Beginner’s Mind Series: Air Module

In the series “Beginner’s mind” Mariana Romagnani shares her experience of going through the Dynamic Mindfulness Foundational Yoga Teacher Training during a pandemic.

Air Module: Floating

In the Dynamic Mindfulness Foundational Yoga Teacher Training, Air is the last element to have its aspects borrowed in order to provide guidance in  the course’s final module. This Mahabhuta element relates to notions of expansion, spaciousness, vibrancy, mobility, lightness, thoughts, and concepts. In order for the air to enter our bodies, we constantly shape change. It is the uttermost connection we can have with the environment, with others, with life. 

The final module was somehow the most varied in form and content. It started with a full day of meditation: a time to fully stop, calm down, witness the fluctuations of the mind, and settle the mental noise down. Then a big jump from there to pragmatic topics related to knowledge imperative  to create a viable career as a Yoga teacher: important matters when relating to students, ethical guidelines, how to present and value yourself as a teacher, and important things to know and organize when setting up as a freelancer while  dealing with finances and taxes. Followed by the very last meeting, consisting of both a written and practical exam, and of a celebratory moment.

Ending to begin

While checking in to the very last sessions of the training, the time has come for us to start figuring out where we are, and to reflect upon  possibilities ahead and paths we would like to follow and create for ourselves. In order to do this, and to be able to continue the learning process by starting to  share the knowledge gathered through our experiences, we had to face what accounts for the more bureaucratic and pragmatic side of life as a yoga teacher. Important cues for the next step, in which what was nourished during the process can begin to spread its seeds in different directions. Nonetheless, while the topics scheduled addressed these themes, a more basal subject of inquiry became present at each break and small talk: What now? Who am I as a yoga teacher?

The Dynamic Mindfulness program offers us a common method and new lenses to look through. However, while we all share the learnings from the same method, each of us is a singular person. At the final practical exam, a whole day of classes, it was beautiful to see that there was space for all the different personalities, images, voice tones, ways of choosing words, of creating classes and of leading a group, to be shown in coherence with the singularity of each person. Throughout the training, nothing like the process of transformation of bodies in a look-alike manner is entailed; no one learns a way to teach as if there is a preconceived right and only way to do so, regardless of whom the person is; no one speaks the same way nor dresses the same clothes, and; no one clings to counting breaths or minutes in each posture to control time, but rather, manage the time span by learning to keep track of the balance between what was planned beforehand and the ongoing experiences of the practice. 

Whatever we live  now, we live  for the first time. The idea of a beginner’s mind relates to  an attitude of openness, enthusiasm, and willingness to set preconceptions aside, when studying or approaching anything in life, assuming the humble position of a beginner. As we ended the very last class of the training, one of the girls reminded  us that, although at that moment it seemed that all of us had reached a goal, the process itself was the goal. A call to remind ourselves to keep a fresh look towards anything at hand, instead of focusing on the expertise acquired and on what the outcome of all the process might now be. In this sense, keeping a beginner’s mind can bring mindfulness to everything which we have been  through and is still being digested, assimilated, transformed in its own pace.

Sinking down

After the teacher training program ended, contemplating on the journey we all went through, a sense of everything floating was present even a couple of weeks later. Many different ideas, desires, expectations, doubts, and confusion were still at play. As they always will be. But finally, a process of imagining provisional answers to those fundamental quests began. And once we witness what already is present, reveal ourselves to ourselves and to others by exploring possibilities, while, at the same time, continuously creating who we are, lightness and joy can honestly merge with confusion. As it can always be, within the multi-layered complexity intrinsic to life. Now, it’s time to let things sink down and ground our feet to  earth once again.