This wonderful piece by yoga teacher Duncan Parviainen totally caught me by surprise. I’d never really considered my introversion thru the lens of being a yoga teacher.
Perhaps that’s because, despite being an introvert, when I’m teaching I feel so energized by the work of teaching yoga that I forget my generally quiet tendencies and seem to have a good amount to say. And also, despite being an introvert, I really love and am fascinated by people. I am driven to galvanize, albeit quietly.
I feel all my life I have been developing a soft touch, but like those famous Kung Fu legends, one touch can deliver a powerful blow. Of course, through my teaching, I don’t intend to hurt anyone, but if I can deliver powerful blows to the ego, to limited concepts of what is and is not possible, then sure I want to do that! And who else but introverts know all about the “soft blows” of the ego?
I am going to posit here that introverts feel the ego’s nefariousness more strongly than extroverts. It’s just our natural inclination to look within and examine. I’m also going to posit here that introverts may be slightly more prone to depression, anxiety, and other psychological maladies, or perhaps we are affected differently by these psychological trials than extroverts. Following these hypotheses, then introverts have much to offer in teaching how yoga can rein in fluctuations of the mind-stuff.
Sometimes it is tough being an introvert, especially in a competitive city like NYC. Things that I don’t do so well as an introvert:
- answer the phone
- do drinks, lunch, dinner dates with people I want to get to know (or even long-standing friends)
It was refreshing to read Duncan’s article on the power of the introvert yoga teacher, to take a different lens on some of the benefits introversion gives us. As yoga teachers, we are dealing with the inner landscape. Yes, the external matters too, alignment and all that (but that’s pretty internal too, if you want to get technical about it). This familiarity with the inner worlds and our ability to observe ourselves with such precision really helps when it comes to teaching things like meditation or witness consciousness. So thanks, Duncan, for an added perspective on life as an introvert (and yoga teacher)!