In Buddhism, a beginner’s mind is fresh and open to new possibilities, whereas an expert’s mind is rigid and filled with certainties. If we translate beginner’s mind to yoga at Shree we can look at how it feels to enter into a yoga studio for the first time, which can be both exciting and intimidating. If we have the curiosity of a beginner and walk in with openness and a not knowing freshness, then we are sure to have a positive experience.
A beginner’s mind is its own source of an awakened state that we want to never lose as we become more of an “expert.” Of course, it is essential to any spiritual practice that you ask questions to gain more knowledge. It’s finding that tricky balance between staying open and learning concepts that cement our opinions about yoga and yoga teachers.
Here is an exploration of some of our class offerings at Shree that would be a good place to begin a yoga practice, to bring this beginner’s mind with the wide eyed openness that a person who is new to yoga can have.
Restorative classes are gentle classes where poses might be held for 5-10 minutes. Poses are supported by props. While you are in the pose all you have to do is breathe and relax, which is easier said than done. Our western monkey minds can be challenged by learning how to completely relax, but once mastered, restorative postures reduce high blood pressure and counteract insomnia. These classes are great for people with injuries and first timers. The two restorative offerings at Shree are Suki’s Gentle/Restorative on Thursdays from 5:30–7:00 pm, and Rob’s Gentle/Restorative class on Sundays from 5:30-7:00 pm.
Level 1 Classes:
Level 1 classes begin at the beginning. Great for newbies. The basics of alignment, breathing, and gentle vinyasa are explored in detail. Prop use is encouraged, for helping with stability and ease of a pose. The focus is on alignment and modifications are presented. The pace will be slow with time for adjustments and questions. The level 1 offerings are Mondays and Fridays from 9:30–10:30 am with Genevieve, and Saturdays from noon to 1:00 pm with Liz.
Shree has excellent specialized classes with instructors that have extensive training in functional yoga practices.
Back Care Basics and Yoga for Back Care:
Sonya Luz Costanza brings her specially designed back care classes with training from Elise Miller. Her own scoliosis led to her delving deeper into back care yoga practices. From her web page, here is a description of her offerings:
Back Care Basics: Lengthen, strengthen, and restore. For students new to yoga who have scoliosis, are recovering from injury, or with limited mobility, to manage pain, increase awareness, and deeply relax. 9:30-11:00 am Tuesday and Thursdays
Yoga for Back Care and Scoliosis: Catered to practitioners with an asymmetry of the spine or other back issue, to lengthen, strengthen, and restore. Wednesday nights 5:30-7:00 pm
From Liz Fox, “Chair Class at Shree is not a sedentary ‘butt parked in a chair’ class. The chair is just another prop. As students are able, we sit, lay on the floor, stand, using the chair for support, etc. Bodies move, limbs stretch, breath flows, but in a gentler, more supportive manner than other classes. It is a safe place to start, or recover from an injury.”
Thursdays 1:30-2:30 pm
Pre-natal yoga includes breathing, gentle stretching, and postures that encourage strength, flexibility, and balance for mamas to be. Close to restorative, props are used to support and comfort pregnant women. All of the breathing, stretching, and relaxing will improve muscles and strength needed for child birth. Shree’s one offering from Rachel on Wednesday 1:30-2:30 pm.
Kid’s yoga encompasses a playful and mindful practice that encourages children to look inside and discover themselves. Breathing, alignment, and meditation develop the child’s natural body awareness. We play, use emotional intelligence, and laugh a lot. Improves children’s focus in school (ask me for the studies) and encourages the innate kindness that all young people have. For children 3-7 on Wednesdays 4:00-5:00 pm. Taught by yours truly, Alice Zorthian.
Coming into a yoga studio for the first time can be a frightening experience. What are these stretches all about? Why are the names of the poses in sanskrit? We freeze with fear over the fact that everyone else seems so flexible and how will we ever get there. I had all those feelings and then some when I first started my yoga practice. Yet, at the same time the excitement and novelty gave me the beginner’s mind that helped me to stay open to the teachers and the intricacies of yoga. Even now, with all the experience I’ve had, I try to keep the awakened state of a beginner’s mind every time I come through the Shree door. I hope everyone who enters Shree can keep some of the beginner’s mind whether it’s their first time or hundreth time. Remember, everyone went to their first yoga class at some point..