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12 Practices of Gratitude

This month, I focused on Gratitude.

In his book, The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes five Yamas as personal disciplines to becoming a responsible, productive, and happy person.  One of the Yamas is Aparigraha, which is translated as “greedlessness” or only possessing what is absolutely necessary in our lives.  It could also be loosely translated as being grateful.

What a month to practice being grateful – in between American Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I made a list of at least a dozen things I was grateful for in my life – my family, kind words of encouragement, the Kids Yoga community, world travel, books, and children worldwide who teach us to live in the moment, love life, and laugh lots.

It was a wonderful way to finish the year with a feeling of gratitude, instead of judging myself or wishing I had done more this year.

It got me thinking about how I am going to talk to our daughter about gratitude when she grows up.  Thinking like a mom can certainly be different than thinking like a teacher.

12 Practices of Gratitude

Check out this list of ways to help our children develop a sense of gratitude, from the lovely book, Under the Chinaberry Tree: Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting by Ann Ruethling and Patti Pitcher (p. 206-208):

  • Make a point to be appreciative yourself.  Say “thank you” at every opportunity.


  • Be explicit.  Teach your children specifically when it is considered polite to say thank you.


  • Practice the “I’m lucky because” game.  List off the many ways you see that she is lucky – a warm bed, a loving family, a big sister to play with.


  • Teach your children to send thank-you notes, even if those notes are simply one of her drawings embellished by your writing and her dictated thoughts.


  • Encourage your child to say “thank you” to her teachers at the end of the day or class.


  • Offer a prayer or song of gratitude before meals.


  • As much as your family is able, get involved in holiday gift-giving programs for the needy.


  • At the end of the every day, while you are sitting at your child’s bedside, ask her to name one thing she is grateful for.


  • When your child feels sad or lonely, have him send a letter to someone he loves.


  • Every day, in some small way, make sure your child knows you are grateful for the gift of being his parent.


  • Notice and appreciate the small things in life.


  • Use famous sayings or quotes to punctuate the need for gratitude.

Check out the book for more detailed descriptions under each point.

I’m curious, how do you practice gratitude in your house, studio, or classroom?  I’d love to hear your stories – feel free to email me at giselle (at) kidsyogastories (dot) com.

Thank you for reading.  I’m grateful.

Kids Yoga Stories



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