What Does Yoga Have to Do with the Inner Critic?

On Tuesday, July 2nd, we practiced some yoga for the Inner Critic.

tied upYoga for the Inner Critic?  How on Earth does yoga have anything to do with that?

Well, yoga is all about developing presence; a state in which one is totally present, in the “now.”  As a matter of fact, the second line of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is often translated as “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of consciousness,’ or the quieting of all that busy self-talk. One of my teachers, Nischala Joy Devi, says it a little differently:  “Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart,” where all is guided by and held in love.  Regardless of the translation you choose, both describe a state of presence.

When the Inner Critic is in control, consciousness is NOT united in the heart.  An interior battle ensues.  Sometimes the Inner Critic succeeds in diminishing some creative force in us, other times the Inner Critic is beaten down, silenced, without ever having been heard.  Neither result is yoga.  Yoga seeks to unite all the parts we embody, to integrate.

Ann Weiser Cornell in The Radical Acceptance of Everything, says it like this:
Presence Is the Opposite of Criticizing
The environment in which an inner criticizing process can begin to transform is Presence. “Presence” is what Barbara McGavin and I call the ability or state of being with any inner experience, with interested curiosity and without judgment. Presence is in many ways the opposite of the inner criticizing process. In Presence, we are able to turn toward whatever we feel, whatever is going on in us, with gentleness, with trust in its underlying life-forward direction. In Presence, we are not trying to change what we find, but only to hear it, so that it can find its own change if it needs to.
So, what would constitute yoga for the Inner Critic?  In our mini-workshop, inspired by Amy Weintraub’s LifeForce Yoga (R), we used breath, imagery, intention, posture, communication with our Critics in the form of writing, drawing, and moving and yoga nidra (a special form of guided relaxation).
When using yoga to deal with the Inner Critic,the specific tools employed are not as important as is an approach that embodies awareness and compassion.

Permanent link to this article: https://yoginsight.com/what-does-yoga-have-to-do-with-the-inner-critic/