In the warm afterglow of yesterday morning's Sunday-FUNday Donation Yoga class (in aid of Women's Aid - you can still donate if you meant to & forgot), I got to thinking about gratitude. Not in any big obvious all-cyclinders-firing kind of way - just that nice contented feeling of having helped contribute to a great cause, being so grateful that I could & being so delighted that people gave so generously. And turned up! The EveryDay Yoga Ireland Yogis are a fabulously kind bunch of humans 🤗💛.

Then this morning, as I was having my morning coffee & reading the newspaper, I came across an article on our much under-siege An Garda Síochána (my local station is Kilmainham). Without exception, these last several weeks, I have been so impressed & yes, GRATEFUL, for their presence, their patience, their good cheer. I doubt the Gardaí are used to getting much thanks, I really cannot say. But this morning it struck me, yes, I have a few times over March, April, May said "cheers lads" to some of them individually as they stroll through the park & around the neighbouring streets so it's likely others are doing the same. It is too easy to forget though that, behind the uniforms, they too are human; they too are in the deep end in these new circumstances; they too must be worried about their own health & their families. Many barely qualified new Gardai have had a start to their careers that no-one else around them ever has.

So I sent them off a wee e-mail this morning. No biggie. It took barely two minutes (link to do same is here).

Why does this matter? Because our #essentialworkers are still in the thick of it.

Our medical workers, pharmacists, gardai, food growers, transport providers, Deliveroo cyclists, An Post people, fire-brigade staff, shelf-stockers, cashiers, OPW & DCC workers, many other public sector workers whose jobs & workplaces have been upended - the list goes on & on.

And as we may (to varying degrees) be still scuttling around shelves & shops like crabs & paying at tills like we are reverse-magnetised & then scarpering home like demented RoadRunners, how often are we meeting these people's eyes & giving a heartfelt "cheers"? Not as much as they all deserve I reckon. Would many of us easily, blithely swap shoes with them?

So my wee plan this week is to either bung off a quick e-mail, or say THANK YOU properly in person, with actual EYE-CONTACT (but not, you know, weirdly long either lads 😂) to whoever I think of that day. Just one a day. Nothing mental, nothing #covidgoals about it like (we've all had MORE than enough of the "I am finally going to read 'War & Peace', start playing chess again, ummm paint the skirting-boards, make fresh pasta from scratch, learn Mandarin craic 😉). Maybe give it a go too? Even once? ☺️

And the great GREAT thing about expressing GRATITUDE is, that it also does US a power of good. Literally. Am not going to wax lyrical about it - there is so much good research out there - but below is a snapshot of the real mental, emotional & physiological benefits of showing, sharing & experiencing gratitude (a great source of info on this subject is UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Centre) - "from ages 8 to 80, people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits":

Physical • Stronger immune systems • Less bothered by aches & pains • Lower blood pressure • Exercise more & take better care of their health • Sleep longer & feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological • Higher levels of positive emotions • More alert, alive, & awake • More joy & pleasure • More optimism & happiness

Social • More helpful, generous, & compassionate • More forgiving • More outgoing • Feel less lonely & isolated.

Some list eh! Very similar to the multiple benefits of Yoga 🤸🏾‍♂️ too - which is a lovely thought & a lovely combo 😉. Thanks for reading Yogis. Thanks for coming to class. Thank you.

Stay safe & well & enjoy that fab sunshine (something else to be grateful for 😎☀️

Om Shanti

Yoga Lili 🌎💚🙏🏽

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