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the inner critic

Earlier this week I had a tiny rant over on instagram about wearing what you want to do yoga practice. Check out my "you do you" post here

I had some lovely feedback and honesty from people so thank you. Please keep doing you - whether that is tatty trackies or fancy lycra - just know that it is not a designer hegemony. You have to feel comfortable, and no-one (I repeat) NO-ONE gets to judge you for what you are wearing.

So that led me onto my next thought about SELF judging. The nasty little voice inside your head that tells you that you're stupid or fat, that you shouldn't have a voice, and you shouldn't raise your hand. It can show up in a hundred different ways. It probably took hold in your childhood. Maybe it's the voice of your Mum, or someone at school that bullied you, or even someone you considered a friend but they made you feel shit. And that voice remains in your head today, years after it first settled there, and it picks away at any confidence or self worth you felt you'd built up as an adult. 

I had the voice show up this morning. I was doing an online class and my t-shirt was really annoying me. So I took it off. And there I was in a sports bra and trackies worrying about what other people would think about my body. As if they cared while they are all just trying to get on with the class?! We were on zoom, I'm a tiny box among many others and we are all just trying to listen to the teacher and be present. No-one was looking at the screen! But the little voice in my head took one look at my stomach and shamed me. It tried to convince me that I should put the t-shirt back on. That no-one was going to take me seriously as a yogi if they actually saw my belly. That I'd get judged, rightly, and that I obviously hadn't been working hard enough or I'd look better. 

I didn't put the t-shirt back on. I continued the class and I concentrated on being in my body and not judging it. It wasn't easy. But that's the practice. Learning that I am more than the voice in my head, the vicious thoughts that like to poke the wobbly tooth of body confidence. Remembering to be proud of what my body can do. I am strong and I am healthy and I am grateful for that. 

I have to remind myself: You are more than your thoughts, more than your limiting beliefs that you've held onto since childhood, more than your doubts and fears. Yes - they can sometimes seem really loud and incredibly persistent - telling you that you can't, you shouldn't, you won't be able to - but, as I keep telling myself, I don't want to be defined by that negativity. Do you?

Yoga is, and should be, the place where we can clear out our old negativity and be present with possibility, but some days are harder than others. I'd love to know how the voice shows up for you in your life, on or off your mat, and what you do to not be defined by it. Maybe if we can all drag the little voices out into the light they might burn up and turn to dust? I don't know where I'm going with this vampire analogy but you get the idea. I'd love to hear from you. 

In the meantime - be kind to yourself and try not to let the inner critic get its way.

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