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yogi’s mind, beginner’s mind

I think my favorite thing (or at least one of them) about being a yoga teacher is always getting to be a yoga student. Even though — or especially because — I’m a vinyasa teacher, I take Iyengar teacher Genny Kapuler’s class as often as possible. In her first class of 2019, she reminded us that we never stop learning – literally until we die. She turned to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, noting that each time we practice, we gather new information, whether it’s our very first or 1 millionth downdog. No matter how long we’ve been on the mat, life is always unraveling and our practice is our means to put it back together. We practice because pain is inevitable, but if we have the right tools, suffering need not be.

Whether you set intentions or resolutions for the new year, it seems that every new year ushers in a new roller coaster ride of emotions, events and experiences. Our work, then, must go beyond learning from what has already happened or planning to differently this year, but instead to really allow everything to be just as it is in the moment, just as we are. I love meditation for this reason: to simply to sit and be present with what is. I find this to be much more difficult — and much more rewarding — than accomplishing any number of my never-ending to-dos.

And so I challenge us all this year to:

Honor where we are in this moment. Regardless of where we’ve been or seek to be. We are 100% enough as is. Period.
Pay attention to what arises in each and every moment, whether it’s experienced as pleasure of pain.
Reflect on the past and set intentions for the future, then let them be without attaching them to our ego – resting in the present moment as often as possible. This does not mean passivity, but rather practicing a calm, steady focus as we move through our day/life.
Be grateful for what was, what will be, and what is – allowing the vast array of feelings to come up alongside general appreciation for all the lessons learned/still to come.
Do what brings you joy – resolutions aside. Laugh, dance, sing, be with people who light you up.

As The Bhagavad Gita suggests, “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of something else’s life with perfection.”

What’s one thing you can do today to relieve yourself of the burden of reflecting or projecting and just be in the moment, wherever you are and however you’re feeling?