Yoga, Chakras, and Subtle Bodies

 Subtle Form Levels    Chakras    Six Yogas of Naropa    The Yogas    What is a Mystic

The various forms of energy ... chi, chakras, siddhas, subtle body forms, auras ... have interested me for  a long time. It began very early when I first realized that I was consciously aware of things that others seemed to not notice or were unable to see. Like many aware individuals, I learned to not speak about those things. There was an implied if not direct disapproval. All these forms of awareness were simply not a part of the culture I chose to be born into. While I didn't talk about "such", I remained in a watchful state learning and observing as much as I could process. I am beginning this section with basic information that I have gleaned from many sources in my years of study. Once again I remind you to validate everything you hear from me or any other teacher through your own internal truth and experience.

The physical form body that we function through in the physical world is only one of many bodies we utilize - often without knowing that we are using them. They are bridge bodies that connect us with the absolute. They are the connectors between the micro and the macro cosmic forces. It is through the abilities inherent in these supplemental bodies that we can stretch our ordinary knowing beyond its physical confines. Think of envelopes or cosmic folds surrounding the physical body. These other bodies are called sheaths or kosas and create layers of decreasing density until there is no density left and we are in union.

Mystics and psychics are frequently aware of these subtle body layers and the chakras. They are most often visible as what we know as auras. 

Subtle Form (Body) Levels

Physical Body -sheath of the gross body
    root chakra - earth  / sexual chakra - water  / solar plexus - fire

Etheric Body - circulatory, vital energies flow
    heart and throat chakras - air, prana, universal  life force
    1/8 inch to 3 inches - animal vitality  / healthier means wider
    shaman and medicine people work from this level
Emotional Body - cognitive and discriminatory level
    this is where the body double can travel
    few people can see this level  / usually 3" to 5" 
Psychic Body - location of the psyche  / Chakra centers at this level
    ego personality located here  / all senses are aware of this level 
    auric colors are visible  / can extend many feet in enlightened individuals
Inner Vision, knowledge of things as they are - cosmic consciousness 
Mental Body - the intelligence sheath
    "in-the-world" functioning

Causal Body - the most subtle bliss formed body






Inmost is the physical or "gross" body composed of the physical elements of the planet. 

The first outward sheath of the subtle body forms is the etheric body. It is called "Annamaya-kosa". At this level shaman, healers, and other medicine persons work with earth (Muladhare [base] Chakra), water (Svadhisthana [genital] Chakra), and fire (Manipura [solar plexus] Chakra). 

The second, emotional body, is the Pranamaya-kosa. It is the sheath of circulatory vital air and bears the universal life-force Prana. Air and ether elements are most represented here. As in the Anahata [heart] Chakra and Visuddha [throat] Chakra.

The third level is the psychic body. It is the Manomaya-kosa and work most with cognitive processes. Both the emotional and the mental sheaths support the Ajna [3rd eye] chakra. It is the location of the psyche. The chakra centers function primarily at this level and extend through the other layers and the physical body. Our ego personality is located here. Our aura and auric colors are visible at this layer and this layer can extend many feet in enlightened individuals. This is the area where psychics, mystics, and most of us view the auras. 

The fourth, mental level, is the Vijnanamaya-kosa or mind and intelligence sheath  and work most with discriminatory processes thought the Ajna [3rd eye] center. It is through the third eye or our cosmic consciousness opens. Through the third and fourth sheaths we awaken inner vision - a knowing of things as they really are.  

The fifth, causal level, is the Anandamaya, the most subtle of all levels. It is here we have the capacity for the bliss consciousness. This center is most closely associated with the Sahasrara [crown] Chakra. The causal body level of the subtle levels is the quintessential consciousness.

Chakra Systems see also Chakras

                                                                                                Transpersonal Points   

Crown Chakra - transcendence
Third Eye Chakra - forehead, seeing, mind, clarity
base of skull 
Throat Chakra - will - (3rd Ear) 

Heart Chakra - love 

Solar Plexus Chakra - self
ming min - back
Hara Chakra - Don Tein
Genital Chakra - Power
Root Chakra - collective unconscious

palms chakras - seeing with hands
soles of feet chakras

Earth Grounding Chakras

The chakras, as discussed above with the subtle bodies, are integral to our awakening to our full potential of manifest form supporting cosmic energies. These centers are most often represented ad vortices of energy and/or lotuses. With self realization, these centers open and are activated. 

The base or root chakra, the Muladhara (red lotus of four petals), is the center of physical experience. It is located at the base of the spine. Its location is also described as being at the perineum - the space between the anus and the genitals. This chakra is associated with the qualities of resistance and solidity. It represents the earth element. Even enlightened beings occasionally return to this level and become fixated or stuck in a place of non-growth. the elephant is the symbol and often has a black strip around its neck.  

The genital chakra, the Svadhisthana (vermillion lotus of six petals - gem center), is the center of what we think of as ego and/or personality of the individual. This is another place of fixation and obsession. Individuals may spend their entire lifetime at this chakra processing the present life experiences. This center's focus is sensory pleasures especially taste. A crocodile like creature is the symbol.   

The solar plexus chakra, the Manipura (blue lotus of ten petals), is strongly related to vision (sight) and light. This chakra can lead to knowledge of the purpose of experiencing physical form - the life-force. The Don-Tein is located very near the solar plexus and is the storage place of "chi" energy. The animal symbol ti the gray or red ram. 

The heart chakra, the Anahata (deep red lotus of twelve petals), is a place we can become unstuck. The word anahata means "unstruck" or pure. This chakra is associated with air and touch. it is a place of granting blessings and dispelling fears. Becoming fearless allows individuals to proceed with spiritual growth in order to fulfill purpose. The animal symbol is the antelope or gazelle - meaning lightness of manifest form.

The throat chakra, the Visuddha (smoky purple lotus of sixteen petals), is associated with the element ether and works with sound and hearing. It is from this place we learn to speak the truth we have learned to live. The animal symbol in the moon-white elephant with six trunks.

The third eye chakra, the Ajna (a lotus of two white petals), is a position of command of one'a whole personality in the fullest sense of the meaning. This chakra is associated with cognitive functions of the mind including both mental images and abstract ideas. It is place of direct experience rather than only thought about experience. "Here for the first time undivided, indivisible existence manifests for the sake of creation of the two". The purpose is control of states of concentration through meditation.

The crown chakra, the Sahasrara (the thousand-petalled lotus of the light of a thousand suns) is actually located above the top of the head. All chakras, all senses, all functions, all color, and all power is synchronized in this chakra. It is through this chakra that we can reach supramental states and pure consciousness as we span the transcendental points above this chakra. It is the center of quintessential consciousness. Polarity is integrated. We emerge beyond time and space. 



The yogas are additional terms one should be aware if persons are interested in expanded awareness

Six Yogas of Naropa

 The teacher must be "drunk" with the path.

The student is confident, energetic, intelligent and compassionate.

The student is mindful of the shortcomings of the worldly life.

The student has transcended worldly concern (is in process of). 

The student will receive initiation, ripen the mind, practice wisdom and method, strive in the six yogas, and blend all as one taste. 

  1. Inner Heat Yoga - Energies are drawn in, filled, retained and dissolved.  
  2. Illusory Body Yoga - This perceived human existence; like a rainbow, the moon's reflection in water, an image in a mirror, or a dream - all are illusory/deceptive forms. They are functional phenomena that appear to the mind. With this insight, all actions become free from attachment. We move toward becoming the rainbow body.
  3. Dream Yoga - Know dreams as dreams - say, whatever appears as a dream can be recognized as a dream (all appearances are dreams). Retain (conscious presence), purify (overcome fear), increase the content, and transform (initiate - travel - alter) the contents of dreams. 
  4. Clear Light Yoga - Engage in the samadhis. Hold to the place between sleep and the conceptual dream. Blend both day and night practice. The innate wisdom free from grasping at both "luminosity and emptiness" or any grasping, hunger, or attachments. This is the beyond conceptuality mind of totality or source. 
  5. Consciousness Transference Yoga - Projection Yoga - Place the mind in a state of joy and non-grasping. Close the gates/passageways. Withdraw the senses. Take charge of the energies. Project through mantra, substances, and principles. 
  6. Bardo Yoga - Bardo of birth to death, bardo of dream, and bardo of becoming are all cut off. This is the radiant, self empty awareness. All dissolves. Bardo is the place "between" life and something else.  go to bardo dream
  7. Karmamudra Yoga - Student free from doubts and who wishes to benefit the world and all sentient beings should, without grasping at duality, seek the sexual embrace of both worldly and non-worldly embrace. What arises is the non-worldly bliss. 
  8. Yoga of Cultivating the View - Keep the doors unmoving and the senses withdrawn. See without seeing the nature of the mind, placed in its own place. However many phenomena appear, there is only one's own mind - no other existence. One becomes a self-born Buddha, beyond words and thoughts.  



     Brief Descriptions of Some of the Yogas

Jana Yoga - Union Through Knowledge - study and meditation - spiritual knowledge and wisdom - intellect penetrates veils of ignorance that prevent one from seeing the true self.

Bhakti Yoga - Union by Love and Devotion - rites and singing of songs of praise Love, devotion, and worship ... in love of the One (Hindu - Krishna). 

Karma Yoga - Union by Action and Service - selfless service without expectation of reward.


Hatha Yoga - breath and postures - Union by Bodily Mastery - posture and breath "Ha" means sun - "tha" means moon - right nostril is sunbreath - left nostril is moon breath (negative - health of nervous system, glands and vital organs. 


Kundalini Yoga is union with the goal of arousing latent dormant psychic and vital forces which lie coiled at the base of the spine in the form of a serpent. Chi or energy awakens through movement from the base chakra through all chakras to crown - enlightenment. Prayanayama (breath control) is one of the important skills leading to breathless state of samadhi.   

Kriya Yoga - Kriya Yoga literally means an activity performed with awareness. The goal is to develop awareness and "see things as they really are" free of ordinary perceptions. Discipline or sadhana incorporates many components of the other yogas; breath, posture, devotion, and control of the mind. Kriya yoga utilizes massage (internal control) of internal organs and glands to stabilize the physical body.   


Laya Yoga - Union by Arousal of Latent Psychic Vital Forces - Hatha yoga - breath suspension - stable posture - release meditative concentration to awaken serpent power coiled at base of spine. - through chakras to crown enlightenment - samadhi. Laya yoga is union by arousal of latent forces. Laya yoga includes breath suspension, stable posture, and release meditative concentration to awaken latent forces. 

Mantra Yoga - Union by Voices and Sound - vibration - consciousness is influenced by syllables, words, phrases, vocables, sounds, rhythmic repetition of mantras - also called Japa yoga.

Raja Yoga - Union by Mental Mastery - taping latent energies - mastering consciousness - stilling thought - become ruler over mind. 

Siddha Yoga - Union through recognition of Self as God-consciousness and utilizes supernatural powers called siddha powers - Siddha Yoga affirms that the individual soul is nothing other than the Absolute.

Tantra Yoga - Union of Polarity/Duality - male and female -  It is the Union of masculine and feminine, of the yogi and Yogini, through actual or visualized union. It is a physiological discipline. 

Yama / Niyama Yoga - Yama/Niyama Yoga ... Samjna. Yama and Niyama are aspects of or extensions of Karma yoga. Yama yoga is union through conduct toward other. Purity within can overcome the enemies within ... greed, anger, lust, pride, and jealousy which lead to lying, killing and stealing. Purifies the mind. Niyama Yoga pursues union through conduct with regards to self, self service. This includes outer and inner cleanliness, contentment (harmony), chastity (moderation), study, and devotion.   

Yantra Yoga - Union by Vision and Form - sight and form - a design with power to influence consciousness - picture visualization or design of a temple. Yantra Yoga frees one through meditation on a symbol - frequently a mandala of specific forms and shapes. 

What is a Mystic?

Mystic/mysticism - definition Mystic: one initiated, one professing to undergo profound spiritual experience, visionary, spiritual, supernatural, transcendental, one overwhelmingly driven to follow the sacred.

Mysticism is the doctrine that knowledge of spiritual truths can be acquired by intuition and meditation.

Mysticism lies at the very depth of spiritual consciousness; it has an intensity, power, and energy, matched by nothing else.

Definitions failed to fill the lack of understanding so I began to examine examples of characteristic experiences. I came up with an extensive list.

  1. Mystics experience to an extraordinary degree the profoundly personal encounter with the energy of divine life.
  2. Mystics often perceive the presence of God throughout the world of nature and in all that is alive, leading to a transfiguration of the ordinary all around them.
  3. Mystics experience an inner and an outer quest, a journey that leads deeply into the divine center of one's own soul but then moves outward again to the concerns of the created world and the world of suffering.
  4. Mystics travel along the margins of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the world of the mundane, and the world of the spirit where all things are made whole.
  5. Mystics seek participation in divine life, union, and communion with God.
  6. Mystics experience a desire that is kindled by the fire of divine love itself, this moves the mystic in their search and leads them on arduous journeys, to discover and proclaim the all-encompassing love of God for all human kind.
  7. Mystics quest for loving union and communion with God; this quest runs like a golden thread through life and the centuries.
  8. Mystics experience God in a dazzling darkness brighter than the brightest light.
  9. Mystics experience a splendor and empowerment that they ceaselessly  describe, even when affirming that it is entirely incommunicable.
  10. Mystics represents the great company of such seers who want to pass on to others the precious riches bestowed upon them.
  11. Mystics experience the sacred as the ultimate Godhead, or Ground of Being - God the Father and God the Mother - God intimately present.
  12. Mystics may be passive mystics who reject the world and withdraw from it
  13. Mystics may be active mystics who are led back into the world and become immersed in a round of activities, profoundly transformed by a new spirit.
  14. Mystics communicate the inspiring heritage of a great mystery and an all consuming love, sometimes verbally and sometimes through silence, but always through the way they live their life..
  15. Mystics experience a profound spiritual integration with the promise of joy and passion, ecstasy, and suffering overcome.
  16. Mystics experience a spiritual wholeness and completion that reaches its goal in God.

Mystics struggle to find some kind of balance between the world they know as ordinary and that can become transcendent and the world of divinity where they can live fully in their spirit.

In Tantric studies mysticism is addressed as an expansion of consciousness toward consciousness (a greater more encompassing consciousness); toward union with all that we have come to call "God" in order to find inner peace of the spirit while here on earth.

A mystic accesses levels of consciousness that many people do not access. This is the best and most comprehensive site I have seen. "Free Healing and Counseling". I have found no request for money. The best of the best is listed here. There are free programs to download. There is more direct instruction on what and how to "do" many spiritual practices. Please check it out. The links to the following material is available at this website.

SaintsGreat Hindu Saints and Masters of Yoga:

Jnana Yoga:
Shankara (great philosopher and exponent of Jnana Yoga)
Ramana Maharshi


Radja Yoga:
Patanjali (famous compiler of the Yoga Sutras)
Ma Yoga Shakti, Pandit R. Tiguanait

Bhakti Yoga:
Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Vivekananda, Sarada Devi, Brahmananda, Premananda, Turiyananda, Shivananda, Shree
Maa, Mata Amritanandamayi, Anandamayi Ma

The Kriya Yoga Line:
Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, 
Paramahansa Yogananda, Daya Mata, Roy Davis

Krishna, Rama
Shivapuri Baba, Abhinavagupta, Bharata, Kabir, Namadeva, Nandanar, Tukaram, Auvaiyar, Meher Baba, Saibaba,

Other famous Self-realized Yogis:
Satya Sai Baba, Muktananda Paramahansa, Sivananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo, Dattatreya, Jnanadeva, Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi

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