Posted in inspiration

Voice in my head – the Gremlins!

I have been practicing Iyengar yoga for the past few years and I wanted to write about my experiences in doing the asana Ado mukha Vrikshaasana, or full arm balance (upside down on the palms)

When I started practicing yoga, I was a newbie. So, asanas like the full arm balance were attempted only after 3 years. Just the fact of being upside down brought a lot of fear in the mind. When I actually started doing it, my yoga instructor would hoist me up near the wall and hold on to my legs, while I felt my weight on the shoulders, wrist and elbow. I would be in the pose for a few seconds and my instructor would help me back on to safe ground and I would be relieved 🙂

As the next step, I would still need to be hoisted up, but had gained enough strength and confidence that I could be in the pose without somebody holding my legs. And then I learnt to come out of the pose without help. So, all was going well, isn’t it?

As a couple of years went by, my teacher used to encourage me to jump into the pose. I would attempt, half heartedly, once in a while and felt like my legs were as heavy as lead. And one day about a month back, I felt like all my preparation over the years coming towards something. I could actually feel it in my bones that I would do something different that day. I attempted to go up and Voila, I was actually on my hands upside down. I let out a cry of triumph – YES. It was one magical day for me, I was ecstatic but didn’t attempt it again that day as I didn’t want to let go of the sweet taste of success. What followed actually stumped me.

When I went back home and thought about it, I couldn’t figure out how exactly I went up and then the voice in my head started talking. The voice said – “If you don’t know how you did it, how are you going to repeat it” and this conversation happened in a lot of different forms, sometimes loud and sometimes sneaking in quietly. As a result, I didn’t attempt it in the next few classes.

This mental chatter has been raging in my head ever since. What I am surprised about is, there wasn’t as much noise when I couldn’t do the asana. Now, each time I attempt it, there is this thought – WILL I BE ABLE TO DO IT, WILL I FAIL, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO ATTEMPT IT BEFORE I SUCCEED. Phew. I use the word chatter repeatedly because it is just that – annoying, loud, distracting.

When I step back and think about it, this has become complicated because of this voice in my head. I am left wondering, how often do we complicate things because of our thoughts and doubts. We create more problems than necessary because of our thoughts and a lot of times, these are imagined rather than real.

In recent days, inspite of the doubting voice in my head, I have been trying the asana and my success rate is slowly improving. Would I do better without the chatter, YES. So, I am now trying to recognize when it happens and step out of it – by ignoring the voice and using it to my advantage, using it to encourage me.

What situations cause mental chatter for you and what do you do in the situation?


I am a Montessori teacher and a mother of 2. I have also been practicing yoga for the past 5 years.

4 thoughts on “Voice in my head – the Gremlins!

  1. Very well said Vidya … Mental chatter happens to me sometimes when somebody entrusts me with a work that I have never done before and completely unrelated to my expertise.. I feel will I be able to keep the persons faith …. but like you suggested .. I follow the same …If the voice gets too loud , I take a step back and mostly go out for a walk in fresh air … and that seems to help


  2. I have found that the only way is trust…if you have done it once, you will do it again and the chatter can chatter away as much as it wants but it cannot take away the fact that you have done it.


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