Yoga has been a big part of reducing my stress levels and bringing balance to my life. Like most things, though, I am “self taught”. I turn to online teachers (like Dailyburn) and magazines like Yoga Journal to learn poses and build my practice.
As an introvert, group fitness is something I’ve never felt comfortable with. Until very recently, I had only been to one yoga class. It was part of the Get Connected to a Healthy Community initiative. The “class” was in the parking lot in front of the Meyers Center, next to the tent where the breakfast meeting was held. We had no mats or music. We did about 15 minutes of standing poses with rush hour traffic whizzing behind us. I didn’t even go into it with the expectation of finding my zen. I was hanging out with a few other people who wanted to get moving before breakfast.
A couple of weeks ago I thought I would give a yoga class another try. The Healthy Living Alliance offers free lunchtime yoga classes on Fridays during the summer. The classes are outdoors and taught by an instructor from the nearby Y location. After what felt like weeks and weeks of rain, the clouds parted and a sunny but cool Friday appeared. Perfect to relax outside and flow in the sun.
I took my mat, yoga strap (just in case) and a bottle of water. I found a semi – shaded spot and begin to focus on my breathing.
That’s when remembered why I don’t do group fitness classes. My monkey mind went into overdrive. The chatter in my head went something like this:
Is everyone else here with a friend? Am I the only one who came alone? (Smile like a fool)
Ants on my mat? How am I going to avoid ants in my pants?
Which way do I turn? She said left, but hers or mine?
How does my downward dog look to compared to everyone else’s?
Wait. Did that woman in front of me really just step off her mat to take a call?
I can’t see the instructor with my eyes closed and in forward fold? I CANNOT be the only one stuck in forward fold!
Every so often I would try to stop and connect with my breath but then the chatter would start again. Sound familiar to anyone?
And then it was the end of class. Shavasana. I didn’t have to worry about anyone looking at my downward dog or if I was turning the right way. I just had to breath. And I began to melt. I understood why it is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of class.
Stillness of the mind.
Stillness of the body.
Those last few moments made up for the rest of class but I was gently reminded why I don’t do classes. I like the connection with myself. I like the connection with my clients. Call me selfish but my workout time is mine. It should be about me and no one else. I tell my clients the same thing. Their time with me is really “all about them”. Solo workouts are how this introvert recharges her batteries. It’s how I can reset and be an extrovert when I need to be.
I don’t plan on going back to yoga class anytime soon. Instead I’ll be on my mat in my living room or waiting to workout when the gym is quiet. I’ll be enjoying my restorative niche so I can become the passionate extrovert for the next training session.
Are you a workout introvert or extrovert? Is there an exception to that rule?