Ellie Ramsby reflects on what it means to begin again ahead of her yoga for beginners 6 week course starting on 10th January.
“You arrive as a work in progress, and you leave as a work in progress” – Don Brahmanand Stapleton
Every time we arrive at a yoga class, whether it is the first class we ever participate in or whether we are experienced practitioners, we always open up to the possibility of experiencing our body as if it was for the first time. By directing our awareness to the inner landscape of physical sensation, we create a moment/time/situation that makes it possible for us to awaken and to connect with our present moment experience. In the process, we open ourselves to the experience of the ‘now’, in our bodies, our minds and our spirits.
As we continue to practice the art of looking within, we gradually hone this ability, as we more consciously direct our awareness and sustain it in such a way that we nurture and strengthen the connection to our innermost selves. From there, we may be able to gain a deeper awareness of and intimacy with ourselves, others and the environment. This growth process is not a linear evolution. Whatever it unearths is personal and it is important to remember that comparison is essentially pointless. As Rilke beautifully writes:
“There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.”
When exploring our own progress it is helpful to acknowledge, that no matter where we are on our journey, whether we are considered to be “beginners” or “experts” in life (or yoga), we will always stand vulnerable to the ever-changing moments of our own life and time, which we have very little control over. This might be the most humbling realisation.
This may serve as a comforting reminder that everything that comes our way is a new opportunity to learn and to start again, whether in a yoga class or in any other part of life. Past experiences can help us to face these waves of events. However, they can also stand in the way of seeing clearly. Sometimes it is useful to leave past experiences aside for a brief moment and to dare to experience each moment through a new lens – as if it was for the first time.
We should try and remember the sense of freedom that comes with an innocent childlike curiosity, which gives us permission to let go of the expectations, preconceived ideas and habits, which no longer serve us, thus giving us the opportunity to “begin again”.
There is no end point to this ever-unfolding path of learning and realisation. Instead, we begin – again and again as perfectly imperfect works in progress.
Eleonora is a senior yoga teacher and an accredited yoga teacher training director, developing and running 200 hour trainings both in London and Stockholm. Her classes are slow-paced and incorporate anatomy and breath-work to help students to become more aware of their internal experiences during practice.