The subtle body: a reflection on letting go.
This article has taken me 20-something years to write.
Writing is a process, and so is healing—good things require time.
Over 20 years ago now, I was a young mother and fitness instructor.
I remember when I signed up for my first yoga weekend training session. It was called: The Subtle Body.
I secretly felt like I was cheating on my certification. During this period, I was not kind to my body.
I lacked the self-love and body awareness that I have today.
At that time, like many, I overexercised and pushed myself beyond exhaustion.
I did not appreciate the curves and lines of my figure. I did not appreciate the muscular strength of my shoulders, back, and legs.
I recall, vividly, the entire weekend retreat.
I arrived on a Friday, rolled out my mat, and settled, in listening to the instructor gently guide the opening session.
I was orientated to the weekend—an entire program focusing on mat work, breath, and some sitting postures.
I began to ask myself, “What have you signed yourself up for?”
What was I going to learn that would be of benefit?
I recall feeling guilty and that the weekend was an indulgence—I was leaving my baby when I should be with her.
I pushed those thoughts aside and began to listen. I began to soften and sink.
When the session ended, I packed up my things and returned home. I still felt a little cheeky. I felt like a schoolgirl playing hooky.
When Saturday morning arrived, I cared for and kissed my baby, packed up my things, and hurried to the studio.
This time, I was prepared for the marathon relaxation session.
I settled in and listened to the instructor guide us through a session where we scanned our bodies and allowed ourselves to let go of tension. I became aware of all that I was holding.
I became aware of tightness, tension, and pain.
I began to allow myself to sink deeper into the mat and let gravity completely take over, along with the rhythmic hum of breathing from all the participants.
I drifted off into a deep sleep, and I can not be certain if I slept for an hour or the day.
I awoke feeling sheepish and also frustrated.
Again I asked myself, “What in the world am I doing here?”
Sunday arrived; the final day.
I was now determined to get the most of the remaining session again; however, I fell into a deep state of relaxation, drifting in and out of sleep.
I became aware of my deep exhaustion—the pain and tension my body was holding (my “pain body”).
This was an awakening of sorts, a spark of light coming back to my body with appreciation and love.
I softened, sighed, and became aware of the work I needed to do.
I was aware yet not ready—the journey would take years.
After that weekend, I wrote and meditated on my experience. I started to show up for myself, offering kindness and self-compassion.
Fast-forward, and here we are in a global pandemic.
I am constantly reminding myself to come back to this body, this breath—to release the tension that I am holding.
I am constantly thinking back to that training session. I’m working on a daily practice.
I appreciate my body and all it does.
I nourish it; I replenish; I create.
This subtle body is my body, a temple in which my soul resides.
I am forever grateful for that yoga retreat and all the teachers I had the opportunity to work with.
Now, life and love are unfolding.
Self-love and compassion are the greatest gifts.
To show up with tenderness and lightness is love.
To let go of what you are holding is healing.
Namaste, dear ones.