Awareness: Inner Critic Series | 1 hour Intermediate Hatha Yoga Class | Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 277

by Melissa West on May 1, 2015

Post image for Awareness: Inner Critic Series | 1 hour Intermediate Hatha Yoga Class | Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 277


Namaste-Yoga-Episode-277If you haven’t practiced Namaste Yoga 276, be sure to go back and practice that class, it is important to carry the attitude of friendliness and loving kindness with us this week.

In today’s class we are going to bring awareness to the running commentary in our voices that has become so natural that we assume that it is us and that it is speaking the truth. The idea is not to try to get rid of our inner critic but to embrace and become aware of its presence. The more you try to get rid of your inner critic, the stronger it becomes. The more you bring awareness to your inner critic, the more you will be able to detach from it.

Some of the inner critic’s favourite statements are:

  • You are unattractive
  • Nobody likes you.
  • You are selfish and mean.
  • You are basically flawed.
  • You’re too fat.
  • You’re too old.
  • You look ridiculous.
  • You have no talent.
  • You shouldn’t have said that.
  • Don’t do that.
  • You’re boring.
  • If you don’t work twice as hard as everybody else, you’ll never make it.
  • You’re an impostor.

Bring awareness not only to the words that your inner critic speaks, but also the energy behind them. Notice that your inner critic speaks in absolute truths. Your inner critic speaks as though a crime has been committed, its statements are judgmental and it makes pronouncements. Your inner critic speaks in shoulds and it loves to point out your mistakes. Through awareness we can start to hear the voice of the inner critic.

Hal and Sidra Stone point out four sub archetypes to the inner critic: The Pleaser, The Rule Maker, The Pusher, and The Perfectionist. The pleaser will put be nice to another person, accommodate the wishes of others and put their needs before their own.

The Rule maker makes up a list of rules about what kind of person we should be and what kind of characteristics are acceptable. Your critic’s job is to make sure you live up to the standards set by your rule maker. By the way, that standard is impossible for even any superhuman to achieve. Even if we have done a great job, our inner critic will find flaws in our inner attitude or some aspect of our performance.

The Pusher and the inner critic are teammates. The Pusher will push you to do more, achieve more, move forward and get ahead in the world. You can always do it faster and better. By the way, the bar is always being raised by the pusher.

Your perfectionist wants you to look perfect, act perfect and be perfect in all that you do. With the perfectionist, there is no such thing as priorities, everything is equally important.

As we bring more awareness to our inner critic we learn that our inner critic is a bit like a mirror that shows us a distorted picture of ourselves. What is good and beautiful about ourselves becomes distorted beyond recognition in this mirror.

Hal and Sidra Stone have the best advice for mindfully becoming aware of your inner critic. They suggest you tune into radio station KRAZY so that you begin to hear what your critic is saying to you. This is the first step to recognizing your inner critics voice and detaching from it.

This is exactly what happened to one of our members this week. Carrie one of our members and a yoga teacher wrote about her insight of her inner critic after last week’s class:

I received an email from my Gym Class Director that she was cancelling 3 or 4 of my yoga classes for the summer because of low attendance. I knew she was looking at class attendance in preparation for the May schedule, and I actually had been hoping that she would cancel 2 of my am classes so I could help my Dad more with his mowing. Oddly, when I got the email, my inner critic jumped up and said, “You must not be a good teacher if you can’t get good attendance.” WOW! That reaction was not expected! So the rest of the afternoon, I was sad and a bit depressed.

This is precisely how our inner critic operates. Its pronouncements have very little to do with objective reality. In our example, Carrie was actually looking forward to helping her Dad with mowing, but her inner critic used the opportunity to make her feel inadequate as a yoga teacher.

Begin to tune into radio station KRAZY and notice what channel Inner Critic is saying. We can come to recognize that our inner critic is a critical voice, nothing more, nothing less. Awareness brings perspective. What DJ is on today? Is it the Inner Pleaser? The Pusher? The Perfectionist? or The Rule Maker? Set your intention to become aware and begin to notice the role of your inner critic to criticize. As you listen to these teachings, you are already detaching from your inner critic through your awareness. Your capacity for awareness is decisively greater than the original power of your inner critic.

Yoga Postures/Asanas: windshield wiper legs, knee down twist or supta matsyendrasana, keyhole stretch or figure four stretch, lunge pose or anjaneyasana, Ajna Chakra Mudra, Tadasana/Mountain Pose, Warrior Two or Virabhadrasana Two, Standing Backbend or Anuvittasana, Standing Forward Fold or Paschimottanasana, Upright Pigeon or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Cow’s Face Twist or Gomukhasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose

Yoga Props: yoga blocks, meditation cushion or chair


  • Turn Stress into Bliss: The Proven 8-Week Program for Health, Relaxation, Stress Relief by Michael Lee
  • Embracing Your Inner Critic: Turning Self-Criticism into a Creative Asset by Hal and Sidra Stone Ph.D.

You can show your appreciation for a series of classes to give you the tools to be with your inner critic with a donation or you can like, subscribe or leave a comment.

Today’s question to answer in the comments is: What was it like to tune into Radio station KRAZY today?

Leave it in the comments below. I love hearing from you and responding to your comments. Plus we can all learn from each other when you take the time to leave your comments.

If you’ve resonated with any of these teachings or examples or if you want to have more guidance and continue with complementary practices for your inner critic this week, we have value added content on our membership site to support you in protecting your and I invite you to become a part of our membership community.

Warrior’s Heart class is a great class to bring the courage of the warrior with you on your journey:

Who is Arjuna?

Arjuna is the main character from the Bhagavad Gita and one of our members pointed out to me how he is the archetypal inner critic this week! 🙂

We’d love for you to join our Membership Site where we have

  • value added content
  • community of like-minded people coming together from all around the world
  • receive ongoing support in deepening your yoga practice

Join our Membership Site

Sending you much love from beautiful British Columbia
May you experience the strength of our mountains
May you be as rooted as the trees in our forest
May your joy be as deep as our Pacific Ocean

Yoga with Melissa 277 Photos of Yoga Poses


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