I first started doing yoga with regularity because I was offered a role in a national touring Broadway show. (I never told you all that, did I? It was at a strange point in my life, and I was going to replace someone who wasn't sure if she was ready to quit ... my mom was starting chemo and didn't have a long life expectancy.) After remembering how badly I had sweat my way through the movement audition, I realized that if I were to dance 8 shows a week, I needed to get back in shape. It wasn't about being skinny. I don't care about that; I just want my trousers to fit and to not be out of breath at the top of the stairs. So I signed up for one of those 30 days for $30 things, and I went every single day, figuring it would be Broadway-boot camp.
I obviously didn't end up doing the tour, or you would have seen many glamorous posts from Iowa to Ireland -- but I did get in shape and enjoy it most of the time.
I went back to yoga last week for the first time in over six months. My body loved it -- the sweat and the stretches. Oh, was I sore for days.
But I forgot how much I really dislike group events. The vinyasas were great; the"turn to your neighbor and give them a high five" had me wanting to run out of that room because I had come for alone time. The "get up off your mat and introduce yourself to the people around you and create community" was utterly anxiety-inducing in the worst way. As I introduced myself to the person next to me -- who promptly said, "We went to high school together." I knew exactly who she was, as she had been the straight-up coolest girl in high school. I was shocked she even knew who I was, and I babbled nonsense and sounded like a maniac with my small talk before collapsing into child's pose.
The instructors would say, that's what yoga is about. Doing hard things. Being part of something bigger than yourself. etc etc
Here's what I realized: that's not what I want to get out of yoga. I want the meditation and the exercise, but I don't want the philosophy.
I do hard things every single day. I have always done hard things. I mean, I have owned my own business (AS AN ARTIST) for almost 20 years without a trust fund or family money. Art is all about being part of things bigger than yourself -- I bring entertainment and original art (aka my NAKE SOUL) to the stage sometimes in front of millions of people listening live on the radio. I am a social anxiety-ridden introvert, but I can absolutely suck it up and play the role of extrovert when I have to. I don't need to learn how to do that, as I have done that my entire career. I can network, schmooze, small talk with the best of them.
But on a Monday morning when I am seeking out sweat and stretch? No. Thank. You.
The time I carve out for yoga? I need solitude and ease and not challenging myself. Because I challenge myself enough by being my own demanding boss and solo parenting two small children and taking care of my sick mother and stressing myself out all the time. I can do hard things. I don't need anyone reminding me of that. All I need is peace, quiet, and no one grabbing my nipples. I want that solitary wood floor that my yoga friends post on Instagram.
I'm tortured because I do enjoy the yoga classes. This morning I was prepped to go to a class, but instead, maybe I'll go home, put in earplugs and roll through some sun salutations in my basement.
I mean, it's not you, yoga, it's clearly me. Everyone else loves you. I understand the reasoning behind the creating community. It's just not for me right now ... I prefer community at the coffeeshop or the music show. Or can we have a "Yoga for Introverts" class where no one is expected to even make eye contact?
And that's me, with my unpopular opinion that I had to get off my chest, so now I can move about my day and week and career a little lighter. Writing -- writing is my yoga! Hello, community.
UPCOMING SHOWS:Monday, 5/28 in LOUISVILLE: with Steve Cooley at TYLER PARK. 4:00pm.
Wednesday, 5/30 in LOUISVILLE: Kentucky Homefront at Adath Jeshurun. 6:30pm (just the backing band -- I'm not singing)
Friday, 6/1 in LEXINGTON: Seton Country Fair. Brigid Kaelin BAND. 6p-7:30p
Sunday, 6/10 in LOUISVILLE: Lakeside Swim Club. Brigid Kaelin BAND. 6:30-8:30p. (for members and their guests)
Thursday, 6/14 in LOUISVILLE: Slugger Field. Brigid Kaelin BAND. 5:30-6:30p