Why I Don’t Go To Yoga Class

Why I Don't Go To Yoga Class

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?

  • Alexis

    I am such an introvert that I almost had a panic attack watching a news story yesterday about Tokyo and their 13 million people. 13 Million!!! I would prefer to do most things alone – with the exception of yoga. That said, it took me years to be comfortable on my own mat, just ignoring everyone else around me. I’ve tried doing yoga at home and just couldn’t get in to it. I do hate that 5 minutes before yoga class begins where everyone is chatting – small talk, ugh! :)

  • http://www.workoutnirvana.com/ Suzanne Digre

    Word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    I have it on good authority that Toyko is a bit crazy. :) But I feel the need to try it once – just like yoga class. :)

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    lol….thanks!

  • Sarah Kerner

    I like workout classes, but Yoga on the Square is not my jam. Ants… the sun is usually too bright/hot… weirdos looking at you… just NO. But oh yeah… Shavasana… so good! Have you tried the free videos on doyogawithme.com? The ones I’ve tried were really good!

  • Kira Owens

    I am a complete introvert when it comes to my workouts. When I am surrounded by a roomful of people I just can’t seem to focus on what I need to. The exception to that is on the gym floor, doing my cardio. I don’t seem to mind if someone is even on the machine right next to me. I’ll pull my hoodie over my head, crank up my iPod, and boom… I’m alone in a room filled with people. My workouts are my “me” time. I talk to people all day long, and my workout time is my outlet. I’ve not taken a yoga class, but have done tai chi several times. Once I learned the basics of the moves, I stopped going and took to it on my own. I’m sure there is a class that I’d enjoy at some point. But for now I’ll stick to what works for me :-)

  • Dana Popp

    I’m definitely an extravert in general but I am a workout introvert. I like the time to myself. I am actually irritated if people want to chat very much in a class or if my workout is interrupted.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    And in my client sessions I am very much the extrovert. But I can only do three or four sessions in a row before I need to “recharge”. I get to play extrovert because I am so passionate about what I do.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    Exactly! Find what works for you and a method to make it happen!

  • http://www.katrinaelle.com Kat

    This is EXACTLY why I love PiYo! It’s a blend of strength cardio and stretch with flexibility all to MUSIC!

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    Sounds like you found what works for you! Well done!

  • Linz @ Itz Linz

    ants in your pants lol i do enjoy the energy of group classes

  • http://got2run4me.com Coco

    I have the same monkey mind in yoga, but I still enjoy classes from time to time. Maybe you can find a small inside class!

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    Perhaps you’re right. Maybe it’s just about finding the right place.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    All that energy just makes me nervous. :)

  • Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie

    That’s awesome that you know yourself! I’m the opposite. I love the social interaction and accountability that comes with group classes.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    It’s all about finding what works for you, right?

  • Tamara Grand

    As a group fitness instructor, I thrive on the energy of the group. Both in bootcamp style classes and in yoga. I suffer from monkey mind as well, but am working on giving up being judgmental about it. Some of my best blog posts get ‘written’ during yin yoga…

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    Some of mine have been “writen” on runs. :)

  • http://crossfitwacobox.com Jennifer

    Before starting CrossFit I always assumed I was more of an “introvert” when it came to working out. After my first CrossFit class that all changed. I love the social interaction and support that comes from CrossFit. Then again I do value my quiet solo runs. I’ve gone to a few yoga classes, but your thoughts sound a lot like mine!

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/about-pamela/ Pamela Hernandez

    Perhaps you’re an ambivert Jennifer?

  • http://thefaithfulrunner.wordpress.com Samantha @ The Faithful Runner

    This post describes me exactly, but I never realized it until I read it. It really is all about the stillness of the mind, and I don’t get that in a class. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/about-pamela/ Pamela Hernandez

    You’re welcome Samantha!

  • Caren Magill-Myers

    LOL….I am so with you on this!!! I do all my yoga classes at home, in my bedroom where there are zero distractions and I can do it for 30 mins rather than the standard 90 mins. I am not a fan of yoga in a room full of sweaty peeps and I even had an instructor that asked people to partner up half way through class!!! Talk about a total buzzkill!

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/ Pamela Hernandez

    Me too! I can do a great sequence in 30 minutes and feel amazing. Then I can get on with my day.

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