The Beauty of Boundaries

“Clear Boundaries – No Limits” -Gopala Aiyar Sundaramoorthy

Boundaries are different from limits. Boundaries delineate, cultivate, and protect. Limits obstruct, denying possibility or real growth. In my yoga class I tell often tell my students this: Imagine your body as a river. Without riverbanks the water would have no direction or force. The riverbanks create directionality, purpose, here-to-thereness. The riverbanks are parameters, just as any particular yoga pose or asana is a specific set of parameters. When you move into an asana, you pour your body into a specific configuration that creates an effect. If it is a backbend or an arm balance the effect is often agitating and exhilarating, channeling the energy up and out. If the asana is a deep hip-opener, the effect is generally grounding, calming – the waters settle. We apply alignment principles in order to best serve the body’s energy flow – expanding and narrowing the riverbanks according to the form of the asana and the individual needs of our bodies.

Boundaries allow the asana practice to deepen in a clear way. For example, there is a basic form for down dog, but within that form you can personalize it, bringing your body’s particularities and your own associations to it. Limits would deny the expansive potential of down dog, dictating, “only do it exactly like this.” Once you shape your body into an asana, you choose your boundaries. Let them be strong but malleable, like the banks of a river.

Now, invite this concept into your mind. Invite it into your heart. Apply it to any particular situation or relationship. And then ask yourself:

What kind of boundaries do I need here?

Where have I created limits instead of boundaries?

How can I be as wildly creative as possible within the boundaries that I’ve chosen?

This is doing the yoga.

Susanna Harwood Rubin

Author Susanna Harwood Rubin

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