Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, the story of a newspaper clipping

Here’s the newspaper cutting I told you about in our Zoom class yesterday, which is on the wall in my yoga room.

It says “90 year old in the yoga headstand” with “And, done your yoga today?” written beneath.

My housemate put it up in my room when I lived in Cologne in the 90’s. He had been showing me a few yoga poses that he’d learnt from his father, so I’d only just started practicing. There was no such thing as a yoga class in those days, not even in all of Cologne, so I just picked up bits and pieces from various sources.

The message was clear: if you want to be able to stand on your head when you’re 90, you have to do your practice now.

I thought that was a perfectly good aspiration to have in life so I kept up with it. I also realised how profound the method really was and that I still had a lot to learn. 

Meanwhile yoga classes started popping up everywhere and I attended many of them, though my main practice stayed on my own mat at home. 
By this time I’d moved back to Amsterdam and this mat was made of two thick wonky pieces of black rubber glued together. It couldn’t be rolled up easily so it was out all the time (I lived in a bedsit the size of my lounge now). 

Many years later, by now in England, I remember being surprised at the amount of people teaching yoga classes when to my mind they had really only just started practicing. How was that possible? I’d always thought of myself as an amateur and a beginner, there was so much still to understand.

I was working as a personal tutor at Cirencester College then, helping students make decisions for their future, and one day I heard my own counsel: If these people can teach yoga, why can’t you? 

I graduated from teacher training in 2012 and as they say, the rest is history.

I suppose technically I am a professional now and no longer an amateur, but I still consider myself a beginner really and perhaps I always will. In fact I’d encourage anyone to keep approaching yoga as a beginner. After all, each and every moment is fresh and gives you the opportunity to experience something new, something different. If we let it.