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How Yoga Teaches Non-Judgement-by Aida Bielkus

Picture this: You are on your yoga mat in Warrior II and you look over to the mat next to yours, seeing that student you check out their posture, and almost subconsciously, you hear a voice judging that person next to you. That voice is your internal one. That voice is judgmental. The judgment could be negative, “wow, that man has a major beer belly!” Or even more complicated in being positive toward someone else and negative toward yourself, “gosh, she is so good at this and I am horrible at it!”  When you are in that moment of judgment not only are you judging, but more importantly you are not practicing yoga. Yoga and judgment are like oil and water – they never mix.  Judgment and yoga are mutually exclusive; you cannot truly be practicing yoga and judging people.
Simply standing in a posture does not equal full engagement.
Noticing thoughts is the key.  In yoga we begin to notice our thoughts.  Thoughts become words, words become behaviors, behaviors become habits and habits become values.  In yoga we choose to value non-judgment.  The first tenant of yoga is to do no harm. Passing judgment is harmful because that energy of criticism lives in you.  It affects you.  When you judge someone it defines you not the other person.  If you feel you can easily comment on others, chances are you are also well versed in judging yourself. Feelings of insecurity and unworthiness create the biggest bullies and the saddest souls.
In yoga we come into the present moment by yoking movement with conscious breath.  We consciously observe and release feelings and fears of the past and future.  The internal voice quiets and only is replaced with an inner guru.  In this space you are able to observe yourself, neutrally acknowledge and accept what is, thereby coming into balance.  In the silence of the present moment we find a deep appreciation for all that is. Our heart smiles from within.  Within this joy there is no room for judgment. The best thing? This practice of non-judgment can be taken on and off your yoga mat. It is free. It is simple. It is necessary.

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