How to stop judging yourself

Mar 01, 2023

What does it really mean to be non-judgemental both on and off the yoga mat? 

I’m always fascinated when someone asks me what they should do to get a yoga body, or when I hear people say, I can’t practice yoga. I’m not thin enough/flexible enough/strong enough/…insert hang up here. 

I feel a sense of sadness when I’m confronted by these questions and statements because there’s so much that’s being missed. Whatever happened to the sheer joy of moving, just because?

My own relationship with the inner critic

One of the main reasons I found my way onto a yoga mat was a desperate need for stress relief. During a chapter of my life, about 15 years ago, I’d been quite sick, my business was failing and I needed somewhere I could go for a reprieve from it all, even if it was just an hour a week. 

As I tried to find my way to mental clarity, and zen like bliss on the mat, I got lost somewhere between ‘why am I so rubbish at this’ and ‘will I ever NOT have belly rolls?’ 

I left the class, each time, a little more frustrated, a great deal more miserable and a heck of a lot worse than when I started. 

It took me years to become aware enough of my own patterns and my relentless self criticism to find a way to put a stop to it. Actually that’s not even the truth. I don’t think it ever stops, we just get better at managing it. 

One of my very first teachers, an incredibly patient woman who helped me work through a mountain of crazy I was clinging to at that time, taught me the value of becoming a witness to your own experience. 

Now, before you say ‘this is not for me’ I just do yoga for the nice sleep at the end, hang with me for a minute will you?

What if you stepped on your yoga mat with the intention of letting go, staying present and becoming a witness to your experience?

Become the witness of:

  • the physical sensations in your body
  • the ongoing mental chatter
  • the experience of your practice, whatever form it takes
  • feeling your feelings, without shoving them deep down, out the way or refusing to acknowledge that you’re even having a particular feeling in the first place

Imagine doing all of this, without judgement, just imagine…

When you learn to love yourself again

When I was able to let go of my own harsh (and often unfounded) judgements about myself I discovered a clarity I’d never encountered before. I began to achieve more because I was no longer censoring myself and you know the greatest benefit of releasing judgement? I started to have a good time! 

Anyone who has ever been to one of my classes or joined me online knows I love to laugh. I find it almost impossible to take myself seriously these days because good grief, I’m human and as a human I’m utterly ridiculous. 

I’ve got rolly bits, I say things that don’t always make sense (even to me), I laugh with embarrassing volume, and I’m a really ugly crier (I don’t tend to cry a lot when teaching but if I did, just letting you know it wouldn’t be pretty!)

Yes, I’m all of those things and so much more. And you know what? So are you. 

Roll out your mat and join me today, not for a yoga practice but for a yoga adventure. Together we’ll experience physical transformation and explore the inner world that complements it. 

Come to the mat with curiosity. Leave your judgement at the door, embrace the lumpy, wobbly, less than perfect, completely authentic you.

How to stop judging yourself through meditation

One of the ways I find I can keep my inner voices in check is to regularly practice meditation. There are many ways to do this, meditation is not a one size fits all deal.

One of the ways I find most beneficial, especially when you’re starting out, is to use a guided meditation.

I put together a short audio for you to follow and use daily to master your mind or listen to it when you feel you need some extra guidance and support. This meditation will help you let go of negative judgements when you listen to it regularly.

Stretching is the perfect companion to meditation as the right stretches prepare your body for sitting in stillness without discomfort. Check out why meditation and stretching are so beneficial to your wellbeing here.

There are so many ways to develop your own self awareness and tackle the negative thoughts before they even arise and that journey doesn’t have to be alone.

What tools will you use today?