I started practicing hatha yoga in 1997 and began teaching about three years later. All informed, I taught yoga for nearly ten years. For the greater part of a decade I made yoga my lifestyle. My pals were yogis. We ‘d have dinner celebrations and discuss absolutely nothing but yoga. I’d the whole world mentally divided into 2 camps: YOGA and NOT-YOGA. The Western yoga culture eaten my life.

cow face

Alack and alas, my immersion in the yoga scene ultimately reached a breaking point. The very first fracture came when I split with the supposed master I worked for. I’d actually traveled with him around the nation and beyond for over two years, placing on yoga circuses known as Bootcamps and training thousands of educator proteges. When I chose to leave Mister Guru’s company and stop taking a trip, our break was friendly. But once I started to get some range from what I’ll reluctantly describe as a cult, for absence of a much better word, there was a growing number of stress. The additional I removed myself from his clutches, the more difficult things became. We do not speak any longer.

I kept exercising for years after that, but with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Eventually I tired of participating in the nouveau Western yoga culture that I now translucented jade-colored glasses. As a result, my yoga practice has actually been in hibernation for a while now. Regularly, I take a public class to test the waters and see how I am feeling about all of it. Naturally, I miss out on certain elements of my constant yoga practice-the P&Q it used to give me… the feeling of having a tribe… being skinny and fit. (I am not gonna lie; that was certainly a perk.) Nevertheless, every time I dip my feet back in the yoga waters, I instantly am reminded of things I don’t such as about the yoga scene.

Recently, nevertheless, I went to a weeklong quiet retreat at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California. Under the tutelage of Noah Levine, Vinny Ferraro, and Wes Nisker (the Buddhist dream team, as far as I am worried), I sat for hours every day in a quiet mindfulness practice and learned the standard tenets of vipassana to a depth I’ve actually never ever prior to reached.

During this refuge, we were given the choice of taking afternoon yoga courses from a local educator I’d never come across. In other circumstance I most likely would’ve avoided the yoga courses. I knew that they’d actually a discovered a local instructor last-minute and I did not have high expectations for that instructor’s experience level or even that she’d teach a design of yoga that I suched as (there’s that accessory revealing it’s ugly head). However, I decided to go to the courses anyhow, for a few factors:

  1. It was something to separate the dullness of long days invested in unrelenting meditation.
  2. My body was beginning to really injure from sitting.
  3. I understood there would be zero individual attention, considering that in a quiet refuge people don’t touch you, look at you, or address you in any means.
  4. No one there knew me or that I’d ever been a yogi or an instructor, so I can feel free to be actually, really bad and really, really lazy.

The classes fulfilled my low expectation. They were not great. If I’d actually come across this class in the outside world I’d have been irritated and may even have left early, breaking my golden guideline about appreciating an instructor’s area. Nevertheless, held captive in the retreat environment, I remained. I stayed and exercised with a beginner’s mind. And, more notably, a novice’s body.

After a decade of being limber, strong, and good at yoga asana, I’m not any of these things anymore. I am tight, weak, lazy, uncoordinated, and weigh even more than I ever have in my life. The practice feels more challenging than it ever has. In this ultra-easy class, where the most difficult position we ever took was cat-cow, I found that I couldn’t even grip my hands behind my back the way I’ve always had the ability to with ease.

I bear in mind the very first few courses I ever took, at the YMCA in Washington, DC, with a guy called Avatar who’d actually been teaching Sivananda yoga considering that the 70s. I keep in mind how goofy I felt, and how humbling the presents were, as well as how innately right it felt in my body to be moving that means. I also keep in mind the stimulate of spiritual creativity that yoga influenced in me.

Suddenly, I was a newbie once more.

I thought of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Buddhist monk Shunryu Suzuki, which I’d actually checked out in the early days of my yoga expeditions. I believed, how blessed am I to be experiencing this beginner yogi thing all over once more!

Long gone are the days when I’d aim to ever larger and much better positions. No more yoga modeling for me. Now, my objective (or don’t have thereof) is to always be a novice yogi with a fresh recognition for the humble experience of being bad at something.


After ten years in the yoga industry as an instructor, studio manager, and minion for alleged gurus, Joslyn Hamilton launched a freelance writing company. Outside Eye Consulting’s mission is to help each customer clarify their message and get their word out to the world.