WHAT IS SUBTLE ENERGY AND FOUR TIPS ON HOW TO WORK ON IT ON YOUR OWN
by Cat Kabira, Yoga Teacher and Energy Healer
One of my favorite moments when teaching energy workshops and trainings is asking students what energy healing is. At some point, someone usually says that working with energy healing is viewed to some as an “out there” invisible thing that is not really real, and something that only witches, psychics and crazy people can access.
I smile when this comes up. What I love about teaching energy work is this: it’s actually quite practical and logical. Everything on this planet is energy – no matter what we’re talking about. We haven’t been taught to think in this way so that when we first start to learn about energy, oftentimes there’s a deconstruction of mental conditioning that we must undergo in order to widen our worldview and truly see.
We are interdimensional complex beings that reflect and are influenced by our mental emotional state as well as environment, history, and culture.
For example, we usually just consider our physical body – and perhaps our mental and emotional body. We may not consider how they are completely connected and, in reality, one. In fact, we have several layers of energy fields that comprise us – we aren’t just our physical body – we are also our emotional, mental, karmic, ancestral, and astral bodies. When we start to relate to greater and more subtle possibilities of who and what we are, then there’s a greater potential for transformation.
This is why I love working with subtle energy – it gives us access for healthy transformation in an efficient way.
Healing is most effective when we take into consideration all aspects of the body – not just the physical and mechanical. Every single aspect our ourselves influences our physical body. Nothing is separate.
I had for years a chronic pain in my pelvis that was not healing even after numerous visits to various chiropractors, physical therapists and osteopaths. I started exploring healing modalities that started to take a more holistic approach to the entire being (we are interdimensional complex beings that reflect and are influenced by our mental emotional state as well as environment, history, and culture) and realized that taking into account the totality of myself was what both created and maintained lasting change in my body.
© Alegría Pictures
This is what got me into craniosacral therapy. This therapy, in simple terms, works with the fascia, cerebrospinal fluid in the body and, on even more subtle layers, also accesses what we call “tides.” What the therapist is looking for is a balanced flow that’s moving through the whole body – from the feet up to the head, and back down. Anywhere there isn’t flow is a blockage that will show up physically as well as mentally, emotionally (you could even include our karmic, astral and ancestral patterns) and will reflect in how the patient lives her life.
My first experience with craniosacral therapy was amazing. I was having pain in my pelvis and sacrum for two years that, finally, after the therapist held my sacrum and pelvis for 15 minutes, my pain was gone. All she did was focus on waiting for the current in that area to start to move, and once that happened, my pelvic bones and sacrum were fluid enough to start to come into their own integrity. At the time, I had no idea WHAT was happening – other than this very simple and subtle thing made a tremendous difference in my body. I also had an emotional release and understood how a past trauma was still influencing my current life.
I was amazed that something this simple could change my life. I began training a craniosacral therapist. What I loved about it, among other things, was that I could easily glean some of the tools I was learning from training in craniosacral therapy and other energetic modalities and start to bring that into my yoga teaching. I started naming to my students simple ways to sense and work with their own energy body so that they can make a difference with themselves and become more aware of how they manage their own energy. This is what I’d like to share with you.
1. Getting grounded
The easiest way the body heals itself is when it’s grounded. Another way to think of this is that instead of having all of your energy up in your head (or in the past or future or with someone else) you actually have your energy moving evenly through your whole body. It’s no surprise in this day and age of how we work and communicate – that most of us are in our heads.
There are several ways to ground and you do have to figure out what works best for you. First, recognize that you’re ungrounded. How can you tell? Usually you’re over-thinking. You may be anxious or worried or stressed about the future. Your body might be cold (unless you’re on Mount Everest). You may feel overly-sensitive to your environment (when we’re ungrounded, we suddenly don’t feel safe, which makes sense because we’ve lost our ground.) As a result, we end up putting out extra antennae to scope out an area to make sure we are safe. We don’t realize that we need to create the safety and anchoring for ourselves. This is a different feeling of not feeling safe then when you are truly in danger. You may have trouble sleeping and you may be too involved with those around you. There are other signs but these are just a few.
Ways to ground?
- Put your hands on your pelvis and start to breathe into there. Breathing into pelvis, sacrum, and pelvis floor is very grounding. This is the base of yourself, also near what we call the first chakra.
- Visualize all your energy going below your waist. When we’re ungrounded, usually all of our energy is going up into our head…and we’re lacking a strong downward current. Using your breath and focus, visualize energy going from the sky or crown of head and slowly going down your body – through your legs and down into the earth.
- You can also visualize the energy from the earth going up into your body and to the sky and back down. Make sure you run the currents in both directions and that you do finish with the energy going downwards to the earth.
2. Visualize a grounding cord
We have at least two grounding cords that go from our pelvis to the earth. Just like we all have different physical bodies, we also have different energy bodies but most of us have two cords. You may have heard of the “Yin” and “yang” of the body – which is similar to the “ida” and “pingala” or shiva and shakti. We could also say that it’s the masculine and feminine force that runs through us. So our masculine energy line runs from the earth and sky and so does our feminine. When we’re ungrounded, the cord or line that goes from our body down to the earth can be weak or not palpable. So it can be helpful to visualize and create that. In simple terms, energy follows intention.
Working with energy can be quite creative so your body may suddenly “show” you what wants to happen. You may find that first you want to erase any residual cords to make sure you’re working with a clean space. Then, the simplest is to visualize one cord that goes from your pelvis down into the earth. You may be able to sense where specifically in your pelvis the cord is. Notice what quality the cord is or color, if there’s a sensation associated with it or anything else. When it grounds into the earth – does the earth look like a spinning vortex or energy center? Or is it rich dark earth? Or crystal clean ocean water? Notice how your body responds and chooses to have you visualize.
If you’re comfortable working with one cord – then you can play with sensing your masculine and feminine line. For the masculine cord – it may either link to your tailbone or perineum – and for your feminine cord it may come out of your genitals. Again, there are exceptions to all of these. And just like you did previously with one cord, notice how it extends into the earth and what it uses as an anchor.
3. Find blank spots on the body (or areas that I like to say aren’t “on-line” just yet)
Most of us will have an intellectual awareness of our body but not a feeling sense or embodied awareness. We want to be embodied. So as you scan, any area that seems blank, numb, or invisible – it’s helpful to start to breathe into that area to bring energy or connection back to that area. You can even place your hand there (if you can reach) to encourage more movement. You may also find places that are tender or in pain or areas that you have a story about, and do the same: bring loving, gentle awareness to these spaces and this will start to make a shift. Stay with the sensations, meaning not the emotions or ideas that your mind may have about this, but the pure raw sensations (cold, heat, quick fluttery movements, long strokes, prickling, swirling, etc). You’ll get the cleanest information by staying with the raw sensations.
4. Working with your mid-line
No matter what lines you’re using, as we have several energy lines and geometric shapes and grids going on in our bodies, you may find it helpful to visualize yourself getting centered. Sometimes when we are still we can ask ourselves, “What is my mid-line (or center line) doing right now?” And what’s important is to trust what you sense BEFORE you start thinking. The moment you start to analyze – you’re going to block the true information.
You’ll then either see, feel, or even hear what your mid-line is doing. Maybe it’s slanted, or broken, or hanging out in another part of the world or with someone else. Remember, energy follows intention. So if you start to visualize this central line going through the center of your body – gathering yourself back from wherever you were wandering, you may notice that you actually feel more centered. Pay attention to what you feel and how your thoughts and posture may even change simply because you took the time to call yourself back to center.
These are simple tips that you can use at any time – even while in traffic or sitting on the subway station or at the supermarket or while lying in bed. The more time we take to relax and pay attention to ourselves on a more subtle layer the more it can help us stay connected to what’s truly important to us.
Enjoy the journey.
My daily practice varies in terms of what I do but the premise is always: how can I meet myself best right now?
I usually take time to sit with myself and feel. Sometimes I will have a longer meditation and surf the subtle undercurrents of my body and work with my energy system. Other times my body is feeling playful and I need a strong, creative and deep practice to ground. I also use various asana and other body practices to rewire the structure of my body on a physical, emotional and mental level. I don’t limit myself to one style or practice – I’ve incorporated pilates, gyrotonic, feldenkreis and the circus arts into what I do.
My practice is never limited to just the mat. How I behave with myself, how I speak to myself, the creative outlets I use, how I work, how I’m with others, how I dream and how I play -this is my practice. My whole reality is my practice because whatever I think, feel and imagine is what I’m creating in my life. The most ultimate artistic playground you could ever have.
Originally from the USA, Cat Kabira has been practicing yoga for 20 years and teaching since 2003. What got Cat on the mat in the first place was her search for healing for her eating disorder, drug and alcohol addictions, depression and sexual, emotional and physical abuse. While Cat has studied with several teachers and traditions around the globe, she is not married to one particular lineage and her practice and teaching is being present with what is needed in the moment as well as using her skills at seeing, feeling, and reading body patterns and energy to find the most empowering and transformational practices for her students for that day. Along with yoga and meditation, Cat has trained with shamans and healers in several modalities and is a certified Level 6 Craniosacral Therapist. She also has trained in pilates, the Gyrotonic Expansion System, and the circus arts. Cat loves to dance and has been composing on the piano since she was young. Her base has been Bali, Indonesia for the past 11 years and she runs yoga teacher trainings, retreats, workshops all over the globe. Cat can also be contacted for energy healing sessions both in person and online. For more information you can check the links below.