Dear Beautiful Yogi,
Boundaries are important and help us navigate daily life and all of our relationships. I don’t know about you, but I sure didn’t get much positive modeling on healthy boundaries when I was growing up. Partially due to my family dynamics and partially do to my personality, I have always had to work on creating good boundaries in adulthood. It’s never been something that has come naturally to me.
I used to genuinely think everyone had good intentions. I was always very open with everyone based on this assumption. While it’s a wonderful and positive assumption to have, the truth is not everyone does have good intentions. This is where strong boundaries come in.
As recently as a couple of years ago, I discovered that someone who I thought was a good friend, was lying, cheating, talking shit and partaking in destructive behaviors that put people in harm’s way. I felt punched in the gut. My first instinct was to talk to this person, let them know how I felt and seek some kind of happy ending or resolution to the friendship. The yogi in me thought that was the highest approach and my responsibility.
Thanks to my yoga practice I was able to pause, feel the emotions associated but not react. After a lot of discernment, I realized seeking out an open and honest communication was not the right thing to do. What?? How can that be? Isn’t that always the right thing to do? Well, no it isn’t. Not if the person clearly has no ability to have an open and honest conversation in return. Trying to do so would be a complete waste of time and energy. That is when I understood that a strong boundary was in order, immediately. There was no need to have a conversation but instead cut ties and move on. It was not my responsibility to heal something I hadn’t broken. Bam.
If I was wrong and this person was capable of an open and honest conversation and valued the friendship the way I did, then she would naturally reach out and initiate such a connection. Guess what happened? Never heard from her again.
Looking at this through the lens of yoga, it comes down to protecting your energy. There is a term from the yoga sutras called Brahmacharya. It is one of the 5 yamas (social ethics). Many translate it to sexual celibacy but it is more far reaching than that (celibacy is also a way to conserve energy). Brahmacharya is conserving one’s energy in all aspects of life. Creating healthy boundaries is a really effective way to do so.
Rules I like to use for remembering to hold good boundaries:
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Especially for women who seem to be culturally indoctrinated to say yes to every request. In fact, say no more than you say yes in order to conserve energy.
- Put yourself first. I mean it. You first others next.
- Don’t feel you have to answer anyone right away, be it in person, via email or text. “I’ll get back to you on that” always works.
- Time is one of your most valuable commodities. Be selective about who you give it to.
- You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices. You are the captain of your ship. Period.
- Check in with your gut, especially when making big decisions. If someone feels pushy, then they are. Set a clear boundary with them immediately.
- Behavior speaks louder than words….Let that sink in a minute. It’s not what people say, it’s what they do…
- No one ever has the right to touch you without your permission. Another reminder women cannot hear enough. You don’t have to be “nice” either.
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t realize how much my yoga practice has helped me be a better and more accountable person. That to me is the mark of a truly effective practice: are we getting better at life? Are we learning and growing versus being stuck and living life on repeat? Are we in charge of ourselves or are our old habits driving unhappy choices. Good boundaries equal good energy levels. Good energy levels equal vibrant, confident and healthy human beings!!
My Seasonal Mentorship Program is starting now in kapha season. How we practice, what we eat, the daily habits and choices we make, ideally should ebb and flow with the seasons. The little everyday things have a big effect on us, they add up. Modern life may appear to overrule nature, but it honestly doesn’t. Mother nature is powerful and we are a part of her and she a part of us. Aligning with the seasons in everything we do helps us to live more positive, healthy, and vibrant lives.
Are you ready to practice yoga in a comprehensive way? Are you ready to extend the feel-good energy you get from yoga class well beyond the savasana high? If you are, then set up a call with me to find out how. I can explain the program and how the 4 pillars of yoga can help: body, breath, mind and diet.
My schedule is here, I would love to talk with you.
Love & Yoga,