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You know when you meet somebody and think – this person’s completely on my wavelength. That’s how I felt when I first met Lauren Tober, Yoga Teacher and Psychologist. Of course, yoga and psychology are my two great passions so there are no real surprises there. And we met while studying yoga therapy together, so the synergies are pretty clear. But what’s special about Lauren is her extraordinary creativity. You may have seen her Capturing Gratitude project on social media - using the creative medium of photography to express and cultivate gratitude. It’s such a fantastic idea that I asked Lauren to explain the concept and how we can all get involved.

 

 

Adore Yoga: What first gave you the idea for Capturing Gratitude?

 

Lauren Tober: A few years ago, I signed up to Susannah Conway’s August Break (taking daily photographs for all of August).  At the time I was also reading a lot of Dr Brene Brown’s work, and inspired by what she had to say about gratitude, I decided that instead of just taking photographs of my day, I would specifically take photographs of things I was grateful for.

 

I noticed very quickly the effect this practice had on my own happiness.  Instead of focussing on the things I wanted to change or achieve, I very easily slipped into a frame of mind that was content, indeed joyful, with life as it already was.

 

I started sharing the photographs on my facebook page, and later on my blog, and the response I received was overwhelming.  My gratitude experiment resonated with so many people, and thus Capturing Gratitude was born!


AY: Do you incorporate gratitude in your work as a psychologist and yoga teacher?

 

LT: My personal gratitude practice helps to keep me grounded and in love with the work I’m doing, and I have no doubt that this permeates into my clinical practice.

 

At the end of my yoga and iRest Yoga Nidra classes, I almost always weave in a short and simple gratitude practice.  Sometimes it’s encouraging my students to think about one thing that they’re grateful for, and other times it’s taking a moment to feel grateful for yourself for taking the time to practice yoga.

 

I sometimes give my counselling clients homework that involves a gratitude practice like taking gratitude photographs or keeping a gratitude journal, and there’s more and more research to support the efficacy in doing this.  But I’m mindful of how and when I encourage gratitude.  The last thing someone wants to hear when they’re struggling is “but you have so much to be grateful for!”  I find that gratitude is much more effective if it comes from within, rather than someone prescribing it.

 

 

AY: What are the benefits of joining in Capturing Gratitude?

 

LT: Capturing Gratitude is a simple and fun way to get creative, tap into your gratitude and connect with like minded people all over the globe!

 


AY: Is gratitude the ultimate secret to happiness?

 

LT: I don’t anything is enough just in itself!  To claim that would be either oversimplistic or too broad to be meaningful.

 

Gratitude is a practice that deeply connects us to the flow of the universe.  When we stop for a moment and appreciate something just as it is, we’ve giving up the struggle (even if it’s just for a second) for life to be different than it is.  We’re bowing down to the universe and honouring creation and saying “I love you.”  And because we are all part of creation, we are in essence loving our self too.

 

When we’re with life just as it, there’s an ease and a flow and joy that naturally arises within.

 

My teacher Richard Miller says “when you fight with reality you always loose.”  Gratitude helps us to let go of the fight, and step into the flow.


AY: How can we all join in with Caputuring Gratitude?

 

  1. Sign up to Capturing Gratitude for free now at www.capturinggratitude.com, and download the Gratitude Interviews book immediately.
  2. On the International Day of Happiness (March 20), start taking photographs of things you’re grateful for.  There’s a free 30 day eCourse that starts on this day, to support and inspire you!
  3. Share online using the hashtag #capturinggratitude



AY: What are YOU grateful for:

 

LT: I’m grateful for you Nikola!  We’ve crossed paths at various yoga therapy trainings over the past few years, and I’m honoured that you’re interviewing me now for your blog.  So a deep bow of gratitude to you!

 

AY: Aww, thanks Lauren! How have you used gratitude to make a difference in your own life?

 

LT: For a good couple of years I was working with various web developers to build a website for Capturing Gratitude, where we could all upload our gratitude photographs. 

 

I had a vision of a beautiful site that was simple and easy to navigate.  Unfortunately the process of building the site was not simple nor easy to navigate.  The final website was stunning, but lacked the functionality I desired.  At the beginning of this year when I was deciding to keep working on the site or not, I asked myself the question “what I am grateful for this project and what am I not grateful for?”  The answer was that I was grateful for the reminder to be grateful, for the creative expression and for the opportunity to collaborate and connect with some really wonderful people.  What I was not grateful for was the back and forth between developers and the headaches involved with turning my dream site into a reality.

 

So with this in mind, I decided to flow with the gratitude, and gracefully step back from the site I’d been working on for a couple of years.  Instead I built a simple website myself, and decided to use facebook and instagram as platforms to create the Capturing Gratitude community.

 

Sign up to Capturing Gratitude now at www.capturinggratitude.com and be part of the gratitude revolution!

 

Dr Lauren Tober is a Clinical Psychologist, Yoga Teacher and Gratitude Photographer based in Byron Bay, Australia.  She is the creator of Capturing Gratitude, and the online yoga course A Daily Dose of Bliss.  Connect with Lauren at www.laurentober.com http://www.laurentober.com and sign up to Capturing Gratitude at http://www.capturinggratitude.com

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