5 Yoga Poses For Gratitude That Will Open Your Heart Up When You Need It Most

Ad failed to load

Practicing gratitude is such an important part of life, and it's even more prevalent with Thanksgiving right around the corner. As a yoga teacher, I like to include heart-opening poses in both my classes and my own personal practice so that my physical body can mirror all of the mental and emotional appreciation I strive to cultivate. Incorporating yoga poses for gratitude in your own practice will really transform your flow as the holidays approach, as these movements will help you gain a whole new perspective on the amazing things you're already thankful for in your life.

TBH, in the midst of all the delicious food and the Black Friday shopping, the true meaning of Thanksgiving can easily get lost in the shuffle of it all. While I'm all about finding great deals at the mall after I'm done feasting on pumpkin pie, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, I think we can all benefit from reminding ourselves what we should be thankful for not just now, but around the entire year. It's so important to find moments that allow you to ground yourself and really meditate on what you're truly grateful for in this life.

These five yoga poses are a great way to open up your heart so you can fill that space with clarity, energy, and graciousness. Give them a try this holiday season, or really, any time at all, so you can always come back to and appreciate the little blessings that life brings.

Ad failed to load

1Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Ekhart Yoga on YouTube

Cobra pose opens the heart and lungs, literally making it easier to breathe more fully, and filling your body with glowing gratitude from head to toe.

It can be tempting to dive right into this asana because of its rejuvenating properties, but it's important to practice it with a bit of caution, because going too deeply into the backbend without warming up first can potentially cause strain or injury.

Start with your elbows bent, and slowly begin to straighten your arms, gauging how your body feels as you roll your shoulders down your back.

On your inhale, close your eyes and savor the spacious feeling that you're creating. On your exhale, release any tension you might be holding onto in your body.

2Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Between traveling to see friends and family and spending hours in the kitchen cooking up elaborate dishes, Thanksgiving can, indeed, get a little wild. That's why there's no better time than now to try incorporating this pose into your flow.

According to Yoga Journal, the Sanskrit name of wild thing poetically translates to "the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart." Does anyone else get chills just from reading that?

Enjoy the sensation of opening up your chest and shoulders as they find space and freedom in this pose. Allow gratitude and appreciation to radiate out from your heart space.

3Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)

Ekhart Yoga on YouTube

Even after practicing yoga for about three years, this pose is still pretty difficult for me. Having said that, the most challenging asanas serve to remind you how growth is always possible. Remember to be thankful for your strong, beautiful body and all that it's capable of, in addition to the friends and loved ones you appreciate in your life.

As you breathe deeply in this pose, take the time to thank both your body and your mind for all they do for you each and every day.

Ad failed to load

4Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Camel pose is a deep backbend and juicy heart-opener that complements the spirit of Thanksgiving perfectly.

Make sure your back is nice and warm before trying to touch your heels in this asana. Remember to keep your toes tucked if you notice any uncomfortable feelings in your lower back and sacrum.

Focus on leading solely with your heart in camel pose. Too often, the mind takes over everyday actions, and the perpetual mental chatter overshadows the purity of the heart. Let gratitude lead you, and trust that it knows the way.

5Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

Yoga Tree on YouTube

Chakrasana is another deep backbend that feels amazing after long periods of sitting (hello Thanksgiving traffic), and opens up space in both your body and your mind for a healthy dose of gratitude.

Warm up for this asana by doing a few rounds of bridge pose first. When you're ready, begin to make your way into a full wheel. Pretend that you're squeezing an imaginary block in between your legs, as this will get rid of any unnecessary compression in your lower back.

As you breathe, savor the openness in your chest and lungs. On your inhale, think about each and every single thing that brings gratitude into your life. Exhale anything that doesn't serve you, and smile to yourself for the things that do.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

These Subtle Red Flags Could Mean You're About To Get Sick, So Here's What To Do

When you're constantly on the move, it can be easy to miss the signals your body is trying to send to you about how you're really feeling. Knowing how to tell you're getting sick isn't necessarily a complicated process. It's more about taking the tim…
By Caroline Burke

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas

7 Subtle Red Flags About The Way The Person You're Dating Treats Other People

You've done it. Against all odds, you've found the seemingly perfect person. All of your dates have been amazing, filled with endless hours of deep conversation and sweet affections. And how is it possible that you have, like, everything in common? T…
By Lily Rouff

Opal Hair Is The Latest Color Trend & It's So 'Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century'

If you were a fan of the unicorn highlighters or mermaid hair hues that took over 2017, then you’re in for a treat. A new beauty trend has arisen and it's as fantastical as it gets. These photos of opal hair color prove that too much rainbow is never…
By Ariana Marsh