We all know the extroverted yoga teacher (Hell all the extroverted people in our lives…): the one who has a lot to say, who is an engaging and fascinating speaker, the one who is always out and about, making grand gestures and expressive faces, networking, promoting, making new connections, going out for dinner with yoga friends, having a yoga party, inviting you over, always socializing and making new friends. I love these teachers, their vibrant energy fascinates and inspires me, and their interest to connect with so many people I find admirable. I get excited when I am around them. So it is no surprise that I pushed myself to follow in their footsteps. I thought to myself, “This is what successful Yoga teachers do and so this is what I have to do.” I admired them, and so I thought I had to become more like them.
I am not a natural extrovert. Conversation (unless deep and interesting or hilarious) usually exhausts me. I find meeting new people tiring and the whole idea of socializing and networking is my private idea of hell. I am an introvert.
I like my couch, my books, daydreaming, creating in solitude, being by myself and I like keeping to myself. I prefer being soft-spoken in large crowds (except when I am with life-long friends). I love listening. Since a young age, I have forced myself to develop a more extroverted appearance in society. It seemed to be what was required, how “normal” people were, so I began to believe that being a social recluse was bad, and that if I wanted to be good and successful, I would have to be more extroverted, social and amicable.
I will usually turn down lunch and dinner invitations to be by myself, invitations to almost all social gatherings, not because I do not like you, but because that is how I recharge my energy. I do not like groups of people, and do not like talking a lot, but I will listen and ask questions. I may not be the most articulate and enthralling speaker, but trust that I have been contemplating what I say for the last few hours, if not days.
Teaching classes usually wipes out my “social” time, I get home and i’ve got none time left for my family. I have even had my daughter awake in the middle of the night asking why I am still up. So hard to explain that I am up because this is the only time I get “alone”, and that I really need alone time (little girl is an extrovert).
Being on retreat with a whole group of teachers, I still find myself needing that alone time, the little gatherings and chats are so wearing. Teaching a workshop of two hundred people is so much easier than networking with 10 people afterwards.
It has taken time, and is still a work in progress, but accepting that it is OK to be this way has been a huge freedom.
This post was inspired by a post by Duncan Parviainen (Elephant Journal)