Back to Basics
A few days ago I had an hour to myself and decided to take a yoga class. It was the middle of the day, and when I got to the studio I realized the only class being offered at that time was a beginner class.
Now I’m by no means yogi of the year, but having practiced semi-regularly for quite a while now, I know the basic poses and the various segments usually included in an intermediate class. So when I had gotten a few minutes into the class and realized it was really a beginner class—pretty much as basic as you can possibly get—I couldn’t help but feel a smidgen of disappointment. These days, it’s a big commitment to spend an hour away from work, family and all my other responsibilities to take time for myself; I hate feeling like that time is being wasted. I looked around the room during the first Warrior I at people flailing around and gritting their teeth to stay in place, and my heart sank. What am I doing here?
But then something changed. As I began to slowly go through the motions of the class, breathing deeply and feeling strong and calm in each of those basic poses, I realized something. Taking a beginner’s class when you’re good at something isn’t a terrible idea. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Here are my top 3 discoveries about getting back to the basics. It applies to yoga, but I think it’s a good reminder for anyone in an advanced level of a sport or activity.
1. Focusing on fundamentals. Sometimes when you get into advanced levels of a sport or activity, the foundations you learned in the beginning levels can fall to the wayside. Of course that shouldn’t happen, but if you’re focusing mainly on complicated skills and movements, it’s not unlikely that it might. Getting back to a beginner level for some practice in the basics can benefit your practice in the long-run by reminding you to focus on fundamentals like breathing and proper form.
2. Taking a break from competition. Whether or not the activities you participate in are intentionally competitive, we all know that when we get in our zone, we’re always competing a little bit. When you take a step back and enjoy a beginner level; there’s no need to compete. Trying to show off in a beginner class is goofy; everyone is there to learn the basics, so there’s no sense in trying to be “better” than another person.
3. Inspiring and encouraging others. If you have an activity you love and feel passionate about, it’s no fun to hog it. The next best thing to doing what you love is sharing that passion with other people. People in a beginner class might be feeling a wide range of emotions—from anticipation and excitement to utter anxiety. Taking the opportunity to share your experiences with someone new might have a profound impact on whether or not he comes back for another shot at it.