Thursday, May 27, 2010


"The adhesive force by which all three bodies are held together is desire. The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man's slavery."
-Sri Yukteswar Giri, quoted in Autobiography of a Yogi

The Physical Body is the crudest of the three bodies, and is the container that the Atman inhabits in this incarnation. The first three steps of Astanga Yoga - Yama, Niyama, and Asana – strengthen and purify the physical body.

The Astral Body exists within the physical body but is of a more subtle nature and extends out a few inches from it. It cannot be seen or touched (except by those with Siddhis, who may see it as an aura of swirling colors), although it can often be sensed. It includes the Nadis and Chakras as well as the Prana, which links it to the physical body. It is said to carry the soul’s Karma and past impressions into the next life. It is strengthened and purified through the middle three steps of Astanga Yoga – Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana.

The Causal Body exists within the physical and astral bodies but is even larger and more subtle and of a higher vibration. It carries the seed state of the individual or Atman from one reincarnation to the next. It is devoid of individuality or personality, and is experienced through the final two steps of Astanga Yoga – Dhyana and Samadhi.

Read more here.


*Not to be confused with the five Koshas or sheaths.

Illustration from this delightful website.

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