Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beginning Yoga at Bodhi Bee Caves

Well, I am very inspired by my Beginning Yoga Series last night at Bodhi Bee Caves. There were 28 folks there, most of whom have never done any yoga at all. It was pretty amazing to see the diversity among the group and to have the opportunity to introduce so many people to a practice that can be so sustaining and transformational. The students were enthusiastic, fun and very open. It was such a great lesson in Beginner's Mind. Because the students have not had any experience being taught in any other way or any experience of approaching the poses in a different way, they did exactly what I said and I had very little adjustments to make the whole evening. It was so cool.

And because this is a Beginning Yoga course that is designed to prepare people to participate in classes at Bodhi Yoga not a Beginning Yoga course designed to prepare people to participate in Anusara Yoga classes, I am mostly teaching a basic set of poses that people will be likely to encounter in the average vinyasa class. Last night we worked with the basics of surya namaskar and moving with the breath. I taught them the Anusara Yoga invocation, uyjayi pranayama and the component parts of surya namaskar- anjali mudra, urdhva namaskarasana, uttanasana, plank, modified chataranga, shalabasana, down dog and lunges. They also learned crescent pose, utkatasana and succirandrasana. Next week we will review that and add new poses on. It will be amazing in 4 weeks. It always is.

And can you believe it? I showed them how to lower down to a modified chataranga and where I wanted the shoulders to be and they got it on the first try. On the second try of utkatasana every single person had their arms straight overhead. Same with crescent pose. It really got me thinking a lot about the power of habit and the power of preconceived ideas and the true meaning of Beginner's Mind. Really, it can be very hard as a student to hear through our habits and hear through "this is the way I have always done it" and approach the poses we have practiced for years with the same fresh enthusiasm that a new student has. And seeing Beginner's Mind in action was great.

And when you are a really beginner you get Beginner's Mind for free. It is your state. And those of us who have been going at this for a while have to cultivate Beginner's Mind and that is something really different. I remember Senior Iyengar teacher, Manouso Manos, used to say that he felt like his greatest strength as a student was his ability to be present in each moment to what his teacher was teaching then and there as opposed to what he taught last year. He said he saw so many people come to Mr. Iyengar and try to show Mr. Iyengar what they knew rather than endeavor to learn from him in the moment like a beginner.

All right. I have some things to do and then I am at Castle Hill at 4:30 and Breath and Body at 6:30. Come if you can!

No comments: