Hands at Heart Center

When I teach yoga, a few minutes into class I invite students to join me in bringing hands together at heart center in the universal gesture of gratitude and to pause for a moment to take note of something for which they are indeed grateful. “It can be anything,” I tell them. “A person, a pet, this warm sunny morning, the fact that you get to do yoga.” Once they’ve identified that which they are grateful for, I encourage them to allow that spirit of gratitude to inform their practice that morning.

To me, that’s one of the most important moments in the whole class. Because while all the downward-facing dogs and triangle poses are fun and make the body and mind feel good, the opportunity to connect with our sense of gratitude offers rewards beyond simply thinking a happy thought.

Gratitude. To me, it’s a form a mindfulness that, like all mindful behaviors, amplifies my appreciation of life’s moments, particularly the small ones that so easily can pass unnoticed. I’m grateful for an exchange of smiles between strangers at the gas pump. For the dogs on my lap. For daily conversations with my kids. For the sunshine streaming in through the stained-glass window in my office. For my first cup of coffee in the morning.

As a person with multiple sclerosis, I find gratitude to be an important counterweight to any “poor me” feelings that might stray into my brain. No, I’m not happy I have MS, but I am happy for the opportunity it’s provided for me to think hard about my life, about what I value and what I can trim away to make more room for those things I treasure.

So, if you care to do so, please join me in bringing hands together, thumbs at heart center, to enjoy a moment of gratitude right now.

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Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is www.jenniferlaruehuget.com.

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  • Eli   Nov 26, 2014 10:59 AM
    Jennifer, thank you for your wonderful attitude. I was also diagnosed in 2001 and have found yoga to be very beneficial in mindfulness as well as balance and coordination. Pilates, physical therapy, and long walks are also beneficial but they must be done with the attitude that I can keep ahead of this disease. It takes the energy and determination to fight back and then the gratitude that you are accomplishing your goal. It is a non-stop journey. Someday they will come up with something that will make this easier but until then we must keep battling every day. It is hard work but it is also fun and rewarding.
  • Kristin Cook   Nov 26, 2014 11:04 AM
    Jennifer, I love yoga and have thought many times about getting certified to teach it. Could you share with me what type of yoga you teach? There are so many choice I am unsure where to start.
  • Arla Adams   Nov 26, 2014 11:23 AM
    My husband was diagnosed late,the doctors said he had it for a long time.The years before he only had numbness in his legs & a few times in his arms,but when he collapsed in 2001,I made him go to the doctors.He was diagnosed with MS,worked 7 months then couldn't work.Alot changed but I took care of him for 10 years at home.He went to the hospital,he kept getting bladder infections,Not good Care! He passed there July 31,2011. Go to the Doctors if you feel something not right! Early Detection is important! Happy Thanksgiving to all & Bless all & to all that help no matter how much. Our family Prays for a Cure!🙏
  • Bindol61  Nov 26, 2014 4:48 PM
    A beautiful message for Thanksgiving!
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    SmartyPants  Nov 26, 2014 9:16 PM
    This made me glad, joyful and filled with peace, yes the dog on your lap, all the things you said made it ever so clear that life is what we make it. Thank you for sharing in fact you are my grateful part that made my day.
  • Mike Spencer   Nov 27, 2014 4:45 AM
    Yes - I agree and I have MS too and am grateful to my wife first for all the work she does for me in the home. I also am grateful for my four children who sometimes try to help as I stumble over things. I am grateful for the time I now have to recuperate, stay in bed, paint in acrylics, go out to discussion groups, poetry groups, computer groups. I don't like the constant pain in my legs and am grateful to my doctor whom I have yet to see but I know how to treat with ibuprofen. Yes, I have so much to be grateful for and remind myself that although I am retired I am happy even though I have MS which affects quite a few other areas too.
  • Mike Spencer   Nov 27, 2014 5:02 AM
    i have just read that you are a children's book author. I have written a book for small children called - Mr. Mole and Mr. Levister, people have read whom I know and have asked me to publish it, so that they can read it too, but I don't know where to go. It also has some pictures with Mr. Levister who constantly twizzles around on the end of a pin, upside down, which is attached to a light bulb in Mr. Moles bedroom and he goes out with friends to the fair, and tells Mr. Levister who answers all his questions. Mrs. Splatters, Dr. Dogenough, and others are also characters in the book. Mr. Moles adventures are quite exceptional.
    It's good for me to get my mind off MS..
    Can you help me ?i