Last weekend during a restorative yoga class (my first one), I had an amazing experience involving the “subtle body”. In these classes you comfortably hold poses with props for long periods of time. As I settled into a position on my back with my chest expanded, a picture of my husband popped into my head accompanied by a strong wave of the love I always feel with him. As this experience was developing, I didn’t question the reasons but rather immersed myself in the happy moment. Then our teacher said, “This pose opens up the heart Chakra.” I thought “Oh my goodness, really? It really does!”
For the first time, I had personal proof of the existence of my subtle body. Along with this realization came the acknowledgement that yoga influences the energy in my body in ways I don’t fully understand.
If you haven’t studied the ancient yogic systems of India and the Buddhist Psychology of Tibet, you probably have never heard of the Chakras, Nadis, and Prana of our subtle bodies. In addition to these doctrines, the Chinese Taoist alchemy and Japanese Shingon Esoterism also describe a subtle physiology with focal points connected by a series of channels which move the life force within us all. When I first learned about the subtle body in yoga teacher training, I noted that many people believe in its existence without any scientific proof. Obviously you can’t see these with x-rays or MRIs. My deep-rooted love of philosophy leads me to study beliefs, but always with an analytical eye.
A recent article on the science behind our smart phones and tablets highlighted the power of the energy in our bodies. Capacitive touch screens work because of the energy from our fingers. A gloved hand, pencil, or stick won’t work because these objects don’t change the charge on the screen. I started to marvel at how our bodies interact with energy.
What if you could control this energy? I’ve participated in meditations and breathing exercises in which we attempted to picture and move the energy through our Chakras (the focal points of the energy system). During one 90-minute yoga class we experimented with bringing life force energy in through the crown of our heads. I’m not sure I was doing anything.
But now I’ve had this blatant collision with my subtle body. I’ll pay even more attention to how my energy is flowing. Many people who practice yoga admit to strong emotions during their asanas. As my yoga journey continues and deepens, I’ll study these connections.
Do you have experiences with your subtle body to share?