10. Try to do it perfectly
9. Compare yourself to everyone else in class
8. Put it on your to-do list as yet another thing to get through or feel bad about not getting to
7. Beat yourself up over not getting the full expression of the pose yet because “you should’ve gotten it already.”
6. Push yourself to the point of pain
5. Berate yourself for not getting as far in a pose as you did the other day
4. Insist that your practice be hardcore every time
3. Crank your neck to move through the poses
2. Decide that if you can’t practice for at least an hour than it’s not worth it.
1. Don’t breathe
Now pretend you were watching a small child doing yoga. Would you be criticizing how they did each pose? Would you berate them anytime they fell down from a balancing pose? Probably not.
What if you did criticize this child every time they didn’t get a pose right? Do you think that child would ever want to do yoga?
The same is true for adults. Why on earth would we be motivated to do something that we spend the whole time criticizing ourselves when we’re doing it?
So try this advanced move out the next time you’re on your mat. When you notice your self-criticism coming up, can you recognize it? Congratulate yourself–you caught yourself moving into your pattern of self-judgement. Then try saying to yourself what you would say to that child: “Great job!” “You are trying so hard.” “Good for you for doing something challenging.” Note: this cannot be followed by sarcastic comments to yourself or it won’t work. You may feel ridiculous at first. But when you can approach the practice with compassion, it is more likely to fuel your action of rolling out your mat and practicing.
For more suggestions, check out Top 10 Ways to Get Yourself Back On the Yoga Mat.