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Articles By Julie Gudmestad

Articles by Julie Gudmestad

serene buddah

Beginner’s Mind, April 2021

During asana practice, we are not only training the body to do the physical poses, but we are also training the mind to be present. It is the nature of the mind to wander: our attention is easily drawn to sounds, thoughts, memories, and worries. By paying attention to the teacher’s cues, we are bringing the mind into the pose and into the current moment as we learn to straighten a knee, rotate a shoulder or stretch the fingers.

We can also develop focus by coming into our practice with “Beginner’s Mind”, in which we practice noticing things just as they are, without assumptions about our bodies or the poses. We might notice the touch of our feet on the floor, the pattern of each breath, and how the spine changes in each pose. Beginner’s Mind implies an openness to learning and receptivity in body and mind.

You can initiate Beginner’s Mind at the beginning of a practice session by sitting or standing quietly in a tall and spacious position. Relax your jaws and soften your eyes, as though your eyes are going out of focus. Allow your field of vision to widen, so that you’re aware of your peripheral vision rather than the narrow focus we use to read.

This softening of external visual focus allows your inner focus to become clearer, and you can become more aware of sensations of the poses as you practice. As you move from pose to pose, notice whether your mind wanders or becomes judgmental, and pause again to soften your gaze and allow your attention to expand into the pose. Whether beginning or advanced, all yoga students can benefit from practicing Beginner’s Mind.

Julie wrote the “Anatomy of a Yoga” column in Yoga Journal magazine for 7 years. She has also written a series of articles aimed at instructors in the “For Teachers” column for Yoga Journal as well as an article for Yoga International. Below is a list of those articles. Click on the title to read the article.

Anatomy of a Yoga Column

Thigh Master 2 — Yoga Journal, September 2008

Great Glutes — Yoga Journal, August 2008

Into the Fold — Yoga Journal, May 2008

Love Triangle — Yoga Journal, March 2008

Shoulder Saver — Yoga Journal, February 2008

Hero’s Journey — Yoga Journal, December 2007

Shoulder Support — Yoga Journal, October 2007

Into the Fold — Yoga Journal, September 2007

Ground Control — Yoga Journal, August 2007

Flex Your Power — Yoga Journal, June 2007

Bridge Building — Yoga Journal, April 2007

Looks Are Deceiving — Yoga Journal, August 2006

Mission Possible — Yoga Journal, June 2006

Thigh Master — Yoga Journal, May 2006

Angle of Repose — Yoga Journal, March 2006

Smooth Sailing — Yoga Journal, Jan/Feb 2006

Way of the Warrior — Yoga Journal, Dec 2005

Dump the Slump — Yoga Journal, Nov 2005

Arms Control — Yoga Journal, May/June 2005

Spin Doctor — Yoga Journal, March/April 2005

Changes in Latitude — Yoga Journal, Jan/Feb 2005

Spinal Trap — Yoga Journal, Dec 2004

Better Posture 101 — Yoga Journal, Nov 2004

The Long and Short of Legs — Yoga Journal, Sept/Oct 2004

Feet First — Yoga Journal, July/Aug 2004

Bearing Up Under Pressure — Yoga Journal, May/June 2004

Take a Deep Breath — Yoga Journal, March/April 2004

Thighs Matter — Yoga Journal, Jan/Feb 2004

Arm Yourself Against Injury — Yoga Journal, December 2003

The Learning Curve — Yoga Journal, Nov 2003

Hip To Be Square — Yoga Journal, Sept/Oct 2003

The Hyperextended Knee — Yoga Journal, July/Aug 2003

Loosen Up Your Calves — Yoga Journal, May/June 2003

Free Your Pelvis — Yoga Journal, March/April 2003

Let’s Twist Again — Yoga Journal, Jan/Feb 2003

Spread Your Wings — Yoga Journal, December 2002

Shouldering Responsibility — Yoga Journal, November 2002

The Gripping Truth — Yoga Journal, Sept/Oct 2002

Face Your Fears Of Falling — Yoga Journal, July/Aug 2002

Take A Stand — Yoga Journal, May/June 2002

Breathing Room — Yoga Journal, March/April 2002

Stand And Deliver — Yoga Journal, Jan/Feb 2002

Break Out Of Your Slump — Yoga Journal, December 2001

Get Hip About Flexors — Yoga Journal, November 2001

Use Your Head About Shoulders — Yoga Journal, Sept/Oct 2001

Save Your Neck — Yoga Journal, July/August 2001

On Your Knees — Yoga Journal, May/June 2001

Ease On Back — Yoga Journal, May/June 2000

For Teachers Column

Learn Savasana Inside and Out — Yoga Journal

Shouldering the Weight Burden — Yoga Journal

The Science of Strengthening — Yoga Journal

What’s in a Stretch? — Yoga Journal

Kinesthetic Clarity — Yoga Journal

Neat Feet — Yoga Journal

Synovial Fluid and Inflamed Joints — Yoga Journal

Opening the Heart — Yoga Journal

Inverted and in Trouble — Yoga Journal

Taking Care of the Knee — Yoga Journal

Thawing a Frozen Shoulder — Yoga Journal

Yoga International

The Elusive Psoas — Yoga International, April 2011