Inner Reflections
July 26, 2021

The Inner Voice Of Doubt

By Christine

Have you noticed a nagging voice in your head?  That nagging voice of doubt saying, “I can’t do this”, “What will they think?” or “I am not enough”?

I’ve noticed that voice too and it has tortured me on quite a few occasions.  Yet there were times that I was not aware of that voice…but I felt heaviness, anxiety, or tightness in my throat and chest.  And when I stopped long enough to ask myself…what am I thinking right now?  I would realize that the thoughts I was having directly affected the feelings I experienced in my body.

When we walk through life unconsciously, we don’t recognize how much the thoughts we are having, influence how we feel, which affect our actions and create our results.  The words we speak to ourselves are powerful – and we are the only ones who can hear them.

Yoga practice can be a mirror and insight into our thoughts, reactions, and patterns. How do we respond on our mats when things are fluid, easy – when we are nailing the poses and in the flow? We might like that a lot and may even become attached to it!

What happens when you are losing your balance, falling all over yourself, having difficulty with a pose, or doing something tricky or new?  It is easy to become attached to the joy and security of when everything is going well and want to avoid or run away from things when they are not going well. Our yoga practice can point out our tendencies – do you get upset with yourself when something is new, unforeseen, challenging?  Are you able to laugh at yourself and be compassionate?

It is easy to become locked in repeating patterns over days, weeks, and years. Over time, our reactions create mind loops, and they create our life story.  In Indian philosophy, this repeating pattern is called a samskara. Samskaras are the repeated habits, patterns, or psychological imprints which create ingrained patterns in our lives.  The practice of yoga helps us to recognize, observe and even change these long-held patterns.  Samskaras are also thought to be the basis for karma theory in Indian philosophy.

As you develop an awareness of your thoughts, developing the ability to observe is key to transforming habits and behaviors.  I’m always reminded of the quote by Victor Frankl that says

“Between a stimulus and response is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”. 

Can you simply observe thought, emotion, desire, and impulse without reacting? Can you stop long enough to create space to choose your response?  The ability to observe thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they arise is key to choosing your reaction.

So how do we gain this ability to be aware and to observe?  How do we change the narrative in our minds? Have you ever caught yourself ruminating about something repeatedly?  Here are a few practices to guide you:

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