Day 11: Setting Personal Boundaries on The 30-day journey to enlightenment and well-being

Miss a day, or just joining: Table of Contents
“It's a slippery slope, Carrie. Without boundaries you never know what might happen.” -Sex and the City, Miranda
Day 11 Activities:
1) Mantra meditation
2) Minimum 30 minutes of calorie burning
3) Write down everything you eat and sketch your Balance Chart
4) Continue to remain aware of your speech patterns
5) Optional: Repeat grounding meditation
6) New: Setting boundaries

As yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and citizens of life, our boundaries with friends, family, co-workers, students, strangers, ourselves are constantly receding, expanding, evolving.

Sometimes we feel comfortable with our boundaries sometimes we do not.

Just like with happiness and anger, we are each responsible for establishing our own boundaries. And then, the harder part...communicating these boundaries to the universe (or relevant person).

In my work with yoga instructors and people who gravitate to yoga, I have seen a theme of people who are "pleasers". Sound familiar?

Those of us who want the world around us to be happy and comfortable (nothing wrong with that), can easily end up feeling taken advantage of. But remember, only you can allow yourself to feel taken advantage one can take advantage of you. How do we prevent ourselves from feeling this way?

The Yoga Sutra's first limb, Yama (principles for living), talks about satya or "truthfulness" of words and actions. We can use this idea of right truth to support ourselves with boundary setting. A few ways to think about this:

  • If we do not express ourselves when another person is behaving in a way that is detrimental to our well being - we are NOT being "truthful" with our SELF.
  • It is NOT our responsibility to speak up for every perceived inequity or wrong that we encounter - ONLY to speak up when it is a more than a mild infringement on our own boundaries. We are ONLY responsible for and can only set our own boundaries.
  • Where do we draw the line between a "nuisance" infringement on our boundaries and a "detrimental" infringement? We don't need to expend the energy on every boundary that is bumped into (remember the story about crying wolf?). Often we are better served practicing letting go of life's little annoyances. So when does it serve us best to (re)set and communicate boundaries? When the amount of energy that we expend on the boundary we are not maintaining is causing stress.
HOW do we set boundaries while being truthful to ourselves and practicing ahimsa (non-harming)?

Again, I'll refer you to Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life book. Not only did it give me tangible tools for communication, it significantly improved my ability to identify and articulate my limits and needs. (FYI...I know I keep recommending this book, but I have not personal interest in Rosenberg's's just a brilliant, practical piece of work)

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Bob W. said...

Good advice, Deborah.

Bob W.

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