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My first yoga class was 12 years ago.  I remember how intimidated I felt to try something new.  It was Iowa in 2006 and while yoga was popular, it wasn’t quite everywhere yet in the Midwest like today.  I had no idea what I was doing in that first class, but I loved everything about yoga and kept with it.

I’ve since practiced at various studios, across different levels, techniques, and even been on yoga vacations.  I think it’s fair to call myself a novice at this point.

The past few years I’ve been struggling with the bridge pose.  It’s a floor pose where you lay on your back, bend your knees, and lift your body in the air while resting on your shoulders.  You should look like a bridge.  I haven’t felt like I was getting it quite right.  I eventually resigned to the fact that I was never going to be able to do it well.  Blamed it on my age and didn’t think much more about it.

Last week I went to a yoga class at my gym with an instructor I hadn’t had before.  When she talked us through the bridge pose, she gave the reminder of bending your knees and making sure the back of your heels touched the bottom of your bum.  Wait, what did she say?  The back of my heels need to touch the bottom of my bum before I lift my body in the air…  Is that what I’ve been missing?  Did I know this at one point and forget?  I did as instructed and sure enough, my body lifted in the air much easier and more bridge like than it has in years.

I’m marveled at how going to a different instructor and paying attention was either a new tip or an old forgotten skill.  I easily could have tuned out the details of her explanation that day.  This has me thinking so much about how we always have something new to learn or re-learn in a new way.  Are there other things in my life that I’m a “novice” at and as a result forgetting to pay attention?  Is over-confidence keeping me from mastery in certain areas.

What do you consider yourself to be a novice at?  Are you still paying attention to learn more?  Is mastery a goal?  Cooking comes to mind, isn’t there always something new to learn with cooking?

I suspect that now when I do the bridge pose I will be forever reminded to pay attention.  Be open.  And keep learning.