Appreciation is a beautiful anchor when you’re anxious because it has the potential to shift your energy instantly. In episode #17 of The Prana + Patchouli Podcast, we explore the deeper meaning behind Anjali Mudra (hands in prayer) and a short meditation to help you cultivate gratitude and connect with your heart. Even in tough times, gratitude is grounding because it gives you an opportunity to see your worries in a new light. If you're feeling fearful right now, all you need is 10 minutes to find your way back to a more peaceful and positive space.
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Whenever I’m feeling fearful, stressed, worried or sad, gratitude brings me back to the present moment - where all of my power is.
It’s like a spiritual powertool for grounding myself in what matters and has helped me avoid some major meltdowns over the last few months!
There are a lot of things that can get in the way of a heart full of gratitude, but even in difficult times like these, we can slow down our minds enough to connect with our hearts.
Things don’t necessarily get easier, but we become stronger and more resilient as we practise choosing loving thoughts over fear.
Gratitude shifts your perspective, so instead of stressing, you can see the blessings in every moment.
It turns what you have into enough.
I know that if I can’t find anything to be grateful for, it’s a sign that I’m truly out of touch with myself and my values. It guides me back home.
You might be thinking, “well… it’s easy to find gratitude when I feel good, but it’s a lot harder when it feels like things are falling down around me.”
I hear you.
But this is where you can choose to see your fears and worries in a new light.
Could these tough times be offering you opportunities for spiritual growth and healing?
YES! So, for example, perhaps this pandemic is a chance to slow down, simplify and reflect on what's most important to you - so you can reorganise your life in support of that. Or maybe it's a chance to pivot in your work towards your highest purpose. For me, the anxiety that I've felt lately has reminded me that I need time and space for self-care before I can be of service. I’m grateful for that. Rather than looking at things as problems, can you be grateful for these loving assignments that are guiding you closer to your truth?
To help you open up your heart and cultivate gratitude in all areas of your life, I’m going to guide you through a short mudra meditation, using a common, but beautiful gesture called Anjali Mudra, where you draw both palms together in a prayer at your heart.
You may have seen it in your yoga practice within certain postures like Mountain Pose before you begin Sun Salutations, Warrior I, or Tree Pose, with your thumbs plugged in to your heartbeat, or overhead if you like to lift your branches.
Anjali means “offering” and a mudra is a hand position, or sacred “seal”, that harnesses the energy you want to cultivate in your body.
As you bring both hands together, you’re connecting both the right and left hemispheres of your brain, the masculine and the feminine, the logical and intuitive, the yang and the yin, bringing all parts of you into wholeness.
You can use this mudra at the beginning of any yoga or meditation practice to cultivate a sense of connection, or in any pose to come back to your centre. It’s also a moment to return to your heart and find gratitude, as it reminds you of the wonder you really are.
If you’re in a yoga class with me, I’ll always guide you into Anjali Mudra in the opening meditation, as we set our intentions and surrender them. It’s like planting the seed of a prayer or affirmation, which is then nourished through breath and movement. Everytime our hands come together, we’re reminded of our intentions.
I also close my classes with my hands in prayer and bow my brain down towards my heart, guiding my students to do the same, while saying “Namaste”, which means “the light in me bows to the light in you”. This offering recognises the divinity within all of us. It guides us back to the centre of our hearts, a portal to our own divine wisdom.
In daily life, you might pray to a higher power, greet someone or offer the gesture as thanks. As a yogi, I’ve been doing this for years without realising! It connects me deeply to my heart and seems to strengthen my appreciation!
Let’s use this mudra as an offering of gratitude today. Try this with me now:
Rub your hands together, creating heat between your palms. Your hands are connected to the heart so this motion activates your heart chakra. Pause and move your hands away from each other and then closer together, without touching the palms. Feel the energy you’ve cultivated. Now, plug your thumbs into your heartbeat. Move your thumbs slightly off to the right, then to the left. Notice how things feel out of balance and alignment. Then bring them back to centre and feel yourself plugging into your own life force energy. Close your eyes if you can and breathe. Take 3 full breaths to ground yourself here in your heart. What’s your experience? Can you feel your consciousness shift? A change in your mood?
As you breathe and receive, bring to mind 3 things that you’re grateful for right now.
Feel the swell inside you as you become the embodiment of gratitude and joy.
Let it light you up from the inside!
Meister Eckhart said it best: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”.
When you’re ready, take one last big breath in and release. Smile, then float your eyes open and take that energy with you into your day.
If you’d like to go deeper with gratitude in your practice, I’d love to invite you inside my spiritual membership and community, LIGHTER, which offers mind-body-soul support, restorative yoga and guided meditations on a monthly basis. In November, our mantra for the month is: “Appreciation is the antidote to worry”. We’re focusing our attention on gratitude to calm our worries and soothe our anxiety to shift into a more grounded, peaceful and positive space. When you join the membership, you’ll get access to all of the brand new content that supports this intention, as well as all previous months! If you feel called, click here to learn more.
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Links mentioned: LIGHTER Membership + Community
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