Glossary of Yoga Terms flashcards |

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yoga (Sutra I:2)

yoga is the mastery and integration of the activities of mind.

kriya yoga

Kriya Yoga is a method to attain the union of breath and Soul in each inhalation and exhalation

Astanga yoga

8 limbs of yoga: Yama, Niyamas, Isvara Pranidhana, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadi.


Hindu religious texts from ancient India. Written as long ago as 1500 BCE, some of the material in the Vedas likely was created even earlier and passed down by oral tradition The four classic texts are the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda


"Sitting near devotedly." The fourth and final portion of the Vedas, expounding the secret, philosophical meaning of the Vedic hymns. The Upanishads are a collection of profound texts which are the source of Vedanta and have dominated Indian thought for thousands of years.

Bhagavad Gita

The sacred `song of God' composed about 200 BC and incorporated into the Mahabharata (a Sanskrit epic). It is one of India's most beloved and famous sacred texts, it is the epic story of Arjuna, a warrior prince, who confronts moral dilemmas and is led to a better understanding of reality through the intercession of the god Krishna. It provides the philosophical basis of yoga.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

A classical text describing Hatha Yoga. It is said to be the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga. Swami Swatmarama, a disciple of Swami Goraknath, wrote the text in the 15th century CE, drawing upon previous texts and his own experiences.


Pataรฑjali wrote a treatise on grammar; the Mahabbhasya. He is also credited with writing a book on Ayurveda and compiling the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice.

Yoga Sutras

Succinctly outlines the art and science of traditional Yoga meditation for Self-Realization.

Jnana yoga

Knowledge, understanding, wisdom

Karma yoga

Action, the act of doing

Bhakti yoga

Yoga of devotion

Hatha yoga

The yoga of physical well-being, designed to balance body, mind, and spirit, a science of yoga which purifies the whole physical body by means of shatkarma, asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha and concentration, the path of yoga that starts with the practice of asanas


Soul, the individual being


The Lord; Supreme controller; referring either the Creator or yoga-darshana, to a special transcendental Self

Jivatama or Purusha

Pure consciousness; individuated consciousness


Nature; multi-leveled and consists of an external dimension, pradhana or foundation


That which is consciousness


She who is conscious and awake


The identification or attachment of one's ego


The lower mind, which is bound to the senses and yields information (vijnana) rather than wisdom


Qualities of natural phenomena, everything in the universe exhibits these three qualities in varying degrees


One of the three qualities of nature, it manifests as balance, purity, calmness


One of the three gunas that compose the universe and all in it: The rajastic aspect refers to the human aspect in man ,in contrast to the animal and divine aspects in him


One of the three qualities of nature (Gunas) which generates inertia, laziness, dullness and infatuation/ the quality of inertia, laziness, procrastination.


The koshas serve both a guide for the deeper practices of yoga and as map for our journey. The path of yoga is one of progressively moving inward, through each of the koshas, to experience the radiance of the True Self.

Annamaya kosha

Anna means food. . All of the physical aspects of life come and go, and are consumed by another aspect of external reality. Thus, the outermost of the koshas is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha

Pranamaya kosha

Prana means energy. It is the vital force that produces the subtle vibrations related to breath, and which are the driving force behind the physical aspect of the senses and the operation of the physical body.

Manomaya kosha

Mana means mind. It is the level of processing thoughts and emotions. It is in direct control of the operation, through the prana, of the physical body and senses.

Vigyanamaya kosha

Vijnana means knowing. It is the sheath of wisdom that is underneath the processing, thinking aspect of mind. It knows, decides, judges, and discriminates between this and that, between useful and not useful.

Anandamaya kosha

Ananda means bliss. Ananda is a whole different order of reality from that of the mind. It is peace, joy, and love that is underneath, beyond the mind, independent of any reason or stimulus to cause a happy mental reaction. It is simply being, resting in bliss called ananda.


Specifically the five types of mental activity: valid cognition (pramรขna), misconception (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa), sleep (nidrรข), and memory (smriti)


Real or valid cognition, right knowledge, valid proof, seeing clearly


Unreal cognition, indiscrimination, perverse cognition, wrong knowledge, misconception, incorrect knowing, not seeing clearly


Imagination, verbal misconception or delusion, fantasy, hallucination


Deep sleep


Memory, remembering


Afflictions; colored, painful, afflicted, impure; the root klish means to cause trouble. They are avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha and abhinivesha.


Spiritual forgetting, ignorance, veiling, nescience


Associated with I-ness


Attraction or drawing to, addiction


Aversion or pushing away, hatred


Resistance to loss, fear of death of identity, desire for continuity, clinging to the life of

The ways of overcoming these the kleshas.

maitri - friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
karuna - compassion, mercy
mudita - gladness, goodwill
upeksha - acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality


Abhyasa means having an attitude of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility


The companion to abhyasa is non-attachment, learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.


Spiritual aspirant or student


Quest, spiritual practice


Spiritually enlightened soul, who can dispel darkness, ignorance and illusion from the mind and enlighten the consciousness of a devotee/disciple, Teacher, spiritual preceptor, spiritual teacher


The universal mantra, cosmic vibration of the universe, represents the four states of consciousness, Sanskrit word meaning "all"


Science and knowledge of life, Indian holistic naturopathic healing system.


Are the connecting link between the physical body and the energy which runs our life. They are the gross manifestation of energy, which control the physical processes of our body. They are invisible. `Doshas' in Sanskrit means fault.

Vata dosha

Air and Space; main function of the Vata in the body is movement

Pitta dosha

Fire and water; main function of the Pitta dosha in the body is metabolism

Kapha dosha

Earth and water; main function of the Kapha in the body, is stability and structure


The seven chakras or energy centers comprise their model of the energetic or subtle body. They are Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipua, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajina and Sahasrara.

Muladhara chakra

Coccyx, base of the spine, at the perineum

Svadhisthana chakra

Sacral plexus, genital area

Manipua chakra

Solar plexus, navel center

Anahata chakra

Cardiac plexus, heart center

Vishuddha chakra

Thoracic plexus, throat center

Ajna chakra

Pituitary center, eyebrow center

Sahasrara chakra

Crown of the head


Channels of flow for the prana. There are 72,000 nadis, of which 72 are vital. Of those 72, three major nadis are important for the understanding of Kundalini Yoga: ida, pingala, sushmuna.


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


The prana current or arc ascending on the right side of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and associated with the sympathetic nervous system and having an energizing effect on the mind when activated


The central prana current or arc in or along which the serpent power (kundalini-shakti) must ascend toward the psychoenergetic center (cakra) at the crown of the head in order to attain liberation


A sacred sound or phrase, such as om, hum, or om namah shivaya, that has a transformative effect on the mind of the individual reciting it; to be ultimately effective, a mantra needs to be given in an initiatory context


A circular design symbolizing the cosmos and specific to a deity


A hand gesture (such as cin-mudra) or whole-body gesture (such as viparita-karani-mudra); also a designation of the feminine partner in the Tantric sexual ritual


The recitation of mantras


("bond/bondage"): the fact that human beings are typically bound by ignorance (avidya), which causes them to lead a life governed by karmic habit rather than inner freedom generated through wisdom (vidya, jnana)


("isolation"): the state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga; in the nondualistic (advaita) traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning "release" from the fetters of ignorance, or avidya


Brahma - ("he who has grown expansive"): the Creator of the universe, the first principle (tattva) to emerge out of the ultimate Reality (brahman)


A popular Hindu god, venerated as the Supreme Being in the Vaishnava sect


("He who is benign"): the Divine; a deity that has served yogins as an archetypal model throughout the ages

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