On Sunday October 6th, I had the pleasure of teaching at a Philadelphia Area all-day yoga festival called Namas Day. It was such an exciting day of all different styles of yoga and workshops coming together and it brought a really great group of people together to practice. I taught a workshop on The Alchemy of Fire: Unlocking Your Inner Potential. Sounds great, right?
When I got in my car after teaching, I felt a familiar and unpleasant presence arising: my INNER CRITIC. During the drive home and continuing into the evening, there she was in full force, tearing me to pieces. My rational mind was fighting that I did an excellent job leading the practice I outlined, giving people an experience of something new in their minds and bodies. I also acknowledged that the short lecture portion of the workshop could’ve been a little smoother, as I was pretty nervous during that part.
Even louder and more vicious was Miss Inner Critic, taking everything from my rational mind and chewing it up and spitting it back out in torrents of self-hatred. Oh she was ruthless in pulling out all the stops. She even became quite overdramatic, going to the lengths of statements like: “You shouldn’t even be a yoga teacher.” “What are you doing with your life?” It was like a tornado of self-torture in my mind. I tried to shut her up, but that just made her more ferocious. I felt the urge to back down, to run away and quit.
Then, like clouds parting in an internal storm, a strong and clear voice from deep within (welcome INNER TEACHER!) said, “ NO. Be a buffalo. Stand in the face of this storm that the inner critic is creating, and you’ll learn from it. You have the tools to turn this around.” I felt a wave of relief and strength wash over my heart.
Throughout the evening, whenever inner critic came to visit, I’d stop whatever I was doing and become still and notice how my body felt. I would bring my attention to the fire in my belly and the light in my heart and remind myself that I can face this aspect of myself that has been getting in my way for way too many years.
I realized that every moment I stay present with the inner critic, every moment I listen without reacting and stay in the sensations, is a moment that will remind me that I am bigger than that part of myself. The more I welcome her instead of cringing when she’s around or letting her beat me up, is a moment where I DISARM her. I’ve spent too long meeting her with failed fists only to then hide or run from her.
So hear me now, Miss Inner Critic, I’m not going to hide from you, I’m not going to let you win. I have assembled tools and techniques to incinerate you ...I will go searching for you in my inner world, find out what you're clinging onto, and burn that seed. My inner fire will burn brighter than your boring, old, overused monologue!
What does your Inner Critic say to you and how can YOU tell it to get out of town ?
Last year at this time I started a "Do What Scares Me" monthly project. I only made it two months and I learned a lot so I want to pick up again from where I left off. I'm still pondering what this month will be so stay tuned! In the meantime, here's a blast from the past post from my SCARY venture last year:)
September 21, 2012
At some point in the past few weeks I decided that it's time for me to do things that scare me, at least once a month! I want to be more fearless in all aspects of life! As with anything, it takes practice, so what better way than to choose things that scare me or make me nervous, AND THEN DO THEM. Actually follow through. I did just that tonight, and let me tell you what, I feel amazing. *my legs may not feel so amazing in the morning, but it's a small price to pay*
Tonight I attended my first West African Dance class. Now you may scoff at this and say, "oh Meg, what's so scary about that? It's just a little dancing with drums."
Let me whisper a little secret in your ear....I feel like I'm a TERRIBLE dancer. I do!
My friend and fellow yogi, Dawn, was leading the class and has been asking me to come to one for a few months now, so I decided today was the day. Face those fears of being uncoordinated, muppet-like, ungraceful, and judged by all....and dance it out Miss Yogini!
SO I DID. AND I FEEL AWESOME.
The class was at the studio that I work, Amrita Yoga in Fishtown. It's a beautiful space, it was a beautiful Friday evening, there were amazingly talented live drummers (I mean AMAZING) and of course the beautiful and inspiring Dawn at the helm, leading the way. It was all ladies at the class, and it was so nice to be in the company of other sweet souls. Dawn did an amazing job at creating this safe space for us to explore our bodies and the rhythms.
I think it's been a long time since I've had that much fun. There were times when I was totally confused as to what was going on and messed up some steps, and I didn't even care. I think there was one moment when I judged myself, and I recognized that is a part of me, and I told it that it was welcome to stay around if it wanted, but I was just going to keep giving it my all. And that voice became quiet:)
It was such an amazing experience at watching the mind do it's thing, and tapping into something that naturally moved my body and spirit. Near the end she had us all in a circle and we each had to dance a solo in the center. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Five years ago I would've dropped dead in the scenario. Like, literally, that is my worst nightmare, "what, ME, dance freestyle in front of a group?!?"
Tonight, I threw caution to the wind and I got into that circle and I moved my body, and I felt held up and supported by amazing women, and it was so freeing! I DANCED A SOLO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CIRCLE. I've never done that, not even under the influence of alcohol have I had the courage to do something like that.
I am no longer fearful of this dance thing. In fact, I can't wait until the next one! (Next week in West Chester...I'm there)
Stay tuned for next month's issue of A FEAR CONQUERED. What will the yogini do next?
More importantly......what fear will you face this month? I'd love to know your story!
Love & Light,
Real Living Yoga
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