In recent posts, I have been addressing the notion of karma: how to recognize and reconcile it. Although some karmic patterns may be discerned in the physical body, or felt in geographical locations, or suspected in emotional tendencies; or played out in repeating circumstances or behaviors, the original, inalterable karmic imprint permeates the entirety of our mental, spiritual, and energetic existence. The “bodies” that comprise this wholeness of each person’s being are known in kundalini yoga as the Ten Bodies.

Kundalini yoga posits that our tangible, physical body (the Fifth Body in the 10 Bodies framework), operates with nine teammates: Soul Body; the Negative, Positive, and Neutral Minds (the mental bodies);the Arcline; and the Auric, Pranic, Radiant, and Subtle bodies. In addition, there is an all-encompassing, overseeing “body,” called the Eleventh Body.

If one accepts the notion that the person we know ourselves to be is in this lifetime is but one incarnation in a particular phase of an eternity of incarnations and phases, then the “funny feelings,” deja vu’s, and thoughts and behaviors “out of nowhere” begin to make sense. Unexplainable coincidences and familiarities have already rolled around in other lifetimes, in other dimensions of time and space, and in other realms of energy and consciousness. The energetic reverberations of infinite existences imbues our wholeness and thus flows with us throughout eternity: Such is the essence of karma.

As each lifetime will have a different texture and tenor and a specific energetic quality and vibration, one can only address the karmic patterns that one discerns in the context of one’s individual circumstances. Yet each and every particular set of contextually driven scenarios will have something in common: Each person has the ability to reckon with their karma, by dint of their 10 Bodies.

Following is a template that may help you to discern which of the 10 Bodies holds the key to unlocking your ability to interact with and potentially soften your karmic obligations. You may find that more than one of the ten needs attention; that would be typical. For even if you were temporarily enlightened in this lifetime, there is no permanent state of being, in this or any lifetime. Thus, it behooves each of us to check in regularly with our 10 Bodies, so that we may maintain as much equilibrium as possible in this lifetime. When balanced, we can expand our cohesive, “in tune” energies, and thus lighten our karma.

So, here’s how this might look: Let’s say that you are prone to defensiveness or anxiousness; perhaps you grab coffee or sweets to give yourself a jolt when your energies flag as a result of being continually on guard. This type of imbalance would indicate a struggle in the Eighth, or Pranic Body, which is the home of your Life Energy. When your “spark” is operating in a balanced manner, your feel at peace with the inevitable ebb and flow of feelings and events: You are unflappable.

To begin to “communicate” with your Pranic Body, you would need to establish a practice to introduce equal parts vitality and calm. A pranayama such as Alternate Nostril Breathing would be an excellent place to start; also, enlivening, full-body exercises can begin to make inroads to the Pranic Body.

Here are some things to watch for in relation to each of the Bodies. The Soul Body reflects one’s connection the Divine, to the infinite source: Humility and creativity flow easily. If you have become overly intellectual in your approach to challenges, the heart center suffers; the Soul Body needs work. To balance head and heart, and thus regain the quality of humility, you might integrate some gentle backbends, i.e., heart opening postures, into your routine. Refine the technique with the addition of deep breathing while focusing on the Third Eye.

The Negative Mind is there for your protection: It is the “watchdog” of your safety. When out of whack, the Negative Mind looks aside, and you are wont to make poor choices. Conversely, the Negative Mind can be on high alert when unnecessary, and you may become cynical. In either case, the approach would be to first acknowledge your tendency, and then conjure the behavior or attitude of someone you admire. Explore and attune to alternative perspectives; challenge yourself to commit to mindful change, and open to its inherent possibilities.

The Positive Mind is in itself an antidote to an overly active Negative Mind. To initiate the power of hope and trust that lie in the Positive Mind, it helps to incorporate a series of abdominal strengthening postures and exercises (think Plank and Leg Lifts) that empower the Navel Chakra, as the Third Chakra is the seat of one’s balanced, potent Will.

The Neutral Mind, also known as the Meditative Mind, mediates all situations with equanimity; one is fully able to disengage from intellectual argument when there is no conflict. As you might imagine, seated meditation with your favorite pranayama and/or mudra is like nectar to the Neutral Mind. All the other Bodies appreciate the activity of the Neutral Mind.

You probably are most familiar with your Physical Body. I, for one, certainly have karma attached to this Body; my greatest battles and victories often have stemmed from focusing on the Physical Body. Most of all, the Physical Body craves your reverence and gratitude for its willingness and ability to carry you through this lifetime. It also needs regular “playdates” with the other nine Bodies, in order to feel in top shape. As one ages, the immediate needs of this, the Fifth Body, change, but its requirement for its nine compatriots never wanes.

The Arcline is like a tiara from ear to ear, over the crown of the head. Women have an additional line from nipple to nipple that arcs out and away from the body and back again. When these “lines” are healthy and unobstructed, your integrity is intact, and your words and actions emanate from an unwavering sense of what is just.

If you find that your moods or actions are inconsistent, or others find you unreliable, some work on the Third Eye works wonders. In order to heighten your natural intuition, try the techniques from this post: I also encourage the use of crystals and stones to attract and balance this or any other desired quality: The Third Eye responds well to amethyst, for example.

The Auric Body provides an overarching feeling of security, by dint of its electromagnetic “shield.” Any imbalance will reveal itself in the guise of trust issues or paranoid tendencies. In this case, you would need to expand out of that tight, small sensibility. Instead, the air around you needs to be moved and magnified: Try a vigorous vinyasa practice, such as ashtanga; or begin to experiment with organic, multi-level movements born of your own impulse. (See:

Any type of water activity or therapy also will help to release feelings of insecurity of mistrust. Even regular time in the tub can help invigorate your Auric Body.

The inherent strengths and vulnerabilities of the Subtle Body bear similarities to the three Mental Bodies. Frustration and naiveté override calm and insight when the Subtle Body needs help. To awaken perceptiveness and intuition, choose your favorite place and way to meditate, and fully integrate the calmness that arises. Stay aware of the feeling, so that you can call upon it when challenges intervene.

The Radiant Body is alive and well when you function with a steady, approachable nobility. This deep and abiding gracefulness shines through as divinely bestowed courage and compassion. If you tend to avoid conflict, or experience frequent energy fluctuations, your Radiant Body may need attention. Any of the aforementioned techniques from this or earlier posts that address the Upper Chakras will benefit the Radiant Body.

Finally, mantra comes to the fore as the elixir for the Eleventh Body. Sound currents and their reverberations correspond with this, the overseeing Body. When one chants, the intentional sound flows out to find and befriend the Infinite Universe and its eternal vibrations. The mantra of Aum, for example, seamlessly connects one to the heartbeat of the Eleventh Body.

Remember that the presence, discernment, and attention to any need that may arise in any one of the 10 Bodies is part of our lifelong task. It does not need to happen all at once; it will, however, have to happen more than once! As you become more deeply aware of the layers and depths of your being, it in turn awakens to your needs in this particular time and space. Thus, the conversation has begun, and you can begin to communicate with your karma.

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