Gratitude Q+A with Hillary Keegan

Gratitude Q+A with Hillary Keegan
November is ‘Gratitude' month at Mala Collective, which is why we sat down with yogi Hillary Keegan who shared the ways in which she likes to practice appreciation as well as tips for feeling greater gratitude when faced with adversity.


Q1 For what in your life are you most grateful for?


So many things come to mind. Family comes first. I am very fortunate to be part of our amazing family. The closeness I share with my mom, dad, brother, aunties and uncle, is so special.  Also, if one can have even one or two friends that really ‘get you’ you know, that’s special too. Having everyone healthy is paramount, so that’s a big thing as well.


My career in yoga expands my circle of wonderful people around me and for that I am so grateful because it is my daily. I feel so lucky to be a part of someone’s day and perhaps make a positive difference to their outlook as they go on with their day. I am eternally grateful for the energy and caring coming my way, from the novice young yogi to the precious senior folks who ‘make’ my day so often.  When I think back to my previous career, it makes me truly grateful that yoga found me and that I am now doing what I love. I never realized how important it is to constantly be motivated, inspired and feel like you working towards contributing in a meaningful way to add value.


Q2 How do you like to practice appreciation?


Setting ‘the intention’ prior to class and sharing this thought with every class, instills a positive feeling of gratitude and purpose. We all like to feel like our lives are meaningful and taking the time to acknowledge ‘our intent’ and work towards that intention, is powerful.  Giving meaning to our day, to what we do, can help us to ‘carry on.’ I sometimes suggest to someone that they consider giving themselves permission to leave the challenge alone for an hour and allow yourself to be in the moment. Sometimes, we are so hard on ourselves.

I have a very dear friend who has endured serious health challenges that impacted her life and those around her. During her toughest times, she created a poem called My Attitude. I’ve shared this inspiring poem many times.


Q3 What are the advantages associated with taking time to be thankful for all the good in your life?


Okay, so now your talking about what I believe is a key towards fulfillment. Living in the present sounds simple however there is much to consider when trying to live the moment. Many people say: “glass half full” and this mentality keeps you in that positive frame of mind so you don’t miss anything. How often do we dwell on something that’s already happened, and in doing so, we miss what is right in front of us. Try not to miss out on that very moment, that very thought,  and respond (not react) to it in exactly the way you really would like to.

The Law of Attraction by Gerry and Ester Hicks shares that it takes 17 seconds to change a thought from a negative to a positive. So, if you take that 17 seconds to start to speak to a mantra to yourself, or speak to something that you are grateful for, it can keep attracting itself back to you. I believe you are who you surround yourself with and what better place could I be than sharing my day with people who commit to yoga as part of their day. There is such a beautiful mind-body connection that starts to happen when your spend an hour with yourself (with yoga). It can be quite powerful, a walk in the park, a little meditation for yourself, that’s really powerful.


Q4 Do you ever incorporate Gratitude into your yoga practice and if so, how?


Absolutely! It has become an integral part of all that I do for every class. We sit and bring our hands into Anjali mudra, prayer, and set our intention. I ask them to find a word, whatever word comes up, they are asked to adopt it and if it makes sense for their word, make it into an “I am” mantra. Sometimes too, a person’s intent is to send love or energy to someone who they feel needs this energy. It something we can so when we feel otherwise helpless in a situation.

This part of my class is revisited three times during my time with the class.


Q5 Do you have any preferred mantras for practicing appreciation?


Throughout my career, I have studied my favourite mentors. Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer are a few that inspire me daily. The mantras they discuss are so enlightening and of course there are always favourites, the thoughts that truly resonate with you. When practicing appreciation, I dive to that section and review what they have already created in such an eloquent way for me. Sometimes I paraphrase them and make them my own or tweak them so the thought clearly focuses on what is needed at the time.

Some of my favourite mantras are:


  • I create my life each day
  • I am Love & I am enough
  • Patience/Strength/Determination…I Can!
  • I flow with life easily & effortlessly
  • All is in divine right order
  • All I need is within me now


Q6 What tips can you give to someone wanting to feel greater gratitude when faced with difficult situations or adversity?


This goes back to staying present and in the moment. Finding gratitude is always there, however not always easy to practice. When you take the time to center yourself, in whatever way works for you, the challenge will not be quite so daunting. A walk in the park, or being close to nature can be helpful. Think of what makes you smile or who you can bring a smile to their face. Pets are amazing when it comes to relieving stress and to experience unconditional love. These things inspire positive thoughts and can work towards being in a more positive frame of mind.


You asked for tips, so here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:  


My Attitude Poem speaks to pretty much anything and anyone.  There will be one particular line that will resonate each time you read it….allow that to be your mantra for day.  Super Powerful!!!!!



I Promise Myself…..

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.

To make all my friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best (me) and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press onto the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear; and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.



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