Yoga Journal Blog: Beginner's Mind

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A beginning yogi shares the travails and triumphs of being a newbie on the mat.

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Kristin Shepherd Kristin Shepherd
Chiropractor, actor, and public speaker and the newest yogi on the block shares her discoveries.

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What Matters in Class


Earlier this week a friend called and mentioned she'd convinced a group of coworkers to do an introductory yoga series. She offered to attend the classes with them, only to discover that, "there's no other way to say this, the teacher is really b*&^%y! I have to help them recover after each class!"

Another friend goes to a studio where the teachers tell you where you can and cannot place your mat according to your skill level. No kidding.

This morning I arrived early for a teaching gig and walked in on 80 women, mostly seniors, doing yoga. Sun Salutations adapted for seniors, using chairs. The entire room was laughing. I heard fart jokes. The overwhelming impression was one of relaxed happiness and no shortage of love.

It makes me realize how short life is and how important culture is to me.

I admire the teachers who amaze us with technique, strength, and flexibility. No question, I'm inspired by that.

I appreciate charisma, organizational skills, the occasional push, humor, and broad knowledge.

But I don't go back if it doesn't feel warm. I want enough love and openness in the room that I can feel good in there whether or not I feel great about myself, my body, or my day. I want so much warmth in the room that it reminds me that I have a heart and that my heart is being taken care of. (Not asking for much!)

The warm fuzzy thing isn't for everyone, though.

What do you need in the room? Intelligence? Quiet? Edge? Progress? Community? I'd love to hear. What quality is most important to you in a class?

Thanks to yoga for being so varied that we can all find our place. Thanks to the beautiful women doing Sun Salutations today.

Thanks to you for the conversation,


Dr. Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on iTunes.


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