Why I’ve Avoided Yoga. Until Now.
I always said that I would never take yoga. People whose opinions I trusted told me that I would like it. I refused. I told them that it was too ‘new age’ and ‘too religious’ for me. I was stubborn like a mule and I dug my heels in.
Fast forward to this summer when I broke my foot running. It gave me a LOT of time trapped in my house (it was my driving foot) to think about some of my convictions.
The main reason that I have avoided yoga is because I knew that it would make me feel more emotions than I’m comfortable experiencing. Now this may sound like a silly statement coming from a psychologist. The cliché of a psychologist is a woman with a bad haircut wearing an outfit made out of hemp who is telling you to dig deep and feel your emotions. I’m quite the opposite. In my own therapy, I’ve tried to understand and gain control over my feelings. I’ve tried to utilize feedback from my therapist to find better solutions to my problems. In my mind, therapy is a way to get control over my life.
I knew that yoga was about relinquishing some degree of control. And it made me nervous.
My first few yoga classes involved me fighting not to laugh out loud in class. I found myself thinking excessively about ‘The Real Housewives’ in an attempt to avoid engaging with the process. Over time, however, something shifted. At this point, I find that it’s alarming how relaxed and off-my-guard I feel in yoga class. The fact that I can lie on a mat in the fetal position – in the company of strangers – seems shocking, and vaguely horrifying, to me. Am I turning into a hippie weirdo? Should I start going to Supercuts and carrying my own shopping bags?
I’m proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying something that is difficult for me. I need to learn to be less stubborn and less rigid. Maybe yoga is perfect for me.
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.