Each morning, I get up, step onto the mat and begin my morning yoga practice. Sometimes, since I also have a full time job, my practice consists of “the old standbys.” I start by centering, some neck stretches and shoulder rolls, twists, cat/cow, and several sun salutations. From there, I follow an abbreviated vinyasa arc that includes standing poses, balancing poses, back-bends, twists, forward folds, and savasana. And, because I’ve been doing yoga for so-long, and teach, the flow of my practice has become as natural a part of me as breathing. The poses aren’t separate; they are one connected with breath. But, sometimes, I like to go to a basics class to experience the newness of yoga from a different teacher’s perspective. Taking it back to the beginning can be just the challenge I need.
For those of you who are just starting yoga, a yoga basics class may be quite challenging. Downward dog may not seem the resting pose the teacher proclaims it to be, but it will begin to become a part of you as well. I promise. If you’re not new to yoga, and typically seek out an intermediate class or a power yoga class, try renewing your class by going back to the beginning.
In a basics class, we tend to hold poses longer as the teacher coaches beginners, in detail, how to get into the pose, what their foot placement should be, that their shoulders should relax away from their ears, etc. She’ll often walk around and help adjust some students, and when everyone seems to have it, we’ll hold for five breaths. This can be challenging both mentally and physically for the yogi or yogini who’s used to flowing from one pose to the next.
Another challenge, for the seasoned practitioner, is resisting the urge to jump ahead of the teacher’s instructions. Sure, you know how to flow through a sun salutation, but can you let go of expectation, and embrace the moment by allowing yourself to listen and be taught?
Every time I take a basics class, I learn something new, something I may not have been open to receiving before and I take it with me. I encourage you to take a yoga basics class every now and then to rediscover yoga through eyes of a new yogi.
– Your Charmed Yogi