Our subtle body exists deep underneath our physical form and our ego mind. It holds secrets and wisdom, pain and truth. This emotional and soulful part of us is our True Self. To explore it through our yoga practice, we quiet our thoughts, lead with our heart, and observe the sensations.
But then what? I’ve draped my body over my leg in Pigeon Pose, when tears emerge and start falling from my eyes. I allow, and I try to make sense of it after class. But how, and what does it mean?
It’s a process, but with practice, listening to your body through yoga and interpreting the subtle aspects gets easier and more intuitive. After a while, your awareness of the subtle body spills into your daily life and even into your dreams. You receive messages all around you. You learn to trust yourself. You learn to stay, rather than run. You learn to accept your emotions and your pain. You learn that you don’t need to hide. You learn that you actually CAN.
Digging deep during your yoga practice takes strength, bravery, and compassion. Twisting out grief and opening Chakras requires endurance and forgiveness. Getting your thoughts out, by writing them down, is yet another form of listening to your body. And a great next step to exploring your true self through yoga. Writing validates and gives voice to your experience and your sensations. It’s a great tool to open, and make sense of it all.
I started writing around the time I felt my marriage coming apart. I had no idea what was happening, or what would soon unfold, but I’m so glad I listened to my body’s call to write. The page is a space to heal, a space to explore, a nonjudgmental space to “speak” your truth.
Writing and yoga go so well together because they both grant access to the same hidden space in our body, but they unearth the blocks through very different processes. While yoga brings us to awareness, an up-close and personal look at reality, writing illuminates that awareness, and creates a tangible word on the page that articulates how we feel. Voicing our emotions, writing them down, heals. It’s like opening our throat chakra in Fish Pose or confiding in a friend over coffee.
Any pain you are holding, any struggle you are facing, any new venture you are embarking, all can be explored and understood through writing.
But I’m not a writer!?
When you write, you do not need to be an expert. Like a yoga practice, it does not matter if you are flexible or seasoned. It does not matter if you write eloquently - you benefit from the PRACTICE regardless.
The myth of the artist and the writer prevents those who feel they are not “creative” enough to write. Writing is merely a form of self-expression which means it’s inside of all of us. It’s a way to create an impact with our voice - whether that impact is professional or personal. If your writing impacts you and your awareness of Self, that is enough, and your practice is worthwhile.
I’m so impressed with where my yoga and writing practices have taken me - through my divorce, through my addiction, through my anxiety and depression, through my loneliness, my confusion, my triumphs, my motherhood, and my womanhood. Man or woman, writing and yoga can do the same for you.
I’m joining forces with my amazing writing sherpa, Julie Tallard Johnson, a transpersonal counselor, teacher, and author of 11 books, to offer our first retreat, Mind, Body, Word: 3 Days of Yoga and Writing in beautiful Madison, WI. With daily yoga, meditation, writing prompts, and personal time for reflection, we’ll explore the subtle body and hidden self and allow our intuitive and creative spirit to access our soul. Come open and leave inspired and renewed. I’m excited to share all I learn from my teacher training, as well as my 25 years of yoga experience, in order to guide you through whatever it is your body needs.
Here is more info on the retreat and the link to sign up: Mind•Body•Word: 3 Day Yoga & Writing Retreat.
In the meantime, continue on, dear Yogi, and consider keeping a journal next to your mat - you’ll be surprised at what comes up.