In a world that often praises expertise and proficiency, the concept of being a beginner is sometimes met with skepticism or even discouragement. However, for those who understand the value of embracing the unknown and exploring new territories, being a beginner holds a special allure. Caitlyn Casson shares more about this in a recent conversation with Beginner's Founder + CEO, Kellie O'Toole
Caitlyn shares her personal connection to the idea of being a beginner, expressing her desire to challenge herself and venture beyond her comfort zone. As a dancer and yoga enthusiast, she realized that she had been following familiar movement patterns for a long time. Feeling an itch to explore new avenues, Caitlyn embarked on a journey of self-discovery, engaging in activities such as heels classes and boxing. She explains how this experience of being a beginner, although uncomfortable, has been incredibly empowering and rewarding. Caitlyn recognizes the influence of others' bravery in trying new things and highlights the role of trust and inspiration in encouraging personal growth.
Kellie resonates with Caitlyn's perspective and discusses the cultural perception of beginners. She acknowledges that being a beginner has often been frowned upon and associated with inadequacy. Kellie challenges this notion and emphasizes that even the most accomplished individuals, such as expert rock climbers, began as beginners. She emphasizes the importance of creating a safe and exciting environment that welcomes beginners, fostering a sense of accessibility and inclusivity. By reimagining the beginner's journey as an opportunity for growth and exploration, Kellie aims to shift the narrative and celebrate the courage it takes to embark on new endeavors.
Caitlyn shares a profound Zen Buddhist quote that encapsulates the essence of a beginner's mindset. She explains that experts often reach a point where there is no room for exploration or magic to occur since they believe they already possess all the answers. In contrast, a beginner's mind is open to possibilities, curiosity, and questions. Kellie expresses her fascination with the quote and highlights the importance of maintaining a beginner's perspective to continually invite growth and discovery into our lives.
Moving the conversation to Caitlyn's personal journey, she reveals her unconventional path into yoga. While attending university in Florida, a friend introduced her to yoga classes, and she discovered a new way of approaching movement. Despite initially resisting the idea of teaching yoga, Caitlyn eventually embraced it and found that yoga offered her a fresh perspective and an escape from the cutthroat nature of dance. She appreciated the practice's inclusivity and the freedom it provided for continuous growth and self-discovery.
Caitlyn's journey took an exciting turn when she discovered positive psychology, which aligned with her belief in human potential and the pursuit of thriving, rather than simply reaching a neutral state. She blended movement practices like dance and yoga with positive psychology, creating programs and offerings aimed at increasing well-being. Caitlyn's work involves private client sessions, corporate office programs, and a membership portal, all designed to empower individuals to move beyond neutrality and embrace a flourishing mindset.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Caitlyn's yoga journey has been the community that she and her students have built. Particularly during the pandemic, Caitlyn witnessed the growth of a vibrant online community that came together for virtual classes and eventually extended to in-person gatherings in Central Park. Caitlyn’s passion for community and the joy with which she spoke about seeing her community blossom through such a dark time shined through our call.