Half smiling I asked “what exactly?”.
“Class” he says.
“ha, okay so you have been to class before”
“yes three years ago in the downtown studio I am a beginner very beginner” I couldnt help but smile a little.
“Great! grab some blocks, the beginning is the best place to begin- move as needed, practice a little watchasana if needed, you will be fine.”
In truth it is at the beginning, the discovery of the practice, that we find the most progression. I beleive that after a few years the practice is only kept fresh when we are curious about our bodies in these shapes, not rigid questioning but genuine inquiry into the freedom of movement between breath, body and mind. So many studios offer 18 in 30 challenges (18 classes in 30 days) encouraging us to show up day after day. It is these challenges where there is a landslide of the body, learning movement, breath, focus and balance.
When asked “what should I do to progress I am a beginner should I take beginner classes?”. I always hesitate ofcourse beginner classes are nice, certainly take a few but don’t get stuck there and limit yourself, try open level classes. The beauty of yoga is that it isnt about being a beginner or advanced level practitioner, it doesnt judge you for stepping on the mat and falling. Dare to fall, so what, in fact celebrate the fall, you went to the place where you dared, where you met your edge on the mat- that is where expansion, progression and ultimately freedom live.
My first true hot yoga class was heated from all the bodies in the room, a room where the linoleum was pealing off the floor and windows were fogged with shakti. I fell, stumbled stood at the back but felt in complete awe of the vibe. The feet flailing in the air, laughter from the teacher and the students pouring there sweat onto slippery mats. I was in love- a complete beginner’s beginner everything was new and I had no idea what alignment even was I just wanted to be a part of it all. I am positive it wasn not a”beginner class” but it was where I found freedom in the practice. I wanted to be like these souls, move like them, wanted to be a part of that elusive tribe called “yogis”. So I kept returning, week after week to the lower east side, the community center, just to wait in line and jump in to roll out my mat, in the back, so I could see it all…
When you begin begin with everything you have complete abandon there are no levels in yoga, nice to take beginner classes but find your tribe that lights you up leaving you happy and feeling free….xoxo!!!!