The Yoga Sutras say, "Acknowledging abundance (aparigraha) we recognize the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose for our worldly existence."
Studies have shown that a daily gratitude practice can relieve stress and make us more healthy, productive, and happy. This practice can even strengthen our immune systems! How can we align our yoga practice with the practice of gratitude? I recently came across an article that summed it up beautifully:
"...in order to be grateful, one must be willing and ready to show appreciation. But how does one know if they are ready? One is ready when one is present, aware, immersed in the present moment. Presence brings awareness, which enables us to see things clearly and to connect more deeply to our body and breath. It helps us feel the inhale, the prana, the life energy that comes with acknowledgment. That fullness consequently brings an exhale—a need to empty out and subsequently give back and share that great sense of peace."
That is what we practice when we get on our mats - presence, which leads to gratitude, which leads to deeper happiness and well-being, for ourselves and for those around us.