by Megha Nancy Buttenheim

Our Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology (CiWPP) course attracts all kinds of personalities. We begin the course by observing introversion and extroversion. Although labeling personalities can be somewhat tricky, exploring introverted and extroverted qualities in oneself and others can be beneficial.

Sue Cain’s lovely book Quiet offers an insightful look at introversion in our Western culture, and the difficulties many introverts endure. This was helpful for me to read, because I have found that some introverts, though not all, tend to avoid Let Your Yoga Dance. They might feel shy or perhaps overstimulated by this ebullient practice.

I learned an unfamiliar term in Cain’s book: ambivert. An ambivert is someone who is equally introverted and extroverted. Having lived in a highly extroverted world for decades, teaching and training thousands of people a year, and being an actor before that, I would race home after work and collapse into a lavender-scented bubble bath, with candles flickering on the windowsill. I never answered my phone. I rarely wanted to go to parties. (Change these words to present tense, Megha: It’s still happening now.)

A colleague announced that she was an ambivert. I began to wonder whether I was one as well. But a Myers-Briggs test revealed that I’m a “gregarious introvert,” which feels exactly right. Naturally, I seek quiet after a busy day of teaching in CiWPP or my Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher Training. Solo gardening, quiet walks in nature, or sitting in solitude before an outdoor fire at night are the kinds of activities that rebalance and fuel my energy the most.

Many people throughout the years have stood in the doorway of my classes, gazing at the exuberant people dancing their yoga with abandon. Sometimes they have said something like this: “I am an introvert. I am more comfortable curled up with a book and a cup of tea. This Let Your Yoga Dance thing is way out of my comfort zone.”

I have come to realize that if I can just woo them into the Let Your Yoga Dance studio for five or 10 minutes, they might just get hooked! Suddenly what was not their comfort zone becomes their comfort zone! A new student of mine, Ruth Pearce, explains her experience as a self-professed introvert who loves Let Your Yoga Dance. She writes:

“Before CiPP, the thought of being in a room of people, getting my groove on, would have made me melt into a puddle of butter! Enter Megha. At the start of class, Megha told us, pointing around the room, “You are all dancers!” Yeah, right, I thought, you haven’t seen me yet. But, 15 minutes in, I had lost all inhibition and was moving and grooving, pulling Lion’s Breath faces and dancing my Warrior along with everyone else. I felt light, at ease, and completely unconcerned with other peoples’ opinions or my own self-judgments.”

You can read more of Ruth’s reflections on her Let Your Yoga Dance experience here.

I am having an ongoing battle with Ruth because I simply can’t believe she is an introvert after watching her cavorting wildly around the Let Your Yoga Dance studio! Dance on, Ruth—and all introverts!

This post is excerpted from Megha’s book Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance for Positive Psychology. Find out about Megha’s upcoming trainings in Hampton Bays, New York; at Kripalu; and in Miami.

Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, M.A., E-RYT 1000, is CEO and founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance® LLC, and author of “Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance, Embodying Positive Psychology”. An expert in experiential education, Megha is a long-time teacher-trainer at Kripalu Center, where she has trained thousands of people in yoga, health, movement, and meditation.