A helpful way to understand ourselves is through the metaphor of an iceberg. In my psychology research, I once learned that up to 70% of an iceberg is below the surface. I’ve found the same is true with the human heart. What you see is not always the whole story. When it comes to the human heart, there is much more going on below the surface. Sheaths of ice (or layers of being) encase the human soul.
Often, in the therapeutic process, you’re invited to peel back these layers, to feel your feelings, tell the truth, and trust the process. When we do this, we tap into the depth of where true desire lies, or “the unconscious part of the iceberg,” as named by Sigmund Freud.
However, without self-exploration, we tend to bury our true desire and live out of the shallowness of our conscious, attempting to work our way into what we believe is belonging and mattering. We’re usually motivated by an unhealthy belief—perpetuated by our own toxic shame—which says ‘I am not enough.’ The result leaves us exhausted, confused, and unable to deeply connect with ourselves and others.
Thankfully, in the therapeutic process, through yoga and self-inquiry, I’ve learned one can journey through their own layers and begin to grasp more truth and depth about who they are rather than staying in their most outer layer or physical sheath. In yoga, which means the union or bringing together, we blend each of our complex layers through the uniting of breath and movement, connecting body to mind and spirit. This blending ignites us into feeling more whole or complete.
Bringing together my thoughts and studies of both psychology and yoga has helped me to see their similarities and gain a better understanding of how therapy and yoga can work together as healing agents. Whether in the therapy room or on a yoga mat, asking the questions: Who am I? or What is the meaning of my life? provides a rich opportunity for us to live more fully into who we were made to be.
Beth is a therapist and group facilitator at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville. She provides a place for individuals and couples to begin to live integrated lives by helping them explore their story, engage their heart, and develop a deeper passion.