Saturday, January 17, 2015

Deep End

Do you dive in at the deep end, or gently wade? After my first class of Capoeira last Sunday, I attended a beginner's class on Thursday night. I also taught the first class of a 4 week beginner's Yoga course on Tuesday. Sometimes we get the option to be eased in to learning a new skill surrounded by those at a similar level. We get a teacher who adjusts the pace to the class and fellow students who are keen to learn and feeling similarly shrouded in mist. My aim as a teacher in the first yoga class is to leave the student with a feeling. I presume they are going to forget most of the instructions, but will remember having walked out of the class relaxed. 5 years after starting Yoga, that is one of the things that keeps me going back to the classes. Although how far into some of the postures I can go has changed, that is rather immaterial. It is the same slight edge forward and the same feeling that I tasted in my introductory class.

Source: Mojuba

I didn't count how many people were there on Sunday, but there were around 30 of mixed levels. The teacher had to try and cater to the various students. One of the great things about being thrown into the deep end is being able to enjoy a vision of where you can get to. If you are able to switch off the voice that says you obviously can't do it because you are missing every beat. I enjoy asking more advanced students how long it takes till the sense of confusion goes away. Till there is a gap in the mist. Mestre Poncianinho, my Capoeira teacher was talking about this on Thursday. There are only ever really gaps in the mist. You are always learning. In the beginning everyone feels like they don't know what they are doing. Then you go through a plateau where you gain a little confidence and start to feel pretty good about yourself. Then the mist descends again as you push a little further. Mist is good. It means you are pushing yourself a little. You need to concentrate. Too much mist is bad. It means you lose the path and the feeling that keeps you on it.

It is easier to give beginners a flavour of the feeling in small controlled groups, but sometimes you do get thrown into the deep end. It then becomes your job to not beat yourself up through comparison. Learn a little and enjoy.

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