I've been working on this whole fitness thing. I was running, although that's slacked off lately (I busted a wheel on the jogging stroller, which makes fitting in a run problematic.) I've been dieting (I've been following the WW plan for a while now). And just yesterday I walked into a new Yoga class for the first time.
See, one of the major obstacles holding me back, both from going whole hog and attending WW meetings, and from actually going to workout classes (which I know motivate me more and get me working harder), is the single fact that I have severe social anxiety.
I am not just shy folks. This is not your normal, Oh I hope people like me, moment. This is a paralyzing fear of being in an awkward social situation. This is literally standing in my living room having an argument with myself about why I should (you will enjoy it) and should not (but I don't KNOW anyone!) go. This is something I desperately hope to avoid passing on to my daughter.
And let me tell you, the yoga class was perhaps my worst nightmare scenario. What is usually a room full of people (I was told 25-30) somehow had shrunk down to five that day. Four people who know each other really well, who arrived (and placed their mats) in pairs, and me. The instructor wanted to wait a bit to make sure no one was just running late, so there was a good 10 to 15 minutes of everyone just kinda sitting around on their mats talking to each other, while I desperately tried to act casual.
After the Yoga session, there was another socially mortifying period, where everyone kind of milled around drinking tea and talking. I grabbed my things and hi-tailed it out of there. But before I could escape I had to drop my money in the jar. Sessions are a (suggested) $5 donation. I had a 20. There wasn't enough change. Normal people would ask around for change. I froze, dropped the 20 in the jar and bolted.
But the class, oh the class itself was amazing. The perfect mix of relaxation and exercise. For those 60 minutes I actually let my anxiety go. I forgot there were other people in the room who might be judging me. The exercises felt challenging but not outside my comfort zone, and yet today I am incredibly sore. In that I-totally-worked-my-muscles way. And I'll go again, next monday, because It really was that good of a class, worth every second of my pre-class anxiety and post-class freak out.
I'm hoping the class size swells back into the 25-30 so I can safely hide myself in the pack. I'm hoping that with time I will get more comfortable with these strangers, and may even be able to stick around for the tea afterwards.
But for now I'm cherishing the soreness in my arms and the few brief minutes I was able to spend anxiety free.