Allow for fidgets, for awkwardness, for squirming, for uneasiness.
Let it be…unfamiliar, novel, unknown.
Observe. No judgement. No self-judgement.
Always have options.
Keep yourself primary, not your teacher, not others.
Own exploration, discovery, resolve.
I like beginnings. All different sorts of beginnings. I like to learn. I like the beginning of projects (and also the finishing.) I like to teach beginners. I am also a beginning yoga student, as I learn from every teacher I practice with. Every day, every class, whether I am a student or a teacher, is a beginning, a starting point and an exploration.
In my Chair Yoga classes many beginners are in their later years and trying something new is both a legitimate boost and a challenge: mood boost, energy boost, attitude challenge, physical body challenge. Many come back to practice more yoga but some don’t enjoy the challenge or the practice and no harm/no foul if they don’t return.
I get that. It’s hard to be a beginning student, in a foreign situation. Me? As I mentioned, I love learning. I’ve been a beginner in many activities: painting, gardening, knitting, photography, baking, life. And anytime I pause in the doing of it and later return to the doing of it, it is new again. Not just in that moment but new again each time I pick it up and practice it.
You may have heard it particularly about yoga, that every time you come to a practice space (aka step on your mat), you start fresh, a unique experience. Maybe you’ll find a new understanding of yourself, just in that moment. Your particular mood, what’s on your mind, how your body feels, your attention (lack of?) and focus, maybe an injury or illness pops up, everything changes as you move and breathe and practice. Definitely true for me as a student and guess what, really true for me as a teacher.
Learning in any class is a chance to experience, observe, and perhaps absorb something fresh. When I teach yoga – especially to beginners – my hope is that students appreciate what they discover and find delight in the experience. No promise of a transformation or that the discovery will be life-changing. Just a small satisfaction from stepping on your mat.
If you are curious about beginning a yoga practice I am teaching a 3 week workshop at Sellwood Yoga in September, November and again in January. Visit https://sellwoodyoga.com/workshops/ for details and to register.
Photo is from a painting session with one of my private yoga students. She was so earnest about learning yoga despite her dementia diagnosis and the difficulty she had remembering how to move. But her passion was watercolor painting and memory issues had made it harder for her to paint. I wish we had painted more because it did bring her so much joy. Hers is on the left and mine is on the right.