🗣 Tuesday Tips with Nikki

Name: Nikki

Instructs at: PhysiPole Studios Carlton

Time Instructing:1+ years

Expertise:Still searching for this

Favourite Trick: Shoulder Mount


Practice Shoshin

– see everything from a beginners point of view.

Shoshin is a Zen Buddhist concept that encourages listening to everything with an open mind.

As we become more competent, it’s easy for us to become confident in our abilities. It’s a natural tendency to listen with less intensity in class, especially in mixed level classes like a Flow class or if you’re repeating a level or going over an older trick you’ve learnt before, because you know you’ll be able to pick things up easily or you already ‘know’ the move. We can easily become closed off to new information. Shunryo Suzuki, Zen master explains, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

The problem is that when you are an expert you actually need to pay more attention, not less. Why? Because when you are already familiar with 98 percent of the information on a topic, you need to listen very carefully to pick up on the remaining 2 percent.

So how can I practise Shoshin?
Do not feel the need to add value. Perhaps you hear an instructor and think they may have missed something in their explanation and so you add on a tip that helped you. In the surface this is great but it could frustrate the learner being overwhelmed by extra information and can hinder your own success. It’s impossible for you to listen to someone else when you’re talking. So, step one is to let go of the need to always contribute. Step back every now and then and just observe and listen. Accept different teaching styles, learn from different instructors. Different points of view open up the possibility for you to learn something new. Approach it from a place of curiosity: Isn’t that interesting. They look at this in a totally different way. Explore different classes your studio has on offer as a chance to learn from new instructors. Or book in for a casual class at a different Physipole location and explore a whole new studio. You might make new friends and it will give you some more to look forward to at Ignite!
Be optimistic! “Not cup grip handsprings again! I can’t do them, I’m not ready for them- why even bother!?” That was my inner monologue for about a year, and guess what? I didn’t get a cup grip that entire time. You can insert any difficult or painful trick in this place, not just my dreaded cup grip. I needed to approach the trick from a different mindset to be successful- I now love cup grip and it’s possibly my favourite grip. Approach every trick or class, even ones you may be nervous about or dreading, with an attitude of open eagerness. Don’t think about what you think is going to happen, just be eager to accept whatever comes and assured it will all be for the best.

Shoshin is a Buddha practice to help you open your mind and listen more. Nikki talks more here.