What affect does the soul have on the body? In other words, when I reincarnate, do I look very similar to the way I look now? And do I get choices?
Yogananda tells us that the it is the soul, which comes into the body at the moment of conception, that creates the body that is appropriate for working out the karma of the upcoming lifetime.
Can we say what you will look like in your next life? I don’t think there’s a way to know that.
Do you get choices? You get choices, but not probably not in the way you are thinking. It’s not a matter of simply saying, for example, in my next life I want to be more athletic.
But the more you work to find inner freedom in this lifetime, through meditation, devotion, and spiritual practices, the more your soul will be free to make the best choices for you in your next lifetime. If we have a lot of addictions in this life — whether to certain kinds of people, situations, whatever — our soul will be directed by those addictions and may not make the best choices in other ways.
Remember, that the purpose of reincarnation is to take our soul to freedom. You might enjoy reading Karma and Reincarnation by Paramhansa Yogananda.
Joy to you,