The Subtle Body

The Subtle Body course is an in-depth study of the neck and cranium along with the throat chakra and the chakras inside the skull. We review the bones of the cranium, cranial sutures, jaw and sensory organs. We detail the practice of jalandhara bandha and its effects on the throat chakra, and the thyroid gland. We study pratyahara (the softening of sensory  awareness), particularly in relation to the eyes, ears, mouth, and throat. We emphasize the importance of the organ of the tongue and introduce khechari mudra to release the upper palate and throat. We practice mobilization techniques to release strain in the neck and shoulder region. The asana practices emphasize the study of inversions including headstand, shoulder stand and plough.

One of the primary themes of The Subtle Body is the emotional body. Stemming from our anatomical study of the throat, skull, and brain, we study the central nervous system with its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches and the flight or fight response. We investigate the impact that trauma has on both mind and body, and we look at how anxiety and stress become embedded in the body’s soft tissues. In light of the effects that stress and trauma have on the body, we study the kleshas or afflictions from both the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the Buddhist teaching. We compare the kleshas as enumerated in the ancient yoga texts to current theories of stress and emotional holding given in Western psychology and somatic practices.