how to activate the 10 bodies

Ever heard the inspirational quote, “You only have one body, take care of it”?

It’s meant to help us live healthy, intentional lives in our physical body and I’m all for that! But there’s also more to it.

We tend to associate our identity and our physical symptoms to our physical body, but what if I told you, you had other bodies too?

While it is true that we only have one physical body that we can see, feel, and touch, yogic teachings say we’re more than our physical body. We have other subtle energies that relate to our physical, emotional, and energetic wellbeing — other bodies, you might say.

Yogi Bhajan, the founder of Kundalini yoga in the western world, introduced the 10 Bodies as a way for people to understand our subtle anatomy in a practical way. He said, “If you understand that you are Ten Bodies, and you are aware of those Ten Bodies, and you keep them in balance, the whole Universe will be in balance with you.”

This post will explore the meaning of each of the ten bodies, signs of mastery, imbalance, and ways to balance each body.

What Are The 10 Bodies?

the 10 bodies of yoga brett larkin

The 10 Bodies consist of the physical body, three mental bodies, and six energy bodies. They resemble the powerful capacities of your unconscious and conscious mind. 

When you strengthen and balance them, each of the 10 Bodies has specific benefits that you can draw on. On the opposite side, when you neglect the bodies or they fall out of balance, they also have very apparent deficits.

Yogi Bhajan said, “The root of all disease exists first in one of the spiritual or energy bodies before it manifests outwardly.” By strengthening and balancing the 10 Bodies, we can lead healthier and happier lives.

The Ten Bodies are also an integral part of Kundalini yoga, a deeply spiritual awakening process where prana (life force energy) moves through the subtle body until it reaches the Sahasrara Chakra.

The best part is we have the ability to strengthen any of the Ten Bodies just like you would a muscle!

Why is this a good thing? 

When we feel stuck or down in our lives, there’s a good chance one of our Bodies is out of balance. If we can identify it and strengthen that body, we can change things. However, to do this, we have to be open and willing to connect with our higher being — and we have to know what the bodies are!

So, first step? Learning the bodies. Let’s jump in.

1. The Soul Body

the soul body

The first body is the soul body. It connects you to your inner infinity—the place that helps you identify your purpose and destiny in the truest and purest form.

Qualities: Humility, Creativity

Key Phrase: “Heart over head.” When your Soul Body is strong your creativity flows with simplicity and purity. 

Signs of Mastery:  When your Soul body is balanced, you feel connected to your inner wisdom and intuition. Your intuition is strong, and creativity flows with ease and humility.

Signs of Imbalance:  If your first body is imbalanced, you are operating from your head instead of your heart. You will lack creativity, feel ineffective, and are at a loss to understand your purpose in life.

How to Balance: 

  • Try heart opening practices such as Camel pose or cobra pose
  • Chanting the mantra, Yam (pronounced “yum”)
  • Practicing selflessness and unconditional love for your loved ones and strangers alike 

2. The Negative/Protective Mind

the protective mind

The Negative Mind is the part of your intellect that helps create awareness of your surroundings, assess potential dangers, and protect you by setting boundaries. Think about a time when you developed a pros and cons list to assess a situation – the negative mind is like the ‘cons’ part of your list.

Qualities: Containment, obedience, discipline 

Key Phrase: “Longing to belong” You are in a place of containment and obedience that gives shape to connect very deeply to your higher power.

Signs of Mastery: When your Second Body is balanced, you listen to your inner intuition and you make decisions that keep you safe and out of harm’s way.

Signs of Imbalance: When your Negative Mind is weak, your longing to belong causes you to get into self destructive relationships because you are over influenced by others. You may feel like you’re all over the place, uncentered, or change the way you act depending on who you’re with.

How to Balance:

  • Develop conscious relationships that lift you up in positive ways
  • Set boundaries that will protect your wellbeing and mental health
  • Make choices based on your personal values (not on what you think others expect of you)

3. The Positive/Expansive Mind

the expansive mind

With the Positive Mind, you view all situations in life through a hopeful ‘glass half full’ lens. This is the optimistic view. It’s like making sweet lemonade out of sour lemons. You are playful and optimistic, always seeking the bright side of things. Your strong will helps you lead with ease and humility.

Qualities: Equality, Positivity

Key Phrase: “Devil or divine” You have the tendency to flip from one trait to the other.

Signs of Mastery: When you are in balance with your Positive Mind, you flow effortlessly with charisma and grace. You’re playful, happy, and jovial nature inspires those around you to be positive and optimistic about the future.

Signs of Imbalance: When your Positive Mind is weak, you may feel overwhelmed by sentiments from your Negative Mind, leading to a depressive state or a state of mental paralysis. You may hesitate to use your own power in fear of the responsibility that comes with asserting yourself.

How to Balance:

4. The Neutral Mind

the meditative mind

The Fourth Body, the Neutral Mind, is also called the Meditative Mind. Many consider it to be the best of the three mental bodies and six energy bodies because the Neutral Mind evaluates input from the other bodies (negative and positive minds included) to provide you with quick intuitive guidance. This Mind is full of compassion, and helps you connect your intuition with your soul. 

Qualities: Service, Compassion, Integration

Key Phrase: “Cup of Prayer” You have full appreciation of your existence.

Signs of Mastery: You are able to access your intuitive senses with calm and ease.

Signs of Imbalance: You may have a difficult time making decisions, and you may feel like you don’t belong due a lack of meaning or purpose of your life experiences.

How to Balance:

  • Be intentional with your behavior (Long deep breathing helps to gain perspective)
  • Meditate and lead with a sense of calm
  • Avoid intellectual arguments

5. Physical Body

the physical body

The Physical Body creates a connection between heaven and earth. The key to creating this harmonious connection is to find intentional balance and healing in all aspects of your life.

Qualities: Sacrifice, Balance, Teacher

Key Phrase: “Be balanced and teach” Find the balance to teach and inspire others. 

Signs of Mastery: If your Physical Body is strong, you are able to take abstract thoughts and teach them to all types of learners and learning levels.

Signs of Imbalance: If your Physical Body is weak, you may feel angry, jealous, greedy and ungrateful.  You may not be able to express yourself verbally and your inner and outer realities will be out of sync.

How to Balance:

  • Develop a healthy, balanced routine that keeps the physical body strong and flexible
  • Use your energy to help teach others to take care and nurture themselves
  • Share the life lessons you have learned with others

6. Arc Body

the arc body

The Arc Body is the line of energy that extends from earlobe to earlobe, also called your halo. Women have a second arcline that extends from nipple to nipple. This radiant body is associated with the pituitary gland, which regulates the nervous system and glandular balance, protecting your heart center.

Qualities: Justice, Protection, Projection

Key Phrase: “Person at Prayer” A balance of physical and cosmic realms.

Signs of Mastery: When your Arc Body is balanced, you are able to focus, concentrate, and meditate. You are able to tap into your third eye and use your intuition to manifest what you want for your life.

Signs of Imbalance: When your Sixth Body is weak, you may be easily influenced, unfocused, and unable to manifest your desires.

How to Balance:

  • Waken your pituitary gland through Balasana, Child Pose (this activates your Sixth Chakra
  • Close your eyes and chant “AUM” 
  • Try to meditate and focus on creating positive “I am” statements

7. Auric Body

the auric body

The Seventh Body, your Auric Body is the electromagnetic field of energy that surrounds your Physical Body. Your Aura acts as a container for your life force energy and is a protective shield of magnetic presence that extends up to 9 feet around your body.

Qualities: Mercy, Security, Love

Key Phrase: “Platform of Elevation” Uplift yourself and others through your aura.

Signs of Mastery: When your Auric Body is strong, you feel elevated, and your presence lifts those around you. You also repel negativity in this balanced state.

Signs of Imbalance: When your Auric body is weak, you may be paranoid and lack self trust. This can cause you to conform to the needs of others as a means to please them.

How to Balance:

  • Wear white clothing made from natural fibers to magnify the power of your Aura
  • Meditate and visualize your aura being protected through positive  energy
  • Build prana through your yoga practice

8. Pranic Body

the pranic body

Through your Eighth Body, the Pranic Body, your breath brings life force energy to your Physical Body and Soul Body. This energy ignites the creative flow to your system, helping you to be fearless and at one with your higher being.

Qualities: Purity, Energy, Fearlessness

Key Phrase: “Finite to Infinite” Your breath transcends the whole universe

Signs of Mastery: You are self motivated and have the energy to accomplish your soul’s purpose with confidence.

Signs of Imbalance: You may experience constant low level anxiety and chronic fatigue. You may also try to find energy from external sources like food or other stimulants.

How to Balance:

9. Subtle Body

the subtle body

The Ninth Body, your Subtle Body, helps you see beyond the immediate realities of your current life to what lies beyond.  There is a strong connection between your Subtle Body and Soul Body because the Subtle Body carries the Soul Body at the time of death. 

Qualities: Calmness, Subtlety, Mastery

Key Phrase: “Mastery or Mystery”  Learn to be attuned to your Bodies so you can master the nuances of life.

Signs of Mastery: When your Subtle Body is strong, you carry yourself with powerful calmness and finesse. Your intuition gives you a good sense of the consequences of actions and events before they take place.

Signs of Imbalance: If your Subtle Body is weak, you may be naïve about situations or feel misunderstood or frustrated due to the lack of peace that comes with your natural flow. 

How to Balance:

  • Practice Kundalini yoga to strengthen your internal consciousness
  • Meditate for 1,000 days
  • Use Kriyas to help you regain a peaceful and energetic flow

10. Radiant Body

the radiant body

The final body, the Radiant Body, provides you with strength and courage through any obstacle. Your sheer presence commands respect from others. Yogi Bhajan calls the tenth body “one plus”—it encompasses your Soul Body plus your radiance.

Qualities: Royal Courage, Radiance, Nobility

Key Phrase: “All or nothing” You always give 110%! 

Signs of Mastery:  You have mastered this body when you exceed all expectations, and genuinely act with courage through fearful situations.

Signs of Imbalance: You may be afraid of conflict, and shy away from the attention of people because you don’t want the responsibility that comes with the acknowledgment of your magnificent inner wisdom.

How to Balance:

  • Commit to your values and being your true self — if you haven’t yet figured out your values or true self, figuring that out is a great first step!
  • Avoid cutting your hair; it energizes the Radiant Body
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