Understanding The Way Stress Affects The Subtle Body
What Is The Subtle Body?
By definition, The Subtle Body is the feeling body. It is the idea that the body feels the stress that is plaguing the mind. And that these stressors can cause body aches and pains. Which lends to the scientific fact that stress can kill.
When studying Katonah yoga theory, the subtle body was touched on in a variety of instances. For one, a person may have a fatigued arm and physical therapy isn’t making them feel better. And that there may be psychological stress in the mind causing the arm pain.
Working through the psychological aspects of the person’s stress points can help relieve some pains within the subtle body.
One of the best examples as explained to me during a yoga teacher training session, was that the mind can be somewhere else, and yet the body is always present. And the body is the accumulation of your experiences. Because it ages and is worn and torn both physically and emotionally. So, in order to heal the body, the mind must also be present, and stress and worries addressed.
The impact that stress takes on the subtle (physical) body makes the case for a Mindful Mediation as part of a physical routine. If you are currently building a home yoga practice, try starting with the following to build upon.
Ways To Clear Your Head And Heal The Subtle Body
Pranayama Breath Exercises
Do you ever notice how when you become stressed, your breath also becomes stressed and shallow? And how many times have you heard the saying, “take a deep breath” when you are hitting your breaking point?
In Sanskrit, Prana- (meaning Chi) Pranayama meaning Control Of Breath. Prana is your life force. And it is our vital energy. It is what sustains us. The word Yama means – (control)
Pranayama breath work is a great way to focus and regulate our breath and technique, We do this in order to get the mind and body back together, in sync and in the present. Focusing on the breath purifies the gross, physical body while toning the subtle, spiritual self.
There are a variety of Pranayama breathing techniques. Here are some to try.
Alternative Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana. Nadi in Sanskrit means to flow. Shodhana means purification. Should be practiced while sitting in a comfortable seat like virasana.
Start in a comfortable seat and take a full breath. You will use the right thumb to close the right nostril and the pink finger to close the left nostril. As you alternate breathing in through one nostril and out the other with both your right hands and right nostril than with your left.
This type of breathing work will clear the right and left lungs and channel both the masculine and feminine sides of the body.
Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Breath)
Should be practiced while sitting in a comfortable seat like virasana, either on a block or sitting on your heels, or with a blanket underneath your tailbone in a crosslegged seat.
‘Kapal’ means ‘forehead’ and ‘Bhati’ means ‘shining’. It’s meaning to clear the mind of confusion, stress, and anxiety. Creating a healthy mind.
Force your exhales like you are blowing out of a tissue. The inhales will happen naturally as you exhale in this fashion. Slow or fast. Fast will heat up the body. Slow, will calm the nervous system. While the focus is on the exhale, the inhale will also become controlled.
Detoxifying and a more intermediate form of pranayama, Kapalbhati will increase oxygen levels in the body with powerful exhales and passive inhales. And it is a great way to strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)
To be practiced before and during your Asana yoga movements. While the air passes through your nose, with lips closed, the body heats up. Air is passed through the lungs and throat creates friction that heats up the body. Think of an Ujjayi breath pattern as a form of internal organ warm-up before a yoga practice.
Sort of a warm-up for the core before the core movements begin. You can continue breathing in this fashion during your yoga practice to maintain a warm internal core as you keep your mind clear as you spend time in your yoga postures.
Some Asana positions to try
On your hands and knees finding a neutral spine in the center, begin lifting your eyes up to the future arching your back as you look up- then rounding your neck and back and looking at your navel, always stopping in the center of the posture to neutralize the back.
Knees wide-sit your glutes back in between your heels. arms reaching forward on the mat with your temple resting on the mat. Great for creating space in the lower lumbar back area and losing up the hip flexors and shoulders.
Downward facing dog- from cat cow- straighten your legs and arms so that you are forming a triangle position with your mat, standing on the balls of your feet and the palms of your hands. Knees can be bent or straight.
Mountain pose. Standing at the top of your mat, knees slightly bent, feet hip-width distance apart- palms are open, shoulders externally rotated, and eyes face front. Perfect starter position to go into a sun salutation, a chair pose or a tree other standing poses.
From Tadasana, take it down to an imaginary seat, all weight on the heels, arms reaching up slightly diagonally for balance, eyes looking toward fingertips or straight ahead. Excellence for balance, glute strengthening, and mind-body connection while engaging core muscles and looking ahead.
Start with these or similar exercises with your breath. Try being in each post for one to two minutes. And start to build your asana (movement) practice from there.
The subtle body is best healed with all three components listed here. The final one being the most important, because you can truly do it anywhere. Meditation is such a valuable skill to learn. The truth is, mediation can be whatever works for you.
Whatever seated position that gets your mind to concentrate on a thought, an idea, or affirmation, or simply focus on your breathing. You can use meditation apps. Or find soothing music. Try to create a sacred space to do the meditation.
Clearing your mind, will in fact help restore a healthy gross, subtle body. Be kind to yourself.
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About The Author
Kia Stora is the Editor in Chief at PuckerMob.com and Puckermom.com At Answer Media. She is a certified Yoga, Pilates, and Lagree Fitness Instructor who has a passion for encouraging self-care and playfulness.