Yogic Boundaries

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There are no phones allowed in the yoga studios where I teach. It is the one chance a day to completely disconnect. To be fully present in the mind and the body. To have no dinging text messages or Facebook messenger requests to distract us.

And yet, so many students struggle with it. For some, being asked to put away their phone is a massive imposition, a request that is met with anger, disdain, and sometimes downright rude behavior.

I get it. I am a phone addict, too. But, as with everything else, it’s much bigger than it seems. The issue is never simply about one thing. It’s not about phones. Or people who are late to class. Or people who bring giant bags and coats and plop them down in the center of the studio.

It’s about boundaries. Those big, beautiful lines in the sand that say what we will and will not allow into our lives.

Our boundaries define us and yet so few women allow themselves to embrace them. We say yes to that 10 hour PTA project, yes to that ride home we don’t want to give, yes to that man we don’t want to kiss, or yes to that person we don’t want to hang out with. We never stop to allow ourselves to consider what is worth our time and what isn’t because we are too afraid of being “bitchy.” Or “mean.” Or the kind of woman who always says no.

And so we lose.

Saying no is our superpower. We have the right to honor ourselves by only engaging in activities that bring us joy or fulfillment. We should be able to decide for ourselves what gives our lives meaning and seek that outside of other’s judgements.

I am a traveler. Traveling brings me enormous joy. I also have three kids. If I let the number of “who takes care of your kids” while you are gone stop me or the “must be nice” passive aggressive comments from other moms stop me, I’d limit myself from doing one of the things that gives my life the most meaning. So I set a boundary between myself and the kind of people who make comments like this. That invisible wall allows me to pursue the activities that bring me the most pleasure without needing other people’s approval.

No one else should have the power to tell you what is or isn’t allowed in your yoga class, in your house, in your body, in your life. We get one chance at this whole life thing. Don’t waste it by failing to stand up for the things that matter to you. In the end, that’s all we’ve got.

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