A - B - C - D - E - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T - U - V - Y


Aagya Chakra - The sixth celestial Chakra which is situated on the forehead between the eyebrows, on whose awakening a person is transformed into a divine being.

Aarti - A short prayer or eulogy sung in the reverence of a diety or a Guru. A kind of short religious ceremony in which a prayer is sung and lighted lamps are used to worship a God or a saint.

Abhaya - (Lit.; fearlessness) freedom from fear.

Abhaya-mudra (Lit.; seal of fearlessness). This is one of the classical hand gestures found in Mahâyâna Buddhist and Tantric iconography. It is used by adepts to dispel fear (bhaya) in others.

Abhyasa - Practice; steady effort.

Acarya / Acharya - A preceptor, instructor; religious teacher; Guru.

Adhah - Down

Adhar - Base, foundation.

Adhara - A support

Adhipa - Protector

Adhipati - Lord

Adho-mukha - Face downwards.

Adho mukha svanasana - The dog stretch posture.

Adhyaatma - The principle of self.

Adhyaatmam - Transcendental

Aditii - The mother of the gods.

Advaita - Non -duality of the universal spirit ; the truth and teaching that there is only One Reality.

Agni - Fire

Aham - I

Ahamkara - The individuation principle, or ego, which must be transcended.

Ahimsa - (Lit.; nonharming): the single most important moral discipline.

Ajnjali - folded hands.

Akasha - 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.

Akrodha - Freedom from anger.

Amrita - (Lit.; immortal/immortality) Designation of the deathless Spirit (atman) ; also the nectar of immortality that oozes from the psychoenergetic center at the crown of the head when it is activated and transforms the body into a "divine body".

Anahat Chakra - the fourth of the divine centers present in the body, on the route of the kundalini, on whose awakening a person can venture into time periods ranging thousands of years in the past as well as the future, and can also go into a state of deep meditation. Anahat Chakra isituated near the heart.

Ananda - The state of true joy or divine bliss.; the condition of utter joy, which is an essential quality of the ultimate Reality.

Ananta - Infinite, a name of Vishnu.

Anantam - Unlimited

Anga - (Lit.;limb) Fundamental category of the yogic path, such as asana, dharana, dhyana, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, samadhi, yama.

Anitya - Uncertain/temporary/ephemeral/transient.

Anityam - Temporary

Anityah - Nonpermanent

Anjana - The name of the mother of Hanuman.

Arati /Arathi - A ritual act of worship during which a flame, symbolic of the individual soul, is waved before the form of a deity, sacred being, or image that embodies the light of Consciousness / waving of the light before altar.

Ardha – half

Ardha-baddha padmottanasana - the half-lotus forward bend posture

Ardha-chandrasana - the half-moon posture

Ardha-matsyendrasana - the half spinal-twist posture

Ardhanarishvara - Shiva and his Shakti united as one

Ardha-navasana - the half-boat posture

Ardha-padmasana - the half-lotus posture

Ardha-salabhasana - the half-locust posture

Ardha-sarvangasana - the half-shoulderstand posture

Ardha-sirsasana - the half headstand posture

Arjuna – One of the heroes of the Indian epic Mahabharata, considered to be the greatest warrior of all. He was the friend and devotee of Lord Krishna, who revealed the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to him on the battlefield.

Asana - A hatha yoga posture practiced to strengthen and purify the body and develop one-pointedness of mind.

Ashram – A community of like-minded individuals. Any spiritual community or settlement.

Ashta – Eight

Ashtanga-yoga - (Lit.; eight-limbed union) 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.

Asmita - ("I-am-ness"): a concept of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga, roughly synonymous with ahamkara.

Atman - Divine Consciousness residing in the individual; the supreme Self; The soul.

Aum - ( OM ) The mystical syllable which represents, among other things, all that is, all that was, and all that ever shall be.

Avadhuta - An enlightened being who lives in a state beyond body-consciousness and whose behavior is not bound by ordinary social conventions.

Avidya – ignorance; the root cause of suffering.

Ayurveda - Vedic Medicine, Indian science of medicine based on herbs, metals and minerals "life science”.
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Baba - A term of affection and respect for a saint or holy man.

Bandha – (Lit.; to bind or tie back) A muscular contractions or lock used to retain breath, prana or energy within a given area.

Bandha padmasana - The bound lotus posture

Bhagavad Gita - The Lord's Song; the oldest full-fledged yoga book found embedded in the Mahabharata ; One of the world's spiritual treasures and an essential scripture of India ; Scripture of the avatar Krishna and his dialogues with Arjuna.

Bhagavan – Holy

Bhajan - A Hindi devotional song in praise of God.

Bhakta - A devotee, a lover of God; a follower of bhakti yoga, the path of love and devotion.

Bhakti - (Lit.; devotion/love) The path of devotion; a path to union with the Divine or the guru as a manifestation of the Divine; based on the continual offering of love and the constant remembrance of the Lord.

Bhakti Yoga – The yoga of devotion and love; a major branch of the yoga tradition, utilizing the feeling capacity to connect with the ultimate Reality.

Bhastrika - The bellows breath.

Bhavana - Concentration

Bhujangasana - The cobra posture

Bindi / Bindu - A red dot, seed, drop or point worn between the eyebrows marking the location of the third eye, the eye of inner vision or spiritual wisdom. The creative potency of anything where all energies are focused.

Bodhi - Supreme knowledge the state of the awakened master, or Buddha.

Bodhisattva - Enlightenment Being.

Brahma - The Creator of the universe; The absolute Reality manifested as the active creator of the universe, personified as one of the three gods of the Hindu trinity. The other two are Vishnu, who represents the principle of sustenance, and Shiva, who represents the principle of destruction.

Brahmacharya -(Lit.; brahmic conduct) The discipline of chastity; control of sexual impulses, state of life of learning and purity.

Brahman - The Absolute or ultimate reality.

Brahmana / Brahmin - A Hindu priest. The highest class in the Hindu caste system.

Brahmanand - The divine joy obtained on the realization of the supreme truth, the 'Brahma'.

Buddha – Awakened; enlightened one; a designation of the person who has attained enlightenment and therefore inner freedom; honorific title of Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.

Buddhi - (Lit.;she who is conscious, awake) The higher mind, which is the seat of wisdom.

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Chakra - Wheel or vortex. The divine and celestial centers situated in the body along the spinal chord. Literally, the wheel of a wagon; metaphorically, one of the psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body ) ; in Buddhist yoga, five such centers are known, while in Hindu yoga often seven or more such centers are mentioned: 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.

Chakra-bandha - The binding which seals all of the chakras.

Chakrasana - The wheel posture.

Chandra - The moon.

Chitta / Citta - Mind-stuff, the lower parts of mind; ordinary consciousness.

Chiti - The power of universal Consciousness; the creative aspect of God.

Cin-mudra - (consciousness seal) A common hand gesture (mudra) in meditation, which is formed by bringing the tips of the index finger and the thumb together, while the remaining fingers are kept straight .

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Dandasana - The staff posture.

Darshan - Seeing or being in the presence of a saint, a deity, or a sacred place; blessing given by a holy person; have a glimpse of something divine and sacred, e.g. Gods, Guru. To see, to have the manifestation of God.

Deva - He who is shining; a divine being ; a male deity, such as Shiva, Vishnu, or Krishna , either in the sense of the ultimate Reality or a high angelic being.

Devi - She who is shining; a goddess ; a female deity such as Parvati, Lakshmi, or Radha, either in the sense of the ultimate Reality (in its feminine pole) or a high angelic being.

Dharana - Concentration or attention , the sixth limb of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga.

Dharma - Essential duty; the law of righteousness; living in accordance with the divine will. The highest dharma is to recognize the Truth in one's own heart.

Dhyana - Contemplation ; one of the limbs of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga.

Diksha - Yogic initiation; spiritual awakening of a disciple by the grace of the Master.

Drashta - Consciousness, the 'witness'.

Drishti – (Lit.;view/sight) Yogic gazing, such as at the tip of the nose or the spot between the eyebrows.

Duhkha - Suffering, a fundamental fact of life, caused by ignorance of our true nature.

Durga - Godess; The fierce aspect of the universal Shakti or divine Mother, who destroys limitations and evil tendencies. She is often depicted as the eight-armed warrior goddess who rides a tiger and carries weapons.

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Eka - One, single.

Ekagrata - Concentration of mind.

Eka pada hastasana - The one leg posture.

Eka pada kakasana - The one leg crow posture.

Eka pada sirsasana - The leg-behind-head posture.

Ekgara - One-pointed.

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Ganesh - The elephant-headed god, also known as Ganapati. Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, he is worshiped at the beginning of any undertaking and in many festivals as the god of wisdom, the destroyer of sorrows, and the remover of obstacles.

Garbhasana - The fetus posture.

Gayatri-mantra - Famous Vedic mantra / chant for awakening the soul (recited particularly at sunrise): tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat,"

Geeta - Bhagwat Geeta, this is one of the holy texts of the hindus which contains the divine discourse given, to Arjun, by Lord Krishna in the battle of Mahabharat.

Ghee - Clarified butter.

Gheranda-Samhita - One of three major manuals of classical hatha yoga, composed in the seventeenth century; cf. Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika, Shiva-Samhita.

Gomukhasana - the cow-faced posture

Granthi - (lit.; knot) 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).

Gu - darkness

Gunas - The three basic qualities of nature that determine the inherent characteristics of all created things. They are sattva (purity, light, harmony, intelligence); rajas (activity, passion); and tamas (dullness, inertia, ignorance).

Guru – Remover of darkness / a spiritual teacher.

Guru-bhakti (lit.; teacher devotion) A disciple's self-transcending devotion to the guru.

Guru-Gita (lit.;Guru's Song) A text in praise of the guru.

Guru Poornima – Full- moon festival day in honor of one's spiritual teacher

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Ha - The sun

Halasana - The plough posture.

Hamsa - literally, "Swan." Shiva rides a White Swan at the crown chakra, symbolizing the divine spirit, or the liberated Self.

Hamasana - The altered peacock posture.

Hanuman - the monkey God is the eleventh Rudra epithet of Lord Shiva. He is worshipped to vanquish all fears and tensions from one's life. Son of the Wind, and one of the heroes of the Ramayana. Hanuman's unparalleled strength was exceeded only by his perfect devotion to Lord

Rama, for whom he performed many acts of magic and daring.

Hanuman Chalisa - The prayer of Lord Hanuman, is full of devotion, sacrifice and dedication.

Hanumanasana - The splits.

Hatha Yoga - Yogic practices, both physical and mental, performed for the purpose of purifying and strengthening the physical and subtle bodies.

Homa - Vedic worship; Fire offerings.

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Ida-nadi - the prana current or arc ascending on the left side of the central channel associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and having a cooling or calming effect on the mind when activated.

Indra - Vedic God of being or life, king of the Devas in Devlok

Indra The king of the Devtaas (Gods). The Lord of rains.

Isha - A form of Shiva

Ishvara - A supreme being, God, the cosmic Creator.

Ishvara-pranidhana – Dedication; attentiveness to the Lord.

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Jai – Victory

Jalandhara-bandha - Where the chin rests in the notch between the collar bones.

Japa - Repetition of a mantra, either silently or aloud.

Jaya – Victory

Jayanthi – Birthday

Jeevan Mukti Siddhi - A practice for achieving salvation.

Ji – suffix added to a name to show respect, e.g.: samiji

Jiva-atman - (lit.;individual Self) The individuated consciousness, as opposed to the ultimate Self.

Jivan-mukt - Spiritual liberation. Jiva means "life," and mukta means "liberation." Jiva-mukta therefore, means to be spiritually liberated while still living in a mortal body.

Jivan-mukti – (lit.;living liberation) The state of liberation while being embodied.

Jnana - (lit.; knowledge/wisdom) - both worldly knowledge or world-transcending wisdom.

Jnana-Yoga - "Yoga of wisdom" 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).

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Kaamdev - The God of love, Cupid.

Kaivalya - (lit.; isolation) The state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence.

Kala - Literally virtues. There are said to be thirty-two virtues or Kalas which only few spiritual saints possess.

Kali - Goddess embodying the fierce (dissolving) aspect of the Divine.

Kali-yuga - The current dark age of spiritual and moral decline.

kalpa - An immense period of time equal to one thousand ages.

Kanda - A knot, the place where the three main nadis join.

Kapala - The skull.

Kapalabhati - A process to clear the sinuses; type of pranayama.

Kapila - Great Hindu sage, founder of the Sankhya system of philosophy

Karma - (lit., action) Any action-physical, verbal, or mental; Destiny, which is caused by past actions, mainly those of previous lives; ; the "karmic" consequence of one's actions; destiny; the law of cause and effect / action and reaction

Karmaphala - The result of an action.

Karma-yoga - Unselfish actions / yoga of selfless service.e

Karuna (lit.;compassion) Universal sympathy; in Buddhist yoga the complement of wisdom.

Khecari-mudra - The Tantric practice of curling the tongue back against the upper palate in order to seal the life energy, prana.

Kosha / koshas - Bodies or sheaths; any one of five layers surrounding the transcendental Self (atman) and thus blocking its light: anna-maya-kosha ("layer made of food," the physical body), prana-maya-kosha ("layer made of life force"), mano-maya-kosha ("layer made of mind"), vijnana-maya-kosha ("layer made of consciousness"), and ananda-maya-kosha ("layer made of bliss"); some older traditions regard the last kosha as identical with the Self.

Krishna - (lit., the dark one) The eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The spiritual teachings of Lord Krishna, called "the dark one" because his skin was deep blue, are contained in the Bhagavad Gita, a portion of the epic Mahabharata.

Kriya – Cleaning / Lit: Process; Kriyas purify the body and nervous system, thus allowing a seeker to experience higher states of consciousness.

Kumbhaka - Breath retention.

Kundalini - (lit., coiled one) The primordial Shakti, or cosmic energy, that lies dormant in a coiled form in the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine. Through the descent of grace (shaktipat), this extremely subtle force, also described as the supreme goddess, is awakened and begins to purify the entire being. As Kundalini travels upward through the central channel, She pierces the various chakras, finally reaching the sahasrara at the crown of the head. There, the individual soul merges into the supreme Self and attains the state of Self-realization.

Kundalini-Yoga - The yogic path focusing on the kundalini process as a means of liberation.

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Lakshmi - Goddess of beauty and luck / The Goddess of wealth and prosperity, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Also addressed as Bhagwati Lakshmi and Mahalakshmi.

Lalita - Goddess of bliss, consort of Vishnu.

laya - Absorption of the mind.

Laya Yoga ("Yoga of dissolution"): an advanced form or process of Tantric yoga by which the energies associated with the various psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body are gradually dissolved through the ascent of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti).

Linga - the phallus as a principle of creativity; a symbol of God Shiva.

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Maha - Great, big large, huge, powerful, mighty, eminent, noble.

Mahabharata - An epic poem that recounts the struggle between the Kauravas and Pandavas over the disputed kingdom of Bharata , the ancient name for India . Within this vast narrative is contained a wealth of Indian secular and religious lore. The Bhagavad Gita occurs in the latter portion of the Mahabharata; Serving as a repository for many spiritual and moral teachings

Mahadev - Another name for Lord Shiva, meaning the foremost among all Gods.

Mahabandha/Mahamudra - Types of mudra.

Mahadeva - The great god – Shiva.

Mahakali - ref. Kali.

Maharaj - Literally King. A title of respect.

Mahasamadhi - A realized yogi's conscious departure from the physical body at death; A celebration on the anniversary of a great being's departure from the physical body; A shrine erected at the place where a yogi has taken mahasamadhi.

Mahat - Cosmic consciousness.

Mahatma - (from maha-atman, "great self"): an honorific title (meaning something like "a great soul") bestowed on particularly meritorious individuals, such as Gandhi.

Mahavidya The Goddess Shakti has several forms of which ten are said to be more prominent. The Sadhana of the Mahavidyas or the great accomplishments is said to bestow all round progress to life.

Mahayogi - A very highly accomplished Yogi.

Mahesh - Another name of Lord Shiva.

Mala - A string of beads used to facilitate a state of concentration while repeating a mantra.

Manas – Mind; the lower mind, which is bound to the senses and yields information rather than wisdom; The reasoning ability of the mind.

Mandala - (lit.; circle): a circular design symbolizing the cosmos and specific to a deity .

Mann Siddhi - The accomplishment in which the mind and all senses are brought under total control.

Mantra - sacred sound, prayer, sacred thought or divine sounds invested with the power to protect, purify, and transform the individual who repeats them. A mantra received from an enlightened Master is filled with the power of the Master's attainment ; A sacred sound or phrase, such as om, hum, or om namah shivaya, that has a transformative effect on the mind of the individual reciting it.

Mantra-Yoga - The yogic path utilizing mantras as the primary means of liberation .

Manu - Father of the human race.

Marman / Marmas - Sensitive bodily points used in Ayurvedic treatment and yoga, a vital spot on the physical body where energy is concentrated or blocked.

Matsya - A fish

Matsyasana - The fish posture.

Matsyendra - Lord of Fish.

Matsyendrasana - the posture of Matsyendra, the fish asana.

Maya - The power that veils and obscures the true nature of the Self and creates a sense of differentiation; The deluding or illusive power of the world; illusion by which the world is seen as separate from the ultimate singular Reality; It makes the universal Consciousness, which is One, appear as duality and multiplicity.

Moksha ("release/ freedom"): the condition of freedom from ignorance and the binding effect of karma .

Mudra - seal; a hand gesture; muscular contractions that include the bandhas.

Mukta - liberated

Muktasana - the liberated posture

Muladhar - The point or centre in the body where the Kundalini lies in a recumbent state

Mukti - Liberation from the cycle of birth and death; freedom from the sense of duality and limitation.

Muni - a sage

Murti - (lit., embodiment; figure; image) A representation of God or of a chosen deity that has been sanctified and enlivened by worship. A murti can be a symbolic embodiment of the presence of God or a recognizable human figure, as in the image of a saint.

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Nada - sound; the inner sound, as it can be heard through the practice of nada yoga, kundalini yoga or during advanced stages of meditation.

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.

Nadi - Channel in the subtle body through which the vital force flows; there are 72,000 or more subtle channels along or through which the prana circulates.

Nadi-shodhana - The purification of the nadis ; practice of purifying the conduits.

Narada: A great sage associated with music, who taught Bhakti yoga and is attributed with the authorship of one of two Bhakti-Sutras.

Narayana - the supporter of life – Vishnu.

Nataraj / Nataraja - (lit., king of the dance) A name of Shiva, referring to the dancing Shiva. The object of his dance is to free all souls from the fetters of illusion. Lord of the cosmic dance.

Natarajasana - The Lord of the Dance posture.

Natha – Lord; appellation of many North Indian masters of yoga.

Navaratri - (lit., nine nights) A festival celebrating the worship of the divine Mother, Shakti, in the three forms of Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. It begins with the new moon of September-October and continues for nine nights.

Navasana - The boat posture

Neti - Not so; an Upanishadic expression meant to convey that the ultimate Reality is neither this nor that, that is, is beyond all description.

Neti-yoga - Cleansing of the nostrils.

Niddhyasana - Meditation and contemplation.

Niralamba - Unsupported

Niralamba sarvangasana - The balancing shoulderstand posture.

Nirodha - control or restraint; 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).

Nirvana - Freedom of the personal soul from the physical world, liberation.

Nirvichara - Non-investigational meditation.

Niyama - Self-purification through discipline the second limb of Patanjali's eightfold path.

Nyasa - The Tantric practice of infusing various body parts with life force (prana) by touching or thinking of the respective physical area.

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Ojas - Concentrated psychic power ; the subtle energy produced through practice, mainly the discipline of chastity.

Om : The primal sound form which the universe emanates; the inner essence of all mantras. The mystical syllable which represents, among other things, all that is, all that was, and all that ever shall be. Also written aum.

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Padahastasana - The balancing forward bend posture.

Padma - Lotus

Pancha Karma -Ffive Ayurvedic purification methods.

Para - Beyond, higher.

Paramatman - Supreme self ; supreme spirit the transcendental Self, which is singular, as opposed to the individuated self that exists in countless numbers in the form of living beings.

Paramhamsa - An honorific title given to great adepts, such as Ramakrishna and Yogananda.

Parivartana - Revolving

Parivrajaka - Wanderer

Parivritta parshvakonasana - The revolved lateral angle posture.

Parivritta paschimottanasana - The twisting back-stretching posture.

Parivritta sirsasana - The twisting head-knee posture.

Parivritta trikonasana - The revolved triangle posture.

Parshva - The side.

Parshva dhanurasana - The sideways bow posture.

Parshva halasana - The lateral plough posture.

Parshva sarvangasana - The sideways shoulderstand posture.

Parshva sirsasana - The headstand posture.

Parshvakakasana - The sideways crow posture.

Parvati - The consort of Shiva.

Pashchimottoanasana - The back-stretching posture.

Patanjali: Author of the Yoga Sutras.

Pavanmuktasana - The knee squeeze posture.

Pingala-nadi - The prana current 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.

Pradakshina - The act of worshipful circumambulation (walking clockwise around a holy temple, shrine, or place).

Prajapati - Lord of created beings.

Prajna - (Lit.;wisdom) The opposite of spiritual.

Prakriti - Eternal nature.

Prakriti-laya (Lit.; merging into nature): a high-level state of existence that falls short of actual liberation .

Pramana - Authority, an ideal.

Prana – (Lit.; life/breath) life in general; the life force sustaining the body; the breath as an external manifestation of the subtle life force.

Prana-vayu - A vital air that moves in the chest.

Pranayama (Lit.; life/breath extension) Breath control.

Pranidhana – Dedication

Prasad – Llit., that which gives peace) During any form of worship, ritual or ceremony, Hindus offer some items of food to the Lord.

Prasada - (Lit.;grace/clarity) Divine grace; mental clarity.

Pratyahara - (Lit.; withdrawal) Sensory inhibition, the fifth limb of Patanjali's eightfold path.

Puja - Ritual worship, which is an important aspect of many forms of yoga, notably bhakti yoga and Tantra, also an altar with images of the Guru or deity and objects used in worship.

Puraka - (lit.;filling in) inhalation, an aspect of breath control .

Purana (lit.; Ancient History): a type of popular encyclopedia dealing with royal genealogy, cosmology, philosophy, and ritual.

Purusha - Pure consciousness, spirit or soul.

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Radha - C onsort of Krishna ; a name of the divine Mother.

Raja - A ruler, king.

Raja-Yoga - Royal; yoga of mastery over the mind; a late medieval designation of Patanjali's eightfold.

Ram / Rama - (Lit., One who is pleasing, delightful) The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is seen as the embodiment of dharma and is the object of great devotion. He is the central character in the Indian epic Ramayana.

Ramayana - (Lit.; Rama's life) One of the great epic poems of India ; attributed to the sage Valmiki, the Ramayana recounts the life and exploits of Lord Rama. This story, so rich with spiritual meaning, has been told and retold down through the ages by saints, poets, scholars, and common folk.

Recaka / Rechaca - (Lit.;expulsion/out breathing) Exhalation, an aspect of breath control (pranayama).

Rig-Veda - The oldest of the four Vedas; it is composed of more than one thousand hymns, including those that invoke the gods of the fire ritual.

Rishi - (Lit.; seer) A category of Vedic sage; an honorific title of certain venerated masters, such as the South Indian sage Ramana, who is known as Maharshi .

Rudra - The Lord as destroyer, a form of Lord Shiva. As the fierce aspect of God, Rudra inspires both great love and great fear among his worshipers.

Rudraksha - Seeds from a tree sacred to Shiva, often strung as beads for malas. Legend has it that the rudraksha seed was created from the tears of Lord Rudra, thus endowing it with great spiritual power.

Rudram - A text chant from the Krishna Yajur Veda in which Lord Shiva is offered repeated salutations in his many manifestations; the first of these to be honored is Rudra.

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Sadashiva - A form of Shiva

Sadhaka - An aspirant, seeker

Sadhana - Practice

Sadguru - A true Guru; divine Master

Sadgurunath Majaraj Ki Jay - A Hindi phrase that means "I hail the Master who has revealed the Truth to me!" An exalted, joyful expression of gratitude to the Guru for all that has been received, often repeated at the beginning or end of an action.

Sadhaka - A seeker on the spiritual path.

Sadhana - A spiritual discipline or path. Practices, both physical and mental, on the spiritual path.

Sahaja - (lit.; the karma to which one is born ) A medieval term denoting the fact that the transcendental Reality and the empirical reality are not truly separate but coexist.

Sahasrara - The thousand-petaled spiritual energy center at the crown of the head, where one experiences the highest states of consciousness.

Salabhasana - The locust posture

Salamba - Supported

Salamba sarvangasana - The supported shoulderstand posture.

Sama - Equal, upright

Samakonasana - The sideways leg-splits posture.

Sama-sthiti - Standing still.

Sama Veda - Veda of song.

Sama-vritti - Pranayama where inhalation, exhalation and suspension of breath are of same length.

Samadhi - The ecstatic or unitive state in which the meditator becomes one with the object of meditation, the eighth and final limb of Patanjali's eightfold path; there are many types of samadhi, the most significant distinction being between conscious and 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 meditative union with the Absolute; the state of final absorption in God.

Samadhi Shrine - The final resting place of a great yogi's body. Such shrines are places of worship: permeated with the saint's spiritual power, and alive with blessings.

Samskaras - Memories

Samatva or Samata - Evenness; The mental condition of harmony, balance.

Samsara –The finite world of change, as opposed to the ultimate Reality.

Samskara - 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 .

Samyama - The combined practice of concentration , meditation and ecstasy in regard to the same object.

Sankalpa - Thought, intention, or will directed toward a specific outcome.

Sannyasa – Stage of life of renunciation and liberation, which is the fourth and final stage of life consisting primarily in an inner turning away from what is understood to be finite and secondarily in an external letting go of finite things.

Sannyasi - One who has renounced the world.

Sansara - The wheel of reincarnation.

Santosha – Contentment

Sara - Essence

Sarasvati - Goddess of speech and learning.

Sarva - Whole

Sarvanga - The whole body.

Sarvangasana - The shoulderstand posture.

Sat - Reality/truth; the ultimate reality.

Satchitananda – Truth, Knowledge, Bliss.

Sati - mother of Kartikeya and Ganapati.

Satsang / Satsanga - True company/company of truth; Coming together in spiritual community; The company of saints and devotees; A gathering of seekers for the purpose of chanting, meditation, and listening to scriptural teachings or readings.

Sattva - Orderliness, the quality of goodness in everything natural

Satya - Truth/truthfulness/ honesty; truth, a designation of the ultimate Reality; also the practice of truthfulness, which is an aspect of moral discipline

Savasana - The corpse posture.

Setu - A bridge.

Setubandhasana - The bridge posture.

Seva - (Lit., service) Selfless service; work offered to God, performed without attachment and with the attitude that one is not the doer.

Sevite: One who performs seva.

Shakti – Power; the ultimate Reality in its feminine aspect; Spiritual power; the divine cosmic power that creates and maintains the universe; may be defined as the goddess Shakti.

Shakti-pata - The process of initiation, or spiritual baptism, by means of the benign transmission of an advanced or even enlightened adept (siddha), which awakens the shakti within a disciple, thereby initiating or enhancing the process of liberation .

Shalabha - A locust.

shalabhasana - The locust posture.

Shankara -(Lit.; He who is benevolent) The great philsopher of non-dualistic Vedanta.

Shanthi - Peace; peace beyond understanding.

Shirsha - The head

Shirshasana - The head-stand posture.

Shishya (Lit.;student/disciple) The initiated disciple of a guru

Shiva - Destroyer; The all-pervasive supreme Reality; also, one of the Hindu trinity of gods, who carries out the act of destruction or dissolution.

Shivaratri - (Lit., night of Shiva) The night of the new moon in late February that is especially sacred to Lord Shiva. Devotees repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya throughout the night; on this night each repetition is said to equal the merit of a thousand repetitions.

Shodhana - (Lit.;cleansing/purification) a fundamental aspect of all yogic paths.

Shraddha- (Lit.; Faith): an essential disposition on the yogic path, which must be distinguished from mere belief.

Shri - A term or respect that means sacredness, abundance, beauty, grace, and auspiciousness, and signifies mastery of all these. Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty and prosperity.

Shuddhi (Lit.;purification/purity) The state of purity; a synonym of shodhana

Siddha - (Lit.;accomplished): A perfected yogi; one whose experience of unity-consciousness is uninterrupted.

Siddha-Guru - One who has attained the state of enlightenment and who has the capacity to awaken the dormant spiritual energy of a disciple and guide him or her to the state of the Truth.

Siddha-Yoga (Yoga of the adepts) A designation applied especially to the yoga of Kashmiri Shaivism, as taught by Swami Muktananda

Siddhi (Lit.;accomplishment/perfection)Spiritual perfection, the attainment of flawless identity with the ultimate Reality; a psychic (or occult) power.

Simhasana - The lion posture.

Sirsangusthasana - The deep lunge posture.

Sirsasana - The headstand posture.

Sita - The wife of Rama.

Sodhana – Purification

So'ham – ( Lit.; "I Am.") A natural mantric sound of the breath.

Soma - Vedic God of bliss.

Spanda (Lit.;vibration) A key concept of Kashmir 's Shaivism according to which the ultimate Reality itself "quivers," that is, is inherently creative rather than static.

Sukha - Happiness

Sukhasana - The easy posture.

Sushumna - The most important of all the nadis; the central channel, which extends from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. It is the pathway of the awakened kundalini.

Sutra - A thread; Aphorism; a condensed and cryptic statement that usually can be understood only through commentary. In India , the major points of an entire philosophical system may be expressed in a series of sutras.

Svadhyaya - The study of the Self; the regular disciplined practice of chanting and reciting spiritual texts such as the Guru Gita. Education through the study of the divine texts.

svapnavastha - The state of the mind in a dream.

Svarupa - One's true nature.

Svasamvedana - The understanding of oneself.

Swami - Title given to initiated monks, meaning “master of the sefl”.

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Tada - A mountain

Tamas - Darkness, inertia, ignorance.

Tantra - innermost being, the core, the essence. It is deducted from the verb tantori ,to weave. Therefore Tantra means weaving or the essential.

Tap - To burn, shine, suffer.

Tapas - Austerity, purification.

Tapasya - Austerities; The experience of heat that occurs during the process of practicing yoga. The heat is generated by friction between the senses and renunciation. It is said that this heat, called "the fire of yoga," burns up all the impurities that lie between the seeker and the experience of the Truth.

Tara - Crossing over, the Goddess in her role as savior.

Tattva - A fact or reality; a particular category of existence such as the ahamkara, buddhi, manas; the ultimate.

Tattvas - In Kashmir Shaivism, the basic categories or principles of the process of universal manifestation from pure Consciousness to matter; that which is the essence of each stage of manifestation.

Tejas - Radiant energy, majesty.

Tri - Three

Trikona - A triangle

Trikonasana - The triangle posture.

Trishna - Thirst, desire.

Turiya – The fourth, or transcendental state, beyond the waking, dream, and deep-sleep states, in which the true nature of reality is directly perceived; the state of samadhi, or deep meditation.

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Uddhiyana bandha – (Lit.; the flying up lock) Bbeing the abdominal lock. In practice, the diaphragm and all the abdominal organs beneath it, clear down to the sexual organs, are lifted, so that they "fly up" towards the thoracic cavity.

Uma - Shiva's wife, Parvati

Upanishad - The inspired teachings, visions, and mystical experiences of the ancient sages of India ; the concluding portion of the Vedas and the basis for Vedantic philosophy. With immense variety of form and style, all of these scriptures (exceeding one hundred texts) give the same essential teaching: that the individual soul and God are one. / 'upa' (near) 'ni' (down) sad (to sit) - the act of sitting down by one's Guru to receive instruction.

Urdhra prasarita ekapadasana - Balancing forward posture.

Urdhva - Raised

Urdhva hastattanasana - The up-stretched arms posture.

Urdhva-mukha - Face upwards.

Ushtra - A camel

Ushtrasana - The camel posture.

Utkata - Fierce

Utkatasana - The hunkering posture.

Uttana - An intense stretch.

Utthita - Stretched

Utthita eka pada sirsasana - The balancing leg-behind-head posture.

Utthita kurmasana - The balancing tortoise posture.

Utthita lingamasana - The balancing on the phallus posture.

Utthita padangusthasana - The balancing big toe posture.

Utthita parsvakonasana - The stretched lateral angle posture.

Utthita paschimottanasana - The balancing back-stretching posture.

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Vairagya - Dispassion; the power of renunciation by which a yogi is able to pursue the true rather than the false, the eternal rather than the ephemeral; uncolouredness, not desiring physical.

Vajra - One of the channels in the spine, a thunderbolt, diamond.

Vajrasana - The thunderbolt posture.

Vakra - Bent

Vama - The left side.

Vamana - Vishnu's fifth incarnation.

Varnamayi - One of the four main categories of the manifestation of awakened Kundalini. It may include the awakening of previously dormant vocal powers in the seeker, the spontaneous uttering of mantras, creative literary inspiration and intuitive wisdom.

Vasana - Longing

Vasnata - The deity of Spring.

Vasti - Internal cleansing.

Vedas - Among the most ancient, revered, and sacred of the world's scriptures, the four Vedas are regarded as divinely revealed, eternal wisdom. They are the Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Sama Veda, and Yajur Veda.

Vedana – Feelings

Vedanta - One of the schools of Indian philosophy.

Vichara - Continued thought.

Vidya - Knowledge, science.

Vijnana - Comprehension, intelligence.

Vijnanavada - Buddhist philosophy that consciousness alone exists.

Viparita - Reversed, inverted.

Viparitakarani - The upside-down posture.

Viparyaya - A mistaken view.

Vira - Brave, a hero.

Virabhadrasana - The arrow posture.

Virancha - Name of Brahma.

Virasana - The hero posture.

Virya - Vitality, enthusiasm.

Vishnu - The preserver of life, Hindu trinity governing preservation A name for the all-pervasive, supreme Reality.; One of the Hindu trinity of gods, representing God as the sustainer of the universe. Rama and Krishna are the best known of His incarnations.

Vishudda - Pure

Vitarka - Discernment

Viveka - (Lit., discrimination; distinction) The faculty of discretion that enables a human being to distinguish between true and false, reality and illusion.

Vriksha - A tree

Vrikshasana - The tree posture.

Vritti - Fluctuation or movement of the mind; thought, a vortex, an idea, behavior.

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Yajna - A sacrifice, sacred ritual; A sacrificial fire ritual in which Vedic mantras are recited while wood, fruit, grain, oil, yogurt, and ghee are poured into the fire as an offering to the Lord.

Yama - The god of death or the God of the Underworld.

Yamas - The five moral commandments, yogic attitudes; consists of: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-greed.

Yantra - A design used in meditation, geometrical meditation designs.

Yastikasana - The stick posture.

Yoga - (Lit., union) The spiritual practices and disciplines that lead a seeker to evenness of mind, to the severing of the union with pain, and through detachment, to skill in action. Ultimately, the path of yoga leads to the constant experience of the Self.

Yogadandasana - The yogin's staff posture.

Yogasana - The anchor posture.

Yoga-nidra - The sleep of yoga, where the body is resting but the mind is awake.

Yoga Sutras - Classical text of Patanjali on Yoga.

Yogi/Yogini - One who practices yoga.

Yuga - An age, world-ages.

Yajur veda - Veda of ritual or sacrifice.

Yukta - Joined with, one who has attained the communion with the supreme spirit.

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