Feeling Gratitude for Pigeon Pose

Auteri_088A few days before Thanksgiving, I asked my students which yoga poses they were most thankful for.

I wanted to build a class that managed to fit in everyone’s favorite poses, both to remind them of why they kept coming to their mats and to allow them to have an indulgent experience that was all about them. I felt this was important before the oncoming chaos of the holidays, during which we tend to think more than ever of how we can give to others and less than ever about how we should be nourishing ourselves.

“I’m thankful for pigeon pose,” I told them, “because I love hip openers. And I’m thankful for legs up the wall, because it’s a restorative pose that lets me be lazy.”

One of my students requested bakasana, or crow pose, because it was a pose she still struggled with. She also mentioned standing balances, such as vrkasana (tree pose), because she was having trouble finding balance herself. “I guess anything that involves balance,” she said.

Another student requested l-shaped handstand, which is a way of teaching those new to handstands where their hips should be in relation to their shoulders, how open their shoulders should be, and how much strength they need in both their arms and their core. Funnily enough, l-shaped handstands can be even more difficult than just kicking up to the wall, because it places more pressure on both the wrists and the shoulders, and doesn’t let you cheat with your alignment.

“You guys are crazy,” I said. Though there was one vote for savasanaI’d expected far more requests for restorative / supported / feel-good poses.

Though I suppose this experience with my students only serves as a reminder that some of the most rewarding experiences are also the most challenging.

Because of this, I give gratitude—during this holiday season and forever after—for:






These are some of the most challenging things in my life, but they also leave me feeling grateful and fulfilled.

New Jersey drivers, though… I don’t think I have it in me to be grateful for that.

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