The Subtle Body:
Energy & Embodiment in Mindfulness Practice

Live Online Course

June 29th, 2021 - July 25th, 2021

Connect to the rich wisdom of the body through a month of somatic exploration.

In the Buddha’s mindfulness teachings, he encouraged his followers to pay attention to “the body in the body.” The ancient Buddhist tantras also describe a body hidden within our physical form, a subtle layer of our being that is pure energy. This concept is referred to as the subtle body.

Awareness of the subtle body can bring radical new dimensions to our mindfulness meditation practice. Through body awareness, we can reinterpret emotion, thinking, dullness and agitation as vibrant energies, rather than as obstacles to our awakening. When met with compassion and appreciation in the body, every mental state becomes a vehicle for liberation.

This month-long, interactive and experiential course is an invitation to come back into your body, and to set out on the path of embodied awakening.

The Subtle Body: Course Format

A new weekly, themed “module” of this course will launch every Tuesday. With each module you’ll receive intimate teaching and guided meditation videos from Willa to instruct your week of practice. Each weekly module concludes with a LIVE, interactive Q&A session on Sundays with Willa (schedule below).

All live sessions will be recorded and posted in the days afterwards for those who are unable to attend live. All videos are available indefinitely to course participants.

Participants of The Subtle Body will:

  • Gain a deeper sense of groundedness, stability, and embodiment
  • Learn effective skills for emotional regulation
  • Develop a holistic somatic meditation practice

“Wisdom arises from the power of the body to draw us into the present moment, the domain of wakefulness and ease.”
– Willa Blythe Baker


Willa Blythe Baker, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH.
(Learn more about Willa below.)

Module 1: The Body in the Body

In the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha urges aspiring meditators to focus on “the body in the body.”

Similarly, Buddhist tantras speak of a hidden dimension within the physical body called the subtle body. This dimension acts as an energetic bridge between the body’s physicality and the mind’s cognition.

As we open to the vibratory, felt sense of the subtle body through meditation, we learn that ease must be embodied.

Module 2: The Anatomy of the Subtle Body

In this module, Willa will introduce the anatomy of the subtle body: pathways, prana, quintessence and energy centers.

Contemplating the anatomy of the subtle body can help us reframe peace, awareness, insight and compassion as embodied states.

Anatomical reflection and prana meditations will help us develop interoception, recognized by modern science as the “sixth sense.”

Module 3: Untangling from Within

In our third module we’ll come to realize that every sense perception, thought, and emotion expresses itself as subtle energy.

Instead of focusing on content or form, through contemplative practice with the subtle body, we encounter “energy events.”

In this module we’ll practice befriending these energy arisings, which will allow us to more easily dispel our grasping and aversion in turn.

Module 4: Embodying Wakefulness

Aside from the physical body and subtle body, there are two additional layers of embodiment mentioned in Buddhist tantras, which we will focus on in our final module:

  • the “innermost body,” the most subtle layer of embodiment aligned with simple bare consciousness
  • and the “body of integration,” a fusion of all layers.

Examining these elements of embodiment will round out our newfound somatic meditation practice.

Praise for Willa's Teachings

“Willa beautifully weaves the body into our ‘ultimate self.’”

“[Willa’s teachings] opened and deepened my practice.”

“Willa’s insights about our body and how to access its wisdom are brilliant.”

Live Online Course Details

Pre-Recorded Video Teachings

Filmed in high definition, educational video lessons from Willa each week will keep you engaged through mind, body, and heart.

Guided Somatic Meditation

Reach deeper levels of understanding and awareness through body-focused mindfulness practices guided by Willa.

Community Forums

Your online meeting spot to connect with your coursemates, post thoughts and questions, and find support.

4 Live & Interactive Video Q&A Sessions

Each Sunday, join Willa live to discuss our present experiences as a collective, to ask our teacher questions, and receive direct, insightful feedback.



Course launch: 29 June (no meeting)
Interactive 1: 4 July (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 2: 11 July (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 3: 18 July (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 4: 25 July (LIVE 60 minutes)
Note: Interactives will be recorded for those who cannot attend


9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST

About Willa Blythe Baker

Willa Blythe Baker, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She was authorized as a dharma teacher and lineage holder (lama) in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism after completion of two consecutive three-year retreats in the nineties. In 2013, she received a doctorate from Harvard University in Religion, and was Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School 2013-2017.

Her books include Essence of Ambrosia (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2005), Everyday Dharma (Quest Books 2009), The Arts of Contemplative Care (Wisdom Publications 2012) and The Wakeful Body (Shambhala Publication 2021). Her articles have appeared in Lion’s Roar, Buddhadharma, Tricycle Magazine, the Journal of International Buddhist Studies and elsewhere. She is on the Advisory Board for One Earth Sangha, and has served as Contemplative Faculty for the Mind and Life Institute.

Willa guides meditation retreats primarily in the Northeastern United States. Her teaching interests include the wisdom of the body, non-dual awareness, compassion and ecodharma, among other topics. She lives in a cabin on a lake in central New Hampshire.