The Inner Critic

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“Judgement isn’t bad or good … it just isn’t true” – Adyashanti
I’ve put the picture here of me falling on my arse while trying to do an arm balance. When this picture was taken I was feeling pretty silly, especially as the other two were doing it great. My inner judgement then and even now when I look at this shot, is that I should have been able to do it.. but that’s not what happened.

These kinds of experiences can really sabotage your yoga practice..not because a bad thing is happening but because of your inner critical voice. You can fall down and that’s the reality but its what you say to yourself about it that creates the problem.

When you arrive on your mat and look at yourself in the mirror, you probably notice that inner voice talking to you… and often its not too kind. Endless amounts of judgement… I should be thinner/better/younger, I look awful, I look stupid, I can’t do this.. whatever. It goes on.. constantly comparing, analysing, judging and criticising.

The inner critical voice is a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts towards ourselves and others. This pattern of thoughts forms an anti-self that completely discourages us from acting in ways that are in our best interest.This inner enemy can affect every aspect of our lives: self-esteem, confidence, relationships, motivation, performance and achievements.

We may recognise what the voice is saying at times…but most of the time we won’t and simply accept it as being true. We are often unaware of its destructive impact on our emotions, actions, and quality of life.

The only way to take power over this destructive thought process is to become CONSCIOUS of what your inner voice is telling you. Then you can stop it from running your life!

One of things I try to do in my class is get you to spend time with that voice inside your head and look at what its saying. What is the story that you tell yourself about how things are.. about how you are? Are you in conflict with yourself?

One of the things I’m saying at the moment is to observe your inner monologue and its TONE. Especially when your buttons are being pushed!! because when the body is physically challenged a lot of our mechanisms rush to the surface we either breakdown or we breakthrough. Its literally in that moment that you’ll change it because you become conscious of it.. and that’s what yoga is all about….. becoming conscious of yourself.

In yoga we are becoming the witness. Observing ourselves through our practice. We notice what kind of relationship we have with ourselves through observing our relationship to our bodies, our postures, the other bodies in the room, the teacher and our inner voice.

And by witnessing what we are saying, particularly when under adversity and when we’re challenged through the postures and in the heat we can see clearly how the mind behaves.

The body responds to how your mind thinks– 99% of thought is processed through the body, creating your inner chemistry. The power of yoga lies in its ability to calm and strengthen the nervous system, changing this inner chemistry and creating new pathways of how you behave and function.

When the inner critic is rampant, our brain chemistry goes into fight or flight mode, creating stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline – the negative, unhealthy hormones when we have too much of them.

The power of the mind body breath connection creates balance and space, producing harmonising chemistry such as dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin – our positive, health boosting ones.

Yin yoga a powerful practice because it gives you the ability to let the posture go, allowing everything to be as it is in the stillness and here you see the essence of yoga, observing the mind body breath connection.. alive within you.

To still the mind the breath must be calm.. to calm the breath the body must be still. You see how everything is connected. When these conditions have been met deep awareness is possible.

Be still enough to feel all of the subtle inner movements. Feel all that you’ve stirred up.
Feel the pulse
Feel the breath
Feel the temperature
Feel the circulation
Feel the subtle body, subtle energy which now have been made less subtle, less hidden. From the stillness you observe the movement.

Yoga reveals what is already there.

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