beginners,  Summer,  yin yoga,  Yoga

The Beginner’s Mind

We’ve all been beginner’s at some time in our lives – learning to walk, talk, read, write and even to drive a car. But on each of these occasions the end goal is seen as more important than the journey. We forget how it feels to explore things with fresh eyes, and instead seek to grow in competence and experience.

During Lockdown I taught a yin yoga class all about having a Beginner’s Mindset and I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last few weeks. What does it mean to be a beginner and why does it not carry the same prestige as someone who is more advanced?

Being a beginner is taking the first steps into an unknown journey. If you decided to take up ballroom dancing, you would have to put a lot of effort in before that first lesson. There would be research to find a teacher who takes adults, a class that you can easily get to and that’s on at a time suitable for your other commitments.

You’d need to get really clear on why you’d like to take up dancing, being inspired by television dance shows definitely counts here! Then there’s the equipment – you might need special shoes and eventually some fancy dance outfits to wear. All of this requires a massive amount of patience and perseverance.

Showing up to that first dance class doesn’t happen by accident, it takes time and preparation before you even step foot through the door. This takes massive amounts of courage and this is where beginner’s should be applauded – for taking the first steps and starting something new.

Sadly, as adults, we tend to stick to our routine. Same train/bus/route to work each morning and evening; same chat with the same people and we introduce no new challenges to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Maybe we even become scared to be the beginner again.

Let’s take a step back, let’s be beginners no matter where we are on our journey in whatever sector we’ve chosen. If you’ve been considering taking up dancing then get to Google right now and find that class, who knows where it will lead and you’ll have taken the first step. Maybe it’s a career change that’s been swimming about in your head – explore what the possibilities are and who knows where this one small move could take you.

But if you’re a really experienced practitioner in your area, you might be wondering why on earth you’d want to be a beginner again. Well that’s where the magic lies. Have you ever watched a baby who’s seeing bubbles for the first time? Or the magic on a child’s face as they try to articulate what Christmas morning is like after Santa has visited? What would you give to experience that wonder, joy and magic just one more time?

This is what we can expect if we take a step back and become beginner’s again. Maybe you’re a professional dancer, then maybe try a different style. Perhaps you’ve been doing yoga for years and are adept at handstanding, well try a different class – the same skills for heading upside down aren’t a million miles away from the stillness required to rest in a yin pose for 7-minutes. We can still take our wealth of experience and use it to carve our new beginners experience.

So my challenge to you is simple – try something new. If you don’t do any yoga at home because ‘insert whatever excuse here,’ then make this the week that you do. If you’re the person who always comments on the Facebook posts that you’re going to go to that event/class – then actually commit, by the ticket, grab a friend and go. If you’re the person who thinks you’re too ‘insert limiting thought here’ to start yoga, but you’ve always wanted to join – then get yourself to a class. Any decent yoga teacher will welcome and celebrate your first steps, and if they don’t then I will be in the background cheering you on!

If you’re in the Lanarkshire, Scotland area and would like to start yoga then check out my upcoming new classes all starting in August.

But if you’re more of an ‘experienced’ beginner then have a look at Chocolate Yoga or my Calm before Christmas day-retreat. Both of these events might be just what you need to switch perspective and embrace that beginner’s mind.

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