Showing posts with label subtle body. Show all posts
Showing posts with label subtle body. Show all posts



The growth of vinyasa (Birch 2018, 101–180) has been one of the most exciting developments in contemporary yoga. 

Despite its widespread appeal, no comprehensive philosophy for its methodologies and operations has yet to be developed. 

The practices of asana – the "steady seat" of postural yoga – have been emphasized in both modern and traditional yoga, seeing it as necessary for contemplative activities. 

Vinyasa, on the other hand, views transitions between poses as equally important — at its most extreme, it advocates for continuous fluid movement that is inspired by and synchronized with breath. 

Asana yoga approaches have always attempted to recreate a profound sensation of changelessness. 

The body is held immobile, suspended breathing (a refinement of bodily immobility) is valued, and an effort is made to stop the mind's workings by bringing it to a point of fixity – essentially negating mundane bodily processes in order to achieve a more lucid experience of the unity that it sees as the true nature of the universe. 

"... defined and continuous focus, dubbed ekagrata ('on a single point,') is gained by integrating the mental flux... 

which clogs the mental stream and so produces a 'psychic mass,' a solid and unified continuity," according to Eliade (Eliade 1958, 47–48). 

This might be related to Milesian pre-Socratic thinkers' attempts to figure out what the actual essence of the cosmos as a basic or primordial material was. 

In this perspective, Vinyasa, on the other hand, shares a more Heraclitian idea, positing that the basis is a process rather than a substance. 

As its ekagrata, it favors the evenness with which the process develops above the fixity on a single and immovable point. 

The practices of vinyasa yoga include maintaining evenness of breath and synchronizing it with evenness of bodily movement in order to achieve evenness of mind, but it might be argued that evenness of mind is the first need. 

Breath, body, and mind are most likely engaged in a dynamically reciprocal relationship. 

The vinyasa approaches imply that time passes at a constant pace, with no "moments" of higher significance. 

The passage of time might also be equally accelerating, decreasing, or flowing irregularly, according to different theories. 

A fourth alternative is that time is only an abstract convention for an everlasting and undifferentiated present that is simultaneously brought into existence and obliterated - something that, ironically, constitutes unity via its ceaseless changingness. 

An attempt is made to maintain a longer breath in order to build awareness of this never-ending flow. 

Postures are shifted about and given no more weight than the movement toward or away from them. 

Because there is a distinction as the breath transitions from intake to exhale and back again, there is a sensation that length does matter, which would lead one to reject the view that there is no such thing as time. 

The duration of a breath does give a fairly realistic restriction for the development of focus or concentration — it is a very small period of time to maintain attention. 

When it's finished, there's minimal connection to the experience since there's no investment in it, and the next breath, with its own set of obstacles, comes quickly after. 

  • Each breath is special and should be savored for what it is and what it reveals over time. 
  • With each breath, the process starts again, and there is no fidelity to previous or future breaths. 
  • When respiration and movement are stated to be synchronized, it signifies more than "they happen at the same time." 
  • Each breath should be full yet regulated without exerting unnecessary pressure. 
  • The accompanying movement is similar - that specific breath could only cause that movement – the movement aims to be a flawless portrayal of what that breath is – not only as it occurs in time, but also as it shares its features. 

In the same way, the intellect is in perfect harmony with the breath. 

If the breath is a little ragged, it means the mind is agitated as well. 

The breath is thought to be an accurate intermediate between physical and mental processes, with each portion mediating and attempting to precisely represent the status of the whole as it travels through a continuous transition. 

This vinyasa philosophy presents an alternative to asana's pursuit of stillness perfection, saying that no matter how hard an asana practitioner tries to stay still, their breathing will always result in movement. 

Furthermore, blood continues to flow through the body in asana, cells continue to multiply and die, and the endocrine system continues to operate. 

The asana yogi would seem to be seated on a planet that spins on its axis as it hurtles around the sun – a solar that is part of a developing and slowly rotating galaxy that is part of an expanding cosmos (Rees 2001, 50–51). 

In summary, the nature of reality is this process of movement and change, and it is important to attune oneself to this process in order to be one with it. 

There are also significant distinctions between asana and vinyasa. 

Asana practitioners "gaze" within in quest of the oneness of underlying Self, eventually seeking detachment from body feeling - subjecting oneself to intense physical challenges until mastery is accomplished in stillness. 

The vinyasa method shown here, on the other hand, begins energetically at an infinitely tiny place inside the pelvic region and flows externally with a unification of breath, body, and mind. 

Before delving into the meaning of inner and outward, it's important to define the words prana and pranayama (yogic terminology for energy and the practices used to move it). 

The meaning of prana and, by extension, pranayama, is unclear. 

Prana is defined by Eliade as "organic energy expelled by breath and exhalation" (Eliade 1958, 58), but he does not specify what that organic energy is or where it goes. 

  • Vital life force energy is a frequent current definition, albeit it's unclear if the term vital implies that there are additional types of life force energy. 
  • Prana, according to Swami Rama, pervades everything of existence, even inanimate things (Rama 2002, 202). 

This wide definition might imply that prana is a kind of energy similar to that found at the atomic level. 

The word yama is frequently translated as "restraint," although it may also be translated as "control" or "manipulation."  

The goal of asana yoga is to put the prana into a condition where there is no flux - no energy discharge. 

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Sinh 1915, 4.18) and the Siva Samhita (Vasu 1914–15, 2.13) both list the nadis (or channels) in the body via which prana passes (72,000 and 350,000, respectively). 

In their book Roots Of Yoga, James Mallinson and Mark Singleton discuss how the primary nadis start at the "base" chakra and travel to the "crown" chakra (top of the head), allowing prana to flow through the "subtle body" (Mallinson and Singleton 2017, 171–184). 

The idea of a mysterious source of energy near the base of the spine with attached channels through which energy rises is a premise so pervasive and adamantly held that one must take a step back to appreciate what an extraordinary and peculiar assertion this is if taken literally – predicated on "subtle bodies" with elaborate structures that defy demonstration but have apparently resonated with practitioners throughout the ages; replete with "subtle bodies" with elaborate structures that belie demonstration. 

The "lower" chakras (nexuses of pranic energy) are more primitive and instinctive; the "higher" chakras (nexuses of pranic energy) are more noble and spiritual; The lower ones are more simple in their qualities, while the higher ones are more elaborate in their elaboration. 

It's debatable to what extent these alleged structures should be regarded literally in reality. 

They are, nevertheless, imaginatively strong weapons with both poetic and metaphoric resonance. 

The vinyasa philosophy described here claims that literal understanding of the "subtle body" and its architecture is impossible. 

Vinyasa, on the other hand, loosely adheres to this energetic foundation and interprets it as imagery that serves as a metaphor for its ekagrata of continuous flow. 

This imagery is a useful poetic conception around which the vinyasi can cohesively integrate the concrete efforts of body, mind, and breath. 

It is unique to each individual and is a useful poetic conception around which the vinyasi can cohesively integrate the concrete efforts of body, mind, and breath. 

Whatever shape a nadi and the energy that passes through it take, it's probable that each person imagines it differently ("My sushumna is like a glittering thread"; "Mine is like a plastic tube"). 

The mula (albeit not a chakra) is the location where this energy originates, and it is seen as an endlessly tiny and fictitious, but theoretically powerful, point positioned in the pelvic region somewhere between the sitting bones, pubic bone, coccyx, and pelvic floor. 

This is where the outward flow of prana is said to begin. 

Though "root" is a commonly accepted translation of mula, this meaning may lose some of the nuance that "location or site of origin" suggests. 

The vinyasa imagery serves as a strong focus point — its ekagrata – from which the whole body moves together. 

This assumption offers the framework for imagining prana (the activity of pranayama) flowing from this infinitely tiny place - so minuscule that it equates to a zero on a number line. 

Mula is the beginning point for the continual flow of energy in the direction of the legs and feet, as well as the torso, head, and arms - compared to light spreading forth. 

Zero points on number lines and light emitted from infinitely tiny points should be recognized for what they are: culturally particular metaphors attempting to create parallels for an experience that each practitioner would interpret differently. 

This idea of vinyasa places a premium on creative participation with the event, just as it does on intellectual, emotional, and physical engagement. 

The event consumes the totality of one's existence. 

Both asana and vinyasa appear to hold extreme polar positions on the surface – one a complete negation of self and the other a complete affirmation – but they are both predicated on the entry (or rebirth) into a different sphere of being or experience – that of understanding the true nature of reality. 

The way by which they strive to assure their capacity to recreate the experience at will is via technical mastery. 

Each has significant challenges to overcome in this endeavor. 

The numerous distractions of one's own thoughts must be quelled in asana - for those searching within – as they aim to discover a new and more universal plane of awareness. 

Those gazing outwards have the challenge of absorbing everything that their senses provide them and reacting to it in a completely coherent manner - one that sees the blatant manifestation of a distinct and developing "other" with whom they are attempting to blend their knowledge. 

Vinyasa Yoga recognizes that each person conducts this as a unique and imaginative endeavor, and so it falls within the ambit of aesthetic philosophy.

Sensory Control 

Pratayahara refers to the link between the senses and the mind in this vinyasa paradigm. 

Despite the fact that it appears in most current yoga sessions in some form, it is seldom mentioned by name. 

There are three working definitions of vinyasa's processes. 

The first is "sense withdrawal," which is the most common. 

Working with the eyes closed may be one of the techniques used, with the goal of eliminating any visual distractions. 

Yoga on a mat works in the same manner — by constraining the area in which the practice takes place, it reduces the influence of sensory information that comes from outside of it. 

Another term for it is "sense refinement." The effort of vinyasa to maintain movement, for example, might be supported by sensory information. 

The slight sense of air travelling between the fingers may be noticed when one moves one's arm and hands across space. 

The sensacion between the fingertips, however modest, provides a clear measurement of how smooth the movement is. 

It's worth noting that there's considerable overlap between the two definitions. 

Other sensual information becomes more evident when you shut your eyes to practice. 

"Rethinking" or "thinking differently" is the third definition of pratayahara. 

"When the mind is upset by incorrect ideas, the solution is to ponder the contrary," Phulgenda Sinha recommends. 

For example, instead of focusing on the multiple body parts required for vinyasa, imagine yourself as an energy singularity spreading forth to overcome distractions. 

Focused Concentration

The act of concentrating on a "single point" or ekagrata is referred to as dharana. 

The volume of this single point is significant; it may be thought of as a dot (or infinitely bigger or smaller) as well as an interior space (such as the space between the brows - the third eye). 

The practitioner makes a conscious effort to devote their whole self to filling or encompassing this singularity. 

Because the ekagrata's size and form are varied, exterior objects for contemplation may be anything from a lotus bloom to a dot on paper. 

Internally, everyone's perception of the third eye (and where it is located) is different. 

In vinyasa, the concept of volume is crucial. 

In their interaction with external stimuli, the vinyasa practitioner attempts to expand the volume of awareness to the extent of their capacities in the conditions of the location where they practice, a process known as dhyana. 

Dhyana is a kind of meditation that is often used in the performing arts. 

Actors' work must be sized correctly to match the theatre. 

Their act is "projected" to suit the location. 

The size of the theatre is the volume of their awareness. 

If someone coughs in the third row distracts them, that becomes the size of their awareness area (and the performance suffers). 

This whole process starts early in practice, when they first create a reality between themselves and their fellow actors, which subsequently grows to fill the rehearsal space. 

The majority of non-actors think that an actor adopts an emotional demeanor; that they, for example, simulate the feeling of grief. 

This, however, is not how it is done. 

Instead, the audience gets the impression that a character is sad because the actor develops the audience's intuition over the course of a series of simple and specific "actions" – 

"I pick up the teacup... 
bring it to my lips... 
put it down untouched" – and the sum of these individual actions creates the impression. "

Individual moments in theatre are chosen and performed in a manner that is, for the most part, unlike actual life. 

They are carried out with a single goal in mind. 

This singularity of focus is quite similar to the kind of single-pointed concentration used in vinyasa yoga as it moves through the postures. 

The vinyasi, like the teacup actor, tries to arrange their practice with a set of roughly repeatable movements. 

Only one action is performed on each inhale and exhale. 

An inhale may be the first step toward a high arch, while an exhale might be the first step toward a forward bend. 

When one examines each particular portion of the body, there is basically just one movement. 

In the instance of the high arch, the arms may form a single arc; the pelvis would only move forward; and the rib cage would expand evenly – and all of these motions occur at the same pace as the breath, allowing them to attain their maximum movement at the same moment. 

Each breath, as well as the movement it causes, is a record of the mind. 

Someone who is very anxious to imitate a high arch they like may hurry to bring the arms back farther than the breath allows. 

Mind (or spirit) and body (matter) are both transitory and transient elements of the same reality, and each breath gives a window into an individual's connection with that reality. 

The dhyana practice demonstrates how space and volume interact to effect the practitioner. 

Things that aren't "of" the practitioner - things that are "other" – have an impact on how the practitioner perceives reality. 

The way movement is elicited changes in a chilly space. 

The person also alters the environment. 

The exertion of their movement, for example, warms the space somewhat — their "energy" changes "the other." When an actor is performing a sad scene, the energy used in conceiving the volume of their awareness (a theatrical space) will make someone in the back row to feel sad as well (regardless of whether the circumstances of their life are happy or otherwise). 

The volume of awareness in a yoga studio may be confined or increased in a variety of ways. 

Rectangular yoga mats are very universally used and are a contemporary addition to yoga practice. 

While they provide cushioning and traction, they also restrict many people's connection with space by acting as a barrier that protects them from intrusion while simultaneously preventing further growth. 

Many children will rush to keep their feet, hands, or heads on the mat at all times. 

There are certain things that can help. 

For example, if a studio is large, it tends to attract one's attention into it; and the use of music has the ability to establish a more expanded link between the practitioner and whatever "space" the music indicates. 

The Space And Reality In Between You And Existence

The operations of the "actor's melancholy" or the yoga practitioner's encounter with "the other" seem to take place in a field (Between Space). 

What is the difference between space and time? 

The volume of consciousness may theoretically be endless, like the apeiron of the pre-Socratics. 

From the rectangle of a yoga mat to the edge of the perceivable cosmos, it's a long distance. 

Even the comparatively short distances of our near cosmic neighborhood challenge the imagination13, albeit imagination is one human tool for traversing such space. 

By quantifying the issue, science has been able to solve it. 

When written as words on a paper, fourteen billion light years14 does not seem to be that daunting. 

Asana practice appears to posit that this vastness is the same as the volume that can be discovered internally by negating thought-movements until there is an irreducible essence of negligible volume (that is also immaterial and temporally unbound), and that this foundation – the "essential self" – is the same as the universe. 

Although the concept of the infinitely tiny and endlessly huge being the same may seem illogical, there are plausible explanations. 

According to the Big Bang Theory, the whole universe arose from a single point of great density and high temperature. 

The vinyasa yogi's concentration on expanding the volume of awareness might be seen as a personal effort to mimic this process, while the asana yogi's inner gaze strives to reverse time and space, bringing the whole cosmos back into a single fundamental point that holds the All. 

Physics and yoga comparisons are always forced. 

In theory, physical yoga practice has the same aim as physics, but it may be hampered by the restrictions of its "laboratory." 

There is still the chance that a prodigy sadhu had insights as implausible as Maxwell's or Einstein's recognition that Newtonian physics, although seeming to be common sense (space and time as absolutes), is not the reality (that space and time are warped). 

It is still too early to draw definitive conclusions on how current scientific knowledge of space influences the contemporary yogi's perception of "actual reality" - yet it may be cautiously accepted as a leap of faith that the universe is not as we see it. 

It is useful to study what may be seen and acquired from "life as it is lived" with incomplete knowledge. 

In the Between Space, there are "dhyanic" components to how a theatrical audience's attention works. 

Their level of awareness must embrace everything the performer is doing. 

The way a sunset is viewed provides a better explanation of how volume of awareness and the Between Space interact. 

The magnificence of a sky richly colored with colored light and shadows playing on the clouds may encourage one to feel beautiful. 

The experience of beauty, on the other hand, does not exist if no one sees it (just as the audience's grief does not exist if no one sees it - beauty and sadness are experiences, not objects in and of themselves). 

Only when the participant's volume of awareness is extended to take in the scope - the Between Space – in which the experience is supposed to occur, can the experience occur. 

There is no consideration of whether such cumulonimbus clouds would be better if they were cirrus clouds in the participant's experience. 

Acceptance and involvement are present. 

The audience, as little as their involvement may seem, plays an important role since the feeling of beauty would not be possible without them. 

In the far greater realm of the cosmos itself, the vinyasi serves the same purpose. 

The phrase samadhi might refer to a direct experience of the Totality. 

To achieve total yoga unity, there must be a dissolution of the idea that the person seeing is separate from the sunset – so that they exist without distinction. 

It takes a leap of faith to think that this can be done with the power of imagination.

References & Further Reading: 

Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Sri Srimad and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya, 2nd Edition. New Delhi: Gaudiya Vedanta Publications, 2015.

Birch, Jason. “The proliferation of asana-s in late-medieval yoga texts.” In Yoga and transformation historical and contemporary perspectives, edited by Karl Baier, Philipp A. Maas, and Karin Preisendanz, 101–180. Vienna: Vienna University Press, 2018.

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. The dance of Siva: essays on Indian art and culture.
New York: Dover, 1985.

Cooper, David E. “Introduction.” In Aesthetics: the classic readings, edited by David E. Cooper, 1–10. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.

Eliade, Mircea. Yoga immortality and freedom, translated by Willard R. Trask. 
Princeton: Bollingen Foundation, Princeton University Press, 1958.

Herbermann, Charles, ed. “The Absolute.” In Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1913.

Jakubczak, Marzenna. “The purpose of non-theistic devotion in the classical Indian tradition of Sāmkhya-Yoga.” Argument, vol. 4 (January, 2014): 55–68.

Jaspers, Karl. The origin and goal of history, translated by Michael Bullock. London: Routledge, 1955.

Johnson, Williams J., translator. The Bhagavad Gita. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Lewis-Williams, David and David Pearce. Inside the neolithic mind. London: Thames and Hudson, 2005.

Mallinson, James and Mark Singleton. Roots of yoga. New York: Penguin Books, 2017.

McGilchrist, Iain. The master and his emissary: the divided brain and the making of the Western world. New Haven: Yale, 2009.

Rama, Swami. The science of breath. Delhi: The Himalayan Institute Press, 1979.

Rama, Swami. Sacred journey: living purposefully and dying gracefully. Delhi: Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, 2002.

Rees, Martin. Our cosmic habitat. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Sinh, Pancham. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Sanskrit text with English translation. New 
Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1915.

Sinha, Phulgenda. The Gita as it was: rediscovering the original Bhagavad Gita. LaSalle: Open Court, 1986.

Stark, Rodney and William Sims Bainbridge. The future of religion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Tarnas, Richard. The passion of the Western mind: understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. London: Pimlico, 1991.

Vasu, Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra, translators. Siva Samhita. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1914–15.

Hinduism - What Is The Ida Nadi? Where Is The Ida Nadi located According To Yoga And Ayurveda?


In ancient concepts of the subtle body, the Ida Nadi is one of the vertical channels (nadi).

The subtle body is a physiological system that is said to exist on a distinct level of existence than the physical body, yet has certain similarities to it.

It's shown as a series of six psychic centers (chakras) that run nearly parallel to the spine and are joined by three parallel vertical channels.

Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (power), the latter as the latent spiritual force known as kundalini, are located above and below these centers.

The ida nadi is the left side of the body's vertical channel.

The ida nadi, like the rest of the subtle body, has symbolic correspondences; in particular, it is associated with the moon and hence seems to be bright in hue. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Yoga For The Physical And Subtle Body.

If you've been practicing yoga for any amount of time, you're well aware that it doesn't operate in a linear, clear-cut, or easily explainable manner. 

Despite the fact that yoga is both a science and a philosophical philosophy, its advantages go well beyond what the human eye can perceive. 

Yoga has an effect on our subtle bodies, which goes beyond what we know about anatomy and physiology in the West. 

The gross or physical body (Stula Sharira), the subtle body (Sukshma Sharira), and the causal body (Sukshma Sharira) make up each of us (Karana Sharira). 

The physical body is made up of the muscles and bones that we can feel and see. 

The Annamaya Kosha, the coarsest of the five sheaths, is formed by it. 

It's critical to develop a yoga practice that helps our whole body. 

The subtle body may be thought of as a blueprint for our physical body. 

Nadis are energy channels that transport energy throughout the body, just as electricity does in a machine. 

From the Muladhara (Root) Chakra to the Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra, the Sushumna Nadi travels down the spine. 

The Ida and Pingala, two other major Nadis, run through us in spiraling energy centers known as chakras. 

Chakras are Sanskrit for "light wheels." When we do yoga, we have an effect on our body, mind, and emotions on a subtle level. 

Different asanas and pranayama have an effect on how we feel, not only in our muscles and bones, but also in our whole outlook on life. 

We may feel different from the inside out by using various asanas and combinations of asanas. 

Dhanurasana (Backbend), for example, is a difficult position that strengthens and expands the spine, shoulders, and legs. 

  • This posture energizes and uplifts your mood by stimulating your Anahata (Heart) chakra and opening your Visshuda (Throat) chakra. 

Forward folds, such as Paschimottanasa (Seated Forward Fold), are more introspective asanas in which you open your posterior chain muscles while quieting your nervous system. 

  • So, if you're in a bad mood, try heart openers, and if you're in a bad mood, try folding forward. 

Understanding how asanas may help you keep your energy in check will help you remain healthy on all levels.

What is subtle body yoga, and how does it work? 

The subtle body is made up of focus points known as chakras that are linked by channels known as nadis that carry subtle breath known as prana. 

A practitioner may control the subtle breath to attain supernormal abilities, immortality, or freedom via breathing and other activities. 

In yoga, what is subtle energy? 

The subtle life force energy known to yogis as 'prana' is the basis of all life and the whole cosmos. 

From large physical motions to minute biochemical processes, this mystical energy runs through our bodies and produces all of our actions. 

What are the three subtle body elements? 

The yogi feels pleasure and suffering via the subtle body. 

A person is made up of three bodies, according to Hindu and yogic philosophy: the karana sharira (causal body), sukshma sharira (subtle body), and karya sharira (physical body) (gross physical body). 

What is the meaning of Sthula Sharira? 

The gross body, also known as Sthula sarira, is the material bodily mortal body that eats, breathes, and moves (acts). 

It is made up of a variety of elements that have undergone panchikarana, or the merging of the five primordial subtle elements, as a result of one's karmas (actions) in a previous incarnation. 

What are the Koshas and what are their functions? 

Koe-shuh is how it's pronounced. The food sheath, or the body made up of skin, eyes, and hair, is regarded the first kosha, or the outermost kosha, the annamaya kosha, which is literally what we consume turned into a functional body. 

How to become Aware and Activate the Koshas and The Subtle Body? 

Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fresh, healthy meals. 

The physical body is what I'm referring to. 

The anandamaya kosha, or our joy sheath, is the last kosha, or the innermost kosha. 

This kosha is similar to a little portion of the Causal Body or Spirit, the entity that dwells inside us and is linked to something far bigger than ourselves and includes everything. 

Three middle koshas, pranayama kosha, manomaya kosha, and vijnanamaya kosha, sit between and overlap these. 

These koshas work together to filter information from our senses in such a manner that barriers and distractions are eliminated from our journey to samadhi, or enlightenment and joy, using the breath, mind and memory, intellect, wisdom, and intuition. 

Are koshas corporeal in the sense that they would rip or be visible if you split your body in half? 


(The kleshas are the same way.) 

Are they genuine in the sense that they are a shape and structure devised by ancient thinkers to assist us in comprehending how we possess all of the tools necessary to connect with the Divine Universe? 


However, it's worth noting that some individuals claim to be able to detect when the Subtle Body is functioning by a shift in energy that is visible or otherwise recognizable outside of the body. 

What is the best way for me to get access to my subtle body? 

There are a variety of active – and individual – methods to connect with your Subtle Body. 

All of the sheaths in between are accessible through consciousness, perception, cognition, and intuition. 

  • The Subtle Body is the link between our physical and causal bodies (AKA Universe, Spirit, God). 
  • The Subtle Body is constantly striving to integrate sensory information from the physical body and develop our connection to the Universe, but we may feel that deeper connection more immediately on and off the mat when we deliberately engage it during our yoga practice. 
  • On the mat, activating the Subtle Body is straightforward but not always easy. 

There are five easy actions you can do on and off the mat to deliberately engage the Subtle Body to get you started. 

1 – The word yoga literally means "to yoke," and tagging in the Subtle Body does not imply leaving the physical body. 

  • This implies that activating the Subtle Body does not need sitting and meditating. 
  • The first body is your food body, which you may activate for spiritual reasons by eating well. 
  • The happiness condition is experienced by the interior body. 
  • When someone is engaged in their love - painting, writing, singing, or cuddling a newborn – they may find themselves in that condition unintentionally. 
  • There are a variety of active – and individual – methods to connect with your Subtle Body. 
  • All of the sheaths in between are accessible by combining consciousness, perception, mind, and intuition. 

2 - Touch isn't only limited to the fingers. 

  • The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and it is not limited to the fingers. 
  • It is the initial responder for most of our perception. 
  • We may begin the process of connecting to the Subtle Body by grounding oneself on the mat, especially while we are on our mat. 
  • Take note of where the body makes contact. 
  • Feel the feeling of burying oneself in the ground and pulling energy from it into the body. 
  • This is heightened awareness, and it is here that we ground ourselves and begin the activation process by honestly and fully assessing where we are, where we are standing (or lying). 
  • This enables us to awaken not just the annamaya kosha, the outermost sheath, but also the inner three koshas, which process information at various degrees of consciousness. 

3 – The feet and hands include about half of the body's bones. 

  • The hands and feet (27 and 26, respectively) contain almost half of the body's bones, each of which is linked to a labyrinth of small muscles, joints, and ligaments. 
  • In addition to the 26 bones, the feet contain around 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles, as well as 30 joints. 
  • Minor changes to your stance, how you point or flex your foot, and where you feel release in your body, as well as your feeling of lightness and balance on the mat, are all possibilities. 
  • Paying attention to these minute nuances goes beyond the senses and raises your Subtle Body awareness to new heights. 

4 – Softening is similar to stretching, but it's more effective! 

  • The cue to "soften" is one of the buzzword cues you may be hearing (or utilizing) more often in the studio. 
  • Because the cue is basically asking you to relax particular muscles while in a posture, enabling the emphasis to shift to activation of important bodily components – or the mind, memory recall, wisdom, and intuition that is the Subtle Body at action - this is a term that encourages the Subtle Body to awaken. 
  • When we “stretch” in a posture, we are reaching for something that is out of reach, pushing our limits, and perhaps attempting to achieve something that is beyond our capabilities. 
  • It's a concept that takes up room and demands attention, impeding our capacity to turn within and concentrate on the Subtle Body. 
  • When we "soften" in a posture, however, we are encouraged to relax into what is already natural to us, enabling us to experience a feeling of release that allows us to concentrate more on the Subtle Body's activation. 

5 – Breath is more than just air; it links the physical and subtle energy bodies. 

  • Too often, we speak about pranayama as if it were only the art and science of getting oxygen into the body. 
  • When we speak about yoga practice in general and Subtle Body activation on or off the mat in particular, we're talking about so much more: it's about directing life force or energy into the various sheaths utilizing the breath. 
  • Do you recall the three koshas that exist between the food sheath and the bliss sheath/Causal Body? These are traversed by using breath that is guided by awareness and intuition and propelled by purpose. 
  • This may be done in silence, as well as in any yoga position on the mat or in any circumstance off the mat. 

The Subtle Body may be accessed in any situation by combining the power of the mind and breath. It gets simpler and more accessible the more you practice it!

You may also want to read more about Yoga here.

You may also want to read more about Yoga Asanas and Exercises here.


Despite the fact that our physical bodies appear to be thick and substantial, they are made up of billions of molecules and atoms, or energy in continual motion. 

The soul (the indwelling pure spirit – the truth of who we are) has numerous interconnected non-physical, subtle bodies or vehicles encircling and interpenetrating the physical form, each of which is a field of energy vibrating at a certain frequency level and density. 

The individual soul manifests itself through five sheaths (koshas), which are separated into three bodies: the physical body, astral body, and causal body. 

Our everyday experiences in the three states of thought — awake (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), and dreamless sleep — are mediated by the physical, astral, and causal bodies, respectively (sushupti). 

The soul exists outside of these three states, seeing them. 

So there are five sheaths divided across three bodies, each of which serves as a vehicle for the manifestation of the soul awareness, which is separate from all of them . 

  • The physical sheath of the gross body, the annamaya kosha (food sheath), is vulnerable to birth, growth, sickness, decay, and death. 
  • The food sheath gets its name from its reliance on gross prana in the form of food, water, and air. 

Prana is the essential life-energy that allows life and creation to exist.

  • Prana pervades the entire universe and may be found in both the macrocosmos and microcosmos. There is no life without prana. 
  • Prana is the connection that connects the astral and physical bodies; when this relationship is severed, the physical body dies. 
  • The astral and prana bodies both leave the physical body.) It's also made up of the five components (ether, air, fire, water and earth). 


The five subtle elements akash (ether), vayu (air), tejas (fire), jala (water), and prithvi (earth) make up the astral body, which creates the five gross elements on the physical plane. There are three sheaths that make up the astral body.

You may also want to read more about Yoga here.

You may also want to read more about Yoga Asanas and Exercises here.