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ahimsa: The doctrine of non-violencetoward sentient beings.


AJNA CHAKRA: The sixth chakra, located at the point between the eyebrows and often referred to as the "third eye. "


akasha: The ether;primordial substance that pervades the entire universe; the substra­tum of both mind and matter. All thoughts, feelings, or actions are recorded within it.


ANAHATA CHAKRA: The fourth chakra,located at the heart center.


ASANAS:  Yoga postures used to stimulate flow of life-force through the body and to aid meditation to improve the control of the mind and body .practiced In Sanskrit, this word means posture or position.


ASHTANGA YOGA: Another name for Raja Yoga, meaning 8-limbed or 8-stepped.


ASTRAL BODY: The subtle body, containingthe prana, mind, intellect, and emotions.



The human soul or spirit - the essence of the inner being.


AURA: In parapsychology, spirituality and New Age belief, an aura is a subtle field of luminous multicolored radiation surrounding a person or object as a cocoon or halo. An aura may be held to represent or be composed of soul vibrations or chakras, and may reflect the moods or thoughts of the person it surrounds according to its "parapsychological guidelines" that try to explain the nature of their existence.


AYURVEDA: (the 'science of life') is a system of traditional medicine native to India, and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda consists of the words āyus, meaning 'life', and veda, meaning 'related to knowledge' or 'science'.



BARDO: Used somewhat loosely, the term "bardo" may refer to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, to, later on, terrifying hallucinations arising from the impulses of one's previous unskilful actions. For the spiritually advanced the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.


BASTI: Cleansing of the colon, or lower digestive tract. One of the six Kriyas.


BHAGAVAD GITA: The Hindu scripture thatprovides the philosophical basis of Yoga.


BHAKTI YOGA: The Yogic path of devotion. Includes such practices as chanting and prayer, which sublimate the emotions and channel them into devotion.


BIJI MANTRA: A sacred vowel to resonate with a chakra. Bija means seed and you can see the bija mantra as seed sound. Each chakra has its own bija-mantra.


Bioenergetic Analysis:An important part of body psychotherapy (body-oriented psychotherapy) based on the expression of feelings and the re-establishment of energy flow in the body. Bioenergetic Analysis recognises several clearly circumscribed human character structures, each able to be "read" in the form and posture of the individual's body: schizoid, oral, masochistic, psychopathic, rigid and narcissistic.


Bioenergetic treatment involves the adoption of one of a number of "stress positions" designed to promote confronting the individual with his or her structure, and the repressed emotions holding it together. The basic tenet is that when a person breathes deeply, he or she can begin to feel deeply, and that with deep feeling comes a resurgence of repressed feelings and lost memories, which need to be understood both on the feeling and reflective levels through catharsis, verbal processing and physically grounding the individual in emotional reality.


BIOFIELD: The energetic template for the physical structure of an organism. Ancients perceived the interplay of cosmic light and sound as forming the supra-physical templates of manifest form.


Brahman: Hindu god who representsthe highest principle in the universe; the essence that permeates all existence. Brahmanis the same as atmanin the philosophy of theUpanishads.



CAUSAL BODY:The most subtle of the three bodies, also known as the seed body Contains the karmic (see karma) blue­print that determines the person you are.


CERVICAL REGION: The top seven vertebraeof the spine, which support your head.

CHAKRAS The seven energy centers in the astral body where many nadis, or astral nerves, come together. They correspond to the nerve Plexuses located along the spine in the physical body


CHAKRA:A Sanskrit term meaning wheel. There is a vast literature on chakra models, philosophy and lore that underpin many philosophical systems and spiritual energetic practices, religious observance and personal discipline. Chakras function and relate within the systemic suite of the human body mind. The philosophical theories and models of chakras as systemic vortices of energy were identified through the existential mystical practice of yoga in Ancient India where they were first codified.


A chakra is a center of activity that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy. The word chakra literally translates as wheel or disk and refers to a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity emanating from the major nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column. There are seven of these wheels stacked in a column of energy that spans from the base of the spine to the top of the head. There are also minor chakras in the hands, feet, fingertips, and shoulders. Literally, any vortex of activity could be called a chakra. It is the seven major chakras that correlate with basic states of consciousness


CHI: The nutritive subtle energy taken in during breathing. Also referred to as prana or ki.


CHIN MUDRA: The hand position made by joining the thumb and index


CLAIRVOYANCE: The ability to see the aura with its colours, thought forms, shapes, etc. Clairvoyant abilities are mediated through the use of the brow chakra.



DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL:The term and metaphysicality of the phrase "dark night of the soul" are taken from the writings of the Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, a Carmelite priest in the 16th century. Dark Night of the Soul is the name of both a poem, and a commentary on that poem, and are among the Carmelite priest's most famous writings. They tell of his mystic development and the stages he went through on his quest for holiness.


The "dark night" could generally be described as a letting go of our ego's hold on the psyche, making room for change that can bring about a complete transformation of a person's way of defining his/her self and their relationship to God. The interim period can be frightening, hence the perceived "darkness". In the Christian tradition, during the "dark night" one who has developed a strong prayer life and consistent devotion to God suddenly finds traditional prayer extremely difficult and unrewarding for an extended period of time. The individual may feel as though God has suddenly abandoned them, or that their prayer life has collapsed.

Rather than being a negative event, the dark night is believed by mystics and others to be a blessing in disguise where the individual extends from a state of contemplative prayer to an inability to pray. Particularly in Christianity, it is seen as a severe test of one's faith.


DEATH YOGA: (or 'death practice') is another important aspect of Tantra techniques. Although it is called Death yoga, most the practice actually happens during life. It is the accumulation of meditative practice that helps to prepare the practitioner for what they need to do at the time of death. At the time of death the mind is in a state (clear light) that can open the mind to enlightenment, when used very skillfully. It is said that masters like Lama Tsong Khapa used these techniques to achieve enlightenment during the death process. Actually, there are three stages at which it is possible to do this; at the end of the death process, during the bardo (or 'inbetween period') and during the process of rebirth. During these stages, the mind is in a very subtle state, and an advanced practitioner can use these natural states to make significant progress on the spiritual path. The 'Tibetan Book of the Dead' is an important commentary for this kind of traditional practice.


This Death yoga should not be confused with normal meditation on death, which is a common practice within Buddhist traditions. In most non-tantra traditions it is done to reduce attachment and desire, and not to use the death process itself as a means to practice.


dharma: One's personal path in life, the fulfillment of which leads to a higher state of consciousness.


Dhauti: A purifying exercise to cleanse theupper digestive tract (mouth, oesophagus, and stomach). One of the six Kriyas.


dhyana: The focusing of attention on a particular spiritual idea in continuous meditation.


DIAPHRAGM: The flat muscular sheet belowthe rib cage. Separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. Its movement controls breathing.



EGO: In spirituality, and especially nondual, mystical and eastern meditative traditions, the human being is often conceived as being in the illusion of individual existence, and separateness from other aspects of creation. This "sense of doership" or sense of individual existence is that part which believes it is the human being, and believes it must fight for itself in the world, is ultimately unaware and unconscious of its own true nature. The ego is often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present.

The spiritual goal of many traditions involves the dissolving of the ego, allowing self-knowledge of ones own true nature to become experienced and enacted in the world. This is variously known as Enlightenment, Nirvana, Presence, and the "Here and Now".

Eckhart Tolle comments that, to the extent that the ego is present in an individual, that individual is somewhat insane psychologically, in reference to the ego's nature as compulsively hyper-active and compulsively (and pathologically)self-centred. However, since this is the norm, it goes unrecognised as the source of much that could be classified as insane behavior in everyday life. In South Asian traditions, the state of being trapped in the illusory belief that one is the ego is known as maya or samsara.



any of various glands that secrete certain substances or hormones directly into the blood or lymph; ductless gland.


EKADASI: Many Yogis use a lunar calendar to decide which days are best for fasting. Ekadasi days, 11 days after the full moon and 11 days after the new moon, are considered to be the most beneficial days.


Esotericism: refers to the doctrines or practices of esoteric knowledge, or otherwise the quality or state of being described as esoteric, or obscure. Esoteric knowledge is that which is specialized or advanced in nature, available only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.Items pertaining to esotericism may be known as esoterica.Some interpretations of esotericism are very broad and include even unconventional and non-scientific belief systems. In contrast, exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is well-known or public.


EXOTERIC: Most philosophical and religious belief systems presume that reality must be independent of what an individual makes of it. However, even before the days of Plato, a prominent alternate theory of knowledge insisted that the perceived outside reality is merely an internal fabrication of the observer and that it has no existence or substance outside the imagination of the observer. Thus, the reality we interact with is therefore merely a consensus we have reached; if we choose to imagine it otherwise, it will change. From this, one may conclude that anything labelled as "exoteric" is in fact "esoteric". When taken to its logical extremes, the result is solipsism, the notion that it's "all in our heads".



GERUNDA SAMHITA: One of the foremost ancient texts describing Hatha Yoga.


guna: A cosmic force or quality. Hindu cosmology maintains the universe is composed of three such qualities:satvic,meaning pure or truthful; rajasic, meaning rich or royal; andtomasic meaning rancid or decaying.


GUNAS: The three qualities of Nature: sattva, rajas, and lamas. According to Yogic philosophy, everything is made up of the gunas in different proportions.



HATHA YOGA: The word "Hatha" is made up of the Sanskrit syllables "ha" (sun) and "tha" (moon). Hatha Yoga indicates the union of these two opposites. It is the path of Yoga that deals primarily with the physical body, but in addition to asanas and pranayama it includes all the other practices of Raja Yoga, such as ethical behaviour and meditation.


HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA: One of the foremost ancient texts on Hatha Yoga, written by the great Yogi Swatmarama.


Holistic health is a philosophy of medical care that views physical and mental and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected and equally important approaches to treatment. While frequently associated with alternative medicine, it may also be used in medical practice as part of a broad view of patient care.



IDA: One of the three main meridians in the astral body The subtle channel to the left of the Sushumna, through which prana passes for about half of the day


Ishwara: Personal manifestation of thesupreme; cosmic self; cosmic consciousness.



JALA NETI:The Sanskrit term refers to an ancient yogic cleansing technique, meaning literally "water cleansing," where the practitioner rinses out the nasal cavity with water (typically mixed with salt to form a saline solution for comfort) using a neti pot.


JAPA: Repetition of a mantra.


JNANA YOGA: One of the four main paths of Yoga, Jnana Yoga is the intellectual or philosophical approach. The practice of Jnana Yoga usually demands the study of theVedanta philosophy of the Upanishads.



KAPALABHATI: An exercise involving rapid abdominal breathing that cleanses the respiratory tract. One of the six Kriyas


karma: The principle by which all of our actions will affect our future circumstances,either in the present or in future lifetimes. The literal translation of this Sanskrit word means "action," which is understood also to include the reaction. Karma operates through the law of cause and effect, meaning that everything happening to you is the effect of your past actions in this life or a past life.


KARMA YOGA:The path of selfless service. By performing actions without wanting reward or payment, the Yogi tries to free him- or herself from the seemingly endless wheel of births and deaths.


KRIYAS: The set of six purification exercises:Neti, Nauli, Dhauti, Basti, Kapalabhati, and Tratak.


KUNDALINI: The awakening or sleeping "serpent power." Located in the root chakra. Energy for spiritual growth. Yhe flowering of all seven chakras awakens the Kundalini, bringing cosmic consciousness.



life force energy:See Prana


LUMBAR REGION: The lumbar group in the lower back. Consists of five vertebrae, andsupports most of your body weight.



MALA: A string of 108 beads; it is a powerful tool to help focus the mind for meditation.


mandala: Any of various ritualistic geometric designs symbolic of the universe, used in Hinduism and Buddhism as an aid to meditation.


MANIPURA CHAKRA: The third chakra, corresponding to the Solar Plexus.


mantras: Words of power. A sounded meditation used for manifestation. Mystical syllable, word, or phrase used to focus the mind during meditation. Can be repeated mentally or out loud. Om is the best known mantra.


maya: The illusory power of the divine. Yogis say that the whole world is a play of Maya, a divine illusion.The illusions the physical world generates to ensnare our consciousness.


MEDITATION: a discipline in which the mind is focused on an object ofthought orawareness. It usually involves turningattention to a single point of reference.


meridians: The techniques and doctrines of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, acupressure, and qigong. According to these practices, the body's vital energy, "qi", circulates through the body along specific interconnected channels called meridians.


moksha: The attainment of liberationfrom the worldly life.


MUDRA: A hand position that channels the prang in specific directions.


MULADHARA CHAKRA: The lowest chakra,located at the base of the spine called the root.


Mysticism: (from the Greek μυστικός (mystikos) "an initiate" is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Traditions may include a belief in the literal existence of dimensional realities beyond empirical perception, or a belief that atrue human perception of the world transcends logical reasoning or intellectual comprehension. A person delving in these areas may be called a Mystic.


In many cases, the purpose of mysticism and mystical disciplines such as meditation is to reach a state of return or re-integration to Godhead. A common theme in mysticism is that the mystic and all of reality are One. The purpose of mystical practices is to achieve that oneness in experience, to transcend limited identity and re-identify with the all that is. The state of oneness has many names depending on the mystical system: Illumination, Union (Christianity), Irfan (Islam), Nirvana (Buddhism), Moksha (Jainism), Samadhi (Hinduism), to name a few.


The term "mysticism" is often used to refer to beliefs which go beyond the purely exoteric practices of mainstream religions, while still being related to or based in a mainstream religious doctrine. For example, Kabbalah is a significant mystical movement within Judaism, and Sufism is a significant mystical movement within Islam. Gnosticism refers to various mystical sects which arose out of Christianity. Some have argued that Christianity itself was a mystical sect that arose out of Judaism. Non-traditional knowledge and ritual are considered as Esotericism, for example Buddhism's Vajrayana. Vedanta, the Naths (North India), the Natha (South India), Siddhar, Nagas are considered the several mystical branches of Hinduism. Hinduism being an ancient religion and a rather broad 'all-paths' embracing philosophy has many mystical branches.

Mystical doctrines may reference religious texts that are non-canonical, as well as more mainstream canon (Christian example of the former, Dark Night of the Soul, and the latter Book of Revelation), and generally require a more committed intellectual, psychological and physical approach from spiritual devotees. Most mystical teachers typically have some history or connection with a mainstream religious branch—controversial or otherwise, but gather followers through reinterpreting sacred texts or developing new spiritual approaches from their own unique experience.



NADIS: (Sanskrit: channel or vein) are the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow. They connect at special points of intensity called chakras. Nadis correspond to the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine. In Yogic theory, there are about 72,000 nadis or subtle tubes in the astral body. They equate to the acupuncture meridians. The three most important are theIda, Pingala, and Sushumna.


NAULI: One of the six Kriyas, involving a strong churning of the abdomen.


NERVE PLEXUS: is a network of intersecting nerves. They combine sets of spinal nerves that serve the same area of the body into one large grouped nerve. There are several in the body,


New Age: A term commonly used to designate the broad movement of late 20th century and contemporary Western culture, characterised by an eclectic and individual approach to spiritual exploration. Self-spirituality, New spirituality, and Mind-body-spirit are other names sometimes used for the movement.


New Thought: The chief tenets of New Thought are that the Christian God is omnipotent and omnipresent, spirit is the ultimate reality, true human selfhood is divine, divinely attuned thought is a positive force for good, disease is mental in origin, and right thinking has a healing effect.


Nirvana:The transcendental state that is beyond the possibility of full comprehension or expression by the ordinary being en­meshed in the concept of selfhood.


niyama:Niyama (Sanskrit: नियम) A set of behaviors defined as "the observances" in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

The ten traditional Niyamas are:

  1. Hri: remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds;

  2. Santosha: contentment; being satisfied with the resources at hand - therefore not desiring more;

  3. Dana: giving, without thought of reward;

  4. Astikya: faith, believing firmly in the teacher, the teachings and the path to enlightenment;

  5. Ishvarapujana: worship of the Lord, the cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation, the return to the source;

  6. Siddhanta shravana: scriptural listening, studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one's lineage;

  7. Mati: cognition, developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru's guidance;

  8. Vrata: sacred vows, fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully;

  9. Japa: recitation, chanting mantras daily;

  10. Tapas: the endurance of the opposites; hunger and thirst, heat and cold, standing and sitting etc.

Nondualism: may be viewed as the understanding or belief that dualism or dichotomyare illusory phenomena. Examples of dualisms include self/other, mind/body, male/female, good/evil, active/passive, dualism/nondualism and many others. It is accessible as a belief, theory, condition, as part of a tradition, as a practice, or as the quality of union with reality.

A nondual philosophical or religious perspective or theory maintains that there is no fundamental distinction between mind and matter, or that the entire phenomenological world is an illusion (with reality being described variously as the Void, the Is, Emptiness, the mind of God, Atman or Brahman).


ManyAsian traditions state that the true condition or nature of reality is non-dualistic, and that these dichotomies are either unreal or (at best) inaccurate conveniences. While attitudes towards the experience of duality and self may vary, nondual traditions converge on the view that the ego, or sense of personal being, doer-ship and control, is ultimately said to be an illusion. As such many nondual traditions have significant overlap with mysticism.


Nondualism may also be viewed as a practice, namely the practice of self-inquiry into one's own being as set forth by Ramana Maharshi, which is intended to lead a person to realize the nondual nature of existence.



ojas:Energy developed by certain yogic practices that stimulates endocrine activity within the body.


oM:The sacred monosyllable, often written as "Aum," that symbolizes God as the absolute. Om is the universal mantra, containing all other mantras and sounds.



PINGALA: One of the three most important nadis, or astral nerves, located to the right of the Sushumna. Corresponds to the rightsympathetic nerve in the physical body


POSITIVE ATTITUDE: an outlook on life such that one maintains a view of the world as a positive place and that people and events are inherently good, so that most situations work out in the end for the best.


PRANA: A Sanskrit word that refers to a vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and vital energy in natural processes of the universe. Prana is a central concept in Indian medicine and Yoga where it is believed to flow through a network of fine subtle channels called nadis. Alternate nostril breathing balances the prana that flows within the body. When prana enters a period of uplifted, intensified activity, the Yogic tradition refers to it as Pranotthana.


PRANAYAMA: Yogic breathing exercises designed for cleansing and strengthening the mind and body. In the more advanced stages, pranayama enables the practitioner to control the flow of prang, or vital energy, in the body and Yogic exercises for the regulation of the breath flow.


prang: Life energy that permeates the atmosphere, enters the human being through the breath, and can be directed by thought.


Pseudoscience: is any body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that claims to be scientific or is made to appear scientific, but does not adhere to the basic requirements of the scientific method.



QUANTUM: A discrete, indivisible manifestation of a physical property, such as a force or angular momentum. Some quanta take the form of elementary particles; for example, the quantum of electromagnetic radiation is the photon, while the quanta of the weak force are the W and Z particles.



RAJAS: (Sanskrit rajas, or rajoguna) is the quality (guna) of activity. If a person or thing tends to be extremely active, excitable, or passionate, that person or thing is said to have a preponderance of rajas.


RAJA YOGA: The "royal" path of Yoga, the branch applying mainly to mental control. Raja Yoga is also seen as the scientific or step-by-step approach, hence it is also referred to as Ashtanga Yoga.



sadhanas: Spiritual practicedisciplines. Practical means for the attainment of a spiritual goal.


SAHASRARA CHAKRA: Symbolized by a thousand petaled lotus, this is the seventh chakra, or the highest energy center in the body. It is here that the Yogi unites the individual self with God.


samadhi: State of enlightenment of super consciousness. The union of the individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness.The super conscious state in which all ego identity of the mediator is gone. One experiences absolute bliss.


samsara: The phenomena of the senses. Attachment to samsara leads to rebirth.


SAMSKARA: A subtle impression of everything that has happened to the individual in this life and all past lives. All Samskaras are stored in the causal, or seed, body in the form of Karma, to be worked out when the opportunity arises.

SANSKRIT Often referred to as "Devanagari," the language of the gods, Sanskrit is probably the most ancient of human languages. Yoga uses many Sanskrit terms, as they cannot be exactly translated into English or any other Western language.


SANSKRIT: The Sanskrit language (संस्कृता वाक् , for short संस्कृतम्) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. It has the same status in Nepal as well.


SATTVA: The quality of lightness and purity - one of the three gums. Practitioners of Yoga try to keep their diet and everything else about their lives as sattvic as possible.


SHAKTI:From Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that move through the entire universe. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as 'The Great Divine Mother' in Hinduism. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and fertility - while also existing in males, in its potential, unmanifest form


SHEATHS:The five sheaths (pancha-kosas) are said to cover the self as enclosed in a succession of cases (kosa) which envelope it and, as it were, folded one over the other, "like the coats of an onion". The true self or the Atman, is none of these, nor can its true nature be known as long as it is identified with them. All the five sheaths have been eliminated in the self of man. It appears pure, of the essence of everlasting and an alloyed bliss, indwelling, supreme, and self-effulgent.


SHIVA: (Hindi: meaning "Auspicious one"), also known as Rudra (the "Feared One") is a major Hindu god and one aspect of Trimurti. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God. In the Smarta tradition, he is one of the five primary forms of God.


siddhis: Powers of the soul and spiritthat are the fruits of yogic disciplines.


SIVA:The divine inspiration of Yoga. Most of the classical treatises of Hatha Yoga are in the form of an exposition by Siva, the great Yogi, to his wife Parvati.


SOLAR Plexusus: The network of nerves that lies just behind the stomach.


soma: A plant, probably with psyche­delic properties, that was prepared and used in ritual fashion to enable men to communicate with the gods.


Spirituality:in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. The spiritual, involving (as it may) perceived non-physical eternal abilities regarding humankind's ultimate nature, often contrasts with the earthly, with the material, or with the worldly. A sense of connection forms a central defining characteristic of spirituality — connection to something "greater" than oneself, which includes an emotional experience of religious awe and reverence. Equally importantly, spirituality relates to matters of sanity and of psychological health. Like some forms of religion, spirituality often focuses on personal experience (see mysticism).


Spirituality may involve perceiving or wishing to perceive life as more important ("higher"), more comPlexus or more integrated with one's world view; as contrasted with the merely sensual.

Many spiritual traditions, accordingly, share a common spiritual theme: the "path", "work", practice, or tradition of perceiving and internalizing one's "true" nature and relationship to the rest of existence (God, creation (the universe), or life), and of becoming free of the lesser egoic self (or ego) in favor of being more fully one's "true" "Self".


subtle body: Subtle body is more specifically a term for the pranic, mental and consciousness bodies considered collectively.Derived principally from the Indian spiritual tradition where they were originally conceived as sheaths covering the immortal soul these concepts spread throughout the West in the late nineteenth century through the theosophical movement.


subtle ENERGY: a general term that denotes energy that exists outside our physical reality.


SWADHISHTANA CHAKRA: The second energy center on the Sushumna, it is located in the genital region.



TAMAS: The quality of lethargy, inertia, and laziness. Yogis try to avoid food, situations, and conditions that are tamasic.


TANTRA (Sanskrit: "weave" denoting continuity), (anglicised tantricism or tantrism) or tantram is a religious philosophy according to whichShakti is usually the main deity worshipped, and the universe is regarded as the divine play of Shakti andShiva.

Tantrism is a quest for spiritual perfection and magical power. Its purpose is to achieve complete control of oneself, and of all the forces of nature, in order to attain union with the cosmos and with the divine. Long training is generally required to master Tantric methods, into which pupils are typically initiated by aguru. Yoga, including breathing techniques and postures (asana), is employed to subject the body to the control of the will. Mudras, or gestures; mantras or syllables, words and phrases; mandalas and yantras, which are symbolic diagrams of the forces at work in the universe, are all used as aids for meditation and for the achievement of spiritual and magical power.


TANTRISM: has influenced the Hindu, Bon, Buddhist, and Jain religious traditions. Tantra in its various forms has existed in India, Nepal, China, Japan, Tibet, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia and Mongolia.


tantras: Books dealing with the worship of the female deities and specifying certain practices to attain liberation through sensuality, particularly through the height­ened union of male and female energies.


THORACIC REGION: These are the 12 vertebrae behind the chest area, to which the ribs are connected. This part of the spine tends to be rather rigid.


TRANSCENDENTAL:The quality of going beyond the limitations of the mind. Allmeditation is transcendental by nature.


TRATAK: One of the six purificatory exercises, or Kriyas, Tratak stimulates a powerful cleansing of the eye, sinus, and forehead region.



UPANISHADS: Ancient Sanskrit scripturescontaining the central tenets of Vedantaphilosophy.



VAIRAGYA Dispassion: This is essential for any real Sadhana to be practiced. Vairagya follows from the acquisition of Viveka, or discrimination.


VEDANTA: Advaita Vedanta, or complete monistic philosophy. One of the six major schools of Hindu philosophy Its main exponent was the ninth-century sage, philosopher, and poet Adi Sankaracharya


VEDAS:The Vedas (Sanskrit véda वेद "knowledge") are a large corpus of texts originating in Ancient India. They form the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauru seya "not human compositions", being supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard"). Vedic mantras are recited at Hindu prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions.


VEDIC TRADITION:(referred to as mythology by the west) that occupies a pivotal position in the history of religions, is a significant aspect of Hindu Religion and has directly contributed to the evolution and development of Hinduism. Vedic galore, which finds expression in a number of Vedic rituals and symbolism, also contains a number of religious concepts, which are generally indistinguishable from Hindu traditions.


VERTEBRAE: The 24 bones that form the spinal column. There are, starting from the top, seven cervical, 12 thoracic, and five lumbar vertebrae, plus the sacrum and the coccyx.


VIBRATION: Refers to subtle or electromagnetic energy in varying frequencies and amplitudes.


VISHNU MUDRA: The hand position used in the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise. (See also mudra.)


VISHUDDHA CHAKRA: The fifth energy center in the astral body, this chakra is located at the base of the throat.


VITALISM: a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining



yama: (Sanskrit: यम), is the lord of death, first recorded in the Vedas. Yama belongs to an early stratum of Vedic mythology. In Vedic tradition Yama was considered to have been the first mortal who died and espied the way to the celestial abodes, and in virtue of precedence he became the ruler of the departed.


YANTRA: a geometric diagram used in meditation and tantric worship; also, any object used in this way. In its more elaborate and pictorial form it is called a mandala. Yantras range from those traced on the ground or on paper and disposed of after the rite, to those etched in stone and metal, such as are found in temples.


yoga: The Sanskrit word meaning union and refers to various practices designed to attain a state of perfect union between the self and the infinite.


yogic anatonomy: The yogic systems of India (including the Tantric tradition), Tibet, China (Taoist alchemy) and Japan (Shingon) describe a yogic anatonomy or subtle physiology in terms of a series of channels (nadis, Acupuncture meridians) that convey life-force (prana, vayu, ch'i, ki) and have a number of focal points (chakras, acupuncture points). These invisible channels and points are understood to determine the characteristics of the visible physical form.


Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a foundational text of Yoga dating back to 2nd century BCE. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali prescribes adherence to eight "limbs" or steps (the sum of which constitute "Ashtanga Yoga", the title of the second chapter) to quiet one's mind and merge with the infinite. The Yoga Sutras form the theoretical and philosophical basis of Raja Yoga and are considered to be the most organized and complete definition of the discipline.

The Yoga Sutras not only provides yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical basis, but in the process, also clarifies many important esoteric concepts (like karma), common to all traditions of Indian thought.


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