Setting A Boundary For A Yoga Teacher
I had to set a firm boundary for a yoga teacher recently.
At the end of December I hurt my neck in a fall so when I go to yoga I’ve been arriving early to set up wayyy in the back corner. I like to use a lot of blankets and blocks including the wall for support. I modify postures quite a bit so I can do what serves my body. Most teachers welcome this as an authentic expression of yoga philosophy.
This studio I go to has one perfect little space behind the back row, near where they keep the props. I was happily practicing in my little cocoon, until inexplicably the teacher started calling attention to me. At one point, he had the entire class turn 180 degrees around to look at me. Then, I started to count the amount of times he said “Dee” and it felt super strange when I realized by the time the class was over we’d hit 20+ times.
I stayed behind afterwards to chat with him. I let him know that it made me uncomfortable in my body. The level of attention was unwelcome and not in service to my healing.
I also let him know that I love his class, however my request was that next time, he not call my name out loud again.
I was clear and direct. I didn’t try to make him wrong, I simply focused on what I was feeling and what I needed him to change in his behavior in order for me to continue showing up to his class.
I did not require an apology, though he graciously offered one along with his word that it wouldn’t happen again. I walked away from the conversation feeling clear and complete and willing to try his class again.
We’ve been conditioned that these types of conversations are confrontational, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting boundaries is hard work, but we have everything to gain by being able to communicate our expectations to others effectively.
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Let's Talk About Boundaries
Everyone’s had the experience of a close talker, right? You know the twinge in the belly or the tightening in your muscles when someone has invaded your personal space. That’s energetic contraction.
Have you noticed, though, how it can depend on the person? At times, if we are resonating with a particular human’s vibration, we might feel a warmth across the skin, telling us that we don’t mind at all if they move into a cozier distance. That’s energetic expansion.
NYC subways are a great place to experiment with that.
This energetic dynamic plays out in every aspect of our lives. Our bodies responds in subtle ways as people interact with us, and that gives us the first clue as to what is acceptable and what is not.
We are responsible to create clear guidelines for the ways in which others behave around us. Including how close they come to our physical proximity. The first step, in my view, is for us to attune to the physical signals that let us know when enough is enough.
I will be teaching a workshop in Pelham NY on Saturday Feb 11 at 1pm Setting Healthy Boundaries and Communicating with Compassion.
We’ll be working with this from an embodied perspective. I’m really excited to share this info, hope to see you there.