Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Kundalini Yoga is based on working with balancing and strengthening the Ten Bodies. The physical body, three mental bodies and six energetic bodies. The Eleventh body is the embodiment of all the Ten Bodies. Some practices concentrate on a specific body, while others work with the whole system. A Kriya is a series of postures, breath, and sounds that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a Kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously.
The Ten Bodies are powerful capacities of the psyche. Each body has specific gifts that manifest when strong, and certain deficit tendencies that surface when weak. Your caliber is determined by the balance of your Ten Bodies. You can strengthen any of the Ten Bodies by developing an ability to identify which body is out of balance and then practicing the appropriate technology to strengthen that body. Choose a meditation or Kriya that works that particular body.
"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." ~ Yogi Bhajan
First Body: Soul Body
Our first body is our Soul Body. Our Soul Body is our flow of spirit, our connection to infinity and quite literally the Soul. This body is our foundational and True Self, providing us with the ability to live from our heart. The Soul Body responds to all heart-work and the raising of our Kundalini (the life force energy that rises up our spine).
The part in you connected to the Infinite. Your inner infinity.
Key phrase: “Heart over Head”.
Mastery: come from a place of great humility, relax into the flow of God energy and use it to create beauty.
If weak: you come from the head instead of heart; feel stuck, not able to access your purpose and creative flow.
Key to Balancing: Raise the Kundalini and open the heart.
Second Body: Negative (Protective) Mind
Our second body is our Negative Mind. And before you go all "negative," consider this: our Negative Mind is our first and often our strongest "body," constantly working to assess our environment and situations for danger or negative potential. Our Negative Mind keeps us safe and alive and also gifts us with, as Yogi Bhajan said, “a longing to belong.” The Negative Mind is balanced with discipline and integrity.
Identifies possible dangers or shortcomings in a situation; necessary for protection.
Key phrase: “Longing to Belong”.
Mastery: gives form to the creativity of your Soul Body via containment, form, and discernment; a longing to connect very deeply with your own God Self.
If weak: inappropriate, self-destructive relationships; over-influenced by others
Key to Balancing: value your discipline; develop conscious relationships of integrity; strengthen the Positive Mind if the Negative Mind is overdeveloped
Third Body: Positive (Expansive) Mind
Our third body is our Positive Mind. Our Positive Mind works to assess what is beneficial, positive, and affirming. This "body" sees opportunity and allows us to identify resources. The Positive Mind gives us our willpower as well as our playfulness. Everything we do to strengthen our navel point (think strong core) and to increase our self-esteem is beneficial for this body.
Inspires you by telling you what is possible to gain, the advantage to you, in any situation.
Key phrase: “Devil or Divine”.
Mastery: strong will, use power easily and humbly; naturally playful and optimistic.
Good sense of humor; can communicate directly.
If weak: overwhelmed by input of the Negative Mind, which can be depressing and paralyzing; angry and intolerant, or hesitant to use your own power because of being afraid of the responsibility.
Key to Balancing: strengthen the Navel Point (Third Chakra); use positive affirmations; strengthen the Negative Mind if the Positive Mind is overdeveloped.
Fourth Body: Neutral (Meditative) Mind
Our fourth body is our Neutral Mind. Our Neutral Mind absorbs and evaluates the assessments from the Negative and the Positive Minds and delivers guidance to us. Our Neutral Mind is compassionate, intuitive, and gives us the ability to recognise polarities. Meditation is great for balancing this body.
Takes the information from both Negative and Positive Minds and decides on the best course of action using unbiased, intuitive knowledge.
Service, compassion, integration.
Key phrase: “Cup of Prayer”.
Mastery: a very intuitive vantage point; allows access to the soul.
If weak: difficult to make decisions; the habit of feeling victimized; a hard time seeing beyond the polarities of life.
Key to Balancing: meditate.
Fifth Body: Physical Body
Our fifth body is our Physical Body. This body is the temple where all the bodies dwell in some way, shape or form. The Physical Body gifts us with the ability to balance ourselves and our lives as well as the capacity to sacrifice for our hopes, our dreams, and the greater community. This body also holds the energy of the Teacher. The Physical Body loves regular exercise and sharing what has been learned.
The vehicle through which you participate fully on earth.
Sacrifice, balance, teacher.
Key phrase: “Teacher, Balance”.
Mastery: represent the teacher who is able to take abstractions and explain them to anyone; ability to balance all parts of your life without extremes like laziness or fanaticism.
If weak: angry, jealous, greedy, competitive, and ungrateful; inner and outer realities out of balance; trouble expressing yourself verbally; afraid to be in the position of teacher.
Key to Balancing: exercise regularly; teach.
Sixth Body: Arcline
Our sixth body is our Arcline. You can visualize your Arcline Body as a halo, extending from earlobe to earlobe and encompassing the hairline and brow. Women have a second Arcline across the breast line. Our Arcline Body gives us the ability to both project as well as intuit. This body grants us the ability to focus as well as meditate. The Arcline responds well to pituitary gland sequences as well as drishti (gaze) to the third eye.
Associated with the pituitary gland, regulates the nervous system and glandular balance.
Justice, protection, projection.
Key Phrase “Person at Prayer”.
Balance between physical and cosmic realms.
Mastery: ability to focus, to be concentrated, to meditate; use the intuition of the Sixth Body to protect yourself from life’s stresses and avoid shutting down your heart.
If weak: overprotective; easily influenced; glandular imbalances leading to inconsistency in moods and behavior; unfocused and unable to manifest prayers.
Key to Balancing: awaken the pituitary gland (Sixth Chakra).
Seventh Body: Auric Body
Our seventh body is our Aura. This body is our electromagnetic field of energy that surrounds our Physical Body. Ironically, I often feel that I am straying into the fanciful zone when talking about the Aura, and yet the Aura is scientifically measurable as well as scientifically validated! Our Aura acts as a container for our prana, our life force energy. This body also acts as a shield of protection and allows us to elevate ourselves - energetically as well as consciously. Meditation is beneficial, as well as wearing natural fibers. The color white, which holds all the colors of the spectrum, is believed to expand and magnify our Aura.
The aura is the electromagnetic field that surrounds your body; it acts as a container for your life force, bringing confidence and security.
Mercy, security, love.
Key phrase: “Platform of Elevation”.
Mastery: attracts positivity and repels negativity, like a shield; illness cannot penetrate to your physical body; sense of security allows an uplifting presence and treating others with mercy.
If weak: paranoid, lack self-trust; negativity can penetrate into the psyche and physical body.
Key to Balancing: meditate; wear white clothing made of natural fibers; work on the Eighth Chakra.
Eighth Body: Pranic Body
Our eighth body is our Pranic Body. By breathing, we are constantly working with our Pranic Body to bring in life force. This body gives us the gift of energy for action and accomplishment. All pranayama will have a positive impact on our Pranic Body.
Through the breath, the Pranic Body continuously brings the life force and energy into your system.
Purity, energy, fearlessness, self-initiation.
Key phrase: “Finite to Infinite”.
Mastery: fearless, fully alive, at one with all creation; nothing can bother you; self-motivated with enough energy to achieve goals.
If weak: constant low-level anxiety and chronic fatigue; look to food or stimulants for energy; fearful, defensive.
Key to Balancing: all pranayam.
Ninth Body: Subtle Body
Our ninth body is our Subtle Body. This body allows us to see beyond what is in front of us to the universal play of everything. Our Subtle Body is deeply woven with our Soul Body. When we die, our Subtle Body carries our Soul. Many great teachers continue to influence us through their Subtle Body, beyond the death of their Physical Body. Our capacity for mastery is held in this body. In keeping with mastery, doing a Kundalini practice for 1,000 days in a row is a way to balance the Subtle Body.
Calmness, subtlety, mastery.
Key phrase: “Mastery or Mystery”.
Mastery: have great finesse and a powerful calmness; learn quickly and master situations easily; able to walk into a room and intuitively know what’s going on.
If weak: naïve and easily fooled, unintentionally crude or rough in speech or behavior; restless.
Key to Balancing: do any meditation or Kriya for 1,000 days.
Tenth Body: Radiant Body
Our tenth body is our Radiant Body. This body is exactly as it sounds—it gives us our radiance as well as our courage, our nobility. People that are magnetic and/or charismatic are great examples of well-developed and balanced Radiant Bodies. The greatest thing we can do for our Radiant Body is to have commitment. To be committed to our practice, to kindness, truth, and excellence in life is a great way to amplify our radiance.
Key phrase: “All or Nothing"
Mastery: courageous in the face of any obstacle; magnetic presence and command the respect of all who know you
If weak: afraid of conflict, shy away from people’s attention; feel ineffective and unable to come through in situations.
Key to Balancing: commitment; do not cut the hair.
Eleventh Embodiment: Parallel Unisonness
Eleven is embodiment, the state where we are beyond duality and in the flow of truth, balance, and the divine. All Ten Bodies are balanced. Eleven represents the sound current, the source of Infinity from which all mantras originate. In this state you can direct the play of all Ten Bodies; Eleven contains all. You can direct all parts of your being from an impersonal, expansive space that allows Infinity to flow through you at all times.
“When the God in you, and the human in you are in parallel oneness, then you are an 11. You have no duality, you have divine vision, and the truth flows from you. You don’t have to find anything outside of you. The jewels are all in you – you are rich inside, you have satisfaction and contentment.”
Resources: The Aquarian Teacher (level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher manual), Yogi Bhajan, 2003 – Chapter 16 & The Kundalini Yoga Experience: bringing body mind and spirit together, Guru Dharam S. Khalsa and Darryl O’Keefe, 3H0.