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October 31, 2013

Ode to the First-time Student.

For who here is it the first time taking a yoga class?

You bashfully raise your hand and look at me, like you would your teacher, on the first day of kindergarten.

“I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing here. Am I wearing the right stuff? Is my mat okay? My friend said this is a good workout. Will I know what to do? That person looks like they know what they are doing. ”

These kinds of thoughts broadcast through your body language—and you can’t hide them from me.

At the sight of you, a lioness-like energy rises from my gut, engulfs my heart and possesses my mind. I want to protect you, to guide you, to honor you as you, over the course of the next hour or so, experience perplexity that releases to a glow and a smile.

You may think you are new to something, but to me, you are an old soul, one who has reached a critical point in your development. You, my dear, are someone who wants to try something different.

The sheer responsibility of being your first teacher is more than I can describe. And yet, that the universe trusts me to do this is a great joy and honor. I watch you like a hawk, catch your eyes and instruct a smile. You learn it, widely.

Everything you do teaches me about a totally new experience of reality. There is nothing novice about you except your innocence around this very limited bank of information I aim to share with you. The grace you show, the humility—to these I am your student as well.

We go on like this. I keep telling you to do these funny things, with your body, with your mind. You grimace, stare blankly, look down, look at me…and trust. Indeed, you oblige—over and over. Not because I said so but because something deep inside of you recognizes the something inside of me that is flowing through, from my teachers, and their teachers and theirs and on and on. Your face turns again, and I catch it, empathize with it, you recognize this and allow dignity to resurface in your new surroundings.

In yourself.

Where others are awestruck by the seasoned practitioner, I am humbled by the brand-new student. For this soul is often one who is searching for something deeper and brave enough to step out in raw admission of this. Lululemon bag, Prana tanks, metal water bottles, headbands, sweat, smiles, flexibility, strength, limitation, excellence—nothing can hide this truth.

I want to roll out a root-red carpet, open the door and bow. I want what you see when you cross the threshold to be something beautiful, even if only through the little windows of experience we dust off together. For what so many of you are looking at, for the first time, is a totally different facet of yourselves.

And my greatest wish is that this glimpse stirs you on to a greater quest, to adventures unknowable by anyone, but you.

 

 

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 Ed: Bryonie Wise

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