2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Beginner’s mind

Published: March 13, 2014, 2:04 pm, by Jen Mulson

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” — Zen master Shunryo Suzuki

I had a chat with an acquaintance at the gym last night. He, bless his heart, was on his way to yoga class. I asked when he was coming to my class at CorePower Yoga, and it turned out he recently bought a Groupon we offered. So he might be there sooner rather than later.

He was talking about how he’s been going to yoga classes for a year now, and doesn’t think he’s very good at getting into the postures. He said, “I can see the poses in my mind.” But he just can’t get there yet. I liked his attitude. He’ll get there someday, or not. Either way is okay.

He also said that he still considered himself a beginning yoga student, even after a year, which made me stop and think. And this morning I thought a little bit more about being a beginner, and how I envied him his beginner’s mindset. I can’t really remember a life without yoga in it anymore, as it’s been almost a decade since I started.

I do vaguely remember one of the first heated vinyasa classes I took at the studio where I now teach. It was amazing. I was hooked, obviously. And I feel some nostalgia for those beginner days, when every posture or variation or arm balance or breath exercise was brand new, and all such a revelation. I couldn’t help but envy my gym buddy for being at the beginning of his yoga practice.

However, the whole conversation did remind me of my night at the opera a couple of weeks ago. I admitted to a friend and his wife that it was my first opera, and she said something similar to me, about how I should enjoy the beginnings of my journey into this new world.

Let’s all appreciate our beginnings a bit more. Granted, they can throw you a bit off balance when you don’t know what to expect or how to even talk about it. But maybe we can learn to relish all of the missteps and bushwhacking until we find our path.