Practice gratitude the better way.
When the pandemic hit, the yoga industry had a tough time keeping the lights (and in our case, the heat) on. We never started this business to make a ton of money. Our goal has always been to provide an inviting community where like-minded yogis could gather to experience the benefits of a hot yoga moving meditation together. So, margins in this business have never been huge.
We experienced weeks of shut-down and then limited class participation. We felt whiplash from navigating the constantly changing advice and regulations. At the time, “getting back to normal” class sizes, and therefore, a business that wasn’t bleeding money felt impossible.
And yet, the community here in Norwalk, CT, and the surrounding areas embraced us, loved us, worked with us through it all.
Because of your support, and your love of hot yoga, we’re still here. Yes, we’re still navigating higher costs for heat, laundry, and well, everything. Running a hot yoga studio may never be easy. But the connection and love we’ve felt from every member of this hot yoga community keeps us excited to keep our doors open.
We are grateful for every positive review, every encouraging note, every person who kept coming back in spite of uncertain circumstances.
Practicing Gratitude the Scientifically Proven way
Recently, I listened to a Dr. Andrew Huberman podcast about the scientific evidence that practicing gratitude contributes to better mental and physical health. During the years of the pandemic, this definitely proved true.
One BIG point he made during the podcast that surprised me…
Dr. Huberman mentioned two ways to get the most positive mental and physical effects from a gratitude practice.
- The best effects from a gratitude practice come from listening to someone express gratitude for you.
- You can simulate hearing gratitude for yourself by listening to someone’s story of gratitude for someone who helped them through a difficult time. That might seem confusing, but think about what we did in the first paragraphs above. We shared our story of gratitude for people who helped us during the pandemic. If you were able to put yourself in our mindset as the owner of a hot yoga studio during a community-wide shutdown, Dr. Huberman says you can experience the benefits of gratitude from the people who helped us through it.
These aren’t just his ideas of how to create an effective gratitude practice. They’re back by peer-reviewed scientific research.
We can Confirm
Anecdotally, we can confirm this works. Some of our best days during the pandemic were a result of kind words and gratitude expressed by our hot yoga community.
We were constantly receiving comments like this…
“YogaSol is top notch. Dan, Jeanne (and the entire teaching staff) go to great lengths to help people at all levels to enjoy being present, improve their practice and feel safe during these challenging times.”
Because of encouragement like this from the Norwalk community, we didn’t give up during the toughest moments.
What Other Benefits Does Science say a Gratitude Practice Provides?
Our story shows how gratitude increased our resilience during rough times. And we told it at the beginning of this article in a narrative format. Our intention – that you could experience the benefits of our gratitude through our story. That’s what community is all about, after all. Sharing in the benefits of a common experience.
Read about creating resilience with your yoga practice here.
However, resilience isn’t the only benefit of a gratitude practice. The research shows you can also experience the following:
- Reduced anti-inflammatory markers
- Brain/heart breathing coordination
- Better sleep
- Reduced stress
- Increased immune system
- Better relationships
- More self-compassion
And we believe you can incorporate a wonderful gratitude practice into your hot yoga practice, giving you the MOST bang for your buck.
Best way to Practice Gratitude
Here’s how Dr. Huberman suggests practicing gratitude to experience the best possible mental and physical outcomes.
- Narrative – make it a story. You can craft a gratitude narrative by asking yourself the following questions:
- What was life like before the thing for which you are grateful?
- What happened to cause you to be grateful? Who was involved? What did they do?
- What is life like now because of their efforts?
- Remember a time when you received genuine thanks or observe someone else receiving or expressing thanks.
- After you establish the story, write down 3 – 4 simple bullet points to serve as salient reminders of the story without having to revisit the entire story each time.
Dr. Huberman suggests reviewing your 3 – 4 simple bullet points at least 3 times a week. Because, in order to experience long-lasting benefits, you need to practice gratitude consistently.
Combining Gratitude with Hot Yoga
And here’s where we think you can incorporate your gratitude practice into your hot yoga practice. The good news is, you’re probably already practicing hot yoga at least 3 times a week. And we always encourage setting an intention before each class.
You can use your gratitude narrative as your intention.
Read about why we set intentions in our practice here.
It’s okay to thank yourself! Create a story of gratitude to yourself for the time you’re taking to practice hot yoga. What does your life look like most days before you practice yoga? Most people don’t put themselves, their health, first. But if you’re practicing hot yoga with us, in that moment, you are! Honor yourself for the great decision you just made.
And then remind yourself of what your life will look like after your class. Circumstances might be the same outside the studio, but the inside of you – your soul, your body, your mind – they will be different. And that’s all thanks to you!
Set your intention to honor the good decision you’ve made to prioritize your mental and physical health with a hot yoga class. And say thank you!
Give it a try the next time you’re in the hot studio, and see how it works.
And remember, we are grateful for every time you choose to participate in our community.