i think, to have the mind agree, even if it only’s agreeing to accept on faith what the heart has found 😉

home, i like to think, is where the heart and mind agree…



it seems anti-climactic, and maybe in a good way is and should be, but by the time the visualizations above and others were introduced and experienced, all that remained in savasana, was to allow each person time to be and decide their own things to be grateful for

when a window opens that’s been good for us, or cupboard doors pull apart revealing what enchants us, or our smile gazes through opened gauze-lace at the night-cooled stars –

what would you see? what would you find?

that you are grateful for?


for me, it was to have found a time and age, to appreciate teaching –

for having classes, my classes…


Chaos and Comfort Found


kristin’s post, which gave impetus to this post, was keyed on gratitude amongst chaos

ironically, or synergistically maybe, as i prepared my own article, two other related posts went up; also keyed on chaos, equally recognizing redeeming point-of-views

finding comfort in chaos” by nikki, at her blog site is one, with chaos and comfort and images of homemade children’s treats that leave you smiling 😉

and the other is, “#365: day 140 flower” by nancy at her new flyingyogini site, who is equally at ease and comfortable when in the swirl!

My Own Blog

chaos and gratitude 😉

i’d be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge my own whirlwind wind-down windup of our move to vermont in less than a week

Sheila, Gratitude
Sheila, Gratitude – Original Photography Adan Lerma

i’d also be misleading if i said i felt as comfortable as the ladies above in continuing the pace sheila and i have had the past few months –

leading and learning in yoga classes, sorting and packing and donating decades of details, coordinating movers while moving addresses and passwords…

i’ll take the easy pass on this one, and claim the soft couch of simply getting old(er) 😉

i know, barring the unknown i can’t know but accept, i’ll recover my second wind i left in the hall cupboard, but usually find, ’bout half way into those extending open-arm breaths –

and be ever so grateful when it’s time for my savasana, my return to resting pose…

namaste – con dios – god be with you



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“Art and Yoga” – Original Arts & Yoga Poetry


  1. gratitude for everything… even chaos because at the moment we realize we’re in chaos, it’s the moment of presence.. and knowing that is to know we’re ALIVE!!! Namaste!


    • beautifully said nikki, realizing when we’re in chaos and knowing we’re alive!

      the universe seems an organized chaos to me : working within it’s own laws and structures, largely unknown, but always felt, since we’re a part of it


    • [chaos] may as well be lovely, it’s there 😉

      besides, it seems even chaos has it’s deep-embedded cosmic structure

      just not often sure what it is 😉 thanks nancy, your post was a natural flavored pure organic topping on a whirlwind post i’m glad i got done

      yea, like my model 😉


  2. Thank you for this visual vinyasa! I will try it today on beach, your photo illustrations are very helpful.

    I wish you all the best in your move and much happiness in your new home. Thank you for your loving kindness, you are a wonderful teacher.


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