Understanding that we are more than just our physical body is part of the deeper teachings of yoga.
Below is an excerpt of my Kundalini Yoga Level One Instructor Textbook, "The Aquarian Teacher" which defines and explains each of the Ten Bodies. Every time I open this book, I am reminded of the infinite wisdom of the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. This particular topic has helped immensely in brining awareness of when I am feeling an imbalance, and reflecting on the aspects of myself that are needing love and nurturing attention.
1st Body: Soul Body
Is my life a creative flow from my soul’s purpose? Do I come from my heart?
The 1st body is your Soul Body. It connects you to your inner infinity. When your Soul Body is strong, you live by your heart instead of your head, your creativity flows in a simple, pure way. When you master your soul body, you come from a place of great humility and creativity.
Key to balancing is to raise the kundalini. Open the heart.
2nd Body: Negative (Protective) Mind
Can I determine if there is danger in a situation?
The Negative Mind helps you to give form to the creativity of your Soul Body with the gifts of containment, form, and discernment. It instills in you a longing to belong, which in its highest expression drives you to connect very deeply with your own God Self. If your negative Mind is underdeveloped, your longing to belong can cause you to get into inappropriate, self-destructive relationships because you are over-influenced by others: you aren’t contained enough in your own center.
Key to balancing: value your discipline. Develop conscious relationships of integrity.
3rd Body: Positive (Expansive) Mind
Am I open to all possibilities that life has to offer? Do I let these into my life?
The Positive Mind sees the positive essence of all situations and beings. It is expansive and allows resources in. It makes you naturally playful and optimistic, and gives you a good sense of humor. It makes your communication strong and direct.
Key to balancing: Strengthen the navel point. Increase your self-esteem. Use positive affirmation.
4th Body: Neutral (Meditative) Mind
Do I allow myself to perceive and act upon inner wisdom?
The Neutral or Meditative Mind is the ultimate “win-win” mentality. From here you look at the whole play of life with compassion. The neutral mind evaluates the input of the negative and positive minds and gives you guidance within 9 seconds.
Key to balancing: Meditate
5th Body: Physical Body
Do I use my strength and assets for the good of all?
The Physical Body is the temple where the other 9 Bodies play out their parts. It gives you the capacity to sacrifice- to make sacred. If strong, it represents the teacher, who is able to take abstractions and explain them to anyone, of any age, of any intelligence, of any way of life, and able to bring the information into an earthly, concrete form. If your 5th Body is weak, you may be angry, greedy, jealous, competitive, ungrateful. Your inner and outer realities will be out of balance. You may have trouble expressing yourself verbally.
Key to balancing: Exercise regularly. Teach.
6th Body: Arcline
Am I able to manifest my goals? Do I do so with integrity?
The Arcline extends from earlobe to earlobe across the hairline and brow. It’s your halo, and it is the nucleus of the aura. Women have a 2nd arcline, which extends from nipple to nipple. The Arcline is your projection, your radiance. It gives you the ability to focus, to concentrate, to meditate. It’s associated with the pituitary gland which regulates the nervous system and glandular balance, thus protecting your heart center. You can use the intuition of your 6th center to protect your self so that you can deal with the stresses of life without shutting down your heart.
Key to balancing: Awaken the pituitary gland- the 3rd eye.
7th Body: Aura
Do I feel security in universal love? Am I unhesitating in uplifting others as well as myself?
The Aura is the electromagnetic field which surrounds your body the same way the Earth’s Magnetic field envelopes the Earth. When it’s strong, it acts as a container for your life force and allows that life force to build up to a level where you feel confident and secure. The Aura is your protection, your shield. It can attract positivity and repel negativity-negativity from other people, from situations, and illness. If your Aura is weak, then you may be paranoid and lack self-trust, and negativity can penetrate into the psyche and into the physical body. All illness goes into the Aura first. So if you can heal yourself aurically and keep your Aura strong, then illness cannot penetrate into your physical body.
Key to balancing: Meditate. Wear white clothing made of natural fibers.
8th Body: Pranic Body
Do I fearlessly embrace life? Do I have enough energy to fulfill my goals?
Through your breath, your Pranic Body continuously brings the life force and energy into your system. This allows you to feel fearless, fully alive, and at one with all creation. When your Pranic Body is strong, and your breathing is deep and relaxed, nothing can bother you. You are self-motivated, and you have enough energy to achieve your goals. All disease starts with an imbalance in the Pranic Body. If your 8th Body is weak, you may have constant low –level anxiety and chronic fatigue. You may try to get energy from food or stimulants.
Key to balancing: All pranayam.
9th Body: Subtle Body
Am I subtle and sensitive and can I penetrate beyond superficiality? What is the REAL purpose of life?
Your Subtle Body helps you see beyond the immediate realties of life to the sublime universal play that lies beyond. When your Subtle Body is strong, you have great finesse and a powerful calmness. You learn quickly and master situations easily. The Subtle Body and the Soul Body are intricately connected. The Subtle Body carries the Soul at the time of death. If your 9th Body is weak, you may be naïve and easily fooled, unintentionally crude or rough in your speech or behavior.
Key to balancing: Do any meditation or kriya for 1,000 days.
10th Body: Radiant Body
Is my life an example of courage, royalty, and creativity?
The Radiant Body gives you spiritual royalty and radiance. Its strength makes you courageous in the face of any obstacle. You exert a magnetic presence and command the respect of all who know you. Yogi Bhajan calls the 10th Body “one-plus” because its one (your Soul Body), plus your radiance. If your 10th Body is underdeveloped, you may be afraid of conflict. You may shy away from other people’s attention, because you are afraid of the energy and responsibility that come with the recognition of your inner nobility.
Key to balancing: Commitment. Do not cut the hair.
Bhajan, Y. (2007). The Aquarian teacher: KRI international teacher training in Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Research Institute.
Kundalini Yoga, meditation, and massage are a beautiful combination of bringing these bodies into alignment.
About the writer:
Marisa loves hoop dancing, riding her bicycle, playing, hosting gatherings, practicing yoga, traveling, meeting people, eating, and savoring dark chocolate covered strawberries and coconut ice cream. She strives to be fully present, compassionate, and act and connect from a place of love.