Rabbi Hillel is famous for having said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me; if I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when?” Taken in its best light (and not as the recruiting technique for going to war this quote has served), this means we must, as they say on the airplane, “put on our own oxygen mask first before helping others.”
I often think of this principle, when I am emphasizing the fundamental physical alignment principle of shins in/thighs out. If you have taken even just a few Anusara classes, you have probably heard the teacher say “shins in, thighs out.” It is really short hand for the action of muscular energy that hugs the legs to the mid-line, followed by the spiraling upward and backward expansion of inner spiral.
When applied with enthusiasm and in the right sequence, “shins in/thighs out” protects our knees and opens the groins, hips, and pelvic floor in a way that gives us greater access to finding the strength of our pelvic floor, low back and abdominal muscles. It is a perfect example of an appropriate personal boundary: it leaves us open and available to receive and observe all that is good, while creating a protective and appropriate boundary from which we can grow safely better to serve.