A Beginner’s Mind
Last week I had the honor of guiding a student through her very first practice at a yoga studio. She had been practicing at home with videos, but came to my noon power class in an effort to carve out some time for self-care during her busy workday. As I kept a watchful eye on her throughout class, it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm she expressed to me before class become apparent on her mat. She was opening up to a new experience, she was embracing the beginner’s mind.
One of the aspects of yoga that I have come to appreciate over the years is how much there is to learn. When I travel, I love to find a local yoga studio and attend a class there. It is enlightening to experience a new surrounding, a different teacher, and usually a new way to look at the practice of yoga. Recently I attended a class and received an assist in bound Sasangasana (rabbit pose) that was completely new to me. Although I have been practicing yoga for over 15 years, that moment was new, exciting and helped me embrace my own beginner’s mind. I was reminded again that an effective teacher is always a teachable student.
We can embrace the beginner’s mind as we move outside of our comfort zone. Many of us gravitate towards a certain style of yoga, a specific teacher or even a consistent time of day in our practice. With the increasing options available to us as lifelong students, we should explore teachers, classes and even daily rhythms outside our normal routine. With the recent expansion of Day Yoga Studio there is an even wider array of choices for us to explore in our local community. If you usually practice hot yoga, try a gentle or deep release class. If you are a beginner, don’t shy away from an energetic vinyasa experience. If you typically practice in the evenings, set your alarm early and come to a 6 am class. What you discover from a new experience as a beginner in that moment may help you shift in a new direction when you meet life off of your mat.
As we allow ourselves to be open to new experiences, we begin to realize that life holds constant surprises. We grant ourselves permission to constantly be a student and make new discoveries daily. So come roll out your mat and bring your beginner’s mind. You just might find me right there beside you, awaiting a new moment of discovery.
Anna M. Molgard – E-RYT 200