shoshin... beginners mind

Getting back to basics.
The start of our yoga year is a good time to reflect on our practice and to ‘get back to basics’ or 'Shoshin' - beginners mind, in the Zen tradition.

The analogy of beginners mind is a way to help us in our approach - to look with fresh eyes, as though for the first time. When you’ve never experienced something you approach it differently – with a clear perspective, not marred by past experiences or formed views. You really notice and sense every moment, every sensation as though you’ve just been given this body, just stepped on to this earth.

Imagine you’ve stepped into your physical body for the very first time. You have a heightened sense of awareness of touch, sight, smell, sounds and sensations in the body.

No matter how long we have practiced, we can always benefit from practicing with ‘beginners mind’; becoming more conscious, more aware of each moment and each movement we make.

In our yoga practice this week, experiencing each pose, as if for the first time....taking time to be aware of your position – where your weight lies, any resistance, any sensations; before commencing the transition into the asana (yoga pose). Once in the pose, aware of what’s happening in the body, what’s going on with the breath? And pausing before transitioning out of the pose and when that transition is complete, pausing at the end, before transitioning to our next pose. The 4 phases, like the 4 phases of the breath – inhale, pause, exhale, pause…. Continue. Asana – pause to begin, transition in, hold, transition out, pause again.

This beginner’s mind approach indicates no expectations of what is to come. We are free from anticipation, free from self-limiting beliefs about what we can and can’t do… no assumptions, no judgements…a clear, open mind, experiencing the here and now, just as it is, for what it is, in this moment.

We can take this beginners mind into our life. Rather than holding on to what has occurred or worrying about what is to come, come into the present moment and the step we are taking right now, on our journey. Maintain our attention on each step we take, rather than fixating on our destination. This allows us space and time to be, rather than constantly doing and we enjoy the journey, with the benefit of seeing more along the way.

Checking in this week; where in my life could I benefit from seeing things from a fresh perspective, through beginners eyes? Where can I take a step back and come in with a fresh outlook, and enjoy the journey, rather than fixing sights on the destination.