Beginning anew

It is Spring!.. in a few days anyway. The myriad of thoughts that come to mind are all full of hope as we align ourselves with this season of renewal. As a teacher, it is always a challenge to me to have new students join an ongoing class.  I hope to give everyone the chance to truly experience where they are now, today, on their mat. Many factors in the equation determine what each pose will reveal: how well you slept the night before, your hydration level, the stress you came with or  were able to park at the door, what your activity level has been like, recent injuries,....  Very quickly students understand that yoga is not a competition.  Each practice is an opportunity to learn a little more about yourself.  So come to the front of your mat.  Try a few drops of pure essential oils in the palm of your hands. Consider using a refreshing citrus scent like Lemon or Wild Orange. Peppermint will help you focus and Eucalyptus will begin to open the airways. Rub your hands together. Take a deep breath.  Bring your awareness to the present moment.  Allow yourself to leave behind you what you just came from doing.  Feel your connection to the earth below you.  Firm your legs in to the surface below.  Take in the rebound energy of your legs firming and pushing down and feel the uplifting energy of all that supports you.  The front body lifts.  The back body anchors.  

My first teacher used to say things like:  "You are a beginner with each practice. Yoga is a humbling experience. Therefore, you should learn something new about yourself each time you practice."  This does not necessarily mean noting where you are tighter in your body, where and how you balance better, where are you inherently strong,....  It is good to know these things as you are then inclined to know what to practice more.  You want to learn about your true nature, your habits and reaction and then this awareness can help you work on possibly changing what may need attention rather than to deepen the groove of the subconscious patterns.  For example, do you doubt yourself or hold back when faced with a challenge.  Do you really listen to detail?  Can you "go within," and focus on your own experience rather than get caught up in the superficial noise of the heat turning on, the sound from next door,...? Do you give up or give in easily? Do you stand your ground?   Not only will this mindset help you with a deeper learning experience with each practice, as your yoga practice becomes regular and consistent, and with repeated familiar poses, you will tune in to how things feel different since you are becoming stronger and more flexible.  Resolve to be true to yourself and to embrace being a beginner each time you come to your mat. This will be equally valuable "off the mat" as well.  Namaste