What is the Luminous Body?
According to Yoga and shamanism our physical bodies are surrounded by the luminous body or Koshas which informs and organizes the physical body. It serves as a blueprint for the physical body. The luminous body is the physical body’s electromagnetic field created by the electrical currents that are always moving through our physical bodies. It has the shape of a torus (or a doughnut). The electromagnetic field of the earth looks the same, it moves up through the north pole, down around the planet then then back up into the center of the earth through the south pole. Our physical bodies are embedded in the earth’s electromagnetic field and the greater energy matrix that covers the universe.
Don Manuel Portugal, a Jaguar sorcerer from Peru (one of Ray Crist’s teachers) explains that the luminous body “projects who are are and what we want to the world”. It is the channel through which we send and receive messages from the rest of the world. It determines our experience of life.
How does experience impact our luminous bodies?
We change the shape of our luminous fields as we experience life. It informs and organizes our bodies and in turn is informed by experiences stored in our physical bodies. Both Yogis and Shamans recognize that all experiences are physical, no matter what the event, our bodies receive energy through one of the senses; light hits our retinas, sound waves vibrate our ear drums, touch is picked up by the skin and muscles, and so on. Our bodies respond to these incoming stimuli with a physiological response. Most of this happens below the level of conscious awareness, those which are most salient to us make it into our conscious awareness. Either way, the glands in our physical bodies (chakras) secrete hormones in response to incoming sensory stimuli. For example, during a good massage our bodies secrete serotonin and dopamine which are a response to the sense of well-being and relaxation we experience. When we are suddenly shocked for instance by the fire alarm unexpectedly going off, our bodies produce cortisol and epinephrine which gives us a sense of fear and may put us into the state of “fight or flight”.
Each time this happens the “endocrine identity” of the event – the specific cocktail of hormones secreted – is stored in the physical body and projected onto the luminous body. Painful (physically or emotionally) experiences are particularly important as we (and all animals) are hardwired to avoid them as much as possible. Traumas are stored in the physical body and are projected in the luminous body, this is what the yogic texts refer to as samskaras.
A samskara is a traumatic experience embedded in the body that leads to a cycle of emotions, behaviors and circumstances that only validate the person's fear. The more the situation is experienced the denser the imprint (samskara) on the luminous field. When awareness and breath are brought forth, consciousness shines!
How do I change my luminous body?
The technologies of Yoga and Shamanism have been developed to help us clear out samskaras from our luminous fields and physical bodies so we can connect to more evolutionary energy lines. Lines that will take us somewhere new, rather than sending us around in an infinite loop. It is not the cognitive memory of the event that distorts our luminous field. It is the painful emotions associated with the event that has an impact on the luminous body. So if we can change the emotional imprint (the endocrine identity) from the luminous field then we will still have the cognitive memory of the event but it won’t be influencing our future experiences any more.
Yoga works on both the physical and luminous bodies. Through conscious movement and intentional breath we can clear out samskara and open ourselves to connecting to new energy lines. All of yoga is essentially made for this reason. In each posture we open one or two, or a group of meridians, and through breathing in the posture we allow for the samaskara (cellular memory of trauma) to be released. Think of a samskara as a trigger. Once the trigger is removed the story is not turned on again and we have the opportunity to react and behave in a different way. This is liberation.
Shamanic tools tend to work directly at the level of the luminous body, the subconscious and the spirit which it turn informs the physical body. The tools a shaman uses assist the “client” in changing their relationship with the story. Our stories become a blue print of behavior and as long as the blue print remains the same the story repeats itself. When we "have problems" the only problem we are really having is resisting the flow of life.
Both yoga and shamanism offer mythology and archetypes in order to download new software (blueprints) so we can begin to act informed in a new way. This shifts the shape of our luminous field and allows us to move through synchronistic energy lines.