At the national Iyengar Yoga convention in Dallas this past April the teacher, Abhitjata Iyengar, the grand daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, differentiated between beginners and practitioners. She instructed the beginners to concentrate on gross actions. The practitioners were asked to work more subtly.
I wondered, who were the beginners? And who the practitioners? The criteria for attending the convention was 3 years of Iyengar Yoga experience. My guess is that the attendees who had just three years experience were the beginners. But that might not actually be the case.
Who is a beginner?
I think that beginners are those who don’t have a regular home practice. Even people who have been taking classes regularly for years are still beginners, if they don’t practice regularly at home.
You can definitely glean knowledge from just attending classes and not practicing at home. But the true gifts are discovered when you finally dedicate yourself to a regular home practice. After all these years, what I have discovered, is that it’s not so much what happens on the mat that leads toward transformation. The transformation happens because of all the decisions you have to make in order to ensure you can get back to your mat again tomorrow.
I have been practicing with consistency for years. Therefore, I am convinced that a yoga practice is where I can find the answers. But it did take awhile before I was clear that I wanted to pursue yoga, no matter what. No matter if I was rich or poor, happy or sad, well or unwell. At this point I am very clear that this is the path for me. This is my calling.
The convention made me see that my next challenge is to help more beginners become practitioners. I want to empower my students to dedicate themselves to practicing.
I think the first step is for me to be more clear about why people don’t practice. So, tell me — why don’t you practice? What is in your way? What do you think needs to change? Seriously, call me (513-748-9375) or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I want to know.