Ayurveda and Subtle Anatomy: The Three Bodies

“The human being consists of three bodies: The physical body, the subtle or astral body, and the causal or karmic body. Each body is an energetic field of different densities that vibrate at different frequencies.

The grossest or densest of the bodies is the physical body, which is connected to the physical world. It consists of the five sense organs, the five organs of action and it is built by the five elements. The physical body requires food to survive. Food supplies the body with the five elements from which it can build and rebuild itself. Vata, pitta and kapha, the three biological forces, govern the functioning of the physical body. The three doshas are physical forces that are built from the five elements. 

The subtle or astral body is an energetic template of the physical body, mirroring its form in the subtle realm. It consists of the same components as the physical body. However, these components are far less dense and are not considered solid. 

The causal or karmic body is the subtlest vibration within the creation of the human being. It is also the most expansive part of our nature. Unlike the subtle body, it is not an energetic template of the physical body. It is more like a seed energy, which sprouts the subtle and physical body as it germinates. In this sense it is not a body but rather a primal energy.”

Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda