A story about Boundaries

This article first appeared at RS, since it's no longer on the platform I reclaim the rights to publish the original version.

The more we do our practice (yoga or any other self developing path we are on), the more we open. The more open we are, the more people notice and want part of whatever it is that makes us glow. And yogis love to share! Sometimes, however, the person seeking that sparkling energy that you carry has no idea how to find it, wants a shortcut or just wants to bask in yours for a while. This might end up in you being drained of your glow by what I refer to as “energy thieves”, and the person most likely doesn’t know he or she is stealing your energy. What can we do when we want to share with the world the euphoria that comes with practice but at the same time remain full, to grow and glow even more? In this article, I will share with you a story about a situation precisely like that and how my practice on the mat is also my practice off the mat.

 Virabhadrasana /Warrior/ II West Coast, Costa Rica

Virabhadrasana /Warrior/ II West Coast, Costa Rica

The other day, moon was floating through Gemini and I happened to be in a hotel at the time, nowhere to hide in other words. I had tons of work to do and quickly went by the kitchen to make myself some tea. Suddenly, I found myself being surrounded by chatty people. One by one they appeared and I could feel how they were trying to steal my energy for some reason. I’m sure they themselves had no idea what was going on though. They were men of course (I have a tendency to attract male energy thieves more than females). Way older than me and belonging to that seeking crowd, you know. Especially one of them had that scary, glorifying gaze in his eyes. He looked at me like I had all the answers to his questions, he was putting me on a pedestal in his mind and he was trying to move closer. He was talking fast and almost leaned towards me, hovering over me like a Dementor from Harry Potter, trying to give you the kiss of death. That’s when it hit me: ah, he’s trying to steal my energy, and here I am having my chakras wide open, basically telling him to enter! After weeks of ceremonies, prayers and sharing around likeminded people, I was easy to talk to and used to be open with who ever approached me. It had been easy to do so because those people knew their balance and I knew mine. This guy had no idea where his balance was, or maybe he had never heard of the word. I was tired and vulnerable- did Life just give me this challenge!?

Back when I started the part of my practice that involves reading about chakras, which is to me the foundation of the understanding of the yoga communication, I assumed you close your chakras after practice. I read about it. I had teachers teaching me about it and I did it. After a chakra cleansing meditation I always, quickly closed the chakras fully or left them just a little open. Today I think differently. Many messages have come to me about the importance of keeping the chakras opened all the time. In fact, when there is an issue or problem, there is a chakra that needs to be stretched opened a little more. We have to work on maintaining them open; that is our practice and that is what we do practice for. We continue improving ourselves by continuing the practice of opening our chakras.

Is it better to stay open but to put an invisible shield up than closing the chakras after meditation, I started thinking? Like a transparent veil to protect my delicate aura and center when I go out in public? Yes, I decided and started using the veil instead. Every morning after meditation I took it on to be able to face the world with its people in it, without them stealing my new flowering energy given to me through that morning’s practice. Think about it. Inhale prana. Exhale apana. With every breath I was cleansing my chakras, opened them and filled all of me with new lime-green prana. And this is part of my morning routines: of course I was glowing and needed to hide behind an invisibility cloak!

Why do you want to hide behind a cloak? Or wear a veil, covering you at all times? That won’t make you stronger and that won’t make you share, I heard Spirit telling me one day. Face the world, little butterfly, and share your sparkling prana, the leaves and trees were singing to me. So I asked the Spirits for guidance in how to create rings on the water while maintaining full energy inside me, not letting other people drain me of it. A new teacher showed up in my life as I was listening for the answers. I started to look at the word balance anew. It was indeed wobbly, walking around with chakras wide opened, all unstable, and didn’t feel good at all.

And then I remembered that I forgot to breathe!

Interestingly, the new teacher is not a yoga teacher. And yet he reminded me to breathe. He also talked about a new word: boundaries. I keep my chakras open because by keeping them open the beautiful one love vibrations inside me will spread out into the world and bounce into other people and their hearts and little by little open their chakras too. And so the circle grows… If I use a veil, on the other hand, the circle cannot grow. If I can’t let people in, my love vibrations can’t pass out through the shield of transparent silk I so carefully spelled around myself every morning. What I can do, however, is to use boundaries. When I feel someone is coming too close I take a few deep breaths to come back to my center. The breathing makes me come back to my balance, which the person in front of me tries to rock. It felt like the hotel guy was grabbing my shoulders to lift me slightly and shake me.

When I feel myself breathing again I also feel both feet on the ground, hip-width apart, toes pressed firmly down into the floor and all four corners of my foot are making connection with the earth. My feet have that same balance and grip around the roots like they have on the yoga mat. Mountain pose. Stretch spine. Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the nose. Inhale through the backside of the body and exhale through the front side.

I am grateful for how asanas remind me how to breathe and balance when boiling tea in a hotel kitchen somewhere in Costa Rica.

 

Coming back to my center, I retracted and I stepped outside my body for a bit: looking at the situation from a distance. I tried to analyze what was going on, where was the weak link? If I find the soft spot I can also find what kind of boundary I should use not to get drained on energy by the one I am talking to (all the while I kept breathing). You see, the interesting thing with boundaries- and go ahead play around with them!- is that you have to figure out not only when to use them but how to use them. It could be a spiritual boundary; it could even be casting the spell for the transparent veil for a while. But I find that most times it needs to be a physical action. I need to use either my verbal or my nonverbal communication to diverge a bit from the person who is converging, or moving too fast towards me. That is to say, I can try changing the way I speak or try moving away from the person a little bit (nonverbal communication) or I can try by using words. In this case, I did move away from the person and it didn’t help. He followed me until I was cornered and he even hugged me!

What are you doing?! My outside self asked (quite annoyed). But, I’m tired and I don’t know what boundary to use, I thought. And there it was: Manipura. I was too tired to stand up to myself when the energy thief came barking in to the kitchen (and into my aura!) and I didn’t want to offend him by sounding rude. Clearly signs of a weak third chakra, I realized. I must put myself first and even though I am tired I can do this and I am not going to feel bad if anyone gets offended by me taking care of my self and my health. So, I heard myself talk about work and tea, and finally excused myself to go back to the room. Manipura weak link fixed, until next time.

I got back to the room with the no longer warm tea and my friend gave me a look saying “how did you manage to make tea for a whole hour?” but said nothing and I mumbled something about energy thieves as an answer. While sipping my tea, I was scrolling through FB and stopped at a post explaining how people can seem extra chatty tonight, since Grandmother Moon is passing through Gemini. Well, that explains a lot, I whispered in between sips.

In gratitude,

Magdalena Chandrakaí