The next few weeks in my yoga classes, the theme will be the beginner yoga mindset. Think back to the time you took your first yoga class. For me, my first yoga teacher was an older woman who wore very colorful clothing, spoke calmly and taught a very rigorous hot yoga class at a studio in Omaha. I was instantly hooked and started attending classes three times a week. I don’t really remember loving traditional workouts after attending these classes. Hot yoga did it for me and the physical as well as mental effects benefited me greatly.
Those yoga classes were my favorite part of my day. I felt like I was working hard and the poses were very challenging but I didn’t feel completely exhausted after every session.
I continued to learn everything there was about the practice. My body adjusted to the heat. I loved that the practice was physical enough to help keep me in shape but also relaxing enough to calm my anxiety. I loved how there was a community of like-minded healthy people at the studio who all cared about living a good, healthy life. I loved yoga!
The vulnerability of beginnings
Every student’s beginner story is different. Maybe you fell in love with yoga at first sight. Maybe it took some experimenting with different styles to help you find the right practice for you. Whatever your story, beginners always have a particular mindset that is very wise.
Beginners are vulnerable. We have talked about the value of being vulnerable during class in the past.
To walk into a yoga studio for the first time puts you into an extremely vulnerable position. You most likely don’t know anyone unless you come with a friend. Still, you might not know how to do any yoga poses and be afraid that you’re going to make a fool of yourself. Even if you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you probably don’t know who the teacher is or how the teacher teaches. The teacher might use different pose names or only speak in Sanskrit. Then what?
It’s even vulnerable to pop a DVD into the computer and do a yoga practice on your own in the comfort of your home for the first time. Even though no one else can see you, it can feel weird or stupid to be stretching your body into pretzel-like poses for no apparent reason.
Anytime you try something new, you are stepping up to the vulnerability plate. You are saying: I don’t know what I don’t know, but I’m here to learn. That is a very powerful place to be. Your mind stays open. You’re ready acquire knowledge, and maybe you have a healthy skepticism that allows you to question almost everything, at least in your own body. Does that feel good with my leg there? Will my shoulders allow me to do that? Are my hamstrings really that tight?
Real yogis are always beginners
As many students start to progress in their practice, they lose that beginner yoga mindset. They learn the poses and stop questioning. They become used to routine and lose some of the mindfulness needed when they were a beginner. They head into auto-pilot.
The beginner yoga mindset is always available. It’s simply a matter of shifting your thoughts. If you intend to practice like a beginner, you’ll continue to question how your body moves into each pose every single day. You’ll continue to approach every pose like it’s your first rather than skip “beginner” poses because your practice is more “intermediate” or “advanced.”
There is no such thing as an advanced yogi.
Real yogis are always beginners. They’re always learning something new.
Bring a beginner yoga mindset to class.
The next time you step on your mat, bring a beginner’s mindset. What is it like to really question each pose again like it’s the first time? I bet you’ll discover new sensations, new muscle relationships, and a new appreciation for your body, your mind, and your yoga practice.
It’s okay. Be a beginner. Every day. Your mind and body will thank you.
I would love to see you in one of my yoga classes. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call me at 712-256-1800!