New Grow Yoga Classes! –Jenn’s review
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Last Friday I was able to attend one of Sangha Space’s new morning classes led by student teachers Lauren and Chris. It was a great class and I am so happy I went ( go Grow Yoga!!) The theme of the class was based around the idea of beginner’s mind. Chris talked about the Zen concept of Shoshin. Shoshin means beginner’s mind. It is the idea of approaching everything you do with an open eager attitude and no preconceptions. This applies to new endeavors as well as things that you may be very experienced at. Approach everything as a beginner would. I love this concept. Of course, like many things, it reminded me of a great song by the band Bright Eyes called Beginner’s Mind. The first line of the song is “Hold on tight beginner’s mind…” The song is basically about how the world can harden and knock you down and make you grow cynical but try not to let it. Try to hold on to your eagerness as long as you can. It is a pretty great song that resonates with me. Too often we forget what it is like to begin something new. It is a scary place to be but also a wonderful place to be. I am starting new adventures right now. Next week I will be co teaching my first yoga class as part of the student teaching classes offered at Sangha Space. Next month I will be finishing my 200 hour teacher training at Enso and will be able to get my yoga alliance certification. I am beginning to find my teacher voice and learning to see what it is like to lead sequences and see a class of yoga students from a different perspective.
Recently I attended a beginner yoga workshop geared toward people who have no yoga experience. They were coming to the mat for the first or one of the first times. It was a great opportunity to remember what it was like to be a student first starting my yoga journey. I saw eager and scared faces. I saw looks of discouragement and exclamations of “ I will never be a able to do that”when being shown Downward Facing Dog or Chaturrunga for the first time. I also saw wide smiles and feelings of accomplishment when they did a Sun Salutation or Tree pose. It was a great feeling. I don’t remember how I felt after my first yoga class. I remember where it was and what the instructor looked like and things we did but I don’t remember how uncomfortable I felt or how many times I had to stop or how confused I was by all of the names and movements. I am sure I was all of those things. The only take a way I remember about that first class was how I felt when it was over. I wanted to do it again. IMMEDIATELY! I remember I felt like I belonged there in that space with all of those other people doing this thing called yoga. I do have vivid memories of doing my first yoga DVD. That was a disaster. I turned it off 10 minutes in because I had to look at the T.V screen the whole time. I may have thrown the disk across the room. I thought I will never ever be able to do the stuff n this DVD. I can’t follow it and I can’t remember what Warrior Two is without looking at the person on the screen. It took me a long time to go back to yoga videos. I used to watch them beforehand to see what all the poses were and then try to do them along with the instructor. It just seemed daunting to me. I still prefer doing yoga in a class setting. But I remember the first time I did a video and barely looked up because I knew all the poses by name. It was a pretty great feeling. I had an instructor say once that yoga can make us better listeners. Instead of following along with what the person in front of you is doing listen to the instructions for the pose and feel your way into it. I think that is valuable information but I think it is easier to do that when you have an idea of what basic poses look like. Sometime teachers instruct a pose assuming you know what it is. Downward Facing Dog is not always explained in detail. It is assumed if you are in an all level class that you know what that shape looks like. But once you know the set up for basic poses that is where all the real learning begins. Then you can start to feel what the happens to your body in a pose. What do you need to do to support or maintain that pose? How does it make you feel? Are you breathing? So much information when you are a beginning yoga student! There is so much to learn in yoga. It is lifelong journey. I will never be an expert. I don’t want to be an expert. I never want to take for granted one single pose in a yoga class. I know so often I do. I know that I sometimes go through a vinyasa like I am on auto pilot. I have done Sun Salutation A and B so very many times that I know sometimes I am just going with the flow. But I have been trying to remain aware of that. I want to remember what each movement feels like. Whether if’s my 1st or 400th Downward Facing Dog. It is still my first in that moment. It still holds so much potential for newness. I need to hold on to my Beginner’s Mind. Approaching things this way has the ability to make life so much more lovely. It isn’t about forgetting how far you have come with time and practice and experience. It is remembering what it took to get you there. Don’t take for granted all of the in between.