Definition - What does Sharira mean?

Sharira is a Sanskrit word meaning “body.” In Hinduism, an individual is considered to be composed of three bodies: the karana sharira (causal body), sukshma sharira (subtle body), and karya sharira (gross body). These three bodies are connected and a person functions best when they are in harmony with one another.

Within a spiritual yoga practice, yogis seek to balance the three bodies through pranayama, meditation and asana.

Yogapedia explains Sharira

The three-body concept is an important core belief in Indian philosophy and in yoga. If one or more of these bodies are imbalanced or unconnected, it can cause negative effects for the yogi, such as disease and/or confusion.

The three bodies house different functions that work together. Housed within the other two bodies, the karana sharira is what continues on after the other bodies are gone and is the “seed” for a new life in a new body. The sukshma sharira includes the mind, thoughts and vital energies. The karya sharira is the physical body; it is the outermost layer and houses both the karana and sukshma shariras.

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