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Shutting Off Your Inner Yoga Critic

Yoga | Yoga for Beginners

We all have a voice in our head. A voice that won’t shut up when you are trying to quiet your mind and be one with your yoga practice. A voice that incessantly talks about what you are going to eat later, why that person didn’t text you back, and what movie to watch on Netflix.

I myself have many voices in my head, and they are most passionately articulate specifically when I am trying not to notice them during yoga.

There is the voice that is going through the pose I am in and suggesting corrections. “Okay Toni, lift in the left quad and really release that right hammy.”

Then I have the voice that isn’t paying attention to my Half-Moon Pose, and instead thinks mundane wandering thoughts like, “Would I be skinnier if I ate Acai for breakfast?”

This then awakens the voice that judges the meandering thoughts, and says things like, “That is ridiculous, Toni, and think of all the food miles Acai accrues. Go back to thinking about the outside edge of your right pink toe.”

Then, there is whoever is listening to all this—and they must be exhausted.

Dealing with the Voices in Our Head

The more you meditate, the more control you will have over your mind. So I meditate every morning and night, yet the same problem exists. I have the voice saying my mantra, the voice talking over the mantra, and the voice judging both voices.

Then, of course, there is the voice reminding me to focus on the breath—but that voice is really high pitched and annoying so I tend to ignore that one.

The voices in our heads are intimately connected to our egos. The use of language is the tool of the ego, because the higher self doesn’t need words to express the mysteries of existence. Our souls just know the eternal truths. Duh. It “gets” that we are all one, and doesn’t need to explain it.

Still, our egos want to talk it out because it still feels like a separate individual. Silly ego!

I don’t think it is achievable to fully shut off the voices in your head. You can have relief during meditative and mindful moments—but the voices will always come back. The question then is: how chatty, and how loud?

Through yoga and meditation, we can quiet some of the banter in our mind—especially the voice that is judging. ~Toni Nagy

The voice that judges and criticizes is the least useful voice in our head because it disconnects us from ourselves and others. This is the voice we should strive to eliminate.

Even if you think an absurd thought like, “Were pleated pants designed as a device for population control by the New World Order because they make the genital area so unattractive?” you don’t have to criticize yourself for thinking that.

Most importantly, don’t insult yourself about the yoga practice you are PRACTICING because it is just that—A PRACTICE. Don’t let that voice say “My Warrior II isn’t deep enough,” or “My Tree Pose is wobbling like I am blowing in the wind because I keep farting in this position.”

Don’t let your inner yoga critic rip yourself apart for ripping ass. Don’t use your voice in that way! It is okay that your yoga isn’t perfect—no one’s is! There is no reason to let yourself talk about yourself behind your back.

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