I’ve been feeling like a beginner lately, a brand-newbie, testing the waters for the first time. Moving to a new city, especially a large one, like NYC, where I am unknown and un-established is frightening.
We all, I think, try to present ourselves as experienced, knowledgeable adults who are trustworthy and responsible. Especially as a new yoga instructor, I want to inspire confidence in others. I want to project an aura of capability and success.
But if I’m honest, these inclinations have nothing to do with yoga. Yoga is not about projection. It is about being present, available and open. It is about fully living and sharing my experience with others.
How would it be, how would my life change if I could own and accept my current experience? My present moment, my experience today is that of a beginner. I am brand new. I’m a baby. I am fresh and unstained.
The greatest benefit that I can see is that I may be capable of looking at the world with fresh eyes. I can take in each new human being as if he or she is still in the perfect state.
It’s easy to become stunted by experience. For example, in class, if I have an expectation of what a posture looks like, or how it feels, then I can fail to hear the teacher, I can miss an adjustment that will ultimately alter my perception and deepen my practice. If I can approach each shape with no preconceived notion of where it will lead, I will be inherently more respectful of my body and its day-to-day limitations, and more likely to achieve new depth and success in asana.
This is a lesson that I’ve heard, that I know, that I’ve been trying to apply in my practice. The trick now, the new goal, is applying this to day-to-day life. How can I experience a subway ride for the first time? An avocado? A difference of opinion with Zach? How can a see human faces for the first time with no judgement, no prior bias or prejudice?
In acting, we’re required to experience scripted text for the first time over and over again, and I love it. I love digging into a character to find what is new, what is untapped. In yoga, the same.
In life, rather than applying these same principles, I feel instead the need to do something completely new and different or I feel bored and stagnated. But this seems only to be an applied boredom, one I’ve inflicted on myself because I fail to hunt for the new life in each moment.
So this is the mission. Experience the novelty of each moment, because, if I’m honest, each moment, and therefore, my whole experience is, in fact, brand new.