Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Many people are not aware that our physical body is not the only body that we have. Humans are multidimensional beings with a total of seven subtle bodies. These subtle bodies vibrate at different frequencies and interact energetically with both the physical and non-physical worlds.They are the different energetic layers that comprise your aura or auric energy system.
The 7 Subtle Bodies are:
- Etheric Body
- Emotional Body
- Mental Body
- Astral Body
- Etheric Template Body
- Celestial Body
- Causal Body
Knowing and understanding each of the seven subtle bodies can help you as you navigate your spiritual journey. This article will help you understand the energetic properties of each body, and how you can use subtle bodies to improve your health and energy, and even to navigate challenges in your everyday life.
How Many Subtle Bodies Are There?
There are seven total subtle bodies in your auric energy field. The subtle bodies begin at the physical body and extend outwards as seven different layers surrounding you. They correlate to the seven chakras. Chakras are seven spinning centers of energy that are located at seven different points on your spine.
Each subtle body actually has its own set of seven chakras, so this way energy can more easily be transmuted across the bodies and chakras. This is the way that people who practice reiki, or energy healing, are able to heal one higher frequency body, and have it affect the physical body.
What is Subtle Energy?
Subtle energy is a force that cannot be measured by traditional scientific tools, but still has a tangible effect on the physical world. It is the organizing force of the entire universe and it is what gives life to physical matter.
Even though subtle energy cannot be observed with traditional instruments, it is still a big topic in the study of quantum physics. Modern science has not been able to directly measure it, but scientists have studied enough of its effects to know that it exists.
While modern science is not able to measure or observe subtle energy, alternative medicine and ancient traditions have used subtle energy in their spiritual practices and healing rituals for centuries. Across other cultures, subtle energy goes by many different names:
- Prana (Sanskrit)
- Qi (Chinese)
- Mana (Polynesian)
- Ki (Japanese)
Though subtle energy has different names across all of these cultures, it remains the same. Subtle energy is life force energy. It is the divine energy that transcends physical time and space connecting all life.
Subtle energy is used in alternative medicine and healing practices. The flow and movement of subtle energy throughout the body can have major effects on your health and well-being. Healing practitioners often say that stagnant or imbalanced subtle energy can result in various illnesses.
The seven subtle bodies listed above are all made of subtle energy, and together they comprise the auric system, which is a type of energy system. There are multiple other energy systems in your body that are also comprised of subtle energy such as:
- Basic Grid
- Five Rhythms
Subtle energy systems all interconnect and interact with each other to impact the physical reality.
What are the Seven Subtle Bodies?
The seven subtle bodies have been discussed and studied in many different esoteric schools of thought. People divided human existence into seven different forms of consciousness even across multiple cultural influences:
- Ancient Egypt
- Indian Sanskrit
- Native American
These seven energetic fields have seven different densities and energies, which imbue each of them with a different method of viewing and interacting with the world. The physical body is directly affected by all seven layers surrounding it.
1. Etheric Body
The Etheric Body is the innermost of the seven subtle bodies. Extending only a couple of inches from you, it is the one that affects your physical body the most. Though not all illness originates from the etheric body alone, certain forms of alternative healing directly affect the etheric body:
The etheric body has the lowest vibrational frequency as it is the blueprint for the physical body, and thus the most dense.
2. Emotional Body
Extending three inches from the physical body, the emotional body dictates your feelings. This is the part of the aura that will change to many different colors of the rainbow depending on your emotions. Problems in your emotional body can manifest as:
- Frequent arguments with others
- Anxiety and depression
- Volatile emotions
Healing (see the Youtube video) the emotional body by taking responsibility for your emotions can be helpful in moving forward from old grudges or sad past events.
3. Mental Body
The mental body extends three to eight inches away from the physical and it contains:
- All thoughts and mental processes
- The use of the imagination
- Information gathering
The mental body has a higher frequency than the two bodies below it and is most often associated with a yellow color when someone is deep in thought. However, the color of the mental body will change to reflect the color of the emotional body if the thoughts are very emotional.
4. Astral Body
The astral body is the bridge of the physical bodies into the spiritual realm. The etheric, emotional, and mental bodies are the most energetically dense with the lowest frequencies because they are all experienced on the physical level. The astral body transcends the physical and acts as a connector to the spiritual.
The astral body is used during:
- Astral projection (learn more)
- Out of body experiences
- Quantum jumping
It allows you to explore the non-physical realm and enter into other dimensions. The astral body extends one foot from the physical body and is closely tied to the emotional body so it will often reflect the same colors.
5. Etheric Template Body
Extending outward about two feet, the etheric template body is the blueprint for your physical body. It exists long before your physical body does and can be the key to very deep healing. The etheric template body is also the part of your energy that exists in parallel realities.
Check out this article explaining the meaning of the etheric body.
6. Celestial Body
The celestial body is the body that connects us to the Divine. Through the heart chakra, the celestial body allows you to reach a level of awareness and connectedness that aligns you with the universe. The celestial body vibrates on the frequency of:
- Pure bliss
- Unconditional love
The celestial body exists purely in the spiritual realm and connecting to the celestial body often happens through meditation when the more lower bodies are quiet.
7. Causal Body
The seventh and final body is the causal body. The causal body is sometimes described as the soul because it contains all of the information of the lower bodies, as well as the knowledge that you are one with the Divine.
This body extends up to five feet from the physical body, has the highest vibrational frequency, and is a bright gold color. Because of this higher vibration, people connected with their causal body intrinsically know that they are one with the universe.
The causal body is also thought to be the part of you that reincarnates. After each life, the causal body retains the information of the other bodies below it and takes that into the next life. When people connect to their past lives through hypnosis, that is often through the causal body.
What is Subtle Anatomy?
Subtle Anatomy is the study of the interactions of the different energy systems in the body. Just like with subtle energy, various cultures across the world have different ways of describing the body’s energy systems. However, the most widely recognized way of outlining subtle anatomy comes from ancient Indian yogic practices.
In yogic subtle anatomy, there are five different energy systems:
- Chakras (7 wheels of energy)
- Bandas (3 energy seals)
- Koshas (7 subtle bodies)
- Gunas (3 primal forces)
- Prana Vayus (life energy)
The interaction of these energy systems are subtle anatomy. In traditional yogic practices, a knowledge of subtle anatomy is a very important part of yoga. Understanding subtle anatomy allows for a more fulfilling yoga practice, as well as for a more fulfilling life.
The chakra system lies at the center of the body running from the top of the head to the bottom of the spine. Each chakra is a ‘wheel’ of energy that correlates to various mental and physical qualities. The seven subtle bodies also correspond to the seven chakras, which are as follows:
- Muladhara (root chakra)
- Swadhisthana (sacral chakra)
- Manipura (solar plexus chakra)
- Anahata (heart chakra)
- Vishuddha (throat chakra)
- Ajna (third eye chakra)
- Sahasrara (crown chakra)
Through meditation and yoga, you can work to open your chakras to increase the flow of subtle energy through your physical body, improving anything from your health to your mood.
The three bandas are used in yoga for harnessing and controlling prana (subtle energy/life energy). The bandas act as energy seals to stop prana from escaping the physical body. These three bandas are:
- Mula (root lock)
- Uddiyana (abdominal lock)
- Jalandhara (throat lock)
The koshas are the seven subtle bodies which are also called the auric system. In regards to subtle anatomy, if the subtle bodies are not in alignment, it can cause complications like disharmony and suffering. When the seven subtle bodies interact harmoniously and efficiently with the other energy systems, health and well-being can be achieved.
The three gunas are primal manifestations of the universal intelligence that is the underlying blueprint for all of the physical world. Those three primal forces are:
- Tamas (no movement, darkness, stagnation)
- Rajas (movement, growth, activity)
- Sattva (balance, clarity, stability)
In the context of subtle anatomy, a more sattvic lifestyle is ideal because balance in the universe is the most optimal outcome. If there is too much activity it is balanced with stagnation, if there is too much stagnation, it is balanced with growth.
5. Prana Vayus
Prana vayus is the energy system that controls the direction of subtle energy movement throughout the body. This system is directly connected to the breath, which is one of the reasons that breathing is so integral to yoga practice. Imbalances of this energy system can result in a variety of complications including:
- Heart palpitations
Subtle Bodies and Physical Reality
Although they are called ‘subtle bodies’ and ‘subtle energy,’ the effects of subtle anatomy is anything but subtle. Understanding how subtle energy flows throughout the seven subtle bodies can help improve your health and vitality exponentially. It isn’t just the things that we can see with the naked eye that have effects on our lives.
Spending time in meditation or doing a yoga practice can do amazing things in healing your subtle bodies of any traumas. Now armed with this knowledge of subtle bodies and subtle energy, you can continue to have a more fulfilling spiritual journey.