“Yoga is a safe space for me. I’m sure every person has her own area of comfort, and yoga is mine. Years as a consultant means that I am nearly always looking for work, and when I search one of my keywords is yoga. Now that I am growing a retail business selling tea, I look for studios that might want to sell Blackbird Tea Co. in their boutiques, or might invite us to do a tasting after class. When I am on the road, I long to return to my yoga practice. But, although yoga exists for me as a protected, secure space, it is also the practice that teaches me a lot about boundaries, including barriers I set for myself. Barriers I’m sure we all set for ourselves at one time or another.

I always liked to think of myself as a “no limits” sort of person, but recently I’ve learned that somewhere along the way, I became limited by my thoughts. Hiccups and bumps become reasons to simply quit hustling– except when it comes to yoga. When I find a pose that is tough for me, I think: I want to do more of this. And I’m patient. Even though I’ve been practicing yoga for over 15 years, when I take time off I revisit easy poses as if I were a novice--- bending knees in forward bend, overextended arms in down dog. And as long as I keep practicing regularly, my knees slowly straighten and my arms balance my weight. Yoga gently teases away boundaries, allowing my body to come into the full expression of a pose.

Keeping this in mind, I try to remind myself to treat all challenges as yoga. Because what is a boundary? It's a barrier I create for myself. Most of the time it exists in my mind. Is it a recoiling, a retreat from what is difficult and trying? Yes. It is also armor. A front when things are rough. And it’s an excuse. A way to avoid discomfort. But what if I refuse to allow these figurative borders into my life? What if a boundary tries to make its case and I ignore it?

For boundaries to dissolve I need to meditate in real-time, noticing thoughts before I have a chance to respond or recoil. I’m going to treat challenges, barriers between me and my true self, like a forward bend. Tightness and light pain are not reasons to give up, they are reasons to keep going. My body a map. The mind a compass. This practice -boundless.”

~Lindsey Anne Toledo

L. Anne Toledo is the founder of Blackbird Tea Co.