As we’ve seen in our time as a student, before we start learning something new, we usually review what we have already learned. This can be helpful in refreshing the memory and in providing a foundation for new learning.
Reviewing the basics before we dive deeper can also help us gain a fresh perspective on both the old and the new. Oftentimes, we find there is always something new to learn, even within a subject we have spent a great deal of time studying. This is especially true if we can cultivate a “beginner’s mind.”
A beginner’s mind means approaching something open to the possibility of new learning. It means putting aside what we already know (or think we know) and allowing our present moment to influence and develop our understanding.
This Fall, see if you can cultivate a beginner’s mind while practicing these common movements. Experience the benefits of spinal extension, breath and body awareness and core strengthening whether it’s the first time you do this practice or the 100th or 1000th time.
1 – Begin on your hands and knees in table top position with a neutral spine
2 – Spread your fingers into the mat, pressing slightly downward. Press the tops of your feet into the mat
3 – On an exhale, tuck your tailbone, dropping the tip of it down toward the floor and arch your upper back toward the ceiling. Let your head drop, feeling your shoulder blades spread apart as your spine rounds. See if you can allow your breath to travel up the spine, articulating each vertebra, as your breath exits through your nose. Move slowly
4 – On an inhale, point your tailbone, fanning your sitz bones out and dropping your belly toward the floor. Press your hands into the mat and allow your chest to come slightly forward, expanding your collar bone. Again, see if you can use your breath to isolate the movement of each individual vertebra. Move slowly
5 – Repeat 5-10 times and then rest in balasana (child’s pose)
Note: For a change in perspective, you can also try initiating movement from the crown of your head rather than your tailbone