As I designed my yoga class for tomorrow, I thought a lot about the importance of having a Beginner’s Mind. This is a concept I heard often when studying Buddhism and think it applies perfectly here to teaching a new class and for the students, learning from a new teacher. Approaching the class from the place of not knowing everything will enable me to be fully present while teaching the class. This is essential for being an effective teacher. Instead of worrying about if the students will like me or show up again I can direct my attention to each moment and take the class step-by-step.
A big part of teaching has always been to tap into my gut—my intuition. If my mind is someplace other than the moment, my ability to access my intuition vanishes. Things quickly become mechanical and rigid and I start clinging to fixed ideas of how the class or students should operate. When I can guide a class from a heart-centered, present place, I allow my creativity to lead the way and this is where I shine. And when I shine, the students shine.
When I approach designing a yoga class and teaching with a Beginner’s Mind, I allow myself to get into the creative process. It is fun to dissect poses and think about which ones will work well in a sequence. I enjoy developing classes that focus on specific areas of the body and challenging myself to break out of my go-to sequences and try something new. Exploring the possibilities versus going through the motions gives me confidence and self-esteem because I am working towards something instead of being lazy and counting on what I already know.
Earlier this evening I read that an “I don’t know mind is the wisdom of a warrior.” When I go into any situation without the assumption that I know what will happen, I allow for so much grace and magic to enter my life. From this place I can truly connect with others and be useful in many settings. Shutting down and closing off my mind eventually creates stagnation and toxicity in my body and spirit. If I want to live healthy and with joy I must be willing to cultivate a Beginner’s Mind on a daily basis.