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In a Bind? Check Your Boundaries

According to "A yoga bind pose involves taking one hand over one part of your body, and holding it with your other hand that is wrapped around the other side of your body." Having what I describe as "T-rex arms" referring to the proportion of my arms to my legs, binds are not a favorite for me. According to Iyengar, the poses we dislike the most are the ones we most likely need to work on. They can often be awkward, uncomfortable, and precarious. For this reason, I link "binds" in class to "setting boundaries," as both can seem daunting, and we might choose comfort rather than trying something out of our comfort zone.

Feeling like we are "in a bind" off the mat is when we feel like we are in a position with few or no choices. Life can throw these situations at us, and we might see ourselves as a powerless victim and even portray ourselves this way to others to gain support or sympathy. However, yoga teaches us that we are never powerless. Events beyond our control can happen, but we are in control of our response to them even if this means just to take long, slow breaths or to quietly sit with our initial knee-jerk reactions. This breath creates the space in which we can respond mindfully, lovingly, and compassionately to others, and even to ourselves.

The best part of a yoga bind, to me, is that first free breath coming out of the pose and feeling more secure on my feet. Binds on the mat can help to add flexibility, confidence, and become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Setting boundaries off the mat by expressing our needs out loud, being honest about our feelings, and acknowledging hurtful actions can have the same benefits. Are they easy? Not usually. Do they reflect the yoga principles of ahimsa "Doing no harm," and satya "Being honest?" Most assuredly.

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Karen Windham
Karen Windham
Oct 28, 2022

So true....and this is beginning of the season where we need boundaries to keep our honesty and being true to ourself. We have to be true first to ourself and then we can practice those feelings with others.

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