The Body in New Age from the Perspective of the Subtle Body: The Example of the Source Breathwork Community


  • Katre Koppel University of Tartu


subtle body, energy, breathing, birth, healing


The article discusses the perception of the body among Source Breathwork practitioners. Source Process and Breathwork can be classified as a New Age healing practice that aims to heal the person as a whole. There is also a specific emphasis on healing birth trauma, which is understood as healing the fundamental experience of an individual’s life. The body in New Age can be described with the notion of the ‘subtle body’, a non-dualistic approach to the body that blurs the boundaries between ‘matter’ and ‘spirit’. Subtle bodies, the ‘places’ where healing occurs, are considered energetic, invisible and nebulous. The concept of the subtle body as a scholarly tool is applied in the analysis of fieldwork data collected between 2011 and 2013 in Estonia. In a Source community, the body is considered to be energetic and to include chakras. Members of the community claim that the functioning of the body and well-being in life bear upon negative and positive thoughts or decisions that are held in the subconscious and embedded at a cellular level in the body. Moreover, the breathwork practitioners believe that an individual already makes fundamental decisions about life in the womb or during birth. Since the perception of the body and birth are closely interrelated in the Source community, the meaning of birth is viewed from the perspective of the subtle body.


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