P ractice - the act of practicing Refers to constant practice over a long period of time. Has been prescribed by the great sage Patanjali Maharishi in his Yoga Sutras and by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as an essential means to control the mind together with Vairagya.
Teacher ( sometimes spelled Acharya in English): a preceptor, instructor; guru
Mutual identification or superimposition.
A philosophy according to which there is no duality - only a singular state of consciousness. ("nonduality"): the truth and teaching that there is only One Reality (Atman, Brahman), especially as found in the Upanishads
one of the shatkarmas (cleansing practices) -intestinal cleansing
Ego, one of four elements of the mind or antakharna.("I-maker"): the individuation principle, which must be transcended.
Non-violence, non-injury - one of the yamas of ashtanga yoga/the first of the five limbs 8 limbs of Raja Yoga. ("nonharming"): the single most important moral discipline (yama)
Spontaneous repetition of 'soham' mantra
Energy center located behind the forehead, also called psychic centre - one of the seven energy centers
Ether, space.The first of the five material elements of which the physical universe is composed; also used to designate "inner" space, that is, the space of consciousness.
A designation of the deathless Spirit (atman, purusha); also the nectar of immortality that ("immortal/immortality") oozes from the psychoenergetic center at the crown of the head (see sahasrara-cakra) when it is activated and transforms the body into a "divine body" (divya-deha)
Mystic sound heard by Yogis/Aspirants., when they concentrated on inner sounds or sounds of the anahat chakra.
Energy center located in the heart region; also called pranic centre - fourth of the seven energy centers.
bliss, ecstasy. the condition of utter joy, which is an essential quality of the ultimate Reality (tattva)
Internal instrument such as mind, intellect, ego and the subconscious mind.
A fundamental category of the yogic path, such as asana, dharana, dhyana, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, samadhi, yama; also the body (deha, sharira)
Inner Self., Inner witness.
Internal yoga cleansing (shatkarma) techniques
Internal breath retention. The stage of pranayama where breath is retained after inhalation.
Internal silence - a meditation practice.
A perfected Soul
Half bow yoga pose
Half spinal twist yoga position
Half lotus pose
One of the five Pandava princes who fought in the great war depicted in the Mahabharata, disciple of the God-man Krishna whose teachings can be found in the Bhagavad Gita
Highest super-conscious state where the mind is completely annihilated and Reality experienced.
A bodily pose or a physical posture . A balanced position for smooth energy flow in specific areas of the body and mind. :; the third limb (anga) of Patanjali's eightfold path (astha-anga-yoga); originally this meant only meditation posture, but subsequently, in hatha yoga, this aspect of the yogic path was greatly developed
Ashrama ("that where effort is made")
A hermitage ; monastery, residential place of people living together in yogic tradition, also a stage of life, such as brahmacharya, householder, forest dweller, and complete renouncer (samnyasin)
the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, consisting of moral discipline (yama), self-restraint (niyama), posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), sensory inhibition (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and ecstasy (samadhi), leading to liberation (kaivalya)
a concept of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga, roughly synonymous with ahamkara
practice of contracting the anal sphincter.
Atman soul. ("self")
the transcendental Self, or Spirit, which is eternal and superconscious; our true nature or identity; sometimes a distinction is made between the atman as the individual self and the parama-atman as the transcendental Self.
Atma - Jnana
Knowledge of the Self.
Atma - Svarup
The essential nature of the Self.
A naked sage. ("He who has shed [everything]"): a radical type of renouncer (samnyasin) who often engages in unconventional behavior.
Veil of ignorance.
the root cause of suffering (duhkha); also called ajnana; cf. vidya
Ayurveda, Ayur-veda ("life science")
one of India's traditional systems of medicine, the other being South India's Siddha medicine
the fact that human beings are typically bound by ignorance (avidya), which causes them to lead a life governed by karmic habit rather than inner freedom generated through wisdom (vidya, jnana)
A holy pilgrimage centre of Hindus, now called Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Bhagavad Gita ("Lord's Song")
the oldest full-fledged yoga A scripture containing Lord Krishna's teachings found embedded in the Mahabharata and containing the teachings on karma yoga (the path of self-transcending action), samkhya yoga (the path of discerning the principles of existence correctly), and bhakti yoga (the path of devotion), as given by the God-man Krishna to Prince Arjuna on the battlefield 3,500 years or more ago.
Bhagavata-Purana ("Ancient [Tradition] of the Bhagavatas")
a voluminous tenth-century scripture held sacred by the devotees of the Divine in the form of Vishnu, especially in his incarnate form as Krishna; also called Shrimad- Bhagavata. Sacred work dealing with the doctrines of creation, etc
a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
the love of the bhakta toward the Divine or the guru as a manifestation of the Divine; also the love of the Divine toward the devotee. Bhakti is one of the four paths of Yoga.
Bhakti-Sutra ("Aphorisms on Devotion")
an aphoristic work on devotional yoga authored by Sage Narada; another text by the same title is ascribed to Sage Shandilya
Bhakti Yoga ("Yoga of devotion")
a major branch of the yoga tradition, utilizing the feeling capacity to connect with the ultimate Reality conceived as a supreme Person (uttama-purusha)
Feeling; mental attitude.
A fear inducing sound.
The Unconditioned, the Great Infinite, Brahman.
A psychic power by which mastery is gained over the elements.
the creative potency of anything where all energies are focused; the dot (also called tilaka) worn on the forehead as indicative of the third eye
the state of the awakened master, or buddha
Bodhisattva ("enlightenment being")
A being who, having developed the Awakening Mind (a mind infused with the aspiration to attain the state of Buddhahood), devotes his life to the task of achieving Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings, in Mahayana Buddhist yoga, the individual who, motivated by compassion (karuna), is committed to achieving enlightenment for the sake of all other beings
Brahma ("he who has grown expansive")
the Creator of the universe, the first principle (tattva) to emerge out of the ultimate Reality (brahman)
Constant thinking of Brahman.
Direct Knowledge of Brahman
One who is established in the Knowledge of Brahman.
One who has knowledge of the Vedas and the Upanishads
Classical Vedantic scripture.
The science of Brahman.
(from brahma and acarya "brahmic conduct") Practice of celibacy which produces ojas . Purity in thought, word and deed. The third of the five Yamas. See page on the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga
Period from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. The most auspicious time for the practice of meditation and other spiritual practices.
("that which has grown expansive") The Absolute Reality; God.
a brahmin, a member of the highest social class of traditional Indian society; also an early type of ritual text explicating the rituals and mythology of the four Vedas; cf. Aranyaka, Upanishad, Veda
Name of an Upanishad.
("awakened"): One who is totally purified from all defilements ; the person who has attained enlightenment (bodhi) and therefore inner freedom; and who has realized all that can be known.
Buddhi ("she who is conscious, awake")
the higher mind, which is the seat of wisdom (vidya, jnana); cf. manas; Intellect. One of the four elements of the mind or Antakharana
("wheel") Centres of energy in the human system. : literally, the wheel of a wagon; metaphorically, one of the psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body (sukshma-sharira);mula-adhara-cakra (muladhara-cakra) at the base of the spine, svadhishthana-cakra at the genitals, manipura-cakra at the navel, anahata-cakra at the heart, vishuddha-cakra or vishuddhi-cakra at the throat, ajna-cakra in the middle of the head, and sahasrara-cakra at the top of the head .
psychic space in front of the closed eyes, just behind the forehead.
Cin-mudra ("consciousness seal")
a common hand gesture (mudra) in meditation (dhyana), which is formed by bringing the tips of the index finger and the thumb together, while the remaining fingers are kept straight
the superconscious ultimate Reality (see atman, brahman)
Citta ("that which is conscious")
ordinary consciousness, the mind, as opposed to cit.
a famous Vedic mantra recited particularly at sunrise: tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat,"
Gheranda-Samhita ("[Sage] Gheranda's Compendium")
one of three major manuals of classical hatha yoga, composed in the seventeenth century; cf. Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika, Shiva-Samhita
Neti (nasal cleansing technique) performed with ghee
Renowned sacred text "Bhagavad-Gita".
cow's face' posture
Goraksha ("Cow Protector")
traditionally said to be the founding adept of hatha yoga, a disciple of Matsyendra
Yogi Gorakhnath's' pose
any one of three common blockages in the central pathway (sushumna-nadi) preventing the full ascent of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti); the three knots are known as brahma-granthi (at the lowest psychoenergetic center of the subtle body), the vishnu-granthi (at the heart), and the rudra-granthi (at the eyebrow center)
a term that has numerous meanings, including "virtue"; often refers to any of the three primary "qualities" or constituents of nature (prakriti): tamas (the principle of inertia), rajas (the dynamic principle), and sattva (the principle of lucidity) quality of nature viz. tamas, rajas, sattwa
the 'secret' pose
Guru ("he who is heavy, weighty")
a spiritual teacher; cf. acarya . spiritually enlightened soul, who can dispel darkness, ignorance and illusion from the mind and enlighten the consciousness of a devotee/disciple
Guru-Bhakti ("teacher devotion")
a disciple's self-transcending devotion to the guru; see also bhakti
Guru-Gita ("Guru's Song")
a text in praise of the guru, often chanted in ashramas
Guru-Yoga ("Yoga [relating to] the teacher")
a yogic approach that makes the guru the fulcrum of a disciple's practice; all traditional forms of yoga contain a strong element of guru-yoga
Quality born of nature. See page on the three Gunas.
apart from the literal meaning, this term also refers to the breath (prana) as it moves within the body; the individuated consciousness (jiva) propelled by the breath; see jiva-atman; see also parama-hamsa
Hatha Yoga ("Forceful Yoga")
a major branch of yoga, developed by Goraksha and other adepts c. 1000 C.E., and emphasizing the physical aspects of the transformative path, notably postures (asana) and cleansing techniques (shodhana), but also breath control (pranayama) . science of yoga which purifies the whole physical body by means of shatkarma, asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha and concentration
Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika ("Light on Hatha Yoga")
one of three classical manuals on hatha yoga, authored by Svatmarama Yogendra in the fourteenth century
Hiranyagarbha ("Golden Germ")
the mythical founder of yoga; the first cosmological principle (tattva) to emerge out of the infinite Reality; also called Brahma. Cosmic intelligence; the supreme lord of the universe; cosmic mind.
the prana current or arc ascending on the left side of the central channel (sushumna nadi) associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and having a cooling or calming effect on the mind when activated; one of the main energy channels running on the left side of the spine from the mooladhara (base) chakra to the ajna chakra in the head.
The Lord of gods; the ruler of heaven
the Lord; referring either to the Creator (see Brahma) or, in Patanjali's yoga-darshana, to a special transcendental Self (purusha)
Ishvara-Pranidhana ("dedication to the Lord")
in Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga one of the practices of self-restraint (niyama); see also bhakti yoga
pertaining to the jinas ("conquerors"), the liberated adepts of Jainism; a member of Jainism, the spiritual tradition founded by Vardhamana Mahavira, a contemporary of Gautama the Buddha
The yoga technique of enema using water - one of the yoga shatkarma
A shatkarma technique - cleansing of the nasal passages with water by alternating the flow of water in the nostrils, preferably using a neti pot.
hroat lock' to restrict the flow of bereath through the throat - done by resting the chin on the upper sternum (chest).
("muttering") continuous chanting i.e repetition of a mantra
Jiva-Atman, Jivatman ("individual self")
the individuated consciousness, as opposed to the ultimate Self (parama-atman)
one of the shatkarma techniques for cleansing the tongue.
Jivan-Mukta ("he who is liberated while alive")
an adept who, while still embodied, has attained liberation (moksha)
Jivan-Mukti ("living liberation")
the state of liberation while being embodied; cf. videha-mukti JIVANMUKTA : One who is liberated in this life.
Wisdom, understanding.. Knowledge of the Self. both worldly knowledge or world-transcending Jnana is one of the four paths of Yoga.
(Pronounced Nyani) A wise person who is endowed with Jnana.
Organs of knowledge or perception.
the gesture of knowledge - in this the index finger is bent so that its tip is joined with the tip of the thumb, the other three fingers are spread out.
Jnana Yoga ("Yoga of wisdom") the yoga of knowledge
attained through spontaneous self-analysis and investigation of abstract and speculative ideas. the path to liberation based on wisdom, or the direct intuition of the transcendental Self (atman) through the steady application of discernment between the Real and the unreal and renunciation of what has been identified as unreal (or inconsequential to the achievement of liberation)
Emancipation; state of absolute independence from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga; in the nondualistic (advaita) traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning "release" from the fetters of ignorance, or avidya)
a Goddess embodying the fierce (dissolving) aspect of the Divine
the dark age of spiritual and moral decline, said to be current now; kali does not refer to the Goddess Kali but to the losing throw of a die
the appetite for sensual pleasure blocking the path to true bliss (ananda); the only desire conducive to freedom is the impulse toward liberation, called mumukshutva
skull or cerebrum
Kapila ("He who is red")
a great sage, the quasi-mythical founder of the Samkhya tradition, who is said to have composed the Samkhya-Sutra (which, however, appears to be of a much later date)
A breathing technique aimed at cleaning the frontal part of the brain; also called skull polishing - done through rapid breaths with more force on exhalation.
Organs of action - tongue, hands, feet, genital organ and anus.
One who observes strictly the duties ordained in the scriptures.
Receptacle of actions.
the yoga of action - aims at supreme consciousness through action; discussed in Bhagavad Gita
one of the shatkarma which involves cleansing the ears.
waist rotating' pose.
spontaneous cessation of breath without any conscious effort.
Singing devotional songs.
Khecari-Mudra ("space-walking seal")
the Tantric practice of curling the tongue back against the upper palate in order to seal the life energy (prana); see also mudra
afflictions or tensions - according to yoga there are 5 such afflictions present in humans from birth
tortoise' pose - an advanced posture
sheath or body; realm of experience and existence. ("casing"): any one of five "envelopes" surrounding the transcendental Self (atman) and thus blocking its light: anna-maya-kosha ("envelope made of food," the physical body), prana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of life force"), mano-maya-kosha ("envelope made of mind"), vijnana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of consciousness"), and ananda-maya-kosha ("envelope made of bliss"); some older traditions regard the last kosha as identical with the Self (atman)
activity, dynamic yogic practice . A type of of exercise in Hatha Yoga.
Krishna ( "Puller")
an incarnation of God Vishnu, the God-man whose teachings can be found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata-Purana
the practice of kundalini yoga
breath retention; cf. puraka, recaka
man's retained energy or potential energy and consciousness
refers to the human's potential energy lying dormant in mooladhara (base) chakra like a coiled serpent. When awakened it rises up through the sushumna nadi for full enlightenment to occur.
The primordial cosmic energy located in the individual.
philosophy expounding the awakening of potential energy and inherent consciousness within the human body and mind.
a shatkarma (cleansing) technique that involves the cleansing of the stomach by drinking in water and then expelling it by inducing vomiting
also referred as the short intestinal wash. Involves the drinking of several glasses of water and the expelling it through stool after a series of exercises (asanas); in the process a thorough cleansing of the colon takes place.
Laya Yoga ("Yoga of dissolution")
an advanced form or process of Tantric yoga by which the energies associated with the various psycho-energetic centers (cakra) of the subtle body are gradually dissolved through the ascent of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti) union with the supreme consciousness through pranayama or devotion. Literally, union by absorption
the phallus as a principle of creativity; a symbol of God Shiva
the great lock - combines the three locks in yoga - the moola bandha, jalandhara bandha and uddiyana bandha - together with breath retention.
Mahabharata ("Great Bharata")
one of India's two great ancient epics telling of the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas and serving as a repository for many spiritual and moral teachings
the great gesture - combines the practice of moola bandha, shambhavi and khechari mudras simultaneously.
literally means 'great nadi', which is the 'sushumna' in yoga
A great soul.
The departure of a Self-realized saint from his mortal coil.
Great soul (from maha-atman, "great self"): an honorific title (meaning something like "a great soul") bestowed on particularly meritorious individuals, such as Gandhi
the Tantric sexual ritual in which the participants view each other as Shiva and Shakti respectively
the lower mind, which is bound to the senses and yields information (vijnana) rather than wisdom (jnana, vidya); cf. buddhi
the energy center above the ajna chakra - is depicted with six petals
a circular design symbolizing the cosmos and specific to a deity
the energy centre in the spinal column located behind the navel - corresponding to the solar plexus.
Destruction of mind
(from the verbal root man "to think") Sacred syllable or word, or set of words through the repetition and reflection of which one attains perfection/ subtle sound vibration, which through repetition aims at expanding one's awareness or consciousness. such as om, hum, or om namah shivaya, that has a transformative effect on the mind of the individual reciting it; to be ultimately effective, a mantra needs to be given in an initiatory context (diksha)
the power of mantra
the yogic path utilizing mantras as the primary means of liberation
Marman ("lethal [spot]")
in Ayurveda and yoga, a vital spot on the physical body where energy is concentrated or blocked; cf. granthi
Matsyendra ("Lord of Fish")
an early Tantric master who founded the Yogini-Kaula school and is remembered as a teacher of Goraksha
a spine twisting pose
Maya ("she who measures")
the deluding or illusive power of the world; illusion by which the world is seen as separate from the ultimate singular Reality (atman) /The illusive power of God.
peacock' pose - advanced pose aims at strengthening the arms and stimulating the manipura chakra.
("release") liberation from the cycle of birth and death/ the condition of freedom from ignorance (avidya) and the binding effect of karma; also called mukti, kaivalya
energy lock created by the contraction of the perineum in the male and the cervix in the female.
lowest energy centre in the human body where the kundalini shakti (serpent power) resides - situated in the perineal floor in men and the cervix in women.
fainting or swooning breath' in which the breath is inhaled slowly and retained for an extended period.
silence - the practice of silence or the vow of silence
One who observes silence.
("seal") literally means 'gesture' - mudra expresses and channelizes cosmic energy within the mind and body.
the inner sound, as it can be heard through the practice of nada yoga or kundalini yoga / Mystic sound.
Nada-Yoga ("Yoga of the [inner] sound")
the yoga or process of producing and intently listening to the inner sound as a means of concentration and ecstatic self-transcendence
one of 72,000 or more subtle channels along or through which the life force (prana) circulates, of which the three most important ones are the ida-nadi, pingala-nadi, and sushumna-nadi/ energy channels in the body, similar to the meridians in acupuncture
Nadi-Shodhana ("channel cleansing")
the practice of purifying the conduits, especially by means of breath control (pranayama)
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Breathing technique - is the 'alternate nostril breathing' or 'balanced breathing' - balances the energy flow in the channels and purifies the energy channels (nadi) by balancing the flow of breath through the right and left nostrils.
a great sage associated with music, who taught bhakti yoga and is attributed with the authorship of one of two Bhakti-Sutras
hand gesture adopted during pranayama to alternate the flow of breath through the nostrils.
appellation of many North Indian masters of yoga, in particular adepts of the Kanphata ("Split-ear") school allegedly founded by Goraksha
abdominal massage' - a cleansing technique (shatkarma) involving the contraction of the rectus abdominal muscles.
Neti-Neti ("not thus, not thus")
an Upanishadic expression meant to convey that the ultimate Reality is neither this nor that, that is, is beyond all description
another shatkarma (cleansing technique) - involves cleaning of the nasal passages or sinus irrigation; jala neti forms a part of the various neti kriyas.
in Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga, the very basis of the process of concentration, meditation, and ecstasy; in the first instance, the restriction of the "whirls of the mind" (citta-vritti)
Liberation; final emancipation.
Superconscious state where there is no mind or Triputi.
A liberated soul of marvellous powers who is ever present on the astral plane.
("[self-]restraint") The second step in Raja Yoga, observance - purity, contentment, austerities, etc./rule, there are five rules described in patanjali yoga which consists of purity (saucha), contentment (samtosha), austerity (tapas), study (svadhyaya), and dedication to the Lord (ishvara-pranidhana)
the Tantric practice of infusing various body parts with life force (prana) by touching or thinking of the respective physical area
the subtle energy produced through practice, especially the discipline of chastity (brahmacharya)/ Spiritual energy.
the universal mantra; cosmic vibration of the universe; represents the four states of consciousness The sacred monosyllable which symbolizes Brahman. the original mantra symbolizing the ultimate Reality, which is prefixed to many mantric utterances
A Yogi who has stored up the seminal energy in the brain after sublimating the same into spiritual energy (Ojas).
the five tantric practices : mansa(meat), madhya(wine), matsya(fish), mudra(grain), and maithuna(sexual intercourse)
the five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether
highest, supreme, God
Paramatma ("supreme self")
the transcendental Self, which is singular, as opposed to the individuated self (jiva-atman) that exists in countless numbers in the form of living beings / the supreme atma; God
Paramahamsa ("supreme swan")
an honorific title given to great adepts, such as Ramakrishna and Yogananda /The highest class of Sannyasins .
stage of perception of nada
back stretching pose
Animal nature; bestial nature.
The author of Yoga-Sutras, the foremost scripture on Raja Yoga, the Yoga of mind control/ compiler of the Yoga Sutra, who lived c. 150 C.E.
Energy channel terminating at the right big toe, between poosha and pingala channels
Pingala Nadi ("reddish conduit")
the prana current or arc ascending on the right side of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and associated with the sympathetic nervous system and having an energizing effect on the mind when activated.
breathing technique which involves gulping air and swallowing it into the stomach and retaining it
full moon night
the opposite of spiritual ignorance (ajnana, avidya); one of two means of liberation in Buddhist yoga, the other being skillful means (upaya), i.e., compassion (karuna)
fulfillment of desire
Prakriti : ("creatrix")
nature, which is multilevel and, according to Patanjali's yoga-darshana, consists of an eternal dimension (called pradhana or "foundation"), levels of subtle existence (called sukshma-parvan), and the physical or coarse realm (called sthula-parvan); all of nature is deemed unconscious (acit), and therefore it is viewed as being in opposition to the transcendental Self or Spirit (purusha) or in other simpler words it is called Mother Nature, causal matter.
Prakriti-Laya ("merging into Nature")
a high-level state of existence that falls short of actual liberation (kaivalya); the being who has attained that state
life in general; the life force sustaining the body; the breath as an external manifestation of the subtle life force sustaining life and creation , some times called life phosphorus.
The sacred monosyllable Om.
(from prana and ayama, "life/breath extension"): breath control, the fourth limb (anga) of Patanjali's eigthfold path, consisting of conscious inhalation (puraka), retention (kumbhaka), and exhalation (recaka); at an advanced state, breath retention occurs spontaneously for longer periods of time / Practice of breath-control.
divine grace; mental clarity /an offering usually food to and from the guru or higher power
sensory inhibition, the fifth limb (anga) of Patanjali's eightfold path/ Abstraction or withdrawal of the senses; fifth step in Raja Yoga/ first stage of concentrating on the mind during meditation .
nature of the mind
the earth element
ritual worship, which is an important aspect of many forms of yoga, notably bhakti yoga and Tantra
Puraka ("filling in")
inhalation, an aspect of breath control (pranayama)
Purana ("Ancient [History]")
a type of popular encyclopedia dealing with royal genealogy, cosmology, philosophy, and ritual; there are eighteen major and many more minor works of this nature / eighteen ancient books consisting of legends and mythological narrations dealing with creation, recreation and the genealogies of sages and rulers/ Hindu myths and legends.
the transcendental Self (atman) or Spirit, a designation that is mostly used in Samkhya and Patanjali's yoga-darshana/ man; pure consciousness/ The Supreme Being.
purpose of the consciousness, of man's existence- the four basic needs or desires, arth, kaama, dharma, moksha
the God-man Krishna's spouse; a name of the divine Mother
One of the three Gunas or qualities of Prakriti which generates passion and restlessness.
Raja-Yoga ("Royal Yoga")
a late medieval designation of Patanjali's eightfold yoga-darshana, also known as classical yoga / A system of Yoga generally taken to be the one propounded by Patanjali Maharishi, i.e., Ashtanga Yoga. One of the four paths of Yoga in which union is achieved through concentration of mind .
A sacrifice performed by a monarch as a mark of his subduing all other kings.
red bindu, same as beeja(seed) bindu, shakti bindu; the potentially creative bindu from which creation springs; often refers to the ovum.
an incarnation of God Vishnu preceding Krishna; the principal hero of the Ramayana
Ramayana ("Rama's life")
one of India's two great national epics telling the story of Rama/ A holy narative of Lord Rama.
Tasting the bliss of lower Samadhi.
exhalation, an aspect of breath control (pranayama)/ exhalation
a category of Vedic sage; an honorific title of certain venerated masters, such as the South Indian sage Ramana, who is known as maharshi (from maha meaning "great" and rishi); Sage.
A sacred place in the Himalayas.
Rudra (Lord Shiva)
Rudra is said to have sprung from Brahma's forehead and is one of the holy trinity
spiritual discipline leading to siddhi ("perfection" or "accomplishment"); the term is specifically used in Tantra / Spiritual practice.
Pious man, a simple accomplished being of higher evolution stage.
Sahaja ("together born")
a medieval term denoting the fact that the transcendental Reality and the empirical reality are not truly separate but coexist, or with the latter being an aspect or misperception of the former; often rendered as "spontaneous" or "spontaneity"; the sahaja state is the natural condition, that is, enlightenment or realization
The thousand Names of the Lord.
highest energy centre located at the crown of the head
Power; the feminine aspect of Divinity.
Transference of power by a developed Yogi.
Serenity; control of mind
Samadhi ("putting together")
the ecstatic or unitive state in which the meditator becomes one with the object of meditation, the eighth and final limb (anga) of Patanjali's eightfold path; there are many types of samadhi, the most significant distinction being between samprajnata (conscious) and asamprajnata (supraconscious) ecstasy; only the latter leads to the dissolution of the karmic factors deep within the mind; beyond both types of ecstasy is enlightenment, which is also sometimes called sahaja-samadhi or the condition of "natural" or "spontaneous" ecstasy, where there is perfect continuity of superconscious throughout waking, dreaming, and sleeping / The state of superconsciousness/ the final stage of ashtanga yoga in which concentration becomes one with the object of concentration; supreme union.
Samatva Or Samata ("evenness")
the mental condition of harmony, balance
one of the main traditions of Hinduism, which is concerned with the classification of the principles (tattva) of existence and their proper discernment in order to distinguish between Spirit (purusha) and the various aspects of Nature (prakriti); this influential system grew out of the ancient (pre-Buddhist) Samkhya-Yoga tradition and was codified in the Samkhya-Karika of Ishvara Krishna (c. 350 C.E.)
Samnyasa ("casting off")
the state of renunciation, which is the fourth and final stage of life (see ashrama) and consisting primarily in an inner turning away from what is understood to be finite and secondarily in an external letting go of finite things; cf. vairagya
Samnyasin ("he who has cast off")
Samsara : ("confluence")
the finite world of change, as opposed to the ultimate Reality (brahman or nirvana) / The process of worldly life.
Samskaras : ("activator")
the subconscious impression left behind by each act of volition, which, in turn, leads to renewed psycho mental activity; the countless samskaras hidden in the depth of the mind are ultimately eliminated only in asamprajnata-samadhi/ Impressions in the subconscious mind that form the basis of our beliefs, attitudes and personality.
Samyama : ("constraint")
the combined practice of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and ecstasy (samadhi) in regard to the same object / Concentration, meditation and Samadhi practiced at one and the same time.
The well known teacher of Vedanta philosophy.
Singing of divine songs.
one who has renounced the world in seek of self-realization/ Those who have embraced the life of complete renunciation.
Goddess who bestows knowledge of fine arts and power of speech
shoulderstand - an inverted posture
the ultimate Reality (atman or brahman)
Existence absolute(Sat), Knowledge absolute(Chid), Bliss absolute(Ananda)
guru who has attained self-realization
Satsang : ("true company/company of Truth")
the practice of frequenting the good company of saints, sages, Self-realized adepts, and their disciples, in whose company the ultimate Reality can be felt more palpably / Association with the wise.
Purity-one of the three qualities of nature or Gunas.
quality unwavering purity
truth, a designation of the ultimate Reality; also the practice of truthfulness, which is an aspect of moral discipline (yama)/
Breathing technique which involves hissing leading to a cooling effect upon the whole body.
cosmic causal state
the six yogic techniques of purification of the body, viz. neti, dhauti, nauli, basti, trataka, kapalbhati
cooling breath' - a pranayama technique that lowers the body temperature by inhaling through the mouth while letting the breath flow in over the tongue.
Siddha Yoni Asana
the female counterpart of the siddhasana meditative posture, in which the left heel presses the entrance to the vagina
a meditative seating posture in which the left heel presses the perineum (stimulating the mooladhara chakra); also called as the adept's pose or the 'pose of perfection'.
an adept, often of Tantra; if fully Self-realized, the designation maha-siddha or "great adept" is often used
Siddha-Yoga ("Yoga of the adepts")
a designation applied especially to the yoga of Kashmiri Shaivism, as taught by Swami Muktananda (twentieth century)
spiritual perfection, the attainment of flawless identity with the ultimate Reality (atman or brahman); paranormal ability, of which the yoga tradition knows many kinds / Psychic power.
Sirshasana (inverted pose) -
the 'headstand' in which the body is inverted and balanced on the crown of the head
Siva : Lord Siva
bestower of auspiciousness on His devotees.
represents a mantra in meditation; literally means, 'I am That'. Represents the Psychic sound with the sound 'so' during inhalation and 'ham' during exhalation.
sixteen petalled chakra situated above ajna and manas chakras
a key concept of Kashmir's Shaivism according to which the ultimate Reality itself "quivers," that is, is inherently creative rather than static (as conceived in Advaita Vedanta)
Auspiciousness-a name is qualified by putting "Sri" before it as a mark of courtesy and auspiciousness.
a comfortable meditative pose; also called the 'easy pose' or simply the cross-legged pose.
Surya Bheda Pranayama
breathing technique in which inhalation is done through the right nostril ; increases vitality
see 'pingala nadi'
Sushumna Nadi ("very gracious channel")
the central prana current or arc in or along which the serpent power (kundalini-shakti) must ascend toward the psychoenergetic center (cakra) at the crown of the head in order to attain liberation (moksha) /main energy channel in yoga, in the centre of the spinal cord through which kundalini shakti flows .
an aphoristic statement; a work consisting of aphoristic statements, such as Patanjali's Yoga Sutra or Vasugupta's Shiva-Sutra / Aphorism.
yogic technique to cleanse the nasal passage using a special thread
Svadhyaya ("one's own going into")
study, an important aspect of the yogic path, listed among the practices of self-restraint (niyama) in Patanjali's eightfold yoga; the recitation of mantras/ Study of scriptures.
Essential nature; Reality.
second chakra in the spinal column, above the mooladhara.
auspicious pose -meditative posture similar to siddhasana
One of the three qualities of nature (Gunas) which generates inertia, laziness, dullness and infatuation/ the quality of inertia, laziness, procrastination.
austerity, penance, which is an ingredient of all yogic approaches, since they all involve self-transcendence / The third Niyama of the Ashtanga Yoga system.
Practice of austerity.
a type of Sanskrit work containing Tantric teachings; the tradition of Tantrism, which focuses on the shakti side of spiritual life and which originated in the early post-Christian era and achieved its classical features around 1000 C.E.; Tantrism has a "right-hand" (dakshina) or conservative and a "left-hand" (vama) or unconventional/antinomian branch, with the latter utilizing, among other things, sexual rituals
a fact or reality; a particular category of existence such as the ahamkara, buddhi, manas; the ultimate Reality (see also atman, brahman) / Essence; principle.
twisting cobra pose
swaying palm tree pose
one of the cleansing techniques (shatkarma) in which the gaze is focussed upon an object such as a candle flame.
The triad-seer, sight and seen.
("fourth"), also called cathurtha: the transcendental Reality, which exceeds the three conventional states of consciousness, namely waking, sleeping, and dreaming / The state of superconsciousness, the fourth state transcending the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states.
abdominal retraction lock'; drawing in of the abdomen towards the backbone after exhaling
a kind of breathing technique which produces a light sonorous sound.
Upanishad ("sitting near")
a type of scripture representing the concluding portion of the revealed literature of Hinduism, hence the designation Vedanta for the teachings of these sacred works; cf. Aranyaka, Brahmana, Veda/ Revelation; text dealing with Ultimate Truth and Its Realization.
in Buddhist yoga, the practice of compassion (karuna).
Detachment from worldly attachments. Has been prescribed by the great sage Patanjali Maharishi in his Yoga Sutras and by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as an essential means to control the mind together with Abhyasa./ the attitude of inner renunciation.
the 'thunderbolt' pose; a kneeling posture with buttocks resting upon the heels.
flow of breath in the left nostril
yogic technique to cleanse the stomach by voluntary vomiting. There are two types: kunjal kriya (regurgitating of water) and vyaghra (regurgitating of food)
yogic cleansing technique in which a large quantity of water is drunk in conjunction with asanas to cleanse the entire digestive tract; also known as shankhaprakshalana.
ability to control all objects, living and non-living
yogic detoxification technique in which a specially prepared cloth is swallowed and removed after ten minutes, in order to remove mucus from the stomach
a cleansing technique in which the air swallowed into the stomach is belched out.
The highest authority among the Aryans of India/ four ancient texts- Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva, which are further divided into Samhita, Brahmana, Aranayaka and Upanishads. They were revealed to the sages and saints of India which explain and regulate every aspect of life from supreme reality to worldly affairs. The oldest books in the library of mankind.
One who follows the path of Vedanta
hero,s pose - for concentration and discrminative thinking
one of the energy centres located in the spine behind the throat and connected with the cervical plexus, tonsils and thyroid gland
First limb of Raja Yoga; Eternal vows - non-violence, truthfulness, etc.
emanating from Yamnotri in the Himalayas and joining Ganga near Allahabd, North India;refers to pingala nadi in the pranic body.
state of union between two opposites - body and mind; individual and universal consciousness; a process of uniting the opposing forces in the body and mind in order to achieve supreme awareness and enlightenment.
One who practices Yoga; one who is established in Yoga
practice of yoga.
a deep relaxation technique also called 'yogic sleep' in which mind and body is at complete rest but with complete awareness.
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