*Beginning this month, we will have a monthly, studio-wide theme, designed to enhance your understanding and relationship to yoga practice, and allowing you to take your yoga with you into other areas in your life. As this is a new endeavor, we thought it best to start with the topic of “Beginner’s Mind.” You’ll hear more about this topic in your weekly classes—and we look forward to hearing your thoughts about it, too! *
Starting over. Admitting you don’t know. Being unsure of yourself. Observing what’s happening before you understand. All of these words describe an experience that can be as wonderful as it is uncomfortable: the experience of “Beginner’s Mind.”
In many meditation traditions, the “Beginner’s Mind” is invoked as the state of not knowing, not deciding, not assuming, not judging our current experience compared to past ones. It’s where we can simply observe and receive information without having to compartmentalize it right away; it’s not a “production” state (which is maybe why we’re so rarely encouraged to hang out there.) It’s a state of spaciousness, where all kinds of potential can begin to announce itself.
With the arrival of a new season, there’s an opportunity to assess our patterns and habits. Which of them still have a life span, continuing to provide a stabilizing structure in our lives that allows us to move forward? And which ones are essentially dead weight, dragging us down and preventing us from seeing new possibilities? How do we sharpen the knife, so to speak, when things get a little dull?
For those of us who teach here at Grassroots, continued study keeps the knife sharp. We are by and large a staff of yoga nerds! Whether it’s recording every class sequence in spreadsheet form and reading all 18 volumes of the Maha Bharata (ahem, Bill Lowrey) or constantly finding the best articles about shoulder mechanics in chaturanga dandasana (Joni Young, we’re lookin’ at you) or consistently playing with the ways music, asana and breath can come together in the most creative and expressive ways (yoooo, Emily Lee) we LOVE that our staff is never content to just be comfortable. They regularly seek out the limits of their understanding, and dive past them.
This month, you’ll be hearing about the theme of “Beginner’s Mind” in your classes at Grassroots. Maybe this is the month to tackle a pose you’ve previously avoided, or to finally try your hand at a meditation practice. What sparks your interest? What causes your heart to beat a little faster? What causes you to ask “what if?” These are the signposts to look for, and to follow. Will you fall on your face? Maybe. (Put a proverbial blanket down to ease the fall!) Will you learn something on the way down? Probably. Will you have support as you stumble along this new path? DEFINITELY. We love to talk with our students as we all continue to practice and learn together. And we look forward to traversing new yoga territory with you all as October progresses!
In fact, we hope you’ll share a little bit about what Beginner’s Mind means to you, in the comments section below. What’s attracting YOUR interest lately? What is the growing edge of your practice? Where along the way did you fall, and what happened after you got back up? We’d love to hear about it!
Much love and thanks for reading,
Erin H/Grassroots Yoga