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“Hey, you skipped Rabbit pose!”

I stopped just short of saying that to my yoga instructor after class.

I suddenly realized that I had the foggiest memory of wrapping my heals with the towel.

She didn’t skip Rabbit pose. I skipped Rabbit pose. My mind had completely floated out of the hot room and I had been reenacting an annoying conversation (complete with the witty comeback I should have used) at the time I was supposed to be thinking about lifting my hips to the ceiling.

My body had done the pose, but my mind hadn’t.

My mind has wandered before, with one side of a posture, maybe one set — but BOTH sets?! I was AWOL for the entirety of Rabbit? Not good.

This is why Beginner’s Mind is so important, especially with Bikram yoga. We repeat the same 26 posture and the same 2 breathing exercises. The dialogue is pretty much always the same. But every time we practice, we need to enter the yoga studio with fresh eyes, taking each individual moment as it comes.

When we forget to use Beginner’s Mind, we anticipate the next posture and shorten our savasana just to get to the next set up. When we forget to be completely present, we let our minds monkey around, just because our bodies can be on automatic pilot.

It’s a huge challenge. But it’s one of the main reasons we come to the hot room and make funny shapes.

Because that automatic pilot mode can take place outside the yoga studio, too. Days, weeks, months can pass, while we just float through, assuming we know how the days will go and not really plugging into life. We close ourselves off to the wonder and possibility of the present moment.

Beginner’s Mind allows us to find joy in the routine and make discoveries about ourselves and our capacity for gratitude. The sunset is no less beautiful the 7,000th time we see it. It’s worth appreciating every time.

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