Beginner’s Mind

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season and good times with your family and friends as you celebrated the end of 2015 and the beginning of the New Year.

I always look forward to these first few weeks in January. It’s like starting a new page in a fresh notebook or diary. We have no idea what adventures, joys or challenges the New Year will bring. There’s a certain sense of anticipation in the air, mixed with a little dread (tax season approaches!) — but overall there’s an impulse to move on, get ahead, start something new.

At the Nook, new students will be walking through the front door. They are immediately obvious, as they’re usually standing around in the vestibule with a deer-in-the-headlights look on their face. They may feel vulnerable, as if it’s the first day at school. They don’t know if they’ll like the class or understand what to do, and most of all they are afraid of failing.

Many of these new students will be taking their very first yoga class and are anticipating an experience based on impressions from media or celebrities. Often they are surprised by the amount of movement their body is capable of and the support that teachers and other students give them.

They don’t yet know it, but they’ve just walked into a yoga community, an extended family of people with like minds who are all experiencing the same adventures, joys and challenges.

You have walked in their shoes; you understand their concerns and fears. A friendly word or helping hand can dissuade their anxiety. As dread and doubt melt away, they can relax in the comfort of knowing themselves on a deeper level.

Gradually teachers and fellow students will become familiar to them, and soon it will be hard to imagine class without their mat next to yours. Indeed, there’s a new and unexpected satisfaction in watching someone try, achieve and grow.

Through that observation, you have an opportunity to remember what it’s like to have beginner’s mind, revisit your own experience and explore anew. Look for someone you can help in the coming weeks, and let’s welcome one and all to our warm and friendly space.

Do you remember your first class? Share your experience with us in the comments. 


Image credit: Antanas Kaziliunas via Flickr (CC)

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One thought on “Beginner’s Mind”

  1. I absolutely do! You were teaching, Jeni! I remember Cindi Hunt had just started too. My mat was next to hers and her friendly way and her laughter which often erupted as a wonderful wave throughout class made me loose my nervousness. I felt the feeling of community immediately and I wanted to be a part of it! I remember Downward Facing Dog being very challenging and you promised it would, in time, become a resting place. It was LOVE from that first day on, not only with yoga but with Yoga Nook. My practice has continued to mature and develop and through the years, difficult times and wonderful times, Yoga and the Yoga Nook has always been there for me

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