I love teaching basics yoga classes. There is nothing like the experience of introducing another person to themselves through breath and movement. The privilege I have to observe the transformation yoga imparts on another individual is magical. It is one thing to be a practitioner, to be completely immersed in your own learning and perspective, but it is completely unique and complementary to teach beginners.
Personally, I have come to learn just as much from teaching beginners as I do from my own personal practice, and I feel that one hand feeds the other when it comes to teaching new students. A disciplined and consistent practice is crucial in maintaining the mindest of a beginner, which is necessary to stay accessible and in touch with your students.
In class the other day, a student was finding a certain pose challenging to access and I related to the feeling so well. I tried my best to explain how when I inevitably come across these moments in my own practice, I reframe my mind around the experience. Instead of approaching it from a place of lack, I remind myself that the less I understand in this moment, the more potential I have to learn from this situation/posture. Thinking about yoga this way helps to relax the mind around "getting somewhere" and allows the softening to come from a place of faith and trust in the principle of practice. Over time, this perspective allows all students to find comfort and acceptance in the process, which is the true teacher and ultimately the root of all abundance.
4 Ways Teaching Beginners Cultivates a Beginner’s Mind
1. Reminds us to meet people where they are. It’s so easy as a seasoned practitioner to take for granted small things that have become so second nature to your personal practice. As a teacher it’s important we stay in touch with these formative moments in our own way to relate and continue to support our students in a grounded and authentic learning experience.
2. Constantly challenges us to re-commit to our intention of teaching yoga. After awhile it’s easy to get comfortable in the style/level class you are teaching. Beginners offer us an opportunity to re-examine, reflect and perhaps refine our offering.
3. As a teacher, the first thing I tell my beginner students is to just show up. Only with consistency can commitment arise. As a teacher, the responsibility to teach beginners demands that same discipline. After years of teaching, it’s easy to get distracted and forget that the first job of the teacher is to set an example for reliability to oneself, which means showing up to teach our classes!
4. We learn from each other. Teaching beginners is a constant reminder that imperfection and limitations are opportunities for transformation, and we are all just students of each other, the practice and the world.