The Beginner’s Mind

The 5 day Easter break is coming to an end. This year, the Easter Sunday also coincides with the Ching Ming festival , which is the “tomb sweeping festival” where we, Chinese, in tradition, would go sweep our ancestors’ graves. It is the time to remember where we come from, and how we get here. I was supposed to be going tomb sweeping in China today. Since my grandfather passed away 3 years ago, every year my family would travel 6 hours to his hometown in China to sweep our ancestors’ graves. However my son caught a fever a few days ago (he is recovering now) so I had to stay in Hong Kong. So this morning when I looked at the yoga class schedule at the studio I decided I wanted to go for a class called “Wild Lotus for Beginners”. I just felt like I wanted to “go back to the roots” in my yoga practice, as remembrance of my grandfather since I could not be there today.

When you start something new you are curious, enthusiastic, open-minded and determined. You have the Beginner’s Mind. In Japanese it’s called “Shosin” (初心).

When you eventually get more “experienced”, a lot of times you lose the beautiful qualities of the Beginner’s Mind. You are cooking the same dishes over and over again, to a point you sometimes just eat to “fuel” the body. You are doing the same Triangle Pose in an auto-pilot mode without paying attention of the alignments, or cranking through your Hot Flow class like you are just doing it as a cardio exercise.

So I was at the class, and my teacher started the class with the theme – Curiosity.  It was almost “spooky” as it was basically6a00d83451b64669e20133ec7f0aa6970b-250wi the same idea of my intention for attending the “Beginners” class.  “A Beginner’s mind is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgements and prejudices, and is full of curiosity and wonder and amazement.” – Zenkei Blanche Hartman. I guess it was one of those auspicious moments. Anyways, I approached every single posture with a Beginner’s mind. I basically followed my teacher’s instructions step by step trying not to think about what I have learned before and just tried to do every posture like I was doing it for the first time.

With a Beginner’s mind to approach my practice, I was more aware of what was happening to the body as I moved through the asanas. I was also more aware of the alignments, and therefore found stability. With stability, I found more openness in the body, and more, an openness in the mind. As the mind opened, I found (or rediscovered) new intelligence.  Then when the challenging postures came along, I found myself getting into a few “wild” moments (well, I guess the class is called “Wild Lotus”!)  and managed to go deeper into some postures that I have not been able to do before.

After the class, I felt “reborn”.

As we know Easter is when some people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I guess “reborn” is the right feeling for Easter?!

Then I remembered that I was in fact born on Easter Sunday. I never really remembered that as the dates of Easter are different every year (I only remember my birthday is in the Rugby Sevens weekend haha). Another auspicious moment…

It’s such a strange day… Maybe my Grandfather was sending me messages from heaven?…

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shinryu Suzuki

I guess anything is possible right?

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