Tuesday evening I watched my son receive his green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Several times a week I sit in the dojang waiting on his class to end. I look around and see the tenets of Tae Kwon Do on the wall. As a yoga practitioner, it hit me that his tenants are very similar to what Patanjali spoke of in the Yoga Sutras. This is a book of attitudes and behaviors, if we embody will lead to a more purposeful life. The Sutras are a list of to-dos and restraints that we can align our actions towards.
Lately, I have been contemplating judgement. This would be addressed in the TKD tenet of courtesy and in yoga as ahimsa or non-violence. How we judge others is often a reflection of how we judge ourselves. If we are self-critical, we have a near constant stream of internal dialog running. For me, I started contemplating judgement because everything I do in my profession is of service– as a mother, a doula, a yogi, and an entrepreneur. How can I truly serve people if I am coming from a place of judgement?
I took a video of my son doing his form for his belt test, when I went back and watched it I can see that he is very aware of his body, looking at his feet and his arms to make sure his form was in proper alignment as he was supposed to be in a place of stillness and strength. Feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, fear or worry about the past and future are often the culprits of any sort of judgement. This can cause us to become our own worst bully. The things we think are energy, and judgement creates an energy of criticism.
Becoming aware of our thoughts is the first way to begin to make a change. Thoughts have a lot of power. They are in fact, things. If we are intensely thinking negative, we can quickly downward spiral because thoughts become words, words become behaviors, behaviors become habits and our habits then become our values. Svadhyaya in yoga is self-study or observation. When we become aware of how we think, how much energy we give to certain thoughts, whether constructive or destructive we can begin to make a change. The opposite of judgement is love and compassion, so when a thought of judgement of self or others come up, quickly switch to a loving thought.
For me, the place I see my self-judgement the most is when I sit to meditate, which mimics what I see in Keenan’s forms class. I will sit and bring my focus on my breath, and that is where the judgement begins and my breath will constrict and become shallow. I judge how I breathe! I tell myself I will never be able to do it right! Breathe?!? This is something I have been doing naturally, each and every day since the moment I was born. Pretty ridiculous to judge and stop myself from breathing, lol. Being gently aware of this, I can begin to release the judgement and criticism. Love myself one breath at a time!