|Learn all the Yoga Lingo|
The Practical Yoga Interactive Glossary
|Asana |A yoga position, yoga pose, or flow series. A balanced position for smooth energy flow in specific areas of the body and mind.
Pronounced:ah-sa-nah (with accent on "ah")
|Chakra |An energy center of the human body. Seven major chakras lie within the human body (the aura/magnetic field is considered the 8th Chakra). When awakened, kundalini (creative) energy flows upward from the base of the spine to the top of the head, activating the glandular and nervous systems.
|Dharma |Duty, righteous path.
|Dristi |Drishti is a point of focus where the gaze rests during asana and meditation practice. Focusing on a drishti aids concentration, since it is easier to become distracted especially when doing Yoga on the street. Even though a drishti is technically a fixed gaze, your eyes should always stay soft, never straining
|Eigth Chakra |...or Aura, is the magnetic field around your body which encompasses all 7 physical energy centers/charkas. When it is balanced, we are radiant and healthy, magnetic and powerful. When it is imbalanced, we feel confused and cloudy, muffled and un-actualized.
|Fifth Chakra |...or Throat Chakra, is located in the neck and throat area (the thyroid gland) and is our center of communication. When it is balanced, we are tremendously creative, speak truthfully and manifest powerfully. When it is out of alignment, our ability to communicate is compromised and we become ineffective, susceptible to our addictions - and we get angry.
|First Chakra |...or Root Chakra is at the base of the spine and relates to our sense of survival, earth, and self. When it is balanced, we feel "grounded" and stable. When it is out of alignment, we feel fearful, insecure and overly attached to material things —ultimately disconnected from life.
|Fourth Chakra |...or Heart Chakra, is located in the heart and lung area (the thymus gland) of the body and is our seat of love and compassion. It is where our animal self meets our spirit Self and where we find our humanity. When it is balanced, we are capable of "true love", forgiveness and trust, and keeps the immune system strong (since it is associated with the Thymus Gland). When it is out of alignment, we feel "beaten" by life and have trouble getting beyond "pride" issues associated with the ego.
|Guru |Gu means darkness, Ru means removal. Translated: that which takes us from darkness to light. The teachings of yoga are said to be the true, timeless guru. Can also mean an enlightened spiritual teacher.
|Hatha Yoga |Ha (sun) Tha (moon) — physical movement which creates heat. It concentrates on postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama) to energize the subtle energy channels of the body (nadis). One of 8 Limbs of the practice of Yoga, and said to be the beginning steps toward removing obstacles to union with the Divine.
|Heart Center |Located in the heart and lungs (& thymus gland), it is the seat of compassion and love; where our lower animal self meets our elevated spiritual Self and where we find our humanity.
|Higher Self |The Spirit, or Soul: the undying part of you, which is part of the Divine
|Kundalini |Life force. Man's retained energy or potential energy and consciousness. It is said to reside, coiled, at the base of the spine. Yogis practice yoga to help release this powerful energy.
|Kundalini Yoga |A philosophy expounding the awakening of potential energy and inherent consciousness within the human body and mind (see: kundalini). Works to heal the nervous system, awaken the glandular system, and focus the mind to prepare the individual yogi for Samadhi (see: Samadhi) (NOTE: there is a difference between some forms of Kundalini. For example, Yogi Bhajan shared a very specific set of practices from this White Tantric lineage, and cautioned against using other forms of Kundalini practices.
Pronounced: koon-dah-lee-nee yo-gah
|Mantra |Translated means "mind wave". Usually, a sound or word that holds a sacred or spiritual meaning, used with the intention to refocus the mind in the direction of our Higher Self, or some aspect of the Divine. (Editor's note: in fact, any word repeated over can become our mantra, so choose your conscious — and even unconscious — thoughts and words carefully. They will ALWAYS work to manifest themselves in the physical world.
|Meditation |Technique of inward attention. The goal of meditation is "to enable you to get more out of life and to move more completely in whatever directions you choose." Those directions can range from moving toward inner peace and higher spirituality to losing five pounds before Christmas.
|Nadis |Nadis are energy channels in the body, similar to the meridians in acupuncture.
|Namaste |Greeting often heard in yoga classes. Roughly translated: The light in me greets the light in you, and when it does, we are one.
|Om/Aum |This is the universal mantra; it is said to represent the cosmic vibration of the universe
|Ong |A version of the Universal mantra; used in Kundalini Yoga & Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan, for it's more creative, stimulating sound, which is then focused up at the third eye. Its goal, in part, is to stimulate the glandular system (the pituitary master gland and the pineal), and calm the mind
|Prana |Vital Life Force/Energy. Yogis have said that prana can be found in food and air.
|Pranayam |A technique of breathing and breath control to regulate energy flow. Its goal is to maintain energy balance in your body and mind.
|Root Lock |Actual name: mulbandha. Applying the root lock is the act of squeezing up on the muscles of the rectum, sex organs, and navel center. This works to "lift" the energy from the lower chakras (energy centers) to the higher chakras
|Samadhi |Supreme union — with God/The Divine.
|Sanskrit |A non-religious, spiritual language handed down and practiced for generations. It is said that these words hold "collective" energy from all the people who have practiced them before you
|Sat Nam |Sat means Truth; Nam means name or identity. Each time we say this, we honor the highest truth for ourselves or for others.
|Second Chakra |...is located in the pelvis and sexual organs, and is "home" to kundalini energy (our creative life force).When it is balanced, we are creative and connect well with others. When it is out of alignment, lust can tend to dominate, we feel a creative "block" and we tend to feel guilt.
|Seventh Chakra |...or Crown Chakra, is located at the top of the head and is our connection to the Infinite (the pineal gland) and is often called the 1000 petaled lotus. When it is balanced, we feel a strong connection to the Infinite, the Divine, and we feel "Divinely inspired" going through life. When it is out of alignment, we feel disconnected and depressed, as if something is "missing " in life.
|Sitali Pranayam |Cooling Breath; sipping air, usually with rolled tongue, to allow cool air to cover the tongue.
Pronounced: si-tah-lee, or shee-tah-lee.
|Sits Bones |Anatomically the bottom part of your pelvis, they are literally the bones under the flesh of the buttocks that you sit on.
|Sixth Chakra |...or Third Eye, is located at the center of the forehead and just above the eye brows (the pituitary gland) and is our center of intuition. When it is balanced, we are keenly aware of what is going on around us and can pick up "signals" much like a radio receiver. When it is out of alignment, we feel foggy and our thinking feels unclear.
|Swami |Title of respect of enlightened spiritual master.
|Tantric yoga |This yoga uses visualization, chanting, asana, and strong breathing practices to tap highly charged kundalini energy in the body Includes red, black, and white Tantric. Red for sexual energy; black for occult; white for spiritual. Yogi Bhajan, who introduced Kundalini Yoga & Meditation to the US in 1969, brought White Tantric yoga with him. He cautioned against the practice of Black Tantric, noting it's inherent dangers to the individual practicing it
|Third Chakra |...or Navel Center Chakra, is located at the stomach and navel center, and is our center of "power" (the adrenal glands). When it is balanced, we feel a strong flow of energy in life, and an associated sense of well-being. When it is out of alignment, we feel a loss of vitality and power — we feel drained of energy.
|Third Eye |Located at the center of the forehead, just above the brow line. When meditating, yogi close their eyes and look upward to this mystical third eye — Said to be the seat of intuition in the brain.
|Ujjayi Breath |Breathing exercise that produces hissing sound in the throat with the inhalation and exhalation. Encourages the production of heat during asanas. Also encourages mindful awareness.
Pronounced: oo-juy (like guy)-ah
|Yogi |Someone who practices yoga
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