The Importance of an Integral Life Practice pt 2 of 6: Body (a)

The Importance of an Integral Life Practice pt 2 of 6: Body (a)

The Importance of an Integral Life Practice pt 2 of 6: Body (a)

The introduction to this series can be read here first The Importance of an Integral Life Practice pt 1 of 6 

In the body module we are ensuring we recognise the three levels that the body exists at and doing practices specific to all of those to ensure balance. Each of these bodies can be shown to have a correlate both in our physical (and evolutionary) developement as well as relate to a specific state of consciousness (which we will explore more in part 5).


We have:

  • The Gross Physical Body of flesh and bones
  • The Subtle Body of energy flow and subtle energy work, this is where we would find the meridian system to TCM and the Chakras
  • The Causal Body of vast spaciousness and the practice of feeling to infinity

All these bodies are interwoven without hard or fast distinction. In Integral Life Practice (ILP) we slightly divide how we work on them to cover:

  • Physical training and Exercise
  • Nutrition (See part 3 for this)
  • Energy Work(outs)for the Subtle and Causal bodies

The 3 Body workout is the easiest way to cover all 3 bodies in one practice and has 1minute, 10 minute and 35 minute options. You can learn more about that here.

In this blog series we are going to cover diet and nutrition as a completely separate part that will follow this one.

But first lets take a look at what we mean by 3 Bodies (don't we just got the one?)

Your physical body comprises the material components of your being; muscles, bones, organs, biochemicals etc. This is the gross physical state with which we are most familiar with and also relates into the waking state of consciousness.
Physical body practices include:

  • Aerobic and Strength training including yoga with body focus, cross training, gym work, pilates etc
  • Diet and Nutrition including the ILP diet (see part 3)
  • Focus Intensity Training FIT (see here for more on this specialist technique for training)

Your Subtle body comprises the energetic elements of your being: breath, prana, life-force, chi, energy-flow. This is the space in which most acupuncture, kinesiology, crystal therapy, hands on healing and other subtle energy practices are working.
Subtle Body practices include:

  • Subtle Breath practice i.e pranayama
  • Tai Chi and Chi Kung
  • Yoga with awareness

Your Causal Body comprises the infinite field of your being: openness, presence, spaciousness and feeling to infinity
Causal Body practices include:

  • Aspects of Meditation
  • Releasing to Infinity

Releasing to Infinity can be found as a free practice here in my resources section or can be found as part of the 3 Body Work Out detailed earlier.

Without exercising all three parts of the physical and subtle anatomy of the body, we again leave ourselves prone to having a practice that is lacking balance. The fact that we don't even conventionally recognise the other two bodies shows us how much imbalance there has been to our practice. Although if we look to many eastern teaching they would advocate the use of a subtle body practice of some kind through pranayama, tai chi or chi kung. It is very common that yoga and chi kung have elements that cover both physical and subtle bodies as equally important to 'exercise' and the benefits to health of mind and body being very well documented and studied. We can not deny that in the last 40 years the popularity of these practices has grown significantly in western countries with some form of either being available even in quite rural locations and definitely in most cities. There have even been significant fusions made of yoga and pilates or in practices like Nia Dance, which although they don't necessarily overtly talk very much about this, mainly due to their proponents only having a limited understanding of what is actually a very deep well of knowledge on this topic.

Although it can take a lifetime to truly master some of the practices on this level, it is perfectly acceptable to begin with any step in the right direction. No requirement to become a master is ever made, just a desire to develop oneself even one step further. Regular use of practices on all these levels will help to accelerate your development on all the other levels, so even if you are doing the one minute versions of all of these, but do them consistently for the next ten years, your body and all that is associated with it will be healthier and will contribute towards your development.

I would love to hear about your physical training and how that supports your Integral Life Practice, is it a chore, do you live for it, does it inspire you to have a better day once its done or do you find a bad day can be washed away by a workout. Please leave your comments below.

The next post in this series will look at diet and nutrition and the simple but effective ILP Diet. I will be adding in some refinements of my own learned over the last 15yrs of self practice.

until then, stay healthy.......

I would just like to highlight that much of the information in this series is derived directly from the the work of Ken Wilber and Terry Pattern in their development of Integral Life Practice. More information can be found on their website integral-life-practice.com you can also find more snippets on Integral Life Practice at Integrallife.com

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