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February 27, 2021

How to Let Go & Heal the “Pain Body.”

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 bodythis 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.

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