First Timer Mentality

I have a new goal: To walk into everything with a first timer’s mentality.

I took my cousin, Elizabeth, into NY yesterday to take her first Bikram Yoga class.  Before hand, she had kept asking about the class and what she should expect.  I didn’t want to say too much in fear of scaring her or giving her a preconceived notion about it. All I said was the usual, “They tell you that your goal for the first class is to just stay in the room. If you feel light headed, sit down. Drink plenty of water before and after the class.” Liz is naturally a very strong person after years of gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, and track, so I knew she would be able to handle it well. What I didn’t realize was just how well. haha

As we began the class, she seemed to be picking up the grips and coordination of breathing rather quickly. Then as we moved into more postures, I was amazed at how she just dove right into them. Not in the sense that she went too fast, but that she listened carefully to the instructor and did all the postures to her fullest then proceeded to hold them until it was time to come out. I began to think how great it was and how I wish I had that beginners mind during every class I take. I believe that as a beginner, you walk in the room thinking you have to try everything and do your best. Some people may think, “everyone says this is so hard, but I’ll show them.” So they go in the room and push themselves. They don’t know exactly what to expect from each pose or how it will make them feel. Since practicing for a few years, I occasionally become apprehensive about certain postures because I know how they make my body feel or I know what emotions they bring up in me. Yes, I get scared and sometimes take too much time getting into a posture to try and avoid the amount of time I am there.  Watching Liz yesterday made me remember when I was in my first class. I was a lot like her. I tried everything right when the teacher said to.  I thought to myself, I can do all this no problem. I had no idea what to expect from each posture and it worked. It wasn’t until a few classes in that I began to feel what it did to my body.  Certain postures focus in on my tightnesses, others on my weaknesses, and some bring up a lot of emotions or feelings. It wasn’t until after I realized this that I started fidgeting a lot more, wiping my hands off before getting started, and lying in savasana a little bit longer before sitting up in order to procrastinate doing to pose.

After experiencing class with Elizabeth yesterday, I am determined to walk into class today, and every day from now on with the mentality of a first timer. I hope to also have this translate over to my dancing. As dancers, once we know what steps are more difficult for us or what things aren’t necessarily our strengths, we often shy away from them. While a first timer would try everything because they do not know exactly what to expect. I want to have some of that unknowing, unaffected, naivety back. It is now a goal of mine to go for everything and try to wash away the fear or hesitation I have built up about certain postures in yoga or steps in ballet. I believe could also apply to many other aspects of life as well so let’s all give it a try!

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