It’s easy to believe that the older you get, that you have heard, seen and experienced everything. The principle behind the beginner’s mind is that life is ever changing and no moment is the same as another. Each one is unique in nature and contains unique possibilities. The beginner’s mind reminds us of this simplicity and to not let your experiences become filtered by what you believe you already know.
I’ve found this an extremely beneficial skill to utilize as a mother and practice it daily by learning to see the world through my children’s eyes. It brings me so much joy to listen to them describe the colours in the sky during a winter’s sunset looking like someone set the clouds on fire, or when they explain how a full moon rising over the ocean looks like someone sprinkled little bits of gold and glitter on top of the water to make it glow. By taking a moment to rediscover the world we live in has brought a touch of magic back into my life and I love nothing more than going out for a walk in nature with my boys because I know they will give me ample opportunities to see the world from a new perspective if I allow myself to be open to the thought that I’ve never experienced the moment of ‘right now’ before.
In my yoga practice the beginner’s mind has taken me back to not assuming that I’ve mastered a set of poses, or that my practice will be the same today as it was yesterday. Over the past year my body has gone through enormous amount of change while I was pregnant, and I was able to go into each practice willing to discover what I was able to do today, what felt uncomfortable and feeling into the change within myself as my daughter grew. I also really appreciated the opportunity to learn from other teachers who offered suggestions of modifications I hadn’t thought of, and those who were looking to learn from my experience to benefit their own teaching style. This had my mind working to break down the description of what I was describing (or being explained about) to look at the pose from a new perspective. Now as my body heals, I look forward to building strength again and learning correct positioning for postures I have been unable to physically do for some time as if I was learning them for the first time. Change is inevitable, in life, in my body and in my mind. I look forward to embracing this mindset as I move forward on my yoga journey and embracing every opportunity to learn from others and myself.
Leading on from this, as a teacher I believe my students provide me with as much opportunity to learn from them as they have to learn from me. No one I will teach will have the same body shape, flexibility or experience that I do – which is an amazing thought! What an opportunity to learn from them, to put my mind in their shoes, and learn what the pose/sequence feels to them and working through modifications to assist them to get more enjoyment from my classes. These opportunities will allow me to continue to grow my knowledge base of how to support other students that may have similar abilities or inabilities. I recognize as a teacher that I will never know everything, and essentially, will always be a student looking to better myself and my practice to hopefully benefit those who participate in my classes.
By Kaicee Lahey
(Yoga NRG + Mindfulness Teacher Trainee 2020)