By Faye Martins
One of the greatest aspects of yogic science is the practice of self-observation without judgment. On the surface this phrase seems self-explanatory. Like most aspects of yoga training there is more to it than meets the eye.
Everyone has an inner critic. This critic is the voice in our heads, which frequently makes observations about the worst aspects of our lives and personalities. This voice harangues us during our failures, and diminishes our triumphs.
While most people can tune this voice out to a degree, this is not always necessarily the best course to take. If we can transform this inner voice into a constructive or positive resource, and it can be useful in guiding us along the road to a happier existence.
Yogic philosophy teaches us that all things are possible through reason. Even taming the inner critic that dwells with in us all is possible with discipline. The first step toward self-observation without judgment is that of understanding the critical voice within.
Fear is the major cause of negativity. When we are unsure we lash out blindly. So too our inner critic represents our consciousness making an attempt to deal with some aspect of our life that is causing us fear and anxiety.
Apply yogic methodology to the voice of your inner critic. Confront the fear in its voice with logic. Rather than letting a troubling thought cause you to panic, breathe. Just as we use yoga to deal with external problems, yoga can handle internal troubles as well.
We all want to improve. Often we start listening to the voice of our inner critic because we know that negative motivation can be successful in the short term. Even while it damages our spirit, harsh criticism can produce some results.
How much better would it be though if that inner voice simply reported information to us in an accurate and unbiased way? Imagine a voice that encourages and never harangues. The potential benefits that this kind of guide could provide are obvious.
Yoga is a system of self-improvement both on the exterior of the body as well and within the mind. In the modern age, we often leave behind the internal benefits of yoga in an obsession with surface level details and physical appearance. This is not to say that benefiting the exterior does not help the interior; but with slightly more emphasis on the spirit, the results can be even more remarkable.