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Yoga Personalized Private Yoga Instruction Catherine Tingey Private Yoga Teacher Gross VS Subtle Body

Published on January 23rd, 2024 | by Catherine Tingey

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Gross VS Subtle Body

Gross VS Subtle Body

This post may speak more to yoga teachers than practitioners, however I hope the concept can apply to anyone who has ever learned a new thing which is everyone.

Think back to when you first began learning something new – maybe a language, a new skillset at work, or a new way of relating (i.e. newlyweds or new parents).

You began with basics. Everything might have seemed foreign and bewildering. [This is how I felt about dog training circa 2021].

You continue with basics and your understanding deepens, but you’re still very much learning at the gross level.

[I’m using the terms Gross and Subtle in the context of the Three Bodies Doctrine. Gross refers to the physical or material body – your arms, legs, trunk, etc. The subtle body is breath, perception, feeling. It is a much more complex philosophy than this, but that is for another post.]

Fast forward a few years and you began to notice new things.

While practicing your skill or talent, fresh insights arrive at random.

You are doing the same things you did as a beginner, but your experience of the activity is different. (I get to witness through my students all the time!)

Your discernment has grown! Congratulations; you’re now a participant at the subtle level!

In yoga, if you have a teacher who is classically trained, they will be versed in the gross vs subtle body.

The gross is all that is material—placement of feet, angles of joints, alignment of the physical body in space.

This is where we all begin!

With time, you are introduced to the subtle body. This is where sensations arise and feelings bubble to the surface.  Awareness of breath. Awareness of physical body. Experience of poses evolves. Perhaps your entire attitude towards the practice evolves! Off the mat, your perception of people, places and things may also evolve.

***

I recently had a revelation with the pose Anantasana.

Personalized Private Yoga Instruction Catherine Tingey Private Yoga Teacher Gross VS Subtle Body

Anantasana, Pose of Infinity

This pose is called Pose of Infinity and while it’s always been an accessible pose for me, I never experienced the sense of LIMITLESSNESS that the pose is named for. Lately, when I get into this pose I feel an immediate sense of ‘ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.’ There is also EXPANSION, SPACIOUSNESS and LIMITLESSNESS—all the reasons people get addicted to yoga! (On a side note, this is a great pose for manifesting).

I was reminded of Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) which also stretches the inner legs and opens the Yin channel.

Personalized Private Yoga Instruction Catherine Tingey Private Yoga Teacher Gross VS Subtle Body

Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose

The experience reminded me to stay curious about the energetic quality of all yoga poses.

“The soul should always stand ajar ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”-Emily Dickinson

The energetic quality of some poses are easy to discern. Take for example Child’s Pose (Balasana). Assuming the pose is accessible for you, its quietness and humility are quickly felt in practice.

Also notice a standing pose like Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I). Get in this posture and you feel a certain ‘at attention’ quality, a singularity of focus. It’s no wonder Warrior I is also called Fierce Pose.

How have you noticed your experience in yoga evolve? I would love to know!

After 31 years of yoga, I absolutely love that I’m still getting revelations about the Gross VS Subtle Body in my practice.

I also continue to learn from my students, especially the remarks made from beginner students as they explore a whole new way of moving their bodies.

If you want to learn yoga privately this year, contact me at info@catherinetingey.com with any questions.

Namaste,

Catherine

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Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.



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