This glossary of Sanskrit terms is designed primarily to support the
Advanced Yoga Practices lessons. Since the lessons were written with a mind
to simplify things, including minimizing the use of Sanskrit terms, this
glossary should not be considered to be a complete general purpose one for
use in academic studies. Nevertheless, there are over 100 Sanskrit terms
here, which is not too skimpy. Nearly all of them are related in some way to
the conduct of yoga practices.
Advaita The same as vedanta, the monistic (non-dual) branch of
Indian philosophy discussed mainly in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and
the Brahma Sutra. Advaita upholds the oneness of God, soul and universe.
Ajna Means, command. The sixth chakra, also known as the
third eye, encompasses the neuro-biology from the center of the brow to the
center of the head, and the medulla oblongata (brain stem). The third eye is
the command center controlling the ecstatic aspects of the enlightenment
process, which is the orderly awakening of kundalini.
Akasha Means, space. Inner, omnipresent space in particular. When
used in samyama, akasha reveals the body to be one and the same as inner
space, allowing it to be effortlessly transported anywhere.
Amaroli Urine therapy, an ancient spiritual practice described in
the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Damar Tantra.
Amrita Means, nectar. In yoga, most often associated
with fragrant secretions coming from the brain, down through the nasal
pharynx and into the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.
Anahata Means, unstruck sound. The fourth chakra located in the
heart area. This is where the yoga practitioner first experiences the
vastness of inner space, which is often filled with celestial sounds and
other inner sensory experiences.
Ananda Means, bliss. One of the three characteristics of
sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence.
Asana Means, posture. The third limb of the eight limbs of yoga
from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Asanas are used to physically loosen and
open the subtle nerves of the body, particularly the sushumna/spinal nerve.
Asanas are generally practiced immediately before pranayama and meditation.
Ashtanga Yoga Means, eight limbed yoga. A system of yoga
practices based on the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Asvini Mudra A dynamic version of mulabandha (root lock), where the
anal sphincter muscle is gently flexed and released periodically. This
happens automatically as ecstatic conductivity rises in the nervous system.
Atman The immortal soul of a human being. The divine Self that
exists in every person. Upon beginning meditation, it is first experienced
as stillness, peaceful inner silence, and, later, as ecstatic bliss and
outpouring divine love.
Avatar Means, incarnation of God in human form. Also is regarded
to mean a spiritual savior of humankind. The birth of an avatar is sometimes
foretold beforehand, and he or she typically undergoes the trials of
achieving final enlightenment, and then takes on a mission to help many
others advance spiritually. Well known avatars in the East include Krishna
and Buddha, and in the West, Jesus. Many avatars have come to earth, and
most are little known. Everyone has the inherent ability to become an avatar
because everyone contains the same divine potential. The primary mission of
an avatar is to show us that this is so.
Ayurveda The ancient yoga-based system of medicine that focuses on
balancing the doshas (constitutional elements) and pranas (energies) in the
body. The great strength in this system is in the application of natural
modalities and preventive measures that pre-empt illnesses, or resolve them
before they can become chronic. Ayurveda can aid in resolving imbalances and
internal energy excesses that can crop up on the path of yoga.
Bandha Means, lock. A fixed muscular position that is applied in
the course of yoga practices. Examples: mulabandha (root lock) and uddiyana
bandha (abdominal lock).
Basti Cleansing of the large
intestine (colon) with enema using a mild saline solution. This facilitates
the flow of ecstatic energy throughout the neurobiology, once ecstatic
conductivity (kundalini) has become active as a result of other practices.
Prior to that, basti may be used on occasion a health aid, since many
diseases originate in the colon. Obviously, diet plays a role in this also.
Bastrika Pranayama (also spelled Bhastrika) Means, bellows
breathing. A rapid (panting) breathing technique used in advanced stages of
yoga practice. In the AYP lessons it is used while tracing up and down
the spine with the attention, and is called spinal bastrika pranayama.
Bhagavad Gita Means, song of God. The most widely read scripture
in India, sometimes referred to as the Hindu Bible. It is part of the much
longer epic, the Mahabharata, and details a dialog between Krishna and the
great warrior, Arjuna. In the Bhagavad Gita the path to enlightenment is
described, including many of the methods found in the AYP lessons.
Bhakti Yoga Bhakti means, love of God or love of Truth. The
first manifestation of this is desire for something more in life, for an
ideal (ishta). Bhakti yoga practice systematically channels desire and
emotion toward the practitioners highest ideal, beginning with the
question, Why am I here? and ending with ecstatic union with the divine
Brahma Sutra A primary scripture of vedantas non-dual philosophy.
The others are the Bhagavad Gita and the 108 Upanishads.
Brahmacharya Means, walking in Brahma or walking in the creative
force of God. Commonly interpreted to mean celibacy, but it means more that
that. It means preservation and cultivation of the vital force (sexual
energy) in the yoga practitioner, which can be accomplished by both
celibates and non-celibates through yogic methods.
Brahmari Pranayama Means, bee sound. A supplemental pranayama
that involves using the larynx (voice box, located below the epiglottis) to
restrict the exit of air on exhalation while making a sound deep in the
throat like the high pitched hum of a bee. This is a powerful stimulator of
the OM vibration emanating from the medulla oblongata (brain stem), and is
most effective once ecstatic conductivity has arisen in the nervous system.
In AYP, Brahmari optionally can be used instead of ujjayi during spinal
Chakra Means, wheel. Chakras are neuro-biological/spiritual
energy centers in the human body, connected together by thousands of subtle
nerves/nadis. There are seven major chakras and numerous minor ones. The
seven major chakras are muladhara (perineum), svadhisthana (inner
reproductive organs), manipura (naval/solar plexus), anahata (heart),
vishuddhi (throat), ajna (brow to medulla) and sahasrar (crown).
Chit Means consciousness. One of the three characteristics of
sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence.
Darshan Means, to see or experience. To see or experience the
presence of ones chosen ideal. It also means, generally, to be in the
presence of and receive spiritual energy from an enlightened person.
Dharana Means, focused attention. The sixth limb of the eight
limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Dharana is the first stage
of meditation, and also of samyama, when the attention is focused in a
particular way on either a mantra or a sutra.
Dharma Means, that which sustains. In yoga, this refers to
activity one does in the world that is naturally supportive their spiritual
evolution ones dharma. In Buddhism, this refers to the entire teaching of
the Buddha the dharma.
Dhauti Cleansing of the entire
intestinal tract by ingesting a substantial measured quantity of saline
water, and expelling it through bowel movement. Like basti, this facilities
the advance of active ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) within the GI tract.
Dhauti taxes the neurobiology much more than basti, and therefore should be
used sparingly to achieve a positive effect.
Dhyana Means, meditation. The seventh limb of the eight limbs of
yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Meditation is the process of
attention expanding from focus on an object (like a mantra) to an unbounded
undifferentiated state of blissful awareness called samadhi. The process of
meditation, correctly practiced, leads to profound
stillness and purification in the human nervous system.
Doshas The three basic types of biological humors in Ayurvedic
medicine, which determine an individuals constitution:
vata (movement), pitta (heat) and kapha (structure). The therapies of
Ayurveda promote balance of the doshas, which provides the foundation for
good physical and spiritual health.
Guru Means, dispeller of darkness. The guru is that within us,
and also reflected outside us, that leads us gradually toward the experience
of enlightenment. Our innate desire for Truth and God (bhakti) is the most
fundamental manifestation of the guru. There is a common belief that the
guru can only be found in the form of another person. In fact, it is the
inner guru that leads us to all other forms of the guru. We are never more
than a heartbeat away from the illuminating power of the guru.
Hatha Yoga Means, joining of the sun and moon. A system of yoga
practice focusing on purifying the nervous system through physical postures
(asanas), breath control (pranayama) and related means.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika A five hundred year old scripture by
Svatmarama, detailing many of the practices of Hatha Yoga.
Ida and Pingala Two of the primary spiritual nerves (nadis) in the
body. Second in importance only to the spinal nerve (sushumna).
Ishta Means, chosen ideal. Ishta is at the heart of bhakti yoga,
and is that which each person chooses as the ideal to inspire active
engagement on the spiritual path. The ishta can be as simple as the constant
question, Who am I? and its gradually unfolding answer. Or as complex as a
guru in human form. Any object or idea can serve as the touchstone for a
persons ishta statues, philosophical concepts, the beauty of nature, etc.
What all ishtas have in common is their ability to inspire the aspirant to
diligently pursue spiritual practices.
Jalandhara Bandha Means, chin lock. Practiced during certain
stages of kumbhaka (breath retention).
A more advanced version in the AYP lessons is called dynamic jalandhara, or
Jala Neti Nasal wash, which is passing a saline solution through the
nasal passages, using either a "neti pot," or by drawing the water directly
up from a bowl through the nasal passages and releasing out through the
mouth. Jala neti aids in promoting the function of ecstatic conductivity
(kundalini) in the delicate nasal passages and sinuses, and has a
relationship with sambhavi mudra, kechari mudra, and other methods designed
to purify and open the upper energy channels. Jala neti is also good for
health, particularly for sinus allergies, and may be used at any time with
little risk of undesirable side effects.
Jiva The individual soul. Body and ego-bound consciousness. An
unenlightened human being.
Jivan Mukti A liberated soul, merged with the infinite. An
enlightened, living human being. One who has attained Christ consciousness.
Jnana (or Chin) Mudra The well-known hand mudra where the thumbs
and index fingers of both hands are joined to form circles with hands
resting, palms upward or downward, on the knees during sitting practices.
This mudra is more effect than cause, since it arises automatically with the
awakening of kundalini energy in the nervous system.
Jnana Yoga Path of knowledge. A system of
yoga practice based on inquiry and intuitive reasoning. Jnana yoga is
commonly misunderstood to be the collection of intellectual knowledge about
spiritual matters. In reality, it is a close cousin of bhakti yoga, where
the mind and heart both melt in the tapas (heat) of the ever-penetrating
inquiry, Who am I?
Jyotish The Indian system of astrology.
Kama Sutra An ancient guidebook on social and sexual relations
between men and women. While it is commonly believed in the West to be a
tantric scripture, the Kama Sutra does not contain the core principles or
sexual techniques of tantra yoga, which are embodied in brahmacharya the
preservation and cultivation of sexual energy by celibate or non-celibate
Kapalbhati Means "shining
forehead" or "luminous face." Kapalbhati is a traditional shatkarma. It is a
pranayama technique, where the breath is taken in normally and suddenly
expelled through the nose or mouth (with pursed lips). This practice
increases air pressure in the nasal pharynx and sinuses in short bursts,
providing a cleansing of the brain and upper body. The effects of kapalbhati
are similar to bastrika pranayama.
Karma Means, action and its effects. This is the idea that our
past actions have created current tendencies, limitations and opportunities
in the present. This is sometimes referred to as the law of karma. In
Christian theology, it is contained in the phrase, As you sow, so shall you
reap. Karma is the basis for the doctrine of reincarnation, and the idea
that dissolving stored karma (samskaras) in the nervous system through yoga
practices will unfold more happiness in this life, the next life, and
eventually lead the soul to eternal life in the higher realms, freed from
the necessity of taking human birth.
Karma Yoga The path of action. This is the spiritual method of
acting in the world in a spirit of service (seva), while systematically
letting go of the expectation to receive anything in return, thereby
promoting a positive cycle of causes and effects. Living a lifestyle of
karma yoga emerges naturally as yoga practices have been engaged in over a
period of time. Some are born with the gift of karma yoga, and spend their
lives lifting up all of humanity (and themselves) through their good works.
Kechari Mudra Means, to fly through (inner) space. Kechari is the
practice of raising the tongue to the soft palate, and eventually above it
into the spiritually erogenous nasal pharynx. This closes a neurological
circuit in the body, enabling ecstatic energy to flow between the pelvic
region and the head. Kechari, practiced in coordination with sambhavi and
other yoga methods, leads to opening of the ecstatic celestial realms within
the heart, and throughout the subtle levels of the nervous system.
Kirtan Devotional chanting.
Through a combination of bhakti (devotion), mantra repetition, and
pranayama, the practice of kirtan can significantly enhance ecstatic
conductivity and inner silence. Chanting kirtans in groups can also
strengthen the beneficial effects and power of group spiritual
Kriya Yoga Means, the yoga of
techniques. It comes in many forms through the various traditional lines of
teaching. The main teachings of kriya yoga focus on pranayama, with spinal
breathing being the core practice. Kriya yoga also utilizes many of the
methods of hatha yoga.
Kumbhaka Means, suspension of breath. The breath is held in
(internal kumbhaka) and out (external kumbhaka) at different times during
yoga practices. When practiced in conjunction with other yogic methods, such
as mudras and bandhas, kumbhaka plays an important role in awakening the
kundalini energy located in the pelvic region. Kumbhaka also occurs
spontaneously at times during yoga practices, especially during deep
meditation when the metabolism comes to a near standstill.
Kundalini Means, coiled serpent. A metaphorical word and concept
used to describe the latent and active states of sexual energy in the
overall process of human spiritual transformation. When kundalini is
awakened, it is the activation of sexual energy in the pelvic region in an
upward flowing direction, permeating the entire nervous system with great
transforming power. The feminine name, Shakti, is often used interchangeably
with kundalini once the energy becomes dynamic. In the Christian tradition,
it is called the Holy Spirit.
Kundalini Yoga A system of practices designed primarily to awaken
kundalini energy throughout the body. Techniques used are taken mainly from
hatha yoga, focusing more on the use of pranayama, kumbhaka, and mudras and
bandhas, and less on asanas.
Lingam The male sexual organ, both literally and energetically as
the Shiva power in the yogic merging of Shiva and Shakti energies throughout
the nervous system.
Maha Mudra Means, great seal. An advanced yoga asana designed to
purify and open the sushumna (spinal nerve).
Mahabharata The great epic poem of India covering the life of
Krishna and a war between two rival families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata.
Mala A string of beads (like a rosary) containing 108 beads, used
for counting repetitions of spiritual practice. Also sometimes worn for
ceremonial and devotional purposes.
Manipura Meaning, city of gems. The third chakra, located in the
naval/solar plexus area, associated with digestion, including the higher
metabolism associated with the production of enlightenment-promoting organic
compounds in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract that radiate sparkling energy.
Hence the reference to gems.
Mantra A specially chosen syllable or series of syllables that is
used in the practice of deep meditation.
Mantra Yoga A system of yoga practice based on mental techniques
that utilize mantras and sutras.
Maya Means, illusion. Refers to the illusory nature of the world
experienced by an unenlightened person. Acts of ignorance and death are
regarded as part of maya. An enlightened person has a different experience,
seeing maya as a play (lila) on the infinite, immortal field of pure bliss
consciousness, which is known to be ones Self. Though an enlightened person
is affected by acts of ignorance and death on the earth plane, he or she
lives a radiant reality that is forever untouched by maya. That is the
outcome of yoga a purified nervous system that has been opened to the
infinite within pure bliss consciousness and outpouring divine love.
Moksha Enlightenment. Liberation in this life in the form of
ongoing ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love. Freedom from the wheel of
birth and death.
Mudra Means, seal. Various physical postures and maneuvers that
direct ecstatic energy toward higher levels of manifestation in the nervous
Mulabandha (also spelled Mula Bandha) Means, root lock.
Systematic stimulation of sexual energy upward in the nervous system during
yoga practices through gentle compression of the anal sphincter muscle.
Muladhara Means, root or foundation. The first chakra, located at
the perineum, where kundalini energy is
Nada Yoga A path of yoga
utilizing naturally occurring inner sound (such as OM) as the object
of meditation. Since the natural occurrence of inner sound may not be
consistent at any particular time in a practitioner, or among any number of
practitioners, the consistency and effectiveness of nada yoga will also vary
widely. In the AYP approach, nada may be heard in the form of inner sounds
and vibrations (particularly OM), often accompanied by blissful
ecstatic energy flow. The advice in such cases is to favor the procedure of
the practice we may be doing at the time, since it is the practice that is
producing the experience. In the case of AYP, nada (inner sound) is effect
rather than cause.
Nadi Means, channel. Nadis are
the subtle (spiritual) nerves corresponding with the physical nerves. There
are thousands of nadis in the body, but only a few are deliberately purified
and opened to achieve the broad effects of yoga throughout the entire
Nadi Shodana A simple and relaxing form of pranayama involving use
of the fingers to achieve alternate nostril breathing.
Nauli Means, to churn. A yoga practice involving the twirling of
the abdominal muscles first in one direction, and then the other. This
practice stimulates the higher functioning of the digestive system and
Niyama Means, observance. The second limb of the eight limbs of
yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The niyamas are aspects of conduct
that support the process of human spiritual transformation. They are saucha
(purity and cleanliness), samtosa (contentment), tapas
(heat/focus/austerity), svadhyaya (study of spiritual writings and self) and
isvara pranidhana (surrender to the divine).
Ojas A luminous substance/energy that ecstatically permeates the
human body as sexual energy is cultivated and refined to a higher spiritual
OM (also spelled AUM) The most sacred mantra syllable in India, and
found in other cultures as well. The primordial vibration of God in human
beings. OM is used alone and with other syllables for meditation. As yoga
practices advance, OM can be heard as a natural spiritual vibration
emanating ecstatically from the medulla oblongata (brain stem). The medulla,
which is part of the ajna/third eye, is also called, the mouth of God.
Padmasana Means lotus posture. A way of sitting for pranayama and
meditation that involves crossing the legs and resting both feet on top of
the opposite thighs.
Prana Means, first unit. Prana is the first manifestation of
consciousness in the nervous system. It is experienced as moving energy, and
it is moved in yoga practices to advance the process of human spiritual
Pranayama Means, restraint of prana. Prana is the first
manifestation of consciousness in the body, and can be encouraged toward
higher spiritual expression. This is accomplished with the breath through a
variety of pranayama (breathing) practices to stimulate the flow of prana in
the body. Pranayama cultivates the subtle nerves (nadis), making the nervous
system a much more receptive vehicle for meditation.
Prasad A spiritual offering or gift offered to ones ishta, guru,
or teacher, which is returned bearing a spiritual blessing.
Pratyahara Means, withdrawal. Withdrawal of the primary focus of
attention on the external senses. This is caused by the expansion of inner
sensuality due to yoga practices and the awakening of ecstatic conductivity.
The attention is naturally drawn inward to more enjoyable levels of inner
experience. Over time, inner sensuality expands back out into sensory
perception of the everyday world. Pratyahara (the withdrawal) is the first
step on the journey of attention going inward toward divine perception, and
then back outward again to divine perception everywhere.
Raja Yoga Means, royal yoga. A name given to the systematic
application of the practices contained in the eight limbs of yoga described
in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Rishi Means, seer. One who has raised ecstatic conductivity
(kundalini) in the nervous system and experiences refined sensory perception
inside and outside the body. Then the relationship of consciousness and
prana (refined energy) can be observed directly. Hence the term seer.
Rishi is also a general term that is used describe a sage, sadhu, hermit, or
Ramayama A great epic poem of India, telling the story of Rama and
the path of right action the Dharma.
Sadhana The regular practice of spiritual disciplines.
Sadhu An ascetic practitioner of yoga. A mendicant. A holy person.
Sahasrar Means, thousand-petaled lotus. The seventh chakra,
located at the crown of the head (corona radiata). Awakening and entering it
leads to the merging of individual consciousness with infinite divine
consciousness. Awakening the sahasrar prematurely leads to many troubles in
a nervous system that has not been sufficiently purified beforehand.
Awakening the ajna (third eye) first prepares the nervous system, while at
the same time slowly and indirectly opening the sahasrar with much greater
Samadhi Absorption in the inner silence of pure bliss
consciousness. The repeated destination of meditation, and, ultimately, a
state which is sustained throughout daily living. This is the eighth limb of
the eight limbs of yoga described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Sambhavi Mudra The practice of lifting the eyes to the point
between the eyebrows while slightly furrowing the brow, producing physical
stimulation back through the brain to the medulla oblongata (brain stem).
When used in coordination with other yoga practices, sambhavi is a primary
means for purifying and opening the ajna (third eye). This is first
experienced as an ecstatic connection between the head and the pelvic
Samkhya The dualistic branch of Indian philosophy which is closely
integrated with yoga. In it, unmanifest pure bliss consciousness and the
manifest universe are seen as two sides of the whole of life, and can be
experienced as one by the yogi and yogini. This two becoming one is the
intersection of the dual (samkhya/yoga) and non-dual (vedanta/advaita)
philosophies if India. It is through yoga practice and direct experience
that the apparent inconsistency is resolved.
Samyama A practice which utilizes the characteristics of the last
three limbs of the eight limbs of yoga in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption in inner
silence). Through the initiation of sutras (particular words and phrases
with meaning), in the quietest levels of awareness, consciousness is moved
through the nervous system with great purifying effects. Samyama is the
source of miraculous powers exhibited by human beings. These are called
siddhis, and are effects rather than causes of rising enlightenment, and are
best regarded as such.
Sanskrit The ancient language of Indian spiritual culture (the
vedas) and of the great scriptures that have emanated from it.
Sat Means eternal existence. One of the three characteristics of
Sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence. It is that in us which never
Sat-Chit-Ananda Means, eternal bliss consciousness. Inner
silence. Immortal Self. Pure bliss consciousness. The witness. the Tao. God
the Father. It is that in us which is our self-awareness in every moment.
Through yoga practices, our nervous system is cultivated toward its natural
evolutionary transformation to provide the direct, permanent experience of
this, our essential nature.
Satsang Means, association with truth. Keeping company with those
of high spiritual aspiration. Also, association with enlightened persons.
Bible: If two or more are gathered in my name I will be there in their
midst. Any contact or communication with others on matters pertaining to
human spiritual evolution will stimulate the inner energies of bhakti.
Reading spiritual writings can be a form of satsang also.
Shakti The dynamic, feminine creative force in the human body and
in nature. Shakti is awakened kundalini. In order to create, Shakti must
merge with her counterpart, Shiva, who is the silent seed behind all
manifestation. The movement of kundalini/Shakti in the human nervous system
is toward that end, and yoga practices are designed to facilitate the union
of Shiva and Shakti everywhere in the body, leading ultimately to an
ecstatic overflowing from the head down to the melting heart. The Christian
name for Shakti energy is the Holy Spirit.
Shaktipat The awakening of the kundalini/Shakti power in an
aspirant by a guru or spiritual teacher. While this may have benefit, the
ultimate responsibility for spiritual progress remains with the aspirant,
who can carry the process forward through the conduct of daily yoga
Shiva In yoga, Shiva is analogous with inner silence, the silent,
blissful aspect of experience gained through meditation and other yoga
practices. Shiva is the silent seed from which all is manifested, and to
which all must return. It is the blending of inner silence (Shiva) and the
dynamic ecstatic energy (kundalini/Shakti) in the body that produces
enlightenment in the human nervous system. In Hinduism, Shiva is personified
in the trinity of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva
(dissolver/destroyer), and plays a major role in the religious heritage and
customs of the culture. The Christian equivalent of Shiva is God the Father.
Siddhasana Means posture of the perfected ones or perfect
posture. A way of sitting for pranayama and meditation that involves
crossing the legs and sitting with the perineum firmly on the heel of one
foot. This seat provides stimulation of sexual energy upward through the
nervous system, ultimately creating a constant fountain of ecstasy
throughout practices. Over time, siddhasana, practiced in coordination with
other yoga methods, will lead to ecstasy naturally being experienced
throughout daily life. This is so because the nervous system can be
cultivated to naturally sustain a condition of ecstatic conductivity. This
is one of the primary prerequisites for enlightenment.
Siddhi Means, perfection. Siddhis refer to powers, which result
as a by-product of yogic purification occurring in the nervous system on the
path to enlightenment. This is especially so in Samyama practice, which
cultivates the movement of consciousness in the nervous system in particular
ways for the purpose of enhanced purification and opening to the divine
Soma A substance produced in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract that
greatly enhances the processes of yoga. Soma arises from the alchemy of
food, air and sexual essences blending naturally in the digestive tract,
giving rise to a luminosity that begins in the belly and travels throughout
the body. The production of soma is stimulated by kumbhaka (suspended
breath) and mudras and bandhas, and is closely related to the raising of
kundalini energy. Soma is also a hallucinogenic plant in India, which is
referred to in the ancient Vedas.
Sri Vidya Means, glorious knowledge. In tantra it is the
scriptural and experiential fruition of human evolution. Sri vidya is
ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love, expressed through the enlightened
nervous system, and in the mathematical precision of the ancient Sri Yantra
Sri Yantra (or Sri Chakra) Means, glorious diagram or glorious
wheel. Represents the spiritual structure of the human nervous system and
the universe. Mathematically, the Sri Yantra recreates the wave pattern
formed by the vibration of OM, the sacred sound that resonates naturally
within the human nervous system as purification and opening occur.
Sushumna The spinal nerve that extends from the perineum to the
head. It is the most important spiritual nerve (nadi) in the body. By
purifying and opening the sushumna, the entire nervous system is transformed
to higher spiritual functioning. All of the practices in yoga are designed
to cultivate, in one way or another, the purification and opening of the
Sutra Means, stitch. A short verse containing potent spiritual
knowledge. When a group of such short verses are brought together, they
stitch together the whole of knowledge. Particular sutras can be used for
the purpose of structured samyama practice, as described in the Yoga Sutras
of Patanjali. The use of sutras in samyama can have dramatic effects on the
course of the enlightenment process in the nervous system, and can also lead
to the manifestation of siddhis (powers).
Svadisthana Means, dwelling place. This is the second chakra,
located in the area of the internal reproductive organs. It is the dwelling
place of the great storehouse of pranic energy, the sexual vitality. Once
activated, vast energy flows up from there and spiritually illuminates the
entire nervous system.
Swami Means, master or owner. A title given to indicate a teacher
who is enlightened. More commonly, it is a title given to indicate rank in
the religious hierarchy, like the title of priest, rabbi, or mullah.
Tantra Yoga Tantra means, two woven together. The meaning is
similar to that of yoga, to join. Tantra is the broadest known system of
yoga, encompassing the methods of all other systems. While tantra includes
the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it goes beyond
them by addressing sexual practices that have been controversial for
hundreds of years. Hence, tantra has been known as the yoga of sex. But sex
is only an aspect of the whole of tantra, so the label is misleading. Tantra
is concerned with meditation, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, asanas and every
other useful practice in yoga, including methods that promote the expansion
of sexual energy upward to facilitate the enlightenment process.
Tapas Means, heat or intensity. This is an aspect of bhakti
(devotional desire), which determines the spiritual force behind the desire
for union with the divine, and
enlightenment. Tapas is commonly associated with austerity and
self-sacrifice (sometimes extreme) in spiritual practices. There is no
standard to meet for tapas. Each aspirant will experience and apply tapas in
their own way.
Trataka Means "steady gazing,"
and involves fixing the gaze on an object and continuing this for a period
of time. This aids in purifying the inner machinery of attention.
Traditionally, trataka is done with the eyes on an external object, such as
a candle, wall (common in Buddhism), or other object. In the AYP approach,
inner objects such as mantra and spinal nerve are used with enhanced
effects. In this ways all external objects naturally become objects of
trataka, as they come to be seen with the unblinking eye of abiding inner
silence (the witness).
Turiya means, the fourth state. This is the experience of inner
silence cultivated in meditation. It is called turiya because it is distinct
from the first three states of consciousness waking, dreaming
and deep dreamless sleep. As yoga practices advance, turiya gradually comes
to coexist as a constant condition during the other three states of
consciousness. It is the beginning stage of enlightenment. In that
situation, one is never unconscious, whether awake, dreaming, or in deep
sleep. That is called witnessing.
Uddiyana Means, to fly up. A yoga practice involving the lifting
of the abdomen with the diaphragm while the lungs are empty. This practice
stimulates the higher functioning of the digestive system and raises
kundalini. It is also a preparation for Nauli practice.
Ujjayi Pranayama This is an additional practice that is done during
spinal breathing and other pranayamas. It involves partially closing the
epiglottis (the windpipe door we hold our breath with) while exhaling during
pranayama, making a fine hissing sound deep in the throat. This creates
additional air pressure in the lungs and pranic pressure throughout the
nervous system. It also creates a fine vibration deep in the throat that
assists in purifying and opening the neuro-biology in the chest, throat and
Upanishads Commentaries on the Vedas, written in dialog form,
forming the basis for vedantas non-dual philosophy. There are 108
Vajroli Mudra A practice enabling a man or woman to draw
ejaculative or pre-ejaculative sexual emissions up the urethra and into the
bladder. It is performed using uddiyana/nauli and mulabandha/asvini,
sometimes combined with conscious control of the ejaculation process. The
vajroli effect can also be accomplished by physically blocking ejaculations
with the finger pressing on the urethra behind the pelvic bone. In ongoing
yoga practice, vajroli has the greatest significance as it evolves naturally
to become an automatic biological function in connection with an awakened
kundalini. In this case, vajroli is preorgasmic, and provides a constant
drawing up of sexual essences into the bladder, GI (gastrointestinal) tract,
spinal nerve and other components of the spiritual biology. As the nervous
system evolves to become constantly ecstatic, vajroli becomes a constant
natural function. The rise of natural vajroli is an important part of the
fulfillment of the role of brahmacharya the preservation and cultivation
of sexual energy.
Veda Means, knowledge. The Vedas are the most ancient scriptures
of India, preserved through oral and written tradition for 5000 years. There
are four Vedas: Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva.
Vedanta Means, the end of the Veda. The monistic (non-dual)
branch of Indian philosophy discussed mainly in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad
Gita and the Brahma Sutra.
Vigyan Bhairav Tantra An ancient tantric scripture that identifies
many of the methods of yoga practice, including the essential principle
involved in tantric sex the preservation and cultivation of sexual energy.
Vishuddhi Means, purity. The fifth chakra, located at the throat.
This is a gateway for pranic energy to rise into the head. It is also a key
center for speech and communications. With daily yoga practices,
purification and opening occur naturally in the throat. The internal and
external expressions of energy open up simultaneously.
Yama Means, restraint. The first limb of the eight limbs of yoga
from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The yamas are aspects of conduct that
support the process of human spiritual transformation. They are ahimsa
(non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya
(preservation and cultivation of sexual energy) and aparigraha
Yoga Means, to join, or union. The vast field of knowledge and
practices concerned with promoting the evolutionary process of human
spiritual transformation. The methods of yoga are many and diverse. Yet, all
are connected by virtue of their common denominator, the human nervous
system. All of yoga is derived from the innate ability for divine unfoldment
contained within every person.
Yoga Nidra Means, yogic sleep. It is the state of remaining
conscious during deep sleep. It can be cultivated by specific techniques. It
also arises naturally as one advances in daily yoga practices. In that case
it is called turiya" (the fourth state), or the witness.
Yoga Sutras Means, stitches of union. The most famous scripture
on yoga, written by Patanjali about 500 years ago. The Yoga Sutras contain
the main elements of yoga practice (the eight-limbed path, plus samyama),
and detailed descriptions of the experiences that are encountered on the
road to enlightenment, and at the destination. The Yoga Sutras are a
measuring rod by which all spiritual paths can be measured for completeness.
Yogi A male practitioner of yoga.
Yogini A female practitioner of yoga.
Yoni Means, womb or origin. It is the female sexual organ, both
literally and energetically as the Shakti power in the yogic merging of
Shiva and Shakti energies throughout the nervous system.
Yoni Mudra A yoga practice that purifies and opens the ajna (third
eye), and stimulates kundalini/Shakti energy to rise from the pelvic region,
up the sushumna (spinal nerve) to the ajna, and permeate the entire nervous
Yuga An age, or era, determined through astronomical calculations
of the earths position over time in relation the sun, planets and
constellations. The concept of a yuga is from jyotish (Indian astrology).
The concept of ages also exists in Western astrology. Yugas depict rising
and falling human spiritual sensitivities over long periods of time, in a
repeating cycle that goes round and round over thousands (or millions) of
years. Astrologers utilizing various mathematical approaches do not agree on
the length of the overall cycle, on the length of the yugas/ages, or on what
yuga/age we are in right now. It is a subject of debate. Suffice to say,
history records that spiritual sensitivities and knowledge have been slowly
on the rise over at least the past 100 years, so perhaps those who say we
are entering (or have entered) an age of enlightenment are right. There is
still much darkness in the world, but the light of yoga and rising human
enlightenment are becoming stronger every day.