When is the last time you tried something you’ve never done before?
Or, better yet: when is the last time you approached something familiar with the eyes (and mind) of a beginner?
Toward the end of last year, I decided that I needed a kick in the arse to get my personal yoga practice back to a more regular schedule. To help me get back in the swing of things, I signed up for the Wanderlust 21-Day Challenge.
It’s a free challenge that takes about 20 minutes a day, and by the end you’ll be familiar with 60 yoga poses and a vinyasa flow practice.
Since I’m a Hatha teacher and practitioner, I decided that learning a new style would be a good way to kick off the new year.
That being said, between the time I signed up and the challenge started earlier this week, I managed to get myself back into a regular practice that’s split between home and in-studio.
When Monday rolled around and I started to watch the first video, my immediate reaction went something like this:
“They’re starting with how to sit comfortably? I’ve been doing yoga for almost a decade! I don’t need to know how to do this. Get me outta here!”
Being comfortable can be painful
The good news? I didn’t listen to that voice.
I stayed planted on my mat and kept the video running, despite the mental protestations running through my head.
And what I discovered by the end of that 20 minutes surprised me.
By putting aside my preconceived notions and sitting with my discomfort, I slipped back into beginner’s mind.
Rather than pretending I knew everything there is to know – which is SO not the case – I gained much more than just 20 minutes of asana practice.
The teacher becomes the student
As a yoga teacher, I do my best to explain the asana practice in a way that makes sense to my students, that allows them to feel their way into the poses in a safe and beneficial way.
And while I come from a teaching lineage that has very precise language for this, there’s still so much that I can learn.
By opening up my mind to a different approach, I’m learning as much about how to describe the poses to my students as I am about how they feel in my body.
All this because I allowed myself to step back onto my yoga mat as a beginner.
Taking beginner’s mind off the mat and into the world
This experience has me thinking.
Where else in your life can you bring this in?
Are there places in your life where you just go with the flow, sticking to what you know because it’s how you’ve always done it?
While doing what you’re good at – in a way that you’re comfortable with – is an efficient way to work, there may be some surprising benefits to bringing a beginner’s mind to your life and work.
What is one small area where you can bring a beginner’s open mind and curiosity into your experience? Let me know in the comments!