We all react to the external cues we receive. When someone compliments us we feel good, and when we are criticized by others (or ourselves) we feel deflated. A worthy goal is to feel steady within ourselves and less vulnerable to the messages of the external world and our own minds. I call this staying the course because it allows us to feel more balanced and stable with our moods.
Years ago I taught Management Seminars in large companies. If someone in the audience nodded with agreement and enthusiasm about what I was saying, I felt energized. On the other hand, if I noticed someone falling asleep or looking as if they would rather be doing anything other than listening to me, I would get distracted and off course. Eventually I learned to only focus on people in the audience who gave me positive feedback, so that I could stay enthusiastic.
When I look back on that experience, I realize that the turmoil was all in my own mind (our minds are crueler than our worst external critics), because I didn’t feel confident about my ability to present at these seminars. So I depended upon external reinforcement from the audience to help me perform. Sometimes it’s wise to pay attention to external cues, but frequently all it does it cause us to doubt ourselves. An internal sense of being okay keeps us from being held hostage by the critic in our minds.
As you practice Yoga today, notice the comments your mind makes about how you do the poses, and see if you can come back to your breath and the sensations in your body and let the thoughts go. Our mind thinks thousands of thoughts a day. They aren’t all worthy of our attention.