I drag myself to a yoga class I hadn’t tried before—Hatha Yoga. My bar was pretty low. As long as the room was not unnaturally heated like in the case of those rampant hot yoga (ludicrous term if you ask me) studios that mademe faint once, and could make me stretch a tad, I would be satisfied, happy even. I walk in a couple of minutes late—standard operating procedure—and notice people had assumed their poses, their eyes closed, their folded hands up to their chest. I quickly do the needful so as not to disrupt the energy in the room.
The instructor—a middle-aged Caucasian woman with cat eye glasses—nods and acknowledges my presence. I beam as I try to settle in. “And now, we will chant the universal sound.” She initiates the ‘Om’ sound and the class joins in tandem. I partake in the revelry, getting a good feeling about this already. When the tail end of the Om is still reverberating through my body, I hear something slightly jarring and unexpected. “Take a deep breath, and acknowledge your inner critic.” My ears register this as a disturbance, as if someone had accidentally turned on the radio. Not the case, as I’d soon find out. “Reflect on your long-standing relationship with your inner critic,” she furthers her agenda. “Dig deep into those dark recesses of your mind and think about why your inner critic is hard to please." What on earth is she talking about! "Figure out ways in which you can make peace with the inner critic.”
Peace, ironically, has long escaped my aggravated mind. I open my eyes and I am ready to give her a sermon.
Listen lady, I feel the words coming out of my mouth. Only, they are silent. Perhaps the woman doesn’t have much insight into the quintessential gujju inner critic.
My inner critic has no desire to take itself seriously. My inner critic is incorrigibly lazy. My inner critic is perpetually on airplane mode; if she accidentally wakes up on a bright sunny day, she gorges on two cups of spiced tea and multigrain crackers goes back to slumber heaven. My inner critic isn’t self-taught; she hasn’t put herself through hours of psychoanalysis and crap phony shrinks talk about and made notes so she could direct attacks at me. My inner critic is my sidekick. She’s happy to be alive and kicking within me and shall never violate those golden rules of camaraderie. My inner critic just lets me be, okay lady? I triumphantly finish the mute speech and realize she’s still going on with top-notch strategies on how to battle that inner critic. I sigh and slip into child pose thinking about simpler days when yoga was just yoga.