Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Simply put yoga is about health and wellness. Gratitude is a benevolent, healthy mind state. Benevolent mind states are the root of health and wellness, not only within the body but throughout the world. It’s impossible to have gratitude more than you may already have it if you’re not willing to work on it. You can’t strengthen a muscle you don’t use! Working on it (benevolent, healthy mind state) connotes the practice of yoga.
Yoga practices are specifically created for wellness. Wellness is health in its deepest form. Wellness is the eradication of disease and the foundation of homeostasis. Within yoga you will find diet and exercise prescriptions, yet most yoga practices are practices that address our mind state.
Why Should We Have a Healthy Mind?
It’s not a coincidence that our medical community is now saying that most diseases (90% or higher) originate in our minds. It seems the yogis of old knew what modern science is now discovering, which is that most all real health comes from a calm and peaceful mind. A calm and peaceful mind is a healthy mind full of benevolent qualities and free of malevolent qualities.
What is almost never articulated is that mental qualities, which are the qualities underlying one’s thoughts, are like muscles. For example, anger or compassion or fear or gratitude are very much like muscles. When they are used, they develop, and when they are not used, they atrophy.
Angry thoughts strengthen anger and thoughts of gratitude strengthen gratitude. Similarly, the lack of angry thoughts weakens anger, and the lack of gratitude weakens gratitude. The more time one spends in gratitude the more gratitude is developed and similarly the more time one spends in gratitude the less time one is spending in angry or malevolent thoughts, so those qualities weaken.
I have a prediction: When our wisdom supersedes our vanity (when feeling good becomes more important than looking good) our meditation practices will supersede our physical exercises. Because the body really does not need that much attention and our mind is responsible for our reality.
We know a calm and peaceful mind is a healthy mind that is quiet or full of harmless qualities. Having gratitude reduces stress. Stress inducing qualities are the largest factor in disease. That is all disease, not just physical disease. The goal of yoga is wellness. So, putting 2+2 together is the connection between benevolent qualities like gratitude and wellness (which is the goal of yoga) which very clearly demonstrates the connection between gratitude and yoga.
This is most likely why all great beings like Jesus (non-judgement & forgiveness), Buddha (moderation), Gandhi (non-violence), Mother Teresa (compassion), Martin Luther King (equality) emphasized benevolent qualities as top priority. These beings are the greatest of the great because they cared about humanity so much, they demonstrated their care and every moment of their waking state. None of them ever said you need to stick your legs behind your head, or you need to touch your head to your legs. They didn't say you need to run great distances or do a handstand or over develop your muscles. Yet, they all said develop the benevolent qualities of your mind and demonstrate those benevolent qualities in your actions.