Hi There Inner Critic … Nice to Meet You!



This is a guest post by yoga teacher Sonya Taylor, RYT 500 in Advanced Yoga Psychology. Sonya teaches Vigorous Vinyasa on Mondays, 9:45-10:45am, at the Takiff Center. Beginning July 10, Sonya will teach Core Flow (All Levels) on Tuesday evenings, 6:30-7:30pm, and Vinyasa Flow 2 on Thursdays, 11:30am-12:30pm. 

Have you met your Inner Critic?!

Many of us are so externally focused on what we need to do, if everyone is happy, everyone to school, work etc on time!… that we are unaware of the dialogue inside our head. The citta or mind chatter is the constant internal messaging that forms much of our experience of life, yet we rarely take time to stop and examine it! Do you know the repeated phrases inside your own head? Are they positive? Negative? Do they pressure you and judge you? Are they rooted in fear?

This past year I met my Inner Critic face-to-face and let me tell you… she is a nasty, slippery, conniving creature that is out to get me!

I took time to pause… truly look at and begin to recognize her voice and I developed a process to invalidate each and every thing she says! Don’t get me wrong, I still hear her! Sometimes often, sometimes few and far between. However, now I am adept at recognizing Her Voice is not My Voice!

Ready to dive in for battle?!…

Quieting Your Inner Critic!

As we are seeking to re-program the voice, hold compassion as these are usually deep seeded beliefs that we are challenging. Take pen to paper and write as you tune into…

-notice the voice of the inner critic

-write it down in the 2nd person “you…”

-who does the voice sound line?

-connect the inner voice to actions

-how does it influence your behavior

-events and situations that trigger these thoughts/voice of the inner critic

-self-limiting patterns

This process often takes time over several days or weeks to identify and clarify what the inner critic voice is saying and its resulting self-limiting patterns. Our tendency is to avoid really facing the voice and its root cause, leaving it lurking in the shadows. Recognizing and clearly identifying the dynamic of the inner critic is a vital first step.

Re-programming… Take pen to paper and re-write the voice.

What is the reality when you step out of the moment and really look at what the facts are? Write and affirmation, or positive statement in the present moment that re-writes the voice of the inner critic and completely in-validates what it says. Remember our inner dialogue and the thoughts or beliefs we allow to have the most ‘air time’ create and shape our experience. If we allow the inner critic to be the loudest voice… we will experience life in line with its negative, diminishing message.

Example:

Inner Critic – I am never going to make enough money, people don’t like me and my classes, I really messed that up, I don’t know what I’m talking about, no one is going to sign up for my workshop because they don’t like me and don’t want to hear about yoga psychology, no one gets me…. On and on and on…

Write it down- You are never going to make enough money. People don’t like you. You really messed up… etc

Re- Write – I am strong, successful and intelligent. The passion I have for yoga and its many healing processes guides me, sustains me, and draws many clients to my services. I am financially, emotionally and spiritually aligned.

Work toward awareness of the voice of the inner critic in daily life. Do you notice any patterns? Does the voice get louder or more frequent based on certain circumstances? I tend to hear the voice more when things are unsteady or changing. When I’m tired or have had a particularly challenging week. Noticing the pattern helps me be ready to fight back!

Repeat the positive ‘I’ message whenever you hear the voice of the inner critic. Take a few long, deep exhales. You might also try the practice of Viloma or a 3 part breath.

Viloma ~ Take a cleansing breath. Begin to inhale through the nose filling all the way up. Pause at the top of the inhale. Exhale through the nose in 3 parts deflating the chest, pause, the mid ribs, pause, the low belly, pause feeling totally empty… begin to inhale again and proceed through five or more rounds.

As you practice Viloma imagine the exhale carrying away the voice of the inner critic. Visualize it getting further and further away with each exhale so that you can barely hear it. Repeat the new thought pattern or affirmation five or more times (ideally looking in your own eyes reflected in the mirror).

Interested in working through my entire Inner Critic Process virtually or in person?!… Click here and let’s connect!

Sonya teaches Vigorous Vinyasa on Mondays, 9:45-10:45am, at the Takiff Center. To try Sonya’s class, you can use a Reach Yoga membership or classes on file, or pay the Park District at their front desk. View class schedule

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