We made it. One car loaded down with two adults, a 12 week old baby, a wet labradoodle (who escaped during the road trip and plunged herself into a river), and 10 yoga swag bags arrived in Bloomville, New York for the weekend. It was Yoga Dear’s 2nd retreat of 2017, and I was feeling all the feels - excitement to bring everyone together in this setting, nervousness about baby’s first road trip, on my toesabout the yoga and the food and the accommodations coming together. Pretty normal stuff, right? Except one thought popped in that I wasn’t expecting...
You see, I was sitting among our group and preparing us all for an opening meditation. We closed our meditation and started warming our bodies for an energetic practice. I had a giddy thought of, Oh my gosh, I’m so lucky to get to do this and then in the very next moment, But, who do you think you are to teach this? Ugh, Miss Inner Critic where the heck did you come from?
It’s true. I do feel lucky. And, while I shared on Instagram recently that this weekend challenged me as a new working mama in profound ways, I know that I am extremely blessed to share yoga nearly every day, write about the practice, and connect with people who are ever so curious about yoga’s teachings. But, I totally have this nagging voice that appears seemingly from nowhere from time to time. And, why?? I feel like I’m working to gain knowledge all the time and so enjoy it, so why do those thoughts still pop up? And, how interesting that this voice makes an appearance during a yoga retreat where we are exploring self limiting beliefs, doubts, and fears? Huh...interesting indeed.
The truth is, we all have an inner critic. Right? It’s the voice that’s whispering that you don’t have enough time to start something new. The one who says that even with all of your credentials and education, you’re not enough. The one that says you’ll look silly if you try, or it’s too late in your life to give that [adventure, new job, relationship, fill in the blank] a go.
But, just because our inner critics are alive and well, that doesn't mean they're right. I've done some reading on this topic and our inner critic is usually a reflection of our ego. It's a reflection of those self limiting beliefs and fears. It's there to keep us safe. To protect us from pain, failure, looking silly. That's its purpose. Our practice of yoga can teach us to be aware of this voice, to acknowledge it and then to move past it.
Through yoga, we learn to examine our thoughts, fears, beliefs, emotions and sit with them, but we also learn that we are not our emotions or the ugly thoughts in our head. We can choose to move beyond them. We learn to not dull our own shine. Because, you and me, we’re pretty sparkly and special beings for certain. So, use your asana practice as a metaphor for this. You could say, I’ll never be able to do crow pose (limiting belief) because I’ll definitely fall on my face (fear). Or, you could say, You know what I’m going to try this because it looks fun and my body is amazing and if I don’t fly....well at least I’ll know I have the courage to try again tomorrow. I like the latter option, don’t you?
After having those thoughts this weekend, I went to my husband and shared with him what came up. He listened. He understood. He reminded me, too, that when we say our fears or doubts out loud, they become so much smaller, too. What are your self-limiting beliefs and why? How have you worked through them or are you currently trying to? Tell me what you think. You’re not the only one who believes you need more of something (clothes, finances, praise, knowledge) to live the life of your dreams. But, guess what? You don’t.