Gratitude Revolution: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Life

pic captured by Courtney Cook

How are we already in the middle of November? I feel like October was just a blip. However, cliche it may be, I love that November is a month that we are all encouraged to practice a bit more gratitude. It goes a long way in improving our mental health and our relationships, so why not weave it into our daily routines?! If you’d like to read a little more on the topic, I love this short article from Harvard.

This month has really pushed me into a gratitude practice… if for nothing else, but saving my sanity. I’ve been solo parenting all month, I flew across the country and back with a toddler, and have been blessed by my fellow teachers with class coverage while I’ve been away and/or otherwise occupied. I’m so grateful for the family who have hosted us, fed us, and shuttled us around. I’m so grateful for the Frontier flight attendants and baggage workers who helped carry our bags and set up our stroller so I could keep Atlas sleeping and calm a little bit longer. I’m so grateful for my fellow yoga teachers who have covered class after class. I’m just really f’in grateful for it all. Even the challenging parts… because it reminds me of what I’m capable of and it reminds me of the goodness within each of us.

In the midst of our busy lives, it’s easy to overlook the power of gratitude. Yet, it is a force that can bring immense joy, peace, and fulfillment into our lives. Fortunately, gratitude is like a muscle. It just needs to be worked and strengthened with practice and use.

Here’s the Science:

Research has shown that practicing gratitude can lead to increased happiness, reduced stress, and improved overall health. When we cultivate gratitude, our perspective shifts, allowing us to focus on the positive aspects of life, even in challenging situations. It can enhance our relationships, boost our immune system, and improve our sleep quality. A Study by Emmons and McCullough found that those who practice gratitude consistently experienced greater life satisfaction and overall well-being. Studies using brain imaging techniques even found that practicing gratitude activates brain regions associated with the experience of pleasure and reward, reinforcing the idea that gratitude is a natural mood enhancer. 

Here are the Tools I Love:

1. Gratitude Journaling:

  • Set aside a few minutes each day to write down things you are grateful for. These can be specific events, experiences, people, or even simple pleasures.
  • Be detailed and specific about what you appreciate, reflecting on the nuances of each experience.
  • Writing in a gratitude journal regularly helps train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

2. Gratitude Meditation:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation with a focus on gratitude. Sit quietly, breathe deeply, and bring to mind the things you are thankful for.
  • With each breath, concentrate on a specific element of your life you appreciate. Visualize it clearly and allow the feelings of thankfulness to wash over you.
  • This practice helps you become more aware of the positive aspects of your life, promoting a sense of peace and contentment.
  • This short meditation and mudra practice is a great jumping-off point.

3. Gratitude Jar (I’ve been doing a gratitude turkey with Atlas)

  • Keep a jar and small pieces of paper handy.
  • Whenever something good happens or you feel thankful for something, jot it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.
  • Whenever you’re feeling down or need a boost, read through the notes. It serves as a tangible reminder of the positive aspects of your life.

4. Express Gratitude to Others:

  • Take time to express your gratitude to people around you. Write a thank-you note, send an email, or simply say ‘thank you’ in person.
  • Expressing gratitude not only strengthens your relationships but also makes you and the recipient feel good, creating a positive cycle of appreciation.

5. Gratitude Walk:

  • I’ve been doing A LOT of walking lately with the dogs and this has helped shift my mindset away from it feeling like such a chore:
  • Take a mindful walk outdoors, preferably in nature.
  • As you walk, focus on the things around you that you are thankful for – the sunshine, the sound of birds, the fresh air, or the beauty of the trees.
  • Engaging your senses in this way amplifies your sense of gratitude.

6. Gratitude Affirmations:

  • Start or end your day with gratitude affirmations. These are positive statements expressing your thankfulness.
  • Repeat these affirmations aloud or in your mind. For example, “I am grateful for the love in my life” or “I am thankful for the opportunities that come my way.”
  • Affirmations reinforce positive thinking and help shift your focus toward gratitude.
  • Add a mudra like Anjali Mudra (prayer hands) or Pushpaputa Mudra (gesture of offering)

7. Be Delighted and in Awe

  • Allow yourself to be awed every single day. Slow down and notice the beauty around you, watch a small child play in nature, etc.
  • Notice the miracles big and small
  • Relish in and delight in your experiences — the food you eat, the company you keep, the air you breathe, the views you take in.

8. Gratitude in Challenging Situations:

  • Train yourself to find something positive even in difficult situations. It could be a lesson learned, inner strength discovered, or the support of loved ones.
  • Shifting your perspective in challenging times can foster resilience and help you navigate through difficulties with a positive mindset.
  • It fills up our reserves so when we’re faced with challenging situations we are able to weather them with more ease and grace.
gratitude yoga retreat oregon
Picture from the 10th Annual Back to Nature Retreat in Oregon in 2023. Pic captured by Autumn Adams

Yoga and Gratitude:

In our yoga practice, we can infuse gratitude into every breath and every pose. With each inhale, we can invite gratitude into our hearts, and with each exhale, we can release any negativity or tension. Let’s approach our yoga mats with an attitude of gratitude, acknowledging the incredible gift that our bodies, minds, and spirits are.

As we practice gratitude, let’s inspire one another and create a positive and supportive community.

Wishing you a heart full of gratitude and a spirit at peace.

Love and Light,

5 Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Meditating with Mala Beads

1. Attend a retreat, workshop or teacher training.

Okay, lets start with the most obvious way to deepen your yoga practice. Go on a retreat, participate in an immersion program, or attend a teacher training with a favorite teacher. Maybe try a new-to-you style of yoga like Bhakti Flow, Yin, or Ashtanga. If you feel ready to move deeper into your practice read my recent blog post about what it’s like to attend a yoga retreat. Yoga retreats and teacher trainings are life changing, practice changing, wall breaking awesomeness.

2. My favorite: Begin a meditation practice.

For those that are new to meditation begin with 5-10 minutes a day. There are many different types of meditation, explore them all: Mindfulness, Concentration, Transcendental, Japa, Mantra etc. Don’t limit yourself to one type. They all have benefits. To begin a meditation practice all you need is a comfortable seat. The most simple meditation technique is to simply witness the gentle tide of your breath. I like using the Insight Timer App for my meditation practice. Insight Timer has guided meditations (helpful if you’re feeling distracted or overwhelmed) and also a timer. Insight Timer also has a pretty substantial and involved meditation community.

3. Get familiar with Patanjali’s Yamas & Niyamas

Yep I said it. The yamas and niyamas are a guide to living a moral, yogic lifestyle. In layman’s terms the yamas are things not to do, while the niyamas are things to do. These are the first two limbs in Patanjali’s eightfold path as laid out in the Yoga Sutras. It takes a lot of courage to really look at ourselves and our lives as they relate to the yamas and niyamas. Don’t be afraid to shine that light. It will only bring you growth.

The Yamas (Restraints)

  1. Ahimsa: nonviolence
  2. Satya: truthfulness
  3. Asteya: non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya: non-excess ie. moderation
  5. Aparigraha: non-attachment ie. non-greed

The Niyamas (Observances)

  1. Saucha: purity
  2. Santosha: contentment
  3. Tapas: self-discipline
  4. Svadhyaya: self-study
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana: surrender

4. Begin a Home Practice

Create a sacred space in your home for your practice. I live in a 1000 sq. foot duplex that I share with my husband, two dogs, and a cat… and I work from home when I’m not teaching yoga. Let’s just say it’s cozy. In our guest room I have created a space that feels almost sacred…. to be honest most days it needs a little to a lot of help, but it’s a work in progress. I ALWAYS have a mat down and props available. The room gets great natural lighting, I keep essential oils handy and I’m in the process of finding a small table to use as an altar.

Create a space for your home practice anywhere… even if it’s in your living room with your toddler running around or your pets sleeping on your mat. Only you know what you need when it comes to your practice, so give yourself the space and the time to explore.

5. Create a practice of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is an absolute gift… and maybe one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Don’t get me wrong my life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but I do make it a point to practice gratitude multiple times a day and now it has become a habit. When I’m making dinner I find gratitude in the fresh, healthy produce in front of me and my wonderful partner that helps me prepare meals, the sweet puppy cuddles and kisses that I graciously receive everyday, my healthy, strong and capable body, the many teachers I have in my life (yoga instructors, friends, acquaintances, students, my partner), the list goes on and on. Tips for adding in a bit more gratitude: Anytime you’re by yourself take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for: in the car, brushing your teeth, in the shower, walking to work, beginning/ending your yoga practice, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, doing laundry.

I hope you find these tips to deepen your practice helpful. I’m always here to support you if you have questions or need guidance.



Autumn Adams
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Hafiz Quote


I first heard this quote at a Kirtan event with Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda at Backbend Yoga this spring and it has stuck with me ever since. Unconditional love and gratitude!!! I’m so thankful for every opportunity I have had to learn and grow. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the people who have supported me, guided me and challenged me. I am a better person because of you.

What Does Ambuja Mean?

purple lotus

A beautiful lotus in full bloom at the Tanah Lot Temple in Bali.

How did I ever settle on the name Ambuja Yoga? Well, it kinda fell in my lap. I had my heart set on a different name and I really loved it, but that name was not meant for me. So I searched and I searched and eventually I found ambuja. It’s typically an Hindu girls name and I LOVE that it means “born from the lotus.” It’s so symbolically beautiful. The fact that we can rise out of the mud to become our best selves.

“One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.”
— Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Ambuja simply translates as lotus in the Sanskrit language, but it is commonly seen as meaning “born from the lotus” and it’s associated with the Goddess Lakshmi. According to the Hindu tradition Lakshmi is the mother of the universe and she is the embodiment of Param Prakriti, the divine feminine capable of purification, empowerment, love and support.

The lotus appears extensively in Buddhism and it symbolically represents our ability to evolve and grow out of the muck and bloom into a beautiful flower and into enlightenment.

The roots of a lotus flower extend into the mud and the stem grows up through the water and the flower blossoms above the surface. In Buddhist thought, this pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface” (

Each color of lotus has a different meaning, but to keep it simple, since our lotus is blue, the blue lotus is symbolic of the spirit’s victory over the senses. And it is often associated with wisdom and knowledge. The blue lotus reminds me that life is our greatest teacher and reminds me to always live with conscious awareness and to be open to learning from all that is new and different. Everyday I remind myself to practice gratitude because I have learned from every struggle and every joyous moment.


Autumn Adams
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