The Back Body: Respect for the private self.
I have been teaching my yoga classes over the past couple weeks, inspired by the ‘back body’, anatomically speaking, but of more interest to me is it’s relationship/connection to the emotional body and sense of Self.
The back body is related to the private self. It is the part of our body that is not seen, or is difficult to view. The back body is protective (the spine and ribcage protecting the internal organs), and it is necessary that we respect the protection that it provides. The back body, with the prominence of the spine running up the middle, creates a boundary. All of this is also applicable to the private self: not seen (or difficult to view), protective in nature, and holding/maintaining boundary.
In teaching this concept, an individual came up to me at the end of class and stated that it made him think about something that he had read. There are 3 parts of self: the one that is public, the one that is private, and the one that is mostly private but is shared with those whom we feel safe and comfortable. As applied: Front body as public, back body as private, and the 3rd part of self as the balance between the two (an integration in the body and Self).
In teaching on this topic, I wanted to pay homage to the private self. I feel that modern society could use a reminder of the necessity of the private self and the beauty of holding things sacred. In my work as a therapist, it sometimes takes people years to feel safe enough to disclose stories, or parts of Self. When they do, I cherish it. It is a true gift. And then we talk about what it was like for them to share that piece of information. I respect the protective piece in the process of sharing, and the beauty and intimacy which results from waiting for things to align.
The private self is not necessarily about avoiding vulnerability or being in secrecy (which is more in line with the shadow self). The private self is not necessarily in relation to the feeling of shame either. The private self is about creating boundary to ensure safety and allowing space to foster trust.
And….sometimes the private self stays ‘private’.