Glossary / Health

Yoga Glossary

Abhyasa : Practice - the act of practicing.
Acharya : Yoga word for teacher.
Adwaita : A philosophy according to which there is no duality - only a singular state of consciousness
Agni : Yoga word for fire.
Agnisar Kriya : One of the shatkarmas (cleansing practices) -intestinal cleansing.
Aham : Yoga word for ego.
Ahimsa : Practicing non-violence, non-injury - one of the yamas of ashtanga yoga.
Ajapa Japa : Spontaneous repetition of 'soham' mantra.
Ajna Chakra : Energy center located behind the forehead, also called psychic centre - one of the seven energy cent
Akasha : Yoga word for ether or space.
Anahata Chakra : Energy center located in the heart region; also called pranic centre - fourth of the seven energy ce
Ananda : Yogo word for bliss or ecstasy.
Antar : Yoga word for inner or internal.
Antar Dhauti : Internal yoga cleansing (shatkarma) techniques.
Antar Kumbhaka : Internal breath retention. The stage of pranayama where breath is retained after inhalation.
Antar Mouna : Internal silence - a meditation practice.
Anubhava : Yoga word for experience or realization.
Ardha : Yoga word for half.
Ardha Dhanurasana : Half bow yoga pose.
Ardha Matsyendrasana : Half spinal twist yoga position.
Ardha Padmasana : Half lotus pose.
Asana : Yoga position or yoga pose, also called yogasana. A balanced position for smooth energy flow in spec
Ashrama : Residential place of people living together in yogic tradition.
Ashtanga Yoga : The eight fold path of yoga as outlined by Patanjali: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dh
Ashwini Mudra : Practice of contracting the anal sphincter.
Atman : Yoga word for soul.
Avidya : Yoga word for ignorance.
Bahir : Yoga word for outside or external.
Bahir Kumbhaka : External breath retention. The stage of pranayama where breath is retained after exhalation.
Bahiranga Trataka : Concentrating the attention (gaze) upon an external object such as a candle flame.
Bandha : A posture in which organs and muscles are contracted to create energy lock in a specific area.
Basti : A colon cleansing technique (shakarma), yogic enema.
Bhagvad Gita : A part of the famous Hindu epic 'Mahabharata'. Teachings of Lord Krishna to his disciple Arjuna at t
Bhakti : Yoga word for Devotion
Bhakti Yoga : The yoga of devotion.
Bhastrika Pranayama : Bellows breathing technique in which the breath is forcibly drawn in and out through the nose in equ
Bhramari Pranayama : Breathing practice in which a soft (humming-bee) sound is produced during exhalation to stimulate th
Bhujangasana : Cobra pose.
Bow (Dhanurasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Bend knees and bring soles of feet up behind the body towards butto
Brahman : Supreme consciousness and absolute reality.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha): An inverted pose. Lie on your back. Bend knees close to the body, lift up the buttocks and curve the
Butterfly: A warm-up pose. Sit on the floor with your spine straight. Bend your knees to the side and bring the
Cat (Bidalasana): A warm-up pose. From a kneeling position, come up onto your hands and knees and flex/arch the spine
Chakra : Literally meaning circle or wheel, in yoga this refers to the energy centers lying along the conflue
Chandra : Yoga word for moon.
Chidakasha : Psychic space in front of the closed eyes, just behind the forehead.
Child’s Pose (Murha Januasana): A kneeling pose. Sit on your heels. Extend the body forward and place your forehead on the floor in
Chin Mudra : Hand gesture in which the first finger is kept at the root of the thumb, the last three fingers are
Cobbler (Baddha Konasana): A seated pose. It’s similar to Butterfly posture, but the knees are pushed out to each side.
Cobra (Bhujangasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Bring your arms close to the sides of your body and bend the elbows
Corpse (Savasana): A lying pose. Lie on your back, palms facing up and your eyes closed. Feet should be hip-width apart
Crow (Kakasana): A balance pose. Squat down and place your arms between your knees. Use your palms to lift up on your
Danda : Yoga word for stick.
Danda Dhauti : One of the cleansing techniques (shatkarmas), used to clean the oesophagus with a stick.
Danta Dhauti : Teeth cleansing technique.
Dhanurasana : Bow pose; backward bending yoga pose.
Dharana : Practice of concentration the sixth of the eight fold path in ashtanga yoga.
Dharma : Yoga word for duty or righteous path.
Dhauti : Second of the shatkarmas the cleansing technique of the eyes, ears, tongue, forehead, oesophagus, st
Dhyana : Meditation: single-pointed focus of mind on either a form, thought or sound.
Diksha : Initiation given by the guru.
Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana): A backbend. Kneel on the floor, similar to Cat pose, with your arms straight and palms facing down.
Double Leg Raises: A lying pose. Lie down flat and straight. First lift both legs, and then lower both legs, keeping th
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): An inverted pose. Bend at the waist like a triangle by stretching the arms out in front of your body
Dugdha Neti : Nasal irrigation or cleansing technique using milk.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana): A seated pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Bring the knees in closer together and cross your legs in f
Eye Exercises: A warm-up pose. Roll your eyes in different directions. Rub your eyes with warm palms.
Final Corpse Pose: A finishing pose. Lie flat on the floor. Relax your head, shoulders, arms, chest, buttocks, legs and
Fish (Matsyasana): A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor in a straight line. Slide arms under the body and rest the palms
Flank Stretch (Parsvakonasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart. Bend one knee at a 90-degree angle and st
Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana): A seated pose. Sit with a straight spine. Extend your arms above your head and stretch your upper bo
Ghrita Neti : Neti (nasal cleansing technique) performed with ghee.
Gomukhasana : Cow's face posture.
Gorakshasana : Yogi Gorakhnath's pose.
Guna : Quality of nature viz. Tamas, rajas, sattwa.
Guptasana : The secret pose.
Guru : Spiritually enlightened soul, who can dispel darkness, ignorance and illusion from the mind and enli
Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 3 to 3.5-feet apart. Bring one arm straight down until it touc
Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana): A twisted pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose with your feet under your buttocks. Bend one leg into the t
Hands to Feet Pose (Pada Hastasana): A standing pose. Stand straight with your feet together. Stretch your arms above your head. Bend for
Hatha Yoga : Science of yoga which purifies the whole physical body by means of shatkarma, asana, pranayama, mudr
Head Stand (Sirshasana): A balance pose. Stand upside down – with your head on the floor and legs extended towards the ceil
Hero (Virasana): A seated pose. Kneel with a spine straight. Place the feet at either side of your buttocks. Sit betw
Hridaya Akasha : Psychic space of the heart centre.
Ida Nadi : One of the main energy channels running on the left side of the spine from the mooladhara (base) cha
Jala : Yoga word for water.
Jala Basti : The yoga technique of enema using water - one of the yoga shatkarma.
Jala Neti : A shatkarma technique - cleansing of the nasal passages with water by alternating the flow of water
Jalandhara Bandha : Throat lock' to restrict the flow of bereath through the throat - done by resting the chin on the up
Japa : Continuous chanting i.e repetition of a mantra.
Jihva Dhauti : One of the shatkarma techniques for cleansing the tongue.
Jnana : Yoga word for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
Jnana Mudra : The gesture of knowledge - in this the index finger is bent so that its tip is joined with the tip o
Jnana Yoga : The yoga of knowledge - attained through spontaneous self-analysis and investigation of abstract and
Kapal : Yoga word for skull or cerebrum.
Kapalbhati Pranayama : A breathing technique aimed at cleaning the frontal part of the brain; also called skull polishing -
Karma : Yoga word for action; the act of doing.
Karma Yoga : The yoga of action - aims at supreme consciousness through action; discussed in Bhagavad Gita.
Karna Dhauti : One of the shatkarma which involves cleansing the ears.
Kati Chakrasana : Waist rotating' pose.
Kevala Kumbhaka : Spontaneous cessation of breath without any conscious effort.
Klesha : Afflictions or tensions - according to yoga there are 5 such afflictions present in humans from birt
Koormasana : Tortoise' pose - an advanced posture.
Kosha : Sheath or body; realm of experience and existence.
Kriya : Activity, dynamic yogic practice.
Kriya Yoga : The practice of kundalini yoga.
Kukkutasana : Cockerel' pose.
Kumbhaka : Yoga word for breath retention.
Kundalini : Man's retained energy or potential energy and consciousness.
Kundalini Shakti : Refers to the human's potential energy lying dormant in mooladhara (base) chakra like a coiled serpe
Kundalini Yoga : Philosophy expounding the awakening of potential energy and inherent consciousness within the human
Kunjal Kriya : A shatkarma (cleansing) technique that involves the cleansing of the stomach by drinking in water an
Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana : A shatkarma technique - also referred as the short intestinal wash. Involves the drinking of several
Laya Yoga : Union with the supreme consciousness through pranayama or devotion. Literally, union by absorption.
Leg Pulls: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Bend one knee close to your thigh. Stretch the other leg straig
Leg Reclining Lunge: A lying pose similar to Leg Pulls. Bend your knees close to your chest and reach towards your feet w
Leg to Side: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Hold one foot with the hand of the same side.
Leg up Wall (Viparita Karani): An inverted pose. Lie flat close to a wall. Place soles of your feet on the wall about hip-width apa
Locust (Salabhasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Raise both legs up behind the body.
Lotus (Padmasana): A seated pose. Sit with your spine straight. Cross both of your legs and place the soles of your fee
Lying Twist (Jathara Parivatanasana): A twist pose. Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms out at your sides, at shoulder level. Raise bo
Maha : Yoga word for great.
Maha Bandha : The great lock - combines the three locks in yoga - the moola bandha, jalandhara bandha and uddiyana
Maha Mudra : The great gesture - combines the practice of moola bandha, shambhavi and khechari mudras simultaneou
Maha Nadi : Literally means 'great nadi', which is the 'sushumna' in yoga.
Makara : Yoga word for crocodile.
Makarasana : Crocodile' pose.
Manas Chakra : The energy center above the ajna chakra - is depicted with six petals.
Manipura Chakra : The energy centre in the spinal column located behind the navel - corresponding to the solar plexus.
Mantra : Subtle sound vibration, which through repetition aims at expanding one's awareness or consciousness.
Mantra Shakti : The power of mantra
Matsyendrasana : A spine twisting pose
Mayur : Yoga word for peacock.
Mayurasana : Peacock' pose - advanced pose aims at strengthening the arms and stimulating the manipura chakra.
Moksha : Liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Moola : Yoga word for root.
Moola Bandha : Energy lock created by the contraction of the perineum in the male and the cervix in the female.
Mooladhara Chakra : Lowest energy centre in the human body where the kundalini shakti (serpent power) resides - situated
Moorchha Pranayama : Fainting or swooning breath' in which the breath is inhaled slowly and retained for an extended peri
Mouna : Silence - the practice of silence.
Mountain (Tadasana): A standing pose. Stand straight with your feet together and flat on the floor. Fan out your toes so
Mudra : Literally means 'gesture' - mudra expresses and channelizes cosmic energy within the mind and body.
Nadi : Energy channels in the body, similar to the meridians in acupuncture.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama : Breathing technique - is the 'alternate nostril breathing' or 'balanced breathing' - balances the en
Nasagra-Nasikagra Mudra : Hand gesture adopted during pranayama to alternate the flow of breath through the nostrils.
Nauli : Abdominal massage' - a cleansing technique (shatkarma) involving the contraction of the rectus abdom
Neck Exercises: A warm-up pose. Drop your head and slowly make a circle with your neck.
Neti Kriya : Another shatkarma (cleansing technique) - involves cleaning of the nasal passages or sinus irrigatio
Nidra : Yoga word for sleep.
Niyama : Rule; there are 5 rules described in the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali.
Om : The universal mantra; cosmic vibration of the universe; represents the four states of consciousness
Pada : Yoga word for foot or section of a literary work.
Padmasana : Lotus pose - a seated meditative posture.
Pancha Makara : The five tantric practices : mansa(meat), madhya(wine), matsya(fish), mudra(grain), and maithuna(sex
Pancha Tattwa : The five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Param : Yoga word for highest, supreme, and God.
Paramatma : The supreme atma: God.
Parichaya Avastha : Stage of perception of nada.
Paschimottanasana : Back stretching pose.
Patanjali : Author of the Yoga Sutras and preacher of the eight-fold (ashtanga) yoga.
Payaswini Nadi : Energy channel terminating at the right big toe, between poosha and pingala channels.
Pelvic Lift: A warm-up pose. Lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees and stand with the soles of yo
Pingala Nadi : One of the main energy channels running on the right side of the spine from the mooladhara (base) ch
Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana): A lying pose. Lie straight upside down. Bend elbows and place your palms on the floor at either side
Plavini Pranayama : Breathing technique which involves gulping air and swallowing it into the stomach and retaining it.
Plow (Halasana): An inverted pose. Lie flat on your back. Bend knees up onto your chest and raise your buttocks off t
Poornima : Full moon night.
Prakamya : Fulfillment of desire.
Prakasha : Yoga word for inner light.
Prakriti : Yoga word for nature.
Pramana : Yoga word for proof.
Prana : Vital energy force sustaining life and creation.
Pranayama : Technique of breathing and breath control which regulates energy flow and aims at maintaining energy
Prasad : An offering usually food to and from the guru or higher power.
Pratyahara : Sense withdrawal; first stage of concentrating on the mind during meditation.
Pravritti : Nature of the mind.
Prithvi Tattwa : The earth element.
Purana : Eighteen ancient books consisting of legends and mythological narrations dealing with creation, rec
Purusha : Yoga word for man or pure consciousness.
Purushartha : Purpose of the consciousness, of man's existence- the four basic needs or desires, arth, kaama, dhar
Raja Yoga : Yoga in which union is achieved through concentration of mind.
Rakta Bindu : Red bindu, same as beeja(seed) bindu, shakti bindu; the potentially creative bindu from which creati
Rechaka : Yoga word for exhalation.
Rod or Staff (Dandasana): A seated pose. Sit straight with your toes pointing upwards. Relax your arms at the sides of your bo
Rudra : Lord Shiva ; Rudra is said to have sprung from Brahma's forehead and is one of the holy trinity.
Sage Twist (Marichyasana): A twist yoga pose. Sitting straight on the floor, bend one leg across the other leg and twist your u
Sahasrara Chakra : Highest energy centre located at the crown of the head.
Sakshi : Yoga word for witness.
Samadhi : The final stage of ashtanga yoga in which concentration becomes one with the object of concentration
Samskara : Impressions stored in the mind that form the basis of our beliefs, attitudes and personality.
Sankalpa : Spiritual resolve.
Sannyasi : One who has renounced the world in seek of self-realization.
Santosha : Yoga word for contentment.
Saraswati : Goddess who bestows knowledge of fine arts and power of speech
Sarvangasana : Shoulderstand - an inverted posture.
Sat : Yoga word for truth.
Satguru : Guru who has attained self-realization.
Sattwa Guna : Quality unwavering purity.
Satya : Truth-one of the yamas.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): A seated pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Extend your body forward. Flatten the back and bring your h
Seated Spinal Twist (Maricyasana): A twist pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Bend one leg into your thigh and rotate your upper body agai
Seated-Wide Leg Forward Bend (Upavista Konasana): A seated pose. Sit and spread your legs wide apart. Keep your buttocks on the floor. Extend and stre
Seetkari Pranayama : Breathing technique which involves hissing leading to a cooling effect upon the whole body.
Shabda Brahman : Cosmic causal state.
Shakti : Yoga word for vital force or energy.
Shambhavi Mudra : A yoga gesture in which one focusses at the mid-eyebrow centre.
Shashankasana : Moon pose.
Shatkarma : The six yogic techniques of purification of the body, viz. Neti, dhauti, nauli, basti, trataka, kapa
Sheetali Pranayama : Cooling breath' - a pranayama technique that lowers the body temperature by inhaling through the mou
Shishya : Yoga word for disciple or student.
Shoulder Lifts: A warm-up pose. Lift the shoulder and let it down gradually.
Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana): A balance pose. Lie down straight on the floor. Raise your legs and buttocks together towards the ce
Shoulder Stretches: A seated pose. Sit straight with your feet under your buttocks. Holding a strap in both hands, strai
Siddha Yoni Asana : The female counterpart of the siddhasana meditative posture, in which the left heel presses the entr
Siddhasana : A meditative seating posture in which the left heel presses the perineum (stimulating the mooladhara
Sideways Forward Bend (Parsvottanasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 3 to 3.5-feet apart, turning your left foot in and your right
Sideways Hand-Big Toe (Anantasana): A lying pose. Lie down and roll over on your right side. Bend your right arm at the elbow and suppor
Simple Twist (Bharadvajasana): A twist pose. From kneeling position, rotate your upper body to one side. Keep one arm straight and
Single Leg Raises: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Raise one leg straight towards your head. Hold this leg with bo
Sirshasana : Inverted pose - the 'headstand' in which the body is inverted and balanced on the crown of the head.
Soham : Represents a mantra in meditation; literally means, 'I am That'. Represents the Psychic sound with t
Soma Chakra : Sixteen petalled chakra situated above ajna and manas chakras.
Spread Leg Forward Fold (Upavista Konasana): A seated pose. Sitting, spread the legs as wide as possible. Lower your upper body down until it tou
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your body and arms forward until your
Standing Side Stretch (Ardha Chandrasana I): A standing pose. From Mountain pose, raise one arm against your ear and curve your body in the same
Sukhasana : A comfortable meditative pose; also called the 'easy pose' or simply the cross-legged pose.
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar): A warm-up pose. A series of 12 postures practiced in a flowing sequence: 1. Mountain Pose - Stand st
Surya Bheda Pranayama : Breathing technique in which inhalation is done through the right nostril ; increases vitality.
Sushumna Nadi : Main energy channel in yoga, in the centre of the spinal cord through which kundalini shakti flows.
Sutra Neti : Yogic technique to cleanse the nasal passage using a special thread.
Swadhisthana Chakra : Second chakra in the spinal column, above the mooladhara.
Swan (Hamsasana): A kneeling pose. Kneel and place the palms flat on the floor with the fingers pointed towards your t
Swastikasana : Auspicious pose - meditative posture similar to siddhasana.
Tadasana : Palm tree pose - standing posture.
Tamas : The quality of inertia, laziness, procrastination.
Tiryaka Bhujangasana : Twisting cobra pose.
Tiryaka Tadasana : Swaying palm tree pose.
Trataka : One of the cleansing techniques (shatkarma) in which the gaze is focussed upon an object such as a c
Tree (Vrksasana): A standing pose. Stand in Mountain pose. Bend one knee up to your chest and raise your arms straight
Triangle (Trikonasana): A standing pose. Stand with feet 3 to 3.5 apart. Raise both arms to shoulder level, and then bring o
Uddiyana Bandha : Abdominal retraction lock'; drawing in of the abdomen towards the backbone after exhaling
Ujjayi Pranayama : A kind of breathing technique which produces a light sonorous sound.
Upward-Facing Dog (Urdha Mukha Svanasana): A backbend. Lie face-down on the floor. Use your palms to lift your upper body. Keep your arms strai
Utkatasana : Squatting position.
Uttankoormasana : Tortoise pose.
Vajrasana : The 'thunderbolt' pose; a kneeling posture with buttocks resting upon the heels.
Vama Swara : Flow of breath in the left nostril.
Vaman Dhauti : Yogic technique to cleanse the stomach by voluntary vomiting. There are two types: kunjal kriya (reg
Varisara Dhauti : Yogic cleansing technique in which a large quantity of water is drunk in conjunction with asanas to
Vashitva : Ability to control all objects, living and non-living.
Vastra Dhauti : Yogic detoxification technique in which a specially prepared cloth is swallowed and removed after te
Vatsara Dhauti : A cleansing technique in which the air swallowed into the stomach is belched out.
Vayu Tattwa : Air element.
Vedas : Four ancient texts- Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva, which are further divided into Samhita, Brahmana, Ara
Veerasana : Hero,s pose - for concentration and discrminative thinking.
Vishuddhi Chakra : One of the energy centres located in the spine behind the throat and connected with the cervical ple
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart and step back with one foot. Rotate your hips s
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart and step back with one foot. Rotate hips forwar
Wide-Leg Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart. Bend your body forward until your hands touch
Wind Relieving (Vatayanasana): A balance pose. Lie flat on the floor. Bend one knee into your chest and hold the leg with both hand
Yamuna River : Emanating from Yamnotri in the Himalayas and joining Ganga near Allahabd, North India;refers to ping
Yoga : State of union between two opposites - body and mind; individual and universal consciousness; a proc
Yoga Abhyasa : Practice of yoga.
Yoga Nidra : A deep relaxation technique also called 'yogic sleep' in which mind and body is at complete rest but

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