Getting Started

I share my yoga practice on Facebook, which is often used to communicate with my coworkers and local people in Waskaganish. Therefore, it’s not unusual that I receive questions and compliments about my practice.

To clarify, it is called yoga practice because everything is always a work in progress. One of the hardest notions to understand is that one may make attempts at a pose or a vinyasa even without the confidence of being capable of achieving it. What is important is just starting it. We often don’t see the possibility of something until we try.

For example, I gave my first attempt at krounchasana tonight. The full expression of this asana requires that you bring your leg to your head. You can see that this is actually a very difficult and painful pose for me due to extremely tight hamstrings. Nevertheless, I have decided to try it anyway, using a strap me the wall and taking the time to go at my own pace.

This is definitely something I have learned that is important working with Aboriginal students in the north. Many students do not have strong fundamental skills in math or literacy that allow them to achieve fluency in these respective subjects; many of us “Southerners” take these skills for granted. As a teacher and mentor, my job is to coax and convince my students to just get started, even if they don’t believe that they may necessarily get to a bigger end goal (e.g graduating from high school, passing the provincial science exam, becoming fluent in math).

But it’s about getting started, taking the first step and slowly achieving mastery of one skill or a group of skills as you begin to forget and lose the anxiety or stress that stopped you in the first place. Students work at their own pace. Whether it is at yoga or at a subject in school.

I have known one student in Waskaganish to have taken the science exam five times before she graduated last summer. There is nothing wrong with that, because her skills or abilities are different from other kids. But what’s important is that she got started. If she focused on a fear of not being able to pass the exam, she may have simply dropped out of school and given up altogether.

So the question for friends out there, what are you going to get started? No need to wait until 2015, maybe it will be something this weekend!

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