Check out my short interview for Sedona Yoga Festival. Planning on going? Use my name (Denise) as your promo code and receive 10% off!
Click here to view: YogiRunner Video Interview
Check out my short interview for Sedona Yoga Festival. Planning on going? Use my name (Denise) as your promo code and receive 10% off!
Click here to view: YogiRunner Video Interview
Honored to be interviewed and highlighted by Sedona Yoga Festival. Check it out:
Mark your calendars for this magical event March 10-13, 2016!
The introverted mind is like an amusement park. It is a deep sea of imagination and creativity. Ever since I can remember, I found peace in being alone. As a kid, I could sit for hours in my room just thinking. Every bout of solitude would take me on an adventure – one that had no restrictions and no judgment.
My mother used to worry. She did not understand why I did not desire to be outside playing with the neighborhood kids all the time. After all, the social norm is focused on an extroverted lifestyle, so why wouldn’t a mother want her child functioning as part of the norm?
Children spend the majority of their time around other children. The average school day begins at 8:00A and ends at 3:00P. The entire day is spent in a classroom with at least 25 other people, often working in groups. Even “breaks” are additional social ventures…..tons of kids gathering in the cafeteria followed by the same plethora released to the playground to “unwind.” The amount of energy this requires of an introvert is indescribable. I remember wanting nothing more than solitude at the close of these exhausting school days. Nothing sounded better than curling up with my favorite book – alone in my room. Seemed perfectly normal to me….Until –
I realized that most kids wanted MORE interaction after school. The majority of kids in my neighborhood wanted to drop off their backpacks and hit the streets for play time! This always seemed like such a daunting task to me even though it was what I thought I was supposed to do. I often found my way out of it (faking sick was an easy go to), but many times I just ran with the pack to avoid being different. There were periods of my life when I chalked up this secret difference to just being shy. There were other periods when I thought I was just downright strange. With time, I learned how to play the extrovert game while finding ways to sneak in my ever-so desired quiet time. 2-years ago, I googled the word introvert. I had sneaking suspicions that I was one, but had worked so hard to become socially normal, that I really wasn’t sure. The book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts – by Susan Cain; came up so I bought it (oh the power of Amazon). What a game changer this book was for me. Susan Cain hit every nail on every head. Suspicions be gone….I am an introvert.
My son is 11-years young and I watch his introverted nature unfold with a sense of dignity. He has the same need to retreat as I did when I was his age. With a grateful heart I am fully accepting that this is a beautiful innate quality that will take him on inward journeys to places only he can go.
Is he still considered slightly out of the cultural norm? Maybe according to some. But studies show that an estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population is introverted. Just because we live in a culture that promotes constant social interaction as the norm, doesn’t mean it feels like the norm for everybody. There is something very freeing in this simple fact that we introverts are not alone.
I can’t say that my old cultural imbedded fears don’t pop up from time to time when it comes to my son. Every now and then a worrisome thought crosses my mind…Should he be doing what the masses do? Does he feel out of place? It doesn’t take me long to realize however, that his solitude is intentional. I find comfort in the realization that he is more than OK. He sees the world through his very own lenses and has everything it takes to be happy….right inside that magical amusement park of his mind. We talk about introversion all the time. I encourage him to do the things that make him happy, rather than running with the pack. He loves to read. He loves to write. He loves to dream. His though process runs deeper and more expansive than anyone I know.
I’m not only content with my own introverted nature, I am now grateful. I have the gift to deeply connect with someone just like me. We read together. We write together. We dream together. And now, we run together. It is on these runs that I get a glimpse of that deep, expansive thought process of his as he opens up to someone who can relate. And when we are done sharing our creative worlds, we run quietly…. side by side, each enjoying our own magical amusement park.
|I love people. I’ve always been fascinated with observing speech, body language and overall behavior as to better understand how each individual ticks. My natural response to another human being is that we are immediate friends. Without any awareness at the time, I’m usually trying to find common ground so we can be mano y mano (my Spanish roots always have a way of sneaking into my writing). I truly want to know everything about you so we can create a deep, meaningful connection.This is not a contrived way of “making friends”, this is my natural tendency and always has been. A natural extrovert?Hardly.
Every connection I make and every conversation I have needs to be internally processed. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by energy of others. This is not a bad thing, but if that energy starts exceeding my capacity, I become displaced and frazzled. I have learned through the years that it is not until I am completely alone and in silence that all of this energetic processing occurs and my real, deep connections are realized.
And this is the expression of an introvert.
For so long, I thought that because I truly loved people, it also meant that I should always want to be around them. It just seemed that the two were supposed to go hand in hand. I never understood why I had such an internal struggle after being around groups of people (large or small) for an extended period of time. At first, conversations reel me in like a fish on a hook. Once I start learning about someone, I want more and more and more – until……..just like a candle burning to the wick, I lose all energy completely. It is almost like going on a long run, hitting the wall (translated to feeling like you’ve been hit by a train) and then needing some good, solid recovery time.
It is often difficult for an extrovert to understand why an introvert may be fully engaged at times, yet seem to “hold back” on other occasions. I had a friend in high school who described me as weird because I was able to give my full, undivided attention at times (which made her feel like the center of the universe), but at other times I was what seemed to be, stingy with it. It made her feel deserted and even confused, although this certainly was never my intent. She had an expectation of me (that I lended hand in creating) that I just couldn’t live up to. I agreed with her observation and it hurt me to think that I was letting her down. But no matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t understand why it was not within my capacity to give that full engagement 100% of the time. I pondered this concept for years! I actually started buying into the idea that maybe I was, in fact, weird.
So….. I developed some mechanisms. I learned to just muscle through this apparent “recovery time” that I felt I needed. I desperately wanted to be fully present and fully engaged all the time for everyone I came into contact with. It was exhausting. So much so, that by the time the weekend hit, I would either drink, sleep, or do both. I had to find some way to recover from this energetic overload – so checking out in some way was just about the only solution I could find. Not the healthiest coping skills I could have developed, but they certainly provided many lessons and opportunities for growth.
Needless to say, this approach just didn’t work.
During those “non-enlightened” years I soared through activities and careers that were well suited for the born extrovert. I was a cheerleader for 10 years and went on to teach cheer camps (to huge groups of screaming high school girls) throughout college. I was a Group Fitness instructor for a couple of decades and worked in the ever competitive field of pharmaceutical sales. I was pretty much surrounded by people 24/7. Was I good at these things? Sure. Was I well suited for these things? I thought so. Were these things nurturing the best version of me? Not even close.
While working on my MBA, I was tasked with taking the Meyers Briggs personality profile. Low and behold, the strongest characteristic trait that came through was that I was an Introvert! Wait, what? But I love people! I’m extremely social! I work in SALES for goodness sakes! Isn’t an introvert the shy, reserved person that doesn’t like to be around people?
The more I looked into the characteristics of an introvert, the more I realized how much I fit the bill. Plain and simple, I need to be alone to recharge my battery. I need quiet and stillness to recovery from the massive amounts of energy I intake with every personal engagement I make. Ha! So there is the answer…..Maybe I’m not so weird after all (although that is yet to be fully determined).
Running and practicing Yoga have helped me better nurture my introvert nature and maintain my overall sanity. I am now fully aware and accepting of the fact that this girl needs recharging on a daily basis. I no longer muscle my way through constant interactions. I do my best to make the interactions I have deep and meaningful.
I still work with and around people, teaching Yoga. By far, this is the most well suited career choice I have made to date. It allows me to deeply connect with people energetically but in an environment that is conducive to self-realization and stillness. I now get to tap into all of the beautiful energy expressed in each person’s practice while maintaining a comfortable boundary that allows me to “go introvert” when needed.
Although it took me several years to put the whole story together, I now get it. I understand and accept myself for exactly who I am. I also have a better understanding of my extroverted brothers and sisters who get their recharging from people.
So what does this have to do with you? Maybe you relate to some of what I’ve shared. Perhaps you had a light bulb moment that you too might be an introvert. Or maybe you know someone who seems “weird” because they can’t always quite give you their all. If either happens to be the case, smile, accept this individual for who they are and try to release the expectation of them needing to be 100% all the time. Chances are good that they may just need to escape into their inner world for a little processing. Give them the space they need to recharge their eternal flame.
Shine on Fellow Introverts!
So at this moment, I just feel like writing. Being the introvert that I am, I often find that there is no better way to sort through thoughts and emotions than to write. So even if this is never read by another human being, it is my way to release, to express.
I dream vividly. Both literally and figuratively. When I sort through things, I often see them as “pictures”. Lately, I have been picturing a box. Not a pretty box, wrapped with ribbons and bows, but a small, constricting box that is trying to shrink me into its’ world.
On some level, this box has always been present in my dreams. No matter what I was taught or told, I always imagined there was more to it (I still do). Kind of like that movie, Pleasantville with Reese Witherspoon and Toby McGuire……there has to be something more beyond the carved lines of our world.
Now in my 40’s, I trust myself to believe and think outside these teeny, tiny parameters I’ve always known. I’ve never felt more free in my own skin! I was always so unsure of so many things, and I still am – but now I’m unsure with a wide open mind and spirit – accepting the idea that anything is possible.
So shouldn’t the dream of the box disappear? Now that I have removed it from my energy field, why is it still there? This is the question I’ve been pondering – the one keeping me up at night.
But just today, after some time in meditation – I realized that the box is trying to be forced upon me everywhere I turn! Swooping generalizations involving Yoga, religion, parenting, fashion, social circles, nutrition – you name it, the box is there. No matter where I turn, the box keeps trying to close me in and I feel like I’m externally suffocating!
So I take a deep breath, because this was the first thing I learned to do on my journey outside of the box. I close my eyes and I pray. That’s right – this girl who does not go to church, who was raised Catholic, became a born again Christian, has researched and considered almost every religion in the book, and also has a mural of Buddha on her Yoga wall – prays all the time. I don’t need a formalized group to tell me how to have a relationship with God. I found it in a very real way on my journey outside the box.
After waiting to hear my answers (something I learned to do in the practice of meditation), I finally find compassion and a sense of peace. I realize that the box is drawn around me as a form of protection. Protection from the unknown, which is ultimately fear.
And then I find gratitude. Gratitude that I no longer live in this place of fear, because I have in fact, ventured outside the box. I fully accept and acknowledge that all things are possible and each and every one of us has the right to live inside, or outside the box. Because for some it provides safety, while for others it is nothing but suffocation.
And so, we are all different – and we all have the right to breathe. I just happen to be someone who needs lots of space and air to do it.
It’s time to expand our journey! Starting in July, we have 9 chances to practice Yoga together! Please join me at Mountainside Fitness, located at 2655 W Carefree Hwy
Phoenix, AZ 85086 to either begin or continue your unique mind/body experience.
Mondays – 5:30 a.m. – Yoga
Mondays – 5:30 p.m. – Flow Yoga
Tuesdays – 8:45 a.m. – Flow Yoga
Wednesdays – 5:30 a.m. – Flow Yoga
Wednesdays – 5:30 p.m. – Flow Yoga
Wednesdays – 6:30 p.m. – Power Yoga
Fridays – 5:30 a.m. – Power Yoga
Sundays – 9:00 a.m – Yoga
Sundays – 10:00 a.m. – Power Yoga
Each format provides a different approach to the practice. Below is a brief description of what you can expect from my classes.
Yoga is suitable for all levels and focuses on mastering each pose. In this class there is strong emphasis on alignment and breathing, while offering a general understanding of common Yoga postures.
Flow Yoga is an intermediate level class. An understanding of the basic postures of Yoga is highly advantageous for those wishing to participate in this class. Flow Yoga offers a “dance with the breath,” encouraging participants to connect every pose with the breath. This class will increase your heart rate and introduce you to more advanced poses.
Power Yoga is an advanced level class that is recommended those that have a good understanding of connecting breath with movement. Power Yoga focuses on strengthening while offering a more “playful” approach. If you are ready to try arm balances and inversions, this is the class for you!
All classes are set to fun, inspiring music that includes upbeat tunes to keep you motivated. Essential oils are used in all classes. Energizing sprays are utilized during the “movement” part of class, while Meditative blends are used during deeper stretching and during Savasana.
My goal is to get to know each and every participant. My job is to guide you through the practice, but my ultimate goal is to take this beautiful journey beside you.
Each class is your own. You have freedom to do as much or as little as you desire. I have only 3 rules:
1. NO Egos
2. NO Judgement
3. ONLY Love
I look forward to YOU being part of my continued journey.
I remember the first time I was introduced to Yoga. Being a young college student majoring in Exercise Physiology meant that I had to explore every kind of physical activity. 100% of the time, I was seeking the “burn”. I wanted a good, hard workout that made me feel like I had really accomplished something. My entire focus in my youth and young adult life was on the mind and body. At that time, however – the mind and body were two seperate entities to me. The body was something I was constantly trying to sculpt, and the mind was something I was always trying to fill. The concept of bringing the two together through the practice of Yoga was not even a budding thought during those years, so my visits to the Yoga mat were short lived.
After having children, I reached a place where I really wanted to explore the deeper side of my being. Although I had returned to Yoga only to try to repair a knee injury, I was finding so many layers to it that I never recognized – including that element of spirit that I had somehow always failed to nurture. Was it that I was older and more open minded? Was it that I found the right kind of classes and instructors that challenged me? Had my body taken enough pounding throughout the years that I finally realized there was another way? The answer is Yes – to all of the above, and then some.
Being the learner type that I am, I dove in deep. I read every book I could get my hands on, went to every workshop within a 100 mile radius, visited all studios and types of classes I could, practiced daily – and finally went through my 250 hour Teacher Training.
This journey has been the most tranformative of any in my life. I have learned so much about not only the incredible practice of Yoga, but about myself. I now realize the importance of caring for my mind, body and spirt as one. I have learned to slow down and appreciate every step of my journey. I’ve learned to appreciate what I’ve got, what I’m not, and who I am.
And so now I feel it is my calling to share it with you. The sunnier outlook, the elimination of constant injury and aches, the increased confidence, the lengthening and toning of muscles, the sense of calm – and the love of thine own mind, body and spirit; are many of the great gifts I have received through the regular practice of Yoga. I would love to be a part of your journey in receiving these gifts too. Won’t you join me?
Wednesdays – 5:30 p.m. Yoga Flow at Mountainside Fitness / Carefree
Fridays – 5:30 a.m. Yoga Flow at Mountainside Fitness / Carefree
Saturdays – 9:30 a.m. Yoga Flow at Mountainside Fitness / Peoria
Saturdays – 10:30 a.m. Power Yoga at Mountainside Fitness / Peoria