Yoga Glossary

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

       

A

Abhaya mudra - gesture of fearlessness
Abhinivesha - fear of death
Adhara mudra - perineal mudra
Adharas - 16 bases which support the body
Adharmic - not fulfilling one's natural role in life
Advaita - non dual experience; unity of the individual soul
Agni - fire, in all its aspects. Agni encompasses all fires, from the densest (the power of digestion) to the most rarefied (the essence of cosmic fire
Agni mandala - 'zone of fire'; visualizing entire body in the form of agni
Agnisar kriya - practice of emptying the lungs and pumping the stomach to strengthen the diaphragm and lower stomach region
Agocharam - beyond sensory perception
Agochari mudra - another name for nasikagra drishti
Aham Bhramasmi - vedic mantra, I am Brahman'
Ahamkara - ego
Ahimsa - absence of violence from within; non violence
Ajapa japa - continuous, spontaneous repetition of mantra
Ajna chakra - 'third eye'; command centre
Ajna mandala - ajna chakra symbol at the eyebrow centre
Akhanda kirtan - ongoing, unbroken kirtan
Akara - form, link, continuity
Akasha - space; ether
Akasha tattwa - ether element
Akashi mudra - awareness of the inner space; practice of the external stage of dharana; gazing into space with the head tilted back
Amaroli - auto urine procedure; drinking of one's own urine in order to detoxify the body and develop stamina and vitality
Anadi - endless
Anahada nada - unheard, unstuck sound
Anahata chakra - heart chakra or emotional centre
Anahata kshetram - trigger point of anahata chakra
Ananda - everlasting bliss
Ananda samadhi - fourth state of samadhi; blissful absorption
Anandamaya kosha - sheath or body of bliss, beatitude
Annamaya kosha - sheath or body of matter
Antah - inner
Antah karana - inner instrument; experienced or manifest mind which includes the four aspects of manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara
Antar kumbhaka - internal breathe retention
Antar lakshya - internal aim to be aspired for in dharana
Antar mouna - inner silence; meditative technique
Antaranga yoga - four internal stages of raja yoga
Anuman - inference
Anusandhana - discovery
Apah - water
Apana - sub-prana, which is located in the lower abdominal region, responsible for elimination and reproduction
Aparigraha - non possessiveness
Ardhanareshwara - form of Shiva, which is half male and half female
Arjuna - one of the five Pandava brothers; he to whom Lord Krishna addressed the Bhagavad Gita
Artha - material need; wealth
Asamprajnata samadhi - transitional stage of samadhi where the traces of the mind become active according to their intensity
Asamprayoge - 'not coming into contact'
Asana - a physical posture in which one is at ease and in harmony with oneself
Asevitah - faith
Ashrama - four stages of life
Ashtanga yoga - eightfold path of yoga
Ashwini mudra - contraction of anal sphincter
Asmita - state where the ego and the sense of individuality are completely transcended and there is only pure awareness
Asmita klesha - feeling of 'I' identified with an action
Asmita samadhi - fifth state of samadhi; dissolution of ego; merging of body, mind and soul
Asteya - honesty
Asthi - bone found in the body tissues
Atadroop pratishtha - knowledge of false identity; inability to link name with form
Atma - individual soul; spirit
Aum - primordial sound; mantra
Avachetan - subconscious
Avidya - ignorance; lack of conscious awareness; mistaking the non eternal for the eternal; confined cognition
Avyakta - unmanifest; unseen
Awarohan - descending passage to the subtle body; spinal passage
Ayurveda - vedic system of medical diagnosis and treatment

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B

Bahir - external
Bahir kumbhaka - external breath retention
Bahir lakshya - external aim to focus on in order to achieve concentration
Bahiranga yoga - four external stages of raja yoga
Baikhari - audible sound produced by striking two objects
Bandha - psychic lock that concentrates the flow of energy in the body at one point or plexus; postural contraction of the body
Basti - excretory cleansing technique for the intestines and colon
Beeja - 'seed'
Bhadrasana - gentleman's pose
Bhagavad Gita - Lord Krishna's discourse to Arjuna delivered on the battlefield of Kurukshetra during the great Mahabharata war
Bhaja Govindam - ode to Shakti by Adi Shankaracharya
Bhakti - devotion
Bhal bhati - forehead bellows
Bhastrika pranayama - 'bellows' breathing technique
Bhati - to shine
Bhava samadhi - absorption' in meditation due to emotional cause, e.g. kirtan
Bheda - to pass through, pierce, purify
Bhoochari mudra - practice of the external stage of dharana; gazing into space after focusing on the finger nail of the hand held in front of the face
Bhoota - element
Bhrumadhya - eyebrow centre
Bhrumadhya drishti - eyebrow centre gazing
Bindu visarga - centre or source of individual creation from where the psychic vibrations first emanate
Brahma - Lord of creation; manifest force of life and creation; potentiality of mooladhara chakra
Brahma dhyana - meditation on the concept of Brahma
Brahma granthi - perineal knot or psychic block
Brahma nadi - subtle pranic flow within sushumna nadi through which kundalini ascends
Brahmacharya - one who lives in higher consciousness; sexual control; redirection of sexual energy towards spiritual or meditational practices
Brahmacharya ashrama - first stage of life up to 25 years, which is devoted to study and learning
Brahman - absolute reality; 'ever expanding consciousness'
Buddha - the enlightened one
Buddhi - discerning, discriminating aspect of mind; from the root 'bodh', 'to be aware of', 'to know'; intellect

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C

Chaitanya jyoti - eternal flame of spirit
Chakra - psychic center in the subtle body; circle, wheel or vortex of energy; conjugation point of the nadis
Chakrasana - wheel pose
Chandra bheda pranayama - breathing technique that pierces and purifies the ida nadi
Chandra mandala - another name for ajna mandala
Charvak - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian thought; philosophy which accepts only the perceivable phenomena as valid, not the unperceivable
Chaturmas - four months of the rainy season
Chetana - consciousness; unmanifest aspect of consciousness and energy
Chidakasha - space of consciousness experienced in the head region
Chidakasha dharana - technique of meditation involving awareness of the chidakasha
Chin mudra - attitude of chitta or consciousness; upward hand position with thumb and first finger touching
Chit - eternal consciousness
Chit shakti - mental force governing the, subtle dimensions
Chitta - individual consciousness, including the subconscious and unconscious levels of mind; memory, thinking, concentration, attention, enquiry
Chitta vritti - mental modification

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D

Daharakasha - lower or deep space; encompassing mooladhara, swadhisthana and manipura
Daharakasha dharana - concentration on the symbols of chakra and tattwa within the lower space
Dakshina nadi - another name for pingala nadi
Danta dhauti - method of cleaning the teeth
Darshana - to glimpse; to see; to have a vision
Deerghakaala - for a long period of time
Dehasamya - body stillness
Desha - place
Deva tattwa - first tattwa: the divine element
Devadutta - minor prana
Devata - deity
Devi - female deity; goddess
Dhananjaya - minor prana
Dhara - stream, flow
Dharana - holding or binding of the mind to one point; concentration
Dharma - the natural role we have to play in life; ethical law; duty
Dhatu - layers of tissue in the body
Dhauti - cleansing practices for the stomach region involving gentle washing with air, water, cloth or stick
Dhyana - meditation
Divya - divine
Divya loka - plane of divine or transcendental experience
Divyabhava - divine feeling
Doshas - humors of the physical body
Drashta - seer, observer; awareness
Dridha bhoomihi - solid foundation
Drishti - vision, eyesight
Drishtisamya - stillness of vision
Drona - teacher of the Pandava and Kaurava princes from the Mahabharata epic
Durga - devi; goddess; representing energy
Dwesha - repulsion, aversion

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G

Garbha - womb Ida
Gayatri mantra - vedic mantra of 24 matras or syllables
Gherand Samhita - traditional yogic text by Rishi Gherand
Gomukasana - cow face pose
Granthis - psychic knots
Grihastha ashrama - second stage of life from 25 50 years; householder
Guna - attribute, quality or nature of the phenomenal world
Guna rahita akasha - one of the five mental spaces of vyoma panchaka; attributeless space
Gupta nadi - runs from the knees along the inside of the thighs into the perineum
Guru - one who dispels darkness

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H

Hasta uttanasana - a pre pranayama exercise
Hatha yoga - yoga of attaining physical and mental purity, and channelling of the pranas in the body
Hatha Yoga Pradipika - yogic text, 'light on hatha yoga'
Himsa - anything which disrupts the natural flow of human perception and consciousness
Hiranya - 'golden'
Hiranyagarbha - golden womb; golden egg
Hreem - beeja mantra
Hridayakasha - space of the heart, experienced between manipura and vishuddhi chakra
Hridayakasha dharana - vedic meditative process involving concentration on the heart space

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I

Ida nadi - major pranic channel in the body; passive aspect of prana manifesting as mental force, chit shakti; lunar force governing the manifest subtle dimension
Indra - king of the vedic gods
Indriyas - sensory organs
Ishwara - higher reality; non decaying principle of Samkhya philosophy; unmanifest existence; being; non changing principle or quality
Ishwara pranidhana - cultivation of faith in the higher reality
Iti - `through' or 'thus'

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J

Jagriti - wakefulness
Jala - water
Jala neti - nasal cleansing using warm and saline water, or oil, ghee, milk, yogurt or amaroli
Jalandhara bandha - chin lock; technique that frees 'the blockages of rudra granthi', controls the network of nadis, nerves and blood vessels flowing to the brain
Janma chakra - wheel of life
Japa yoga - yoga of mantra repetition
Jaya - victory, success
Jiva - individual identity
Jnana - intuitive knowledge
Jnana kanda - path of knowledge
Jnana mudra - hand position that joins fingers and thumb; gesture of intuitive knowledge
Jnana yoga - yoga of knowledge and wisdom attained through spontaneous self-analysis and investigation of abstract or speculative ideas
Jnanendriyas - five sensory organs
Jyoti mandir - temple of light

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K

Kagra - tip
Kaivalya - state of consciousness beyond duality
Kala - time
Kala loka - plane that comes under the influence of time and its secondary aspect, space
Kama - emotional need or fulfilment
Kapalbhati pranayama - frontal brain bellowing technique used to raise the pranic energy of the body and centre it at ajna chakra
Kapalshodhan - variation of kapalbhati
Kapha - phlegm, one of the three humors described in ayurveda
Karana - cause
Kari - that which produces
Karma - action; law of cause and effect, which shapes the destiny of each individual
Karma kanda - path of ritual
Karma shaya - deep layers of consciousness where the karma are stored in the form of impressions, symbols or archetypes
Karma yoga - yoga of action; action performed with meditative awareness; yoga of dynamic meditation
Karmendriyas - five physical organs of action (feet, hands, speech, excretory and reproductive organs)
Kama dhauti - ways to clean the ears
Khechari mudra - tongue lock
Kirtan - singing of God's name
Kleem - beeja mantra
Koorma - tortoise
Koormasana - tortoise pose
Kosha - sheath or body
Krishna - incarnation of Vishnu
Kriya - action or motion
Kriya yoga - practices of kundalini yoga
Kukkutasana - cockerel pose
Kumbha - a pot
Kumbhaka - internal or external retention of breath
Kundalini - 'serpent power'; spiritual energy; evolutionary potential
Kundalini yoga - path of yoga, which awakens the dormant spiritual force
Kunjal kriya - cleansing the stomach by voluntary vomiting using warm saline water
Kuru princes - opponents of the Pandava princes in the Mahabharata epic

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L

Laghoo - 'short form'
Lakshya - aim; stage
Lalana upa chakra - minor chakra at the back of the throat
Lam - beeja mantra of mooladhara chakra
Laya - to dissolve
Laya yoga - yoga of conscious dissolution of individuality
Lokas - seven planes of consciousness

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M

Madhya - intermediate
Madhya lakshya - intermediate stage
Maha - great
Maha bheda mudra - great piercing attitude
Mahamrityunjaya mantra - a long universal mantra
Maha mudra - great attitude
Maha samadhi - final liberation experienced on the departure of the spirit from the body
Mahabandha - great lock
Mahabharata - great epic of ancient India
Mahakasha - one of the five mental spaces of vyoma panchaka; bright like the middle of the sun
Mahaprana - prana in its cosmic, unmanifest aspect
Mahat - greater mind
Majja - nerves found in the body tissues
Mala - garland
Mananat - bondage of mind
Manas - mind
Manasi - mental
Mandala - zone; area; pictorial representation
Manduki - frog
Manduki mudra - frog attitude
Mandukya Upanishad - one of the major Upanishads, which describes the three states of consciousness, represented by the three syllables of AUM
Manipura chakra - psychic centre behind the navel, associated with vitality and energy; 'city of jewels'
Manomaya kosha - mental sheath or body
Mantra - sound or vibration of power, which liberates the mind from bondage
Mantra yoga - path of yoga which liberates the mind through sound vibration
Mantraha - force of vibration
Maya - illusion; partial understanding; wrong or false notions about self-identity
Mayurasana - peacock pose
Medha - fat found in the body tissues
Mehdra - plexus of the pranic body; nadi plexus located just a few centimetres below the nave
Mitahara - balanced diet
Moksha - liberation; freedom
Moola - `root'
Moola bandha - perineal lock; technique for locating and awakening mooladhara chakra; used to release brahma granthi
Mooladhara anusandhana - discovery of mooladhara chakra
Mooladhara chakra - root chakra, situated at the perineum; seat of the primal energy
Mooladhara dhyana - practice involving visualization of mooladhara chakra and sensing the vortex of energy at this point
Mouna - silence
Mrityu tattwa - decay able element; manifest aspect of tattwa
Mudra - psychic gesture; psycho physiological posture, movement or attitude
Mukti - liberation
Mumsa - muscle found in the body tissues
Mumukshutva - desire for liberation

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N

Nabho mudra - another name for khechari mudra
Nada - psychic or internal sound
Nada Yoga - yoga of internal sound
Nadi - prana flow or channel
Nadi shodhana - purification of nadis
Nadi shodhana pranayama - practice of alternate nostril breathing by which the pranic channels are purified
Naga - one of the five minor pranas
Nairantarya - continuously without a break
Nara - decaying principle
Nashwara - decaying principle described in Samkhya philosophy; manifest existence; becoming; changeable
Nasi - nose
Nasikagra drishti - nose tip gazing
Nasikagra upa chakra - minor chakra at the nose tip
Natya mudras - dance mudras that express different attitudes or moods, such as love or anger
Nauli - practice of rotation of the abdominal muscles
Neti - cleansing practice for the head; nasal cleaning
Nidra - deep sleep
Nigraha - control
Nirbeeja samadhi - final state of samadhi where there is absorption without seed; total dissolution
Nirguna dhyana - meditation without gunas or qualities
Nirvichara samadhi - transitional stage of samadhi; absorption without reflection
Nirvichara dhyana - meditation without special attributes
Nirvichara samadhi - transitional stage of samadhi involving purification of memory which gives rise to true knowledge of the object of perception
Niyama - inner discipline
Nyaya - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian philosophy; `logic'; recognition of the real spiritual experience by the omniscient mind

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O

Om Namah Shivaya - Shiva mantra; 'I salute Shiva (consciousness)'
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudeva - Krishna mantra; 'I salute Krishna (consciousness)'
Om Namo Narayana - Narayan or Vishnu mantra; 'I salute Narayan (consciousness)'

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P

Padmasana - lotus pose
Pancha klesha - five afflictions (ignorance, ego, attraction, aversion and fear of, death)
Panchaka - five
Pandavas - the five brothers in the Mahabharata epic
Para nada - transcendental sound
Param - supreme
Paramakasha - one of the five mental spaces of vyoma panchaka; 'deep, dark space with a twinkling star like light'; state of shoonya, nothingness
Parigraha - collection
Pashubhava - instinctive personality
Pasyanti - mental
Patanjali - ancient rishi who codified the meditative stages and states into the system of raja yoga
Pawanmuktasana - series of wind releasing postures; preliminary asana series
Pingala nadi - major pranic channel in the body which conducts the dynamic force manifesting as prana shakti
Pitta - bile,. One of the three humors described in ayurveda
Pooraka - inhalation
Poorna - full
Poorna dhanurasana - full bow pose
Poorva Mimamsa - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian philosophy in the form of answers; contains theory of karma kanda or ritual
Prajna - knowledge with awareness; the seer who observes the state of nidra; the all knowing; what is known; represents the 'M' of AUM; awareness of the 'one without a second'
Prakasha - light
Prakasha mandala - white light at the centre of ajna chakra
Prakriti - individual nature
Pramana - direct knowledge; knowledge based on direct experience
Prana - vital energy; inherent vital force pervading every dimension of matter
Prana mudra - a technique of raising the prana
Prana nigraha - control of prana
Prana shakti - dynamic solar force governing the dimension of matter
Prana tattwa - third element representing the vital or life giving force
Prana vidya - knowledge and control of prana
Pranamaya kasha - energy sheath or body
Pranava - mantra Aum; primal sound vibration
Pranava dhyana - meditation on the mantra Aum
Pranayama - expansion of the range of vital energy
Pranidhana - 'to believe in'
Pranothana - awakening of the pranas in the different chakras
Pratishtha - awareness of identity
Pratyahara - withdrawal of the mind from the senses
Pratyaya - seeds or impressions in the field of consciousness, which do not disappear even in samadhi
Pravrittis - four instincts; (i) desire for food, (ii) desire for sleep; (iii) desire to procreate and (iv) fear of death
Prithvi - earth or matter
Purusha - totality of consciousness
Purusharthas - four efforts which man must make in order to fulfil his individual existence: (i) artha (wealth), (ii) kama (love), (iii) dharma (duty), (iv) moksha (liberation)

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R

Raga - attraction
Rahita - without
Raja yoga - yoga of awakening the psychic awareness and faculties through meditation
Rajas - one of the three gunas; dynamism; state of activity and the creativity combined with full ego involvement
Rakta - blood found in the body tissues
Rasa - serum found in the body tissues
Rechaka - exhalation
Rishi - seer; realized sage; one who contemplates or meditates on the Self
Rityam - the changing principle
Roodan - the cry
Roopa - form
Rud - to cry
Rudra - howling energy
Rudra granthi - psychic knot or block between ajna and sahasrara chakras

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S

Sabeeja samadhi - absorption with seed where the form of awareness remains
Sadhaka - spiritual aspirant
Sadhana - spiritual practice
Saguna dhyana - meditation to develop awareness of the transcendental qualities
Sah - with
Sahaja - spontaneous; easy
Sahaja samadhi - spontaneous meditative experience where the mind is totally withdrawn from the external world
Sahajoli mudra - contraction and release of the urinary passage in the female body to stimulate Swadhisthana chakra and promote brahmacharya
Sahasrara chakra - abode of Shiva or super consciousness; 'the thousand petalled lotus'; highest chakra or psychic centre, which symbolizes the threshold between the psychic and spiritual realms; located at the crown of the head
Sahita - 'combined with something'
Sakama karma - ego inspired actions
Sakshi - witness; drashta aspect
Sam - perfect, balanced
Samadhi - culmination of meditation; state of unity with the object of meditation and the universal consciousness
Samana - one of the five sub pranas; situated between the navel and diaphragm
Samapatti - complete absorption; samadhi
Samkhya - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian philosophy; associated with yoga; based on the division of existence into purusha, prakriti and a number of elements
Samprajnata samadhi - first sate of samadhi; transcendental state where there is knowledge with awareness
Samskara - unconscious memories; impressions that do not fit into the known categories of our present personality
Samya - stillness
Samyam - harmonious control; culmination of pratyahara, dharana and samadhi
Sanatan - eternal
Sankalpa - resolve
Sannyasa - renunciation; dedication
Sannyasa ashram - fourth stage of life from 75 years onwards; total renunciation
Sanskrit - 'language of the gods': original vedic language
Santosha - contentment
Sapta - seven
Saptavatan - awareness of seven things simultaneously
Saraswati - goddess of learning
Sat - true
Satchitananda - three divine attributes of truth, consciousness and bliss
Satkaara - with faith
Satsang - gathering in which the ideals and principles of truth are discussed
Sattwa - one of the three gunas; pure, unadulterated quality; state of luminosity and harmony
Sattwic - pertaining to sattwa
Satya - truth, reality
Satyam - the unchanging principle
Savdhan - attention; alert
Savichara samadhi - third state of samadhi where the mind alternates between time, space and object
Savishesha dhyana - meditation with special qualities: awareness of the concept of Shakti as a powerful force equal to that of Brahman
Savitarka samadhi - second state of samadhi where there is alternating association of the consciousness between word, knowledge and sensory perception
Shaiva - one who worships Shiva as the supreme reality
Shaivism - practice of worshipping Shiva
Shakta - one who worships the various manifestations of Shakti in the form of Kali, Saraswati, Durga, etc.
Shakti - primal energy; manifest consciousness
Shaktism - practice of worshiping Shakti as the supreme reality
Shambhavi - name for Parvati, consort of Shiva
Shambhavi mudra - eyebrow centre gazing
Shambhu - name for Shiva
Shankhaprakshalana - cleaning the conch; shatkarma that uses saline water to clean the small and large intestines
Shankha mudra - conch Mudra
Shanmukhi mudra - closing the seven gates
Shat - six
Shatkarmas - group of six purificatory techniques of hatha yoga
Shaucha - cleanliness of the body
Sheetali pranayama - 'cooling breath'; breathing principle technique where the breath is drawn in through the folded tongue
Sheetkan pranayama - 'hissing breath'; practice of object drawing the breath in through clenched teeth
Shiva - pure consciousness
Shodhana - purification
Shoonya - nothingness; void
Shuddha - pure in nature
Shuddhata - virtue; purity
Shuddhi - to purify
Shukra/arthata - reproductive tissues in the body
Siddha - perfected being
Siddha yoni asana - female version of siddhasana
Siddhasana - accomplished pose
Siddhi - paranormal or supernormal accomplishment
Simhasana - lion pose
Smashan bhoomi - cremation ground
Smritti - memory; memory field
Soham - mantra of the breath; used in the practice of ajapa japa
Sthiti - condition
Sthoola - gross
Sukha poorvaka - 'simple preliminary practice'
Sukhasana - easy pose
Sukshma - subtle dimension
Sumeru - mountain; tassel on mala
Surya - sun
Surya bheda - pranayama that pierces and purifies the pingala nadi
Surya mandala - image of the sun visualized at the eyebrow centre
Surya namaskara - 'salute to the sun'; series of 12 asanas for revitalizing prana
Surya tantra - path of realization through visualization and evocation of the vital energy within the sun
Surya vijnana - another name for surya tantra
Suryakasha - one of the five mental spaces of vyoma panchaka; luminous space of the sun or the soul
Sushumna - central nadi in the spine, which conducts the kundalini or spiritual force from mooladhara to sahasrara
Sutra - threads of thought which outline the ancient spiritual texts
Sutra neti - nasal cleansing using a catheter
Sva, Swa - one's own
Swadharma - acceptance of one's own duty in life
Swadhisthana chakra - 'one's own abode'; second chakra associated with the sacral plexus
Swadhyaya - self study
Swami - master of the self
Swapna - dream state
Swara yoga - science of the breathing cycle
Swastikasana - auspicious pose

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T

Tabla - Indian drums
Tadroop pratishta - knowledge of true identity; linking of name with form
Tamas - one of the three gunas; state of inertia or ignorance
Tamasic - pertaining to tamas
Tanmatra - nature, quality or essence of the five elements the sun visualized at
Tantra - ancient, universal science and culture which deals with the transcendence of human nature from the present level of evolution and understanding to transcendental level of knowledge, experience and awareness
Tapas - austerity; heat; process of burning impurities
Tarka - process of understanding through discussion and analysis
Tat - 'that'
Tattwa - element
Tattwakasha - one of the five mental spaces of vyoma panchaka; elemental space of perfect stillness
Tattwamaasi - 'Thou Art That'; vedic mantra
Teerthasthan - holy places of India
Tejas - luminosity; golden light or flame; the seer who observes the state of swapna
Trataka - to gaze steadily; dharana practice of gazing steadily at one point to focus the mind
Trayate - freed, liberated
Trimoorti dhyana - meditation on the three aspects of personality: sattwa, rajas and tamas
Turiya - fourth dimension of consciousness; super consciousness; simultaneous awareness of all three states of consciousness
Tyaga - renunciation or gradual dissociation of the mind from worldly objects and from the seed of desire

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U

Udana - one of the five sub pranas; energy located in the extremities of the body arms, legs and head
Uddiyana - 'to raise up', 'to fly up'
Uddiyana Bandha - lock applied to the abdomen which causes the diaphragm to rise into the chest, thereby directing prana into sushumna
Ujjayi pranayama - psychic breathing performed by contracting the epiglottis, producing a light sonorous sound
Upa pranas - five minor pranas responsible for such actions as sneezing, yawning, itching, belching and blinking
Upanishads - vedantic texts conveyed by ancient sages and seers containing their experiences and teachings on the ultimate reality
Upanshu - whispered sound
Upasana kanda - ritual of worship
Usha pan - drinking water through the nose; traditional form of cold water neti
Uttara Mimamsa - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian philosophy which deals with the knowledge of ritual in the form of questions
Utthita Lolasana - 'swinging while standing pose'; a pre pranayama exercise

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V

Vacha - speech
Vairagya - non attachment
Vaisheshika - a treatise on the subtle, causal and atomic principles in relation to the five elements
Vaishnava - one who worships Vishnu in the form of Rama, Krishna, Narayana etc.
Vaishnavism - sect of Vishnu
Vaishwa - manifest universe
Vaishwanara - seer who observes the manifest universe or the, external, waking consciousness
Vajrasana - thunderbolt pose
Vajroli Mudra - contraction and release of the urinary passage in the male body to stimulate swadhisthana chakra and promote brahmacharya
Vama dhauti - method of cleaning the stomach by voluntary vomiting; includes kunjal kriya and vyaghra Kriya
Vanaprastha ashrama - third stage of life from 50 75 years; retirement from worldly life in order to practise sadhana in relative seclusion
Vashishtasana - balancing asana invented by Sage Vashishta
Vastra dhauti - cleansing of the stomach and oesophagus, using a cloth
Vata - wind, one of the three humors described in ayurveda
Vata nadi - nadi running along the back of the neck and head into the brain; controls gas formation and elimination
Vatsara dhauti - form of stomach cleansing performed by drinking air through the mouth and belching
Vayu - wind, prana
Vedanta - one of the six darshana or systems of Indian philosophy; 'the end of perceivable knowledge'; the mind experiencing its own limits and going beyond them; gaining realization and understanding of that exploration
Vedas - ancient spiritual texts of the Sanatan Dharma
Veerabhava - warrior personality
Veerasana - warrior pose (also known as the philosopher's pose or the thinker's pose)
Vichara - reflection
Vidya - knowledge
Vidyut mandala - visualization of lightning within the white light of prakash mandala
Vijnana - intuitive ability of mind; higher understanding
Vijnanamaya kosha - higher mental sheath or body
Vikalpa - fancy; unfounded belief; imagination
Vikshepa - dissipation
Vipareeta - inverted
Vipareeta karani mudra - inverted psychic attitude
Viparyaya - wrong knowledge
Vishaya - object
Vishnu granthi - psychic knot or block between manipura, anahata and vishuddhi chakras, symbolizing the bondage of personal and emotional attachment
Vishuddhi chakra - psychic centre located at the level of the throat; centre of purification
Vishwa - eternal
Vitara - reasoning
Viveka - right knowledge or understanding
Vrischikasana - scorpion pose
Vritti - circular movement of consciousness; mental and modifications described in raja yoga
Vyaghra kriya - cleansing the stomach by voluntary vomiting using warm saline water (performed on a full stomach)
Vyakta - manifest; seen
Vyana - one of the sub pranas; reserve of pranic energy pervading the whole body
Vyoma - space
Vyoma Panchaka - the five subtle spaces

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Y

Yam - beeja mantra of anahata chakra
Yama - self restraint, first step of ashtanga or raja yoga
Yantra - visual form of mantra used for concentration and meditation
Yoga angas - parts or aspects of yoga
Yoga mudra - psychic union pose
Yoga mudras - gestures, which help to channel the flow of prana in the body
Yoga nidra - technique of yogic or psychic sleep which induces deep relaxation
Yoga Sutras - ancient authoritative text on raja yoga by Patanjali
Yoni - womb, source
Yoni mudra - attitude by which the primal energy inherent in the womb, or source of creation, is invoked

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