The Joys of Beginning
Greetings, All ~
A wise friend and teacher of mine once told me, ‘It’s important to always be a beginner at something.’ I continue to learn from life just what he meant by this. Throughout our personal development, phases of our life, and even within the day, we flow through a variety of experiences. Some of these are very familiar to the point of habit like brushing our teeth or driving the car. Others are less familiar and require more attention to stay on point like meeting new people, taking on new responsibilities at work, learning a new instrument, and so on. The former, habitual activities seem to be much more common which can make the new experiences a little bit scary. There’s a great deal of comfort in familiarity though it leads me to wonder whether we deliberately avoid complicating our lives with new undertakings or if we’re intent on mastering what we’ve already got going. Hm...
This is an all too real topic for me right now having just begin a new chapter of business and life. Opening Breathe Yoga and Wellness Center has been a joyful yet laborious experience so far. It has both humbled and empowered me in ways I could not have imagined. Every day it seems, I’m asked a question I don’t quite know how to answer and I’m often stumped and intrigued at the same time. I have the pleasure of knowing I can manifest nearly everything I can dream up and the reality of finding out that one person simply can not do everything. Like with any new beginning, there are many moments of ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’ followed by ‘Look at everything I’m doing!’ It’s a very pronounced and gratifying paradox I’m in.
In this growing beginning of community - I am excited to invite you to the practice of yoga here at Breathe. To create a safe and welcoming landing, I am offering the first supportive, informative, and conversational Intro to Yoga series in September. I can personally relate to many people’s hesitation to try something new not knowing what to expect which is why my first yoga class was a beginner series. For some, the intimidation of walking into a yoga studio you’ve never been to, or being the only one not knowing what you’re doing prevents you from taking the first class. When we relieve the pressure of wanting to already know what you’re doing in a new experience, being a beginner can be a truly enjoyable experience. This opportunity is available for anyone seeking to begin or refine the fundamentals of a yoga practice. We will discuss and practice philosophy, anatomy, breathing techniques, physical poses, and meditations. The use of props, modifications, concerns, and benefits will be included for you to understand your experience better.
Link to Facebook Event for the first series:
In the meantime, here’s a few tips for respecting the process of beginning:
A short practice is just fine. My teacher says that twenty minutes a day is more effective than three hours once a week. This is especially true for beginning as it is easier to lose focus, become frustrated, or forget the information.
Avoid long holds in poses. Although a ‘gentle’ or ‘slow’ class may seem more beginner friendly, holding poses for a longer periods can sometimes cause more harm than good. It’s best to allow the body to become used to a pose before trying to rest in it.
Avoid breath retention. In some more advanced classes, sometimes the breath is held at the top or bottom to achieve different effects. For someone just learning the practices, it’s best to allow the breath to flow freely. Strained breathe creates a strained body, creates a strained mind, and so on.
Listen to your own breath and body. When it is suggested to inhale and exhale on certain queues, it does not mean that is the only time you breathe. Take as many breathes in between as you need to fuel your movement. And as always, take a seat, childs pose, or another position to simply watch, pause, or come back to your breath.
Ask questions before or after class! Your friendly, experienced, and passionate instructors at Breathe are more than happy to relieve you of any confusion or concern. If you’re not sure what something means, if there’s something you could be doing differently to achieve desired effects, or you’re just curious about something, ask! If we don’t know the answer, we can do some research and come back to it.
For those already on a clear path of yoga, it’s never a bad time to go back and refine the fundamentals. In many cases, we tend to skip over them in the beginning. In a culture and society that feels bothered by slowing down, looking up, and listening for any significant period of time, this ‘back to basics’ approach is much more than just practical tools. It’s a metaphor for how to be in the world. When the beginner mind is out front, it’s easier to see things as they truly are instead of colored by our preconceptions or expectations. This ‘beginner mind’ is a place of non-judgment where curiosity reigns and nothing is a bother. What a joy!
I hope to see you on the mat at Breathe very soon.
“If you work on yoga, yoga will work on you.”
~Baba Hari Dass