September 25, 2014

Simon Says Stop! ~ Lisa Avebury


I’m an introvert. I like routine. There I said it.

When did it become a bad thing to like a little bit of predictability? I don’t have a burning desire to challenge myself. I don’t know if I ever did. I’ve never been drawn to extreme anything. And as I get older I’m settling into who I have always been and I like her. And she doesn’t want to be pushed. If anything, extreme quiet is what she seeks out.

I blamed what I thought was my inner rebel for my propensity to wade against the tide. People who at one time I thought were friends labeled me as “difficult.” I didn’t realize till relatively recently my inner rebel was just my own introverted nature.

But it seemed to not serve me during my years as a yoga orphan looking for a studio to call my home. I was often confronted by new teachers who got in my face because they felt it was their job to encourage me. This resulted in me not saying much with words, but using a purposeful and intense look to convey my “leave me alone” sentiment.

Once it was so clear I overheard the teacher asking if “that girl” had left without saying goodbye. I imagine her inner dialogue was so busy formulating a reason about why I was unreceptive to her instruction that she failed to notice me only a few feet behind her. My reward was her mortified face when I spoke out, “Do you mean me?”

But the routine loving monster inside still wanted to find a yoga studio to call my own. I finally found it, or so I thought. An off-shoot of Bikram, I never thought I’d be in a hot studio. For all intents and purposes I dislike heat. But I “challenged” myself to try it and I liked it in the beginning. Or it was just so new it was novel to me; I really wanted to like something as I was tired of being an orphan. I became a member but in a few months in my inner rebel got antsy.

I realized I wasn’t happy and initially I was disturbed by that. I white knuckled it and held on for as long as I could, but running to a yoga class and burning up 2 to 3 hours in a day felt uncomfortable. There was a lingering part of me that said I should push myself to go. But as I observed my classmates in neat rows refining their postures in the mirror and following along with the sequence, which varied minimally from class to class, I just heard, “Stop.” This felt too much like a grown up version of “Simon Says.”

The inner rebel gave way to the inner introvert who didn’t want to be grouped with a bunch of people who identified themselves as something that sounded very close to “moonies.” The collective group consciousness requires you to believe their dogma. And Simons says, if you don’t you’re out.

I outed myself. I found the little yoga class at the gym that I had a free week pass for, with the older loud talking Russian ladies, felt more authentic to me compared to the one with all the bored pretty people waiting to bum rush the door. My orphan years created some distance and clarity. So the idea of spending that much time on a physical practice just seems like another distraction. Especially when every studio I’ve been to, except the gym, professed a spiritual by product from doing “their” yoga.

Yet often the best thing you can do for yourself when you are feeling lost is get still. And isn’t that what yoga was originally designed for, to burn off energy to prepare you to sit still. Yet very few talk about that in a yoga class. I guess it’s not good for business.

So with no studio to call my own I feel more of a yogi now than I ever have. An introverted yogi who always uses discernment when it comes to where and with whom I spend my time. And I don’t care if I you think I’m a rebel because I don’t like “Simon Says.”



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Editor: Travis May

Photo: WikiCommons

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