The little voice in our head

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A few weeks ago, I posted this picture of Virabhadrasana III: warrior III, taken during my vacation in the Caribbean, on Facebook and Instagram with the following caption:
“Me: I like this picture!
The little voice in my head: BUT!! Have you seen the cellulite??!!
Me: yes, I know…
The little voice in my head: you CAN’T post that picture!!
Me: I’ll post it and I accept myself the way I am and this, with my cellulite!!”

I wasn’t expecting such a reaction from the people who are following me on social medias. What a joy to read your comments and positives thoughts!! I was so touched and deeply moved that I decided to write a bit more on that subject.

We all have this little voice in our head which sometimes tells us: you are not enough, you are not perfect, you need this to be better, and that to be loved, you are lacking this to succeed and also that to… (fill in the blank). The list can be extremely long!
This is a subject that is close to my heart for like many others, I’ve been a victim of the little voice in my head when I was younger: too tall, too skinny, too introvert… Today, I know much better how to detach myself from it. Although I’m sure if you ask my husband, he will tell you my insecurities without hesitating! Is it really true or is it again the little voice in my head trying to judge me? Isn’t it interesting to observe how our mind works!

But this subject is especially close to my heart for I see it, I feel it that little voice in my student’s head: I don’t have enough muscles, I need to lose weight, the others have perfect postures except for me, I’m too anxious to meditate, too busy to sit quietly, not flexible enough to do some yoga… Here as well, the list goes on. We place obstacles on our path, we bring ourself down, we judge ourself in a negative way, even before trying!

And there is also this little voice which sometimes, in lieu of making us give up before we even start, pushes us too far.
If others can take these postures then I must too, no matter what, even risking to injure myself more. I remember one of my private students telling me she suffers from arthritis in all her joints. Despite the intense pain, she was brave enough to tell me that she was pushing herself when she was taking group classes. If the other students could take these poses, then she must too. But at what cost? And why?
Let us not forget that one of the core principles upon which yoga is based is “Ahimsa” which means absence of violence. Absence of violence towards others but also towards oneself. And yet, and perhaps even more in NYC where society is very competitive, many students keep themselves in a competitive mode.
I also believe that not being able to accept that our body can’t perform the same things it used to do in the past is another fertile ground for the little voice in our head.

And that’s not all! There is also the little voice in our head which judges others. How present it is as well! By the way, I appreciated a lot that comment that someone made about my photo:

“The little voice in my head reacted exactly like yours! Oh she has some cellulite and I went: ah thank you for showing the Truth, concept so important in Yoga! Namaste and THANK YOU again!”

I love this comment full of honesty for it shows exactly how our mind works. This little voice, eagerly awaiting to jump and start its nattering. For it’s only nattering. Nattering without any depth, one that is, most of the time, influenced by society.

So my advice to stop this little voice in our head, is to first observe it, be aware of it. Then, gently, without frustration and with patience, tame it so it doesn’t control us anymore. To understand that it is simply a thought, that it doesn’t define us, that we are much more than this. And the more we observe it and tame it, and the more it becomes ludicrous and futile. The more we detach ourself from it, the more we give ourself the permission to be authentic, vulnerable and sincere.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and your incredible reactions!!!
Since we all need one another to feel supported, may we be as understanding and inspiring with our words and actions in the real world.

“Life doesn’t need to be justified or judged”  Don Miguel Ruiz

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