As some of you know, I have a personal practice of Bikram (hot) Yoga. Classes are 90 minutes long and consist of 26 poses which are done in rooms about 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. For me, Bikram Yoga is an incredible physical and mental work out. There is nothing quite like Bikram to both bring out, and quiet, my inner critic….
The other day in class I wasn’t feeling my usual strong self. In addition, according to my inner critic the teacher was speaking too much, too fast, and was holding us in the poses longer than usual…none of this fun for me on a “good” day. I noticed myself getting really frustrated– my mind was racing, my heart was beating out of my chest and it was getting harder and harder to breath and focus.
Half way through the class I realized I would have to sit the rest of the class out if I didn’t adjust my attitude and tame my inner critic. Since I didn’t want to “sit out”, I said to myself, “Stephanie, the slower you go, the better you will do”. I had no choice but to slow everything down….slow my mind, slow my heart, slow my breath. I suddenly accepted the fact that no matter how the teacher was being, I had a choice of how I was going to be. I decided I didn’t have to let the teacher’s experience affect my own experience. And guess what? I made it through the class just fine.
At the end of class while resting in meditation I realized how this notion of slowing down and doing better is so relevant for my life outside the yoga studio when that inner critic makes an appearance. How so? Outside the yoga studio, in the external world, whatever is going on does not have to take control of my internal world, or what is happening inside of me. In one moment, I can make the choice to notice the critic, slow down, breath and choose to be better and do better. Pretty powerful.