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the Human Design terms you need to know

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Written with contributions from Hilary Jackendoff


If you’ve ever wondered why you act, think, and react to the world around you, Human Design may explain it — Human Design is a way to learn about your personality, energy centers, and emotions. Similar (but very different!) to Astrology, your Human Design chart is determined based on the day, time, and location of where you were born.


When you first learn about Human Design, it feels like you’re learning a new language. And you kind of are! So, we’ve put together this glossary of terms with the help of Yoga Wake Up teacher and Human Design aficionado, Hilary Jackendoff, to help you wrap your head around the basic concepts so you can understand your chart better.


Check out Hilary’s new series, “Human Design — Unleash Your Potential to learn morning affirmations and evening contemplations that will help you understand your Energy Type and bring new, transformative insights into your daily life.


Before you begin, find out your Human Design chart here! Based on your results, you’ll find the perfect sessions to learn to unleash your potential.

The Human Design Terms You Should Know

Bodygraph: The image that looks like a body with all the little colored-in (and not colored-in) shapes.

Energy Type: Your energetic bandwidth, how others experience your energy, how you’re designed to naturally experience the world, your manifestation capabilities, and your natural way of being. How life wants to be lived through you.

Energy types include: Manifestor, Manifesting Generator, Generator, Projector, and Reflector.

Energy Centers: Associated with the subtle body. The ‘defined’ Energy Centers reveal how we are naturally designed to express our life force energy and determine our Energy Type. These are the different shapes on the Bodygraph.

Definition: Your natural way of being, the qualities that other people consistently experience from you. On the Bodygraph, the Energy Centers are colored in.

Conditioning: The should-based parts of you that are heavily influenced by your family, society, or the people around you. These things likely cause you the most inner conflict - but also hold the key to your greatest wisdom. Developing discernment around our conditioning allows us to release negative self-talk, compare and despair, and reactionary patterns. Your conditioning is typically associated with the white shapes on your Bodygraph.

Deconditioning: The Human Design term for the process of releasing the layers of conditioning you’ve accumulated over the course of your lifetime.

Strategy: How you’re naturally designed to interact with life, how you receive or create opportunities, your personal path of least resistance

Signature/Not Self: How you feel when you’re in flow versus how you feel when you’re struggling against life and your nature.

Authority: How you are designed to make the most aligned decisions, so you’re in Signature Vibes more often than not.

Profile Lines: Archetypal roles you’re here to play, how others experience you, how you think of yourself, how you teach, and how you learn.

Gates: Personality traits that we consistently express, either consciously or unconsciously.

Channels: A place of connection between two Energy Centers associated with our natural gifts and how we most effortlessly express them, consciously or unconsciously.

Incarnation Cross: Your ‘life path.’ In Human Design, folks say that you naturally live in alignment with your life’s path when you follow your Strategy and Authority. But there is a lot of helpful information contained in your Incarnation Cross that is well-worth contemplating. Your Incarnation Cross is made up of your Personality Sun, Design Sun, and Personality Earth.


Now that you’re familiar with the basic terms of Human Design, find your own Human Design chart here, and then head over to our new series “Human Design — Unleash Your Potential” to find sessions created just for you and your energy type!


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