a = negative particle meaning “non” as in “non-violence”

abhaya = freedom from fear

abhinivesa = Instinctive clinging to life and the fear that one may be cut off from all by death

abhyantara = inhalation, Internal

abhyasa = constant and determined study or practice

acharya = teacher; one who has studied the texts, has practiced the methods, has achieved the results and is capable of communicating them

adhah = down, lower

adhara = support

adhikara = fitness; a set of criteria that determines whether a student is fit to follow the methods of a particular school of yoga, determined by the student’s current level of spiritual growth

adhimataratama = the supreme one, the highest

adhimatra = beyond measure, superior

adho mukha = having the face downward

adi parva = the first  chapter of Mahabharata

adisvara = the primeval Lord; an epithet of Siva

aditi = the mother of the gods, know as Adityas

aditya = son of Aditi or gods

advaita = non-duality of the Universal Spirit with the individual soul

advaita vedanta = Upanishadic philosophy founded by Acharya Gaudapada and developed by Acharya Shankara that propounds unqualified monism, holding that the individual self (atman) and the deep reality (Brahman) are identical

agama = testimony or proof of an acceptable authority when the source of knowledge has been checked and found trustworthy

Agasthiyar = Hindu Sage, one of the first Siddhars

agni = fire

ahamkara = ego or egotism; literally “the I-Maker”, the state that ascertains “I know”, egoity; the source of identification as “I” or as the one who owns a perception; to to be mistaken with Freudian term “ego”, false pride

ahimsa = non violence; the word has not merely the negative and restrictive meaning of “non-killing or non-violence”, but the positive and comprehensive meaning of “love embracing all creation”

ajapa-mantra = unconscious repetitive prayer; every living creature unconsciously breathes the prayer “So’ham” (Sah = He, the Universal Spirit; aham = am I) with each inward breath and with each outgoing breath prayes “Hamsah” (aham = I am; Sah = He, the Universal Spirit)

ajna = to command

ajna chakra = energy or command chakra, energy centre/the nerve plexus located between the eye brows, the third eye, the seat of command, the sixth chakra

akarna = near the ear

akasha = space, ether

akrodha = freedom from anger

akshara = syllable

akuncha = contraction or bend

alabdha bhumikalva = indisposition

alabhdha-bhumikatva = failure to attain firm ground or continuity in practice, feeling that it is not possible to see reality, not able to hold on to what has been undertaken

alamba = a prop or support

alasya = idleness, sloth, apathy, laziness

allopathic medicine = western medicine, which focusses on a specific disease or problem and treats it

amanaska = the mind which is free from thoughts and desires

amrita = elixir, the nectar of immortality

ana = breath

anahata = unstruck

anahata chakra = spiritual heart chakra, energy centre situated near the heart, the nervous plexus situated in the cardiac region, the fourth chakra

ananda = joy, happiness, bliss, ecstasy

anandamaya kosha = the sheath of bliss, the fifth sheath of existence, the most important of the 5 sheaths of the body, reached by the practice of yoga

ananta = infinite, without end; a name of Visnu as also of Visnu’s couch, the serpent Sesa

ananta-padmanabha = a name of Visnu

anatara = within, interior

anatara kumbhaka = suspension of breath after full inhalation

anavasthitattva = instability to continue the practices feeling that it is not necessary to continue as he thinks that he has reached the highest state of Sahmadhi

andar (antar) = between

anga = limb, points, step, the body; a limb or a part of the body; a constituent part

angamejayatva = unsteadiness or tremor of the body

angustha (angula) = finger or digit, the thumb

anjali = hands held together as in prayer

anjali-mudra = the gesture of anjali

anjana = name of the mother of Hanuman, a powerful Monkey chief

Anjaneya = son of Anjani (Hanuman’s mother’s maiden name is Anjani)

anna kosa = stomach

annamaya kosha = anatomical sheath, one of the 5 sheaths of the body

antara = internal

antara-kumbhaka = internal retention of breath, suspension of breath with empty lungs

antaranga sadhana = the internal inward quest, emotional and mental discipline of the soul, gained through following the eight limbs or steps of yoga, by which the mind is brought under control and the senses are liberated from the bondage of objects of desire

antaratma = the Supreme Soul residing in the heart of man

antaratma sadhana = Practice concerning the innermost quest of the soul by means of Dharana (concentration) , Dhyana (meditation) and Sahmadhi

anuloma = with the hair, with the grain, regular; in a natural order, refers to movement or breathing

anumana = an inference

anusaswami (anusasanam) = discipline

apana = not yet integrated, a type of prana; the vital energy (vital air) that moves in the sphere of the lower abdomen and flows downward out of the body, controlling the function of excretion (elimination of urine and faeces)

apana = pelvis or lower abdomen, vital downward energy current

apana-vayu = the neurological force operating on the lower abdomen

apanasana = pelvic floor yoga pose

aparigraha = non-greediness, freedom from greed, desire, hoarding or collecting

apsaras = a celestial nymph and dancer whose duty is to use her erotism to distract rishis from their ascetic practices, thus restoring the balance of the universe

apunya = vice or demerit

arambhavastha = beginner’s stage of yoga

Arani = Hindu Goddess of Fire

arania = wild animal

ardha = half

Arjuna = the mighty bowman and hero in the Mahabharata, a Pandava prince, who metaphorically represents the lower or phenomenal self

arthaveda = the Upaveda (ancillary Veda) pertaining to economy

asamprajnata = objectless samadhi; super-cognitive samadhi

asana = a physical posture, the third limb or stage of yoga, originally this meant “meditation posture” or “seat”

asana siddhi = perfection in a yogic pose

asana sthiti = the basic “home” position of an asana

ashrama = the hermitage of an ascetic; also the four stages of life, that is brahmacharya, grhasta, vanaprashta and sannyasin

ashta (asta, astau) = eight

ashtadhyayi = the treatise on Sanskrit grammar authored by Panini

Ashtanga Yoga (Astanga Yoga) = “eight-limbed union”: the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, consistig of 8 aspects: moral discipline (yama), self-restraint (niyama), posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), sensory withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and ecstasy (samadhi) leading to liberation (kaivalya)/self-realization through practice that was revived in modern days by Shri T. Krishnamacharya

Ashtavakra (Astavakara) = one having eight bends (crooked in eight places), in reference to a Hindu Sage who was born with 8 physical deformities in his body, and went on to become a spiritual preceptor of King Janaka of Mithila

ashva (asva) = horse

ashva sanchala = horse, riding posture

asmita = literally, I-am-ness, ego, egoism, egotism or individuality; one of the five forms of suffering; also the form of objective samadhi that arises when pure I-am-ness is witnessed

asteya = non-stealing, freedom from avarice

astra = a missile, an arrow released with a magical incantation

astral body = the vehicle of the spirit, corresponding with the mind; higher than the physical body, but below the casual body

asura = a demon or anti-god; a powerful being overcome by the tamas guna

asvini-mudra = the contraction of the anal sphincter muscles; it is so called because it brings to the mind the image of a horse excreting

atharvaveda = one of the four Vedas

atma satkam = a group of six verses written by Sankaracharya describing the soul in the state of Sahmadhi

atman = individual soul, the true self, consciousness; the term Vedanta uses instead of purusha

atmiyata = the feeling of oneness, as a mother’s feeling for her children

avabhinna = broken

avastha = state or condition of the mind

avatara = divine manifestation

avatara = divine manifestation, descent, advent or incarnation of God; there are ten avataras of Visnu: Matsya (the Fish), Kurma (the Tortoise), Varaha (the Boar), Narasimha (the Man-Lion), Vamana (the Dwarf), Parasurama, Rama (hero of epic Ramayana), Krishna (hero of the epic Mahabharata, who related the Bhagavad Gita), Balarama and Kalki

avidya = ignorance, incorrect comprehension

avirati = desire for sensual satisfaction, sensuality

ayama = expansion or distribution of energy, length, extension; it also conveys the idea of restraint, control and stopping

ayurveda = ancient Indian medicine, one of the four subsidiary Vedas (Upavedas)


baddha = bound

bahiranga = external quest

bahiranga-sadhana = one of 3 yogic disciplines comprising the practice of ethics

bahya = external, exhalation

bahya kumbhaka = suspension of breath after full exhalation when the lungs are completely empty, Retention of breath following exhalation

baka = crane, heron, a wading bird

bala = young, childish, not fully grown

Bali = name of a demon king

bandha = a bond, tying, energetic lock, contraction, bondage or fetter, a posture in which certain organs or body parts are contracted and controlled

bandhuk = four petaled flower

beda abeda = identity-in-difference doctrine; a doctrine held by Ramanuja that states that the individual soul is identical with the Supreme Being in the fact that it is pure consciousness, yet different in that the Supreme Being is omnipotent and the soul is not

Benu = the mythological bird of ancient Egypt symbolic of rebirth and creation, also associated with the Sun

bhadra = peaceful or auspicious

bhaga = strength

Bhagavad Gita = one of India’s most beloved and sacred texts, the divine song of the Lord, the most influential of all shastras; the epic story of Arjuna, a warrior prince who confronts moral dilemmas through sacred dialogues with Krishna (one of Lord Vishnu’s Avatars) and is lead to a better understanding of reality by learning the teachings of Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta

bhagavan = lord; venerable, holy

Bhagavata Purana = also called Shrimad Bhagavatam, a Purana that deals with devotion to the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Vishnu and describes some of the avataras of Vishnu, including Krishna

Bhagiratha (Bhagirata) = a legendary king who created the river Ganges as an Earthly manifestation of the Goddess Ganga

bhairava = terrible, gruesome, formidable; one of the fierce manifestations of Siva

bhakti = devotion, worship or love; from “bhaj”, “to divide”, the belief that there is an eternal divide between the Supreme Being and the world that cannot be overcome through knowledge, and hence the Supreme Being must be met with an attitude of devotion

bhakti marg = path or practice of love and devotion

bhakti marga = the way or path to realization through adoration of a personal god

bhakti yoga = yoga of love; practice of sincere, heartfelt devotion to the divine (Supreme Being) is the primary focus of Bhakti Yoga

bhangi = position

Bharadvaja (Bharadwaja) = a Vedic rishi, great warrior described in the Mahabharata, Pindola Bharadvaja was one of four Arhats asked by Buddha to stay on earth to propagate Buddhist law or Dharma

bharanti carshana = false knowledge

bharman = load, nourishment, care, burden, maintenance load

bhastrika = bellows used in a furnace; bhastrika is a type of pranayama where air is forcibly drawn in and out as in a blacksmith’s bellows

bhati = light, lustre

bhaya = fear

bhedana = piercing, breaking through, passing through

bheka = a frog

bherunda = terrible, frightful; it also means a species of a bird or a name of a yogi

bhiranga sadhana = the outward quest of the soul for its Maker; the first three stages of Yoga, namely Yama, Niyama and Asana, are the outward quest and keep the seeker in harmony with his fellow men and nature

bhoga = consummation, experience, bondage, enjoyment; an object of pleasure

bhoktr = one who enjoys or experiences

bhramari = a type of pranayama (breathing technique) where during exhalation a soft humming sound like a murmuring of a bee is made; Bee Breath

Bhranti darshana = false ideas, delusions, erroneous (bhranti) vision or knowledge (darsana)

bhu = land

bhudana = the donation of land

bhuja = arm or shoulder

bhuja-pida = pressure on the arm or shoulder

bhujamadya = elbow

bhujanga (bhujagga) = serpent, snake

bhumika = stage; the stage of evolution of a practitioner, which determines his fitness (adhikara) for a particular practice

bhumikatva = firm ground

bhuta shuddhi = elemental purification; the traditional way of involving by dissolving each element (bhuta) into the next higher element, thus climbing up the ladder of chakras

bidala = cat

bija = seed or germ

bija akshara = root syllable; a mantra related to a particular chakra and element

bija-mantra = a mystical syllable with a sacred prayer repeated mentally during pranayama, and the seed thus planted in the mind germinates into one-pointedness

bindu (bindhu) = seed, point, dot, the creative potency of anything where all energies are focused, the third eye

bindu kosa = prostate

bitila = cow

Brahma = a five-headed first deity of the Hindu Trinity; the Supreme Being, the creator; responsible for the creation of the world, he is the first being to appear at the dawn of each universe to create it based of its subconscious conditioning – the Brahma of the present universe is called Prajapati (progenitor), the predecessor  of humankind

brahma sirsha astra = Brahma’s head missile, the most destructive of all missiles

Brahma Sutra = principal treatise of the Vedanta, authored by Rishi Vyasa

brahma-randhra = an aperture in the crown of the head through which the soul is said to leave the body at death

Brahma-vidya = the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, an alternative name for Jnana Yoga; a Jnanin aims to recognize the identity between his self (atman) and the infinite consciousness (Brahmin)

brahmachari = a religious student vowed to celibacy and abstinence; one who is constantly moving (charin) in Brahman (The Supreme Spirit); one who sees divinity in all

brahmacharya = chastity or teacher of the soul, abstinence, a life of celibacy, religious study and self-restraint, recognition of Brahma in everything

brahmamuhurta = time of Brahma

Brahman = the absolute, or divinity itself, infinite consciousness, universal soul, , deep reality, the reality that cannot be reduced to a deeper layer; the Supreme Being, the cause of the Universe, the all pervading spirit of the Universe

brahmana kriya = expansion, inhalation

brahmandaprana = cosmic breath

brahmarandhra = hole for the soul, gate of Brahman; the upper end of Sushumna

Brahmarsi = a Brahmin sage

brahmin = one who serves God through his spirit; also a member of the priest caste

brhad aranyaka upanishad = literally, “forest dweller Upanishad”; the oldest and most revered Upanishad

Buddha = enlightened one

buddhi = intellect, seat of intelligence, reason, discrimination, judgement

buddhi yoga = yoga of intellect; a term generally applied to Samkhya


camatkara = wonderful, spectacular, miraculous

chatush = four times

chatushpada = quadruped

chakora = a type of bird  like a partridge (Greek partridge), moonbeam bird, said to feed on moonbeams

chakra = literally, a wheel or circle, the wheel of a wagon; metaphorically, psycho-energetic subtle centres of the subtle body in which energy flows, located along the spine, believed to transform cosmic energy into spiritual energy when activated. Energy (prana) is said to flow in the human body through three main channels (nadis), namely, Susumna, Pingala and Ida; Susumna is situated inside the spinal columnl Pingala and Ida start respectively from the right and the left nostrils, move up to the crown of the head and course downwards  to the base of the spine. These two nadis intersect with each other and also the Susumna. These junctions of the nadis are known as chakras of the fly-wheels which regulate the body mechanism. The important chakras are: (a) Muladhara (mula = root, source; adhara = support, vital part) situated in the pelvis, above the anus; (b) Svadhisthana (sva = vital force, soul; adhisthana = seat of abode) situated above the organs of gestation; (c) Manipuraka (manipura = navel) situated in the navel; (d) Manas (mind) and (e) Surya (the Sun) which are situated between the navel and the heart; (f) Anahata (= unbeaten) situated in the cardiac area; (g) Visuddha (= pure) situated in the pharyngeal region; (h) Ajna (= command) situated between the eyebrows; (i) Sahasrara (= a thousand) which is called a thousand petalled lotus in the cerebral cavity; and (j) Lalata (= forehead) which is at the top of the forehead.

chalana = to churn

chandas = the Vedanga (Vedic Limb) pertaining to meter

chandra (candra) = moon

chapa = bow, rainbow, arc

charaka samhita = treatise on Ayuverda; the author Charaka is said to be an incarnation of Patanjali

chatur (chatuari, chatura) = four

chidambaram = a place of pilgrimage in South India; (chit = consciousness, ambara = atmosphere or dress); a name of God, who covers all with His consciousness

chikitsa = therapy

chin-mudra = “consciousness seal”, a hand gesture in meditation, which is formed by bringing the tips of the index finger and thumb together, while the remaining fingers are kept straight

chit = consciousness

chitsabha = hall of consciousness

chitta = consciousness which comprises mind, intellect, the restraint of consciousness; a mind in its total or collective sense, being composed of three categories: (a) mind, having the faculty of attention, selection and rejection; (b) reason, the decisive state which determines the distinction between things and (c) ego, the I-maker; the aggregate of intellect (buddhi), egoity (ahamkara) and thinking agent (manas)

chittavritti (chitta-vritti, chitta vritti) = an imbalance of the mental state, fluctuations of the mind, movement of the consciousness; a course of behaviour, mode of being, condition or mental state

cibi = chin

circadian rhythms = the physiological rhythms people experience throughout the course of a 24 hour day


dadhicha = a celebrated sage, who donated his bones to the Gods; from these bones was fashioned a thunderbolt, with which Indra, the kind of the gods, slew the demon Vrtra.

daitya = a son of Diti; a demon

Daksa = a celebrated prajapati, a lord of celestials beings

daksina = the right side

damani = a layer within a nadi or channel for the passage of energy

danava = a demon

danda = stick, staff (refers to the spine)

danda samarpana = lying prostrate like a stick

dandaka = the forest region in the Deccan between the rivers Narmada and Godavari

darshana = view, system of philosophy. The darshanas are divided into orthodox and heterodox, depending on whether they accept or reject the authority of the Vedas. The orthodox darshanas are Samkhya (rational inquiry), Yoga (science of the mind), Mimamsa (science of action), Nyaya (logic), Vaiseshika (cosmology) and Vedanta (analysis of the Upanishads. These darshanas ideally don’t compete with each other but solve different problems. The yoga master T. Krishnamacharya had degrees in all six systems. The heterodox darshanas are Jaina (Janism), Baudha (Buddhism) and Charvaka (materialism). A special case is Tantra, which is neither accepted as orthodox, nor seen as heterodox. Shankara was probably the last human being to have mastered all ten systems of philosophy.

dasa = ten

daurmanasya = despair, dejection

deva = celestial being, divine image, or divine form; often translated as “god”

devadatta = one of the vital airs which provides for the intake of extra oxygen in a tired body by causing a yawn

devanagari = City of the Gods; the script used to write Sanskrit

devananda = delight of the gods, god’s joy

devi sarasvati = the goddess of learning, art and speech

dhananyaya = one of the vital airs which remains in the body even after death, and sometimes bloats up a corpse

dhanu (dhanura) = bow

dhanurveda = the Upaveda (ancillary Veda) pertaining to military science

dharana = concentration, 6th limb of Astanga yoga, orienting the mind toward a single point

dharma = “bearer”: a term signifying law, virtue, righteousness

dharma = characteristic, attribute; righteousness, virtue

dharma shastra = scripture dealing with right action

dhenu = a cow

dhr = to hold, to support, to maintain

dhyana = generally translated as meditation, freedom from attachments, an ongoing stream of awareness from the meditator toward the object of meditation and of information from the object toward the meditator; the seventh limb of Ashtanga yoga

dhyana-yoga = yoga of meditation

dik = a bird

diti = the mother of the demons, also called Daityas

dosa = constitution

doshas = in Ayuverda, three constitution types of the body, that is vata, pitta and kapha

drishti = focal point, perception or looking place, “view” or “sight”: yogic gazing, such as at the tip of the nose or the spot between the eyebrows

drona = the preceptor of the Pandava and Kaurava princes in the arts of war, especially archery; he was the son of sage Bharadvaja

Dronacharya = son of the Sage of Bharadvaja and a major character in the epic Mahabharata

duhkha = pain, sorrow, grief, suffering, misery

dur = difficult

Durvasa = a very irascible, notoriously angry, sage

dve (dwi) = two

dvesa (dvesha) = hate, dislike, repugnance, refusal

dvija = twice-born

dwi-hasta = two hands

dwi-pada = two feet or legs


eka (ekam) = one

eka-pada (ekapada) = one leg, one-legged, one-footed

eka-tattvabhyasa = the study of the single element, the Supreme Spirit that pervades the innermost self of all beings

ekagra = one/single pointedness or a focussed state of mind (eka = one, agra = foremost) fixed on one object or point only; closely tentative, where the mental faculties are all focused on a single object

ekagra chita = single-pointed mind, the mind fit to practice higher yoga

ekagrata = one-pointedness

ekuna = minus one


gaja = elephant

Galava = the pupil or son of Viswamitra

gana = a troop of demi-gods, who were Siva’s attendants

ganda = the cheek or side of the face including the temple

gandha = subtle earth element; quantum of (tanmatra) earth; smell

gandha-bherunda = a species of bird, also two-headed mythological bird that embodies immense powers and destructive forces

gandharvaveda = the Upaveda (ancillary Veda) pertaining to music

Ganesha = the first son of Lord Shica and the Great Goddess Uma Parvati, the keeper of the gateway to heaven

Ganga = the river Ganges, the most sacred river in India

garbha = an infant, womb, fetus

garbha kosa = uterus

garbha pinda (grabha-pinda) = fetus, embryo in the womb

Garuda = Hindu Deity, half-man half-eagle, fierce bird of prey, vehicle (vahana) of Lord Vishnu, king of birds; Garuda is represented as a vehicle of Vishnu and as having a white face, an aquiline beak, red wings and a golden body

gayatri = the most sacred of all mantras, conceived by the Rishi Vishvamitra

ghatavastha = intermediate stage of yoga, when the mind and body learn to move together

Gheranda = author of Gheranda Samhita, an important text on Hatha Yoga which he taught to Chanda Kapali.

Gheranda Samhita = a tantric treatise describing Hatha Yoga written by the sage Gheranda in the 15th century

Gitananda = a well-known Yogi, living in the 20th century CE

go = cow

godha = iguana

gomukha = cow face, face resembling a cow, cow head; it is also a kind of musical instrument, narrow at one end and broad at the other, like a face of a cow

Goraksa (Goraksha, Gorakshanath) = an 11th to 12th Century Hindu Nath Yogi, one of Matsyendranath’s two most important disciples; tending to or breeding cattle, cowherd

gotra = a family, race, lineage

govinda = a cowherd; also, a name of Lord Krishna, who was when young, hidden in a rural village to escape the murderous wrath of his uncle Kamsa

graiva = a chain worn around a neck of an elephant, necklace or collar

granthi = knot

gu = first syllable in the word “guru” meaning darkness

gulma = a spleen

guna = a quality, an ingredient or constituent of nature, the three primary qualities existing in the universe or strands of prakrti that form, through their various intertwinings, all phenomena; the three gunas are rajas, tamas and sattva

gunatita = one who is freed from and gone beyond or crossed the three gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas

guru = “he who is heavy, weighty”, a spiritual teacher or preceptor, one who illumines the darkness of spiritual doubt, one who hands down a system of knowledge to a disciple, heavy one or dark/light, dispeller of darkness, one who helps to gain knowledge

guru-sishya parampara = the tradition of teaching dating back centuries, where a Guru imparts his knowledge to his students

gurumukha = direct from the preceptor


ha = first syllable of the word “hatha”, which is composed of the syllables “ha” meaning “the Sun” and “tha” meaning “the Moon”; the object of Hatha Yoga is to balance the flow of solar and lunar energy in the human system

hala = plow

hamsa (hansa) = a swan; a metaphor for the soul; a vehicle of Lord Brahma; the name of the mantra by which prakrti permeates the universe, also refers to the breath as it moves within the body

hamsah = “I am He, the Universal Spirit”, the unconscious repetitive prayer that goes on with each exhalation within every living creature throughout life

Hanuman = a powerful monkey chief, a mythological entity,  of extraordinary strength and prowess, whose exploits are celebrated in the epic Ramayana; he was the son of Anjana and Vayu, the God of wind, monkey-god, hero of Ramayana, ego-less superhero and perfect devotee,  who resembles a monkey leaping

hanumat = having large jaws, a monkey chief

hasta = hand

hastasana = forward stretch of the arms

hatha = force; the word “hatha” is used adverbially in the sense of “forcibly” or “against one’s will”; hatha-yoga is so called because it prescribes rigorous discipline in order to find union with the Supreme

Hatha Yoga = “Forceful Yoga”, a major branch of yoga, developed by Goraksha and other adepts c. 1000-1100CE, emphasizing the physical aspects of the transformative path, notably postures (asana), cleansing techniques (shodhana) and breath (pranayama); literally, sun/moon yoga (“ha” means “sun”, “tha” means “moon”), it emphasizes balancing the solar and lunar energy channels in the body. Hatha Yoga shifted the focus away from the mysticism and philosophy of the older Upanishadic types of yoga toward using the body as a tool; combines opposing forces to achieve balance, sighting the soul through the restraint of energy, yoga concerned with mastering control over the physical body as a path to enlightenment (self-realization)

Hatha Yoga Pradipika = treatise on yoga compiled in the 12th century by the sage Svatmarama

hatha-vidya = the science of Hatha-yoga

Hatha-yoga-pradipika (Hathayoga Pradipika) = a celebrated textbook on Hatha-yoga written by Svatmarama

Himalaya = abode of ice and snow, Himalaya Mountains is a range of mountains located immediately north of the Indian subcontinent.

himsa = violence, killing

Hindola = Hindu Religious Festival associated with baby Krishna being rocked in a decorated swing

Hiranya-kasipu = a celebrated demon king, slain by Visnu to save Prahlada, his devotee

hrdaya = heart; the core of all phenomena, which according to Vedanta is consciousness; if a term is used in an anatomical instruction, it refers to the core of the ribcage

hridaya kosa = heart


ida = a nadi, a channel  through which prana moves, starting from the left nostril, then moving to the crown of the head and thence descending to the base of the spine on the left side; in its course it conveys lunar energy and so is called chandra nadi – “channel of the lunar energy”; ascossiated with pale or blue (left/feminine)

Indra = ruler, lord of thunder, king of the heavens

indriya = an organ of sense

indriya-jaya = conquest, restraint or mastery of the senses by controlling desires

indudala = crescent moon

ishtadevata = meditation deity; a personal projection that enables one to establish a devotional relationship to the Supreme Being

Ishvara (Isvara) = God, the Supreme Being, Brahman, with form

ishvara-pranidhana = one of the niyamas; centering on the divine, devotion or surrender to God, dedication to the Lord of one’s actions and one’s will

itihasas = scriptures that deal with what once was, history: the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Yoga Vashishta


jagat guru = a world teacher; an epithet given to teachers such as Shankaracharya or Ramanujacharya

jagrata-avastha = the complete awareness of the state of the mind

jaladhara-bandha = a posture where the neck and throat are contracted ad the chin is rested in the notch between the collar bones

jalandhara = net in the stream

jalandhara bandha (jalandharabandha) = a bandha that locks the throat, chin lock; straightening the back of the neck by keeping your head straight while slightly receding your chin; a yoga pose where the neck and throat are contracted and the chin is rested in the notch between the collar-bones at the top of the breast-bone

jamuna = a tributary of the Ganges

Janaka = a famous philosopher king if Videha or Mithila

janu = knee

japa = repeating a mantra over and over for the purpose of clearing the mind

jathara (jatara) = stomach, belly or the interior of anything

jathara-parivartana = an action of an asana (yoga pose) in which the abdomen is made to move to and fro

jaya = conquest, victory; it also means control, mastery

jihva bandha = the tongue lock

jiva = a living being, a creature, phenomenal self; an image of oneself that is formed through contact with the manifold phenomena of material and subtle world; not the true self

jivana = life

jivana prayatna = literally effort of life; breathing

jivana-mukta = a person who is emancipated during his lifetime by true knowledge of the Supreme Spirit

jivana-mukti = the emancipated state

jivatma = the individual self

jnana = sacred knowledge of self, wisdom derived from meditation on the higher truths of religion and philosophy, which teaches a man how to understand his own nature

jnana marg (jnana marga) = path of knowledge (realization) whereby the seeker learns to discriminate between the real and the unreal

Jnana Yoga = the emphasis is on questioning, contemplation and meditation as a path to enlightenment, yoga that seeks to teach the identity of the individual self (atman) and the infinite consciousness (Brahman)

jnana-mudra = the genture of the hand where the tip of the index finger is brought in contact with the tip of the thumb, while the remaining three fingers are kept extended; the gesture is a symbol of knowledge (jnana); the index finger is the symbol of the individual soul, the thumb signifies the Supreme Universal Soul, and the union of these two symbolizes true knowledge

jnanendriya = hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell

jnanin = knower; specifically, a knower of self

jyotisha = the Vedanga (Vedic Limb) pertaining to astrology


kadga = a sacrificial sword

Kagola (Kahola) = the father of the sage Astavakra

Kailasa = a mountain peak in the Himalayas, considered as the abode of Siva

kaivalya = freedom or eternal emancipation

kaivalya-pada = the fourth and last part of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra dealing with Absolution

kaka = crow

Kala Bhairava = Shiva in his terrible or gruesome form as Destroyer of the Universe

kalakuta = a world poison, which appeared during the churning of the ocean by the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) and was imbibed by Lord Shiva to save the world from destruction

Kali = Hindu Goddess of Time and Change

kali yuga = the current age, the age of darkness, which started 3102 BCE with the death of Lord Krishna, the shortest of all ages just more than 432 000 years long

kalidasa = the most renowned dramatist and poet in Sanskrit literature, whose work “Sakuntala” is universally respected

kalpa = the Vedanga (Vedic Limb) pertaining to ritual

kama = desire, lust; name of the god of Passion

kama-dhenu (kamadhenu) = the heavenly celestial cow yielding/fulfilling all desires, a symbol of giving and fertility

kama-rupa = the seat of the genitals, so named after Kama, the god of passion

Kamala = Hindu Goddess of Wealth, “One of the Lotus”

Kamalamuni = one of the 18 Siddhars believed to be over 4 thousand years old

kanda = a bulbous root, a knot, egg, stem, stalk, trunk; the kanda is a round shape of about four inches situated twelve inches above the anus and near the navel, where the three main nadis – Susumna, Ida and Pingala – unite and separate; it is covered as if with a soft white piece of cloth

kandas = portions; divisions of the Vedas

kantham bhitwa = opening your throat when chanting

kanyakubja = an ancient city and country situated on a tributary of the Ganges, now called Kanoja

kapala = skull

kapalabhati = bellow-like breathing technique with sharp, quick inhalations and exhalations; a cleansing ritual for the respiratory tract, lungs and sinuses; Skull Shining

kapalika = a skull carrier; a sect worshipping Lord Shiva

kapha = embrace, keep together, water; one of the three Ayurvedic constitution types, sometimes translated as “phlegm”

kapila = a sage or Rishi, the founder of the Sankhya system, one of the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy, noted in the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana as a manifestation of the Supreme Being

kapinjala = a kind of partridge, the chataka bird, which is supposed to drink only raindrops

kapota = dove, pigeon

kapya = monkey

karana sharia = casual body, body of knowledge and intelligence, one of the 3 layers of the body

karanda = sort of duck

karani = making, doing

karma (karma law) = “action”, activity of any kind, including ritual acts; said to be binding only so long as engaged in a self-centered way; the law of cause and effect, or the movement toward balanced consciousness – everything that you do, say or think has an immediate effect on the universe that will reverberate back to you in some way

karma marg = path of selfless service without thought of reward

karma yoga (karma-yoga) = yoga of action, path to enlightenment is through selfless acts and service to others, the achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Soul through action; in its original Vedic sense, Karma Yoga is any yoga that employs ritualistic action, such as asana, meditation, or mantra, to produce spiritual gain. The term excludes Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, which are thought to operate beyond spiritual gain

karma-kanda of the Veda = the portion of the Veda that deals with action

karma-marga = the way of an active man towards realization through action

karmashaya = karmic storehouse; place where the effects of our actions are stored

karmendriya = organs of excretion, generation, hands, feet and speech

karna = the ear; also one of the heroes in the Mahabharata

karna-pida = pressure around the ear, blocked ears

Kartikeya = the god of war, a general of the celestial army, also known as Murugan, Ayeppa, Subhramaniam, Kurmara, or Skanda; he is the second son of Lord Shiva and the Great Goddess Uma Parvati, and is so called because he was reared by the Krttikas, the Pleiades, each six of whom fed him at her breast (san = six, mukha – mouth or face); the story of his birth is told by Kalidasa in his epic “Kumara-sambhava”

karuna = compassion, pity, tenderness; it also implies devoted action to alleviate the suffering of the afflicted ones

Karya sharira = Gross body, one of the three layers of the body

Kashyapa = an ancient Hindu sage, husband of Aditi and Diti; he is one of the lords or progenitors of living things

katha sarit sagara = a collection of Indian folk-tails and fables, attributed to Somadeva

Kathopanishad = ancient text circa 300-400 BC, one of the principal Upanishads in verse and in the form of a dialogue between the seeker Nachiketa and Yama, the god of Death

kauravas = descendants of Kuru, who fought the fratricidal Mahabharata war with their cousins Pandavas

kaya = the body

kayaklesa = positions and activities that are painful and injurious

kayika = relating to the body

kevala = whole, entire, absolute, perfect, pure

kevala-kumbhaka (kevali-kumbhaka) = a pranayama technique retaining the breath as it increases breath control and lung capacity; when the practices of Kumbhaka (respiratory processed) become so perfect that they are instinctive, they are known as Kevala Kumbhaka

khaga = bird

khanjana = a wagtail bird

khechari-mudra = “space-walking seal”: the tantric practice of curling the tongue against the upper plate in order to seal the life energy

Khimi Karani = mythological pond of milk in which Garuda drowned a snake to give birth to Sami Tree

klesha (klesa) – pain, anguish, suffering, sorrow caused by egoism, desire, ignorance and hatred, trouble and affliction

kona = angle

Konganar = one of the Siddhars, student of Siddhar Bogar

Kooramuni Siddha = a disciple of Shiva

Koormamuni = Hindu Sage

Korakar = one of the 18 siddhars, a well-known Sage, author of works on philosophy, medicine and alchemy

kosas = sacs

koshas = the five sheaths of existence that comprise the body

Koundinya (Kaundinya) = Hindu sage, Vedic scholar and a descendent of Vasihta

krama = one by one

Krishna (Krsna) = a Hindu Deity, one of the most celebrated heroes in Hindu mythology; the eighth incarnation of Visnu, teacher in the Bhagavad Gita; a metaphor for the divine spirit

Krishnamurti = an outstanding teacher of the twentieth century who placed emphasis on sound reasoning and on the axiom that all initiation is self-initiation

kriya = act, action, cleansing

kriya yoga = the yoga of action and participation in life, preliminary yoga consisting of simplicity (tapas), the reading of sacred texts (svadhyaya), and acceptance of the existence if a Supreme Being (Ishvara pranidhana); also, a Tantric mode of yoga using breath, mantra, and visualization.

krkara = name of one of the subsidiary vital airs, whose function is to prevent substances going up the nasal passages and throat by bringing on sneezes and coughing

krodha yoga = yoga of hatred and aversion

Kroukacha = a saw

krounch (krouncha, krauncha) = heron

krta = name of the first of four ages of the world of men

ksatrya = a member of the warrior class

kshatriya = one who serves God through one’s will; also a member of the warrior caste

ksipta = a distracted mind

kukkuta = rooster, cock

kulpha = ankle

Kumarasambhava = the epic story of Kumara, the god of war

kumbha = a water pot, a pitcher, a chalice

kumbhaka = breath holding, interval of time or retention of breath after full inhalation or after full exhalation, an important pranayama method; retention of energy

kundala = a coil of a rope

kundalini = a coiled female serpent; the divine cosmic energy, the obstacle that closes the mouth of sushumna; the rising of shakti in the sushumna; this force or energy is symbolized as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve center at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing all the chakras right up to the Sahasrata, the thousand petalled lotus in the head. Then the yogi is in union with the Supreme Universal Soul.

kundalini yoga = a mode of yoga that focuses on the raising of the life force

kunja = grove, alcove

kunta = spear, lance

kurma (koorma) = a tortoise, it is also the name of one of the subsidiary vital airs whose function is to control the movements of the eyelids to prevent foreign matter or too bright light going into the eyes

kurukshetra = field of action; the location of the battle of the Mahabharata; also a metaphor for daily life


lac = 100,000

laghu = little, small, simple; it also means handsome

Laksmana = a brother of Rama, hero of the epic Mahabharata

Laksmi = the goddess of beauty and fortune; consort of Visnu

lalata = forehead,  also name of one of the secret chakras located above the Third Eye Chakra

langhana kriya = literally activity of reduction; exhalation

Lanka = the kingdom of demon king Ravana; it is also identified with Ceylon

Lasya = beauty, happiness and grace; also a dance preformed by Goddess Parvati in response to her husband Shiva’s Tandava

laukika mantra = chanting the name of a deity as part of a non-vedic mantra

lauliki = the same as nauli, q.v.

laya = to merge, dissolution; absorption of the mind, devotion

laya-yoga = the achievement of union with the Supreme Soul through adoration and devotion, yoga of concentration

Linga (Lingam, Shivalinga) = symbol of union and origin of all life associated with Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti

lobha = greed

lola = tremulous, dangling, pendant, charm, swing, swinging like a pendulum, moving to and fro

loma = hair


madhya (madya) = middle of the body, central

madhyama = middling, average, mediocre, the third phase of sound; all subtle mantric sounds; the Sanskrit language

maha = great, mighty, powerful, lofty, noble

maha bandha = the great lock

maha mudra = the great seal

maha yuga = great yuga, consisting of four ages, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga

Mahabharata = the celebrated epic, the largest piece of literature created by human kind, authored by Rishi Vyasa and containing Bhagavad Gita dating to the first millennium BCE; dharma shastra (scripture dealing with right action), which comes to the conclusion that however hard you try, you can never be completely right

mahabhuta = gross element, that is earth, water, and so on

mahapralaya = a great dissolution of a cycle of world ages (Maha Yuga)

maharsi = a great sage

mahavrata = a great vow, a form of penance adopted by Lord Shiva after severing the head of Lord Brahma, which led to the rise if the Kapalika order

Makara = a mythological sea creature, who is the vehicle of the river Goddess Ganga; a crocodile

maksika = fly

mala = a garland, a wreath, often of prayer beads or flowers

mala kosa = the large intestines

man = to think

manana = contemplating

manas = the individual mind having the power and faculty of attention, selection and rejection; the ruler of senses

manas-chakra = nervous plexus situated between the navel and the heart

manasika = of the mind, mental

manava (manusya) = an intelligent and conscious being

mandala = a circle ambulation, a circular drawing or design that exemplifies sacred geometry that draws your eye to the center and is used as focal point while meditating; it also means a collection, a division of Rigveda

mandara = a mountain used by the gods and the demons as a churning stick when they churned the cosmic ocean for nectar

manduka = frog

mangala = auspicious

manibandha = wrist

manipuraka = a nervous plexus situated in the region of the navel, the third chakra, the navel chakra, the fire energy centre, site of the sense of fear and apprehension

manipuraka = city with gems

mano-maya kosha = phsychologica or mind sheath, the third of the five sheaths of the body

manomani = state of samadhi

manomaya kosha = the mental or the emotional sheath, one of the five sheaths of the body

mantra = a mystical syllable designed to create and alter reality by influencing the vibrational patterns that make up creation, sacred sound or phrase that has a transformative effect

mantra yoga = a mode of yoga that focuses on the use of sound waves and incantations, enlightenment through the chanting of mantras

manu = name of the father of the human race

marga = a way, road, path

Marichi = a sage, son of Brahma, the great-grandfather of Manu, the Vedic Adam and the father of humanity, the creator of the universe, and the father of Kasyapa

marjari = cat

matsya = fish

Matsyendra = a Hindu sage and one of the first teachers of Hatha yoga, a legend, king or lord of the fish

mayura = peacock

Menaka = a nymph; the mother of Sakuntala

menorrhagia = abnormally heavy or long periods

meru-danda = spinal column

metrorrhagia = bleeding in between periods

mimamsa = ritualism

mithila = the capital kingdom of Videha, ruled by king Janaka

moha = delusion, infatuation

moksa (moksha) = liberation from bondage, final emancipation of the soul from recurring births

moksha shastra = any scripture dealing with liberation

Mount Meru = the name of world axis; the subtle equivalent of Mount Kailasha in Tibet

mrdu = soft, gentle, mild

mrita (mrta, mritra) = dead, corpse

muda (mudha) = dull, inert mind, perplexed, confounded, foolish, stupid

mudha chitta = a mind that is infatuated with materialistic concerns and therefore unfit to do yoga

mudita = joy, delight

mudra = a seal, a pleasant hand gesture or seal posture; directs the life current (life energy) through the human body, usually a combination of asana, pranayama, and bandha

mukha = face

mukta = free, unbound, liberated

mukti = release, liberation, final absolution of the soul from the chain of birth and death

mula = root, foundation, bottom; a yoga pose where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted toward the spine

mula bandha (mula-bandha) = rectal lock, root lock, contraction of the pubococcygeus, a yoga pose where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up and towards the spine

muladhara = root foundation, the name of the first chakra

muladhara chakra = the first chakra, the base chakra, the earth energy centre situated at the root of the spine, nervous plexus situated in the pelvis above the anus at the base or root of the spine, the main support of the body controls sexual energy

mundakopanisad = name of an Upanishad dealing with the mystic syllable Aum

murccha kumbhaka = a pranayama technique known as third eye breathing; concentrating on the area just above or between the eyebrows

musti = fist

mutra kosa = bladder


nabi = naval

nachiketa = name of the seeker and one of the principal character in the Kathopanisad; his father Vajasravas wanted to give away all his possessions so as to acquire religious merit. Nachiketa felt puzzled and asked his father again and again: “to whome will you give me?” His father said: “I give you to Yama (the God of Death).” Nachiketa went down to the realm of Death and obtained three boons, the last of which was the knowledge of the secret of life after death. Yama tried to divert Nachiketa from obtaining his wish by offering the greatest earthly pleasures, but Nachiketa was not swayed from his purpose and ultimately Yama gave him the knowledge desired.

nada = inner sound heard through the practice of nada yoga or kundalini yoga

nadi = literally, a river; nerve or conduit, channels which distribute energy from the chakras throughout the body, a tubular organ of the subtle body through which energy flows, subtle vibratory passages of psycho-spiritual energy; it consists of three layers, one inside the other, like insulation of an electric wire. The innermost layer is caller the “sira” and the middle layer “damani”. The entire organ as well as the outer layer is called “nadi”.; They connect at special points of intensity or chakras.

nadi shodana = purification of the energy channels (nadis), nerve cleansing, a breathing exercise in which nostrils are alternated for inhalation and exhalation, practice of purifying the conduits through breath control

naga = great mythological snake; one of the subsidiary vital airs which relieves abdominal pressure, causing one to belch

Nahusha = Hindu King of Aila Dynasty

nakra = crocodile

namaskar = greeting, worship, salutation with hands in prayer

namaste mudra = a mudra in which the hands are placed together in prayer-like fashion to honour the inner light

nantum = to bow with respect

nara = a man

Narada = a rishi, author of the Bhakti Sutra, and attendant of the Lord Vishnu

Narasimha = an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu in his fourth incarnation often visualized as half-man/half-lion

nasika = nose

nata = actor, dancer, mime

Nataraj = name of Shiva as a cosmic dancer, the lord of the dancers

natha = lord

natya = dancing

nauka = boat

nauli = churning, a process in which the abdominal muscles and organs move vertically and laterally in a surging motion

nauli kriya = process of isolating and tightening the rectus abdominus muscles and pushing back all other muscles and organs backward toward the spine and upward toward the diaphragm

nava = boat

nawa = nine

Neti Neti = “Not this! Not this!” The experience of samadhi is not like other experiences, which can be described in words. About it the sages say “It is not this! It is not this!”, for speech fails to convey the feeling of joy and peace experienced in that state.

niasas = association of a particular part of the body with specific deities, mantras or gestures

nidhidhyasana = to be permanently established in self-knowledge

nidra = deep dreamless sleep, the third state listed in the Mandukya Upanishad (the others are waking state [jagrat], dream [shushupti] and consciousness [turiya]; also the fourth fluctuation of the mind listed by Patanjali in Yoga Sutra I.6 (the others are correct cognition, wrong cognition, perceptualization and memory)

nilayam = college or abode

nindra (nantra) = sage, praise, wonder

nindra (nitara) = standing firm, standing

nir = without

nira = water

niralamba = self-supported, independent, without support

niranjana = unstained, free from falsehood, pure

nirbija = seedless

nirguna = formless, quality-less

nirguna-brahman = formless Brahman, deep reality, infinite consciousness

nirodha = restraint, suppression

nirodha chitta = a suspended mind; the natural state of mind; the goal of yoga

nirodhah = restrained

niruddha = a controlled and restrained mind, checked, controlled

nirukta = the Vedanga (Vedic limb) pertaining to etymology

nispattyavastha = ultimate stage of yoga practice, the state of perfection, state of becoming one with the body, mind and self

niyama = self-restraint, personal observances, self-purification by discipline, the Vedic system of logic; the second stage or limb of Ashtanga Yoga of yoga mentioned by Patanjali; five personal disciplines, as defined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras: saucha, santosha, tapas, svanhyaya, and ishvar-pranidhana


ojas = “vitality” : the subtle energy produced through practice, especially the discipline of chastity (brahmacharya)

om (aum) = the original mantra symbolizing the ultimate reality, the sacred syllable emitted by the Supreme Being the sound that produces all other sounds and into which all other sounds return, like the Latin word “Omne”, the Sanskrit work “Aum” means “all” and conveys concepts of “Omnipotence”, “Omnipresence” and “Omnipotence”


pada = foot or leg; also a part of a book or text

pada-hasta = hand(s)-to-feet

padangustha = big toe

padma = lotus

padmanabha = a name of Visnu who is said to have lotus growing out of his navel; from this lotus came forth Brahma

paksaka = wing

paksi = bird

pancha = five

Pandava = name of any of the five sons of Pandu, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula, the heroes in the Mahabharata

Panini = Rishi and Sanskrit grammarian

Pantanjali Yoga Darshana = corpus of aphorisms on yoga, compiled between 300 B.C and 300 A.D.

para = the first phase of sound; divine intention; shabda Brahman

paramatma = the supreme spirit

parampada = the highest step, the supreme state, final beatitude

parampara = tradition, uninterrupted series, convention, a succession

parangmukhi = facing inwards

parasurama = the sixth incarnation of Visnu, who destroyed the Ksatriya or warrior class with his battle-axe (parasu)

paravairagya = supreme surrender or detachment, total letting go

parichayavastha = third stage of yoga practice, when the intellect and the body become one

parigha = iron bar used for locking, bolting or shutting a gate

parigraha = hoarding, possessiveness

paripurna = full, entire, complete

parivartana = turning around, revolving

parivartana-pada = with one leg turned around

parivid = twined, twisted around

parivritti = crossed or with a twist

parivritti = turning, rolling

parivrtta = revolved, turned around

parivrttaika-pada = with one leg turned around

parmatama (parmataman) = the universal self

parsva (parshva) = the side, flank, lateral

parsva vayu = hemiplegia

parsvaika = parsva + eka

parsvaika-pada = with one leg turned sideways

parvata = mountain

Parvati = a goddess, consort of Siva, daughter of Himalaya

paryanka = a bed, a couch

pasa (pasha) = snare, trap, noose, a fetter

paschima = the back of the whole body from head to heels, west side, western

paschimatana = intense stretch of the back side of the body from the nape to the heels

pashupata = Lord of the Beasts; a name of Lord Shiva; an ancient school of Shiva worshipers

pashyanti = the second phase of sound; the sacred syllable Om

pasksiya (paksya) = being in or belonging to the wings

patala = the nether region

patan = to collapse

Patanjali = a sage, the author of the Yoga Sutras and treatise on Sanskrit and Ayurveda, the founder of yoga, most likely lived between 200 B.C and 300 A.D.,; a manifestation of the serpent of infinity

pavanamuktasana = wind release pose

perineum = the area between the thighs, behind the genitals and in front of the anus

pid = squeeze

pida = pain, discomfort, pressure

pincha = a feather of a tail, the chin

pinchamayura = peacock with stretched feathers

pinda = a fetus, embryo in an early stage of gestation, ball, the body

pinda-prana = the individual breath, as contrasted with the Universal or Cosmic Breath

pingala = a channel on the right side of the spine through which prana moves, associated with reddish color, a nadi or channel of masculine energy starting from the right nostril, then moving to the crown of the head and thence downwards to the base of the spine; as the solar energy flows through it, it is also called surya-nadi;

pitam = stool, chair

pitta = heat, cook, transform, fire, one of the three Ayurvedic constitution types, sometimes translated as “bile”

plavana = jump through

pliha = the spleen

poorna = full

prahlada = a great devotee of Visnu; he was the son of the demon king Hiranya-kasipu

prajapati = the lord of created beings

prajna = intelligence, wisdom

prajnatma = the intelligential self

prakriti shakti = energy of nature

prakrti = nature, the original source of the material world, consisting of three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas; procreatress, procreativeness, the matrix or womb that produces the entire subtle and gross universe apart from consciousness

pramada = indifference, insensibility

prana = breath, life, vitality, wind, energy, strength; also connotes the soul, life force or inner breath; also sometimes refers to anatomical or outer breath; also vital upward energy current

prana-vayu = the vital air which pervades the entire human body; it moves in the region of the chest

pranama = prayer

pranamaya kosha = the vital or the organic body, life-force sheath, one of the 5 sheaths of the body

pranasthana = a place of breath

pranava = another word for the sacred syllable Aum

pranayama = breath control, energy control through breathing, consisting of conscious inhalation (puraka), retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (rechaka), breath extension, breathing exercises to harmonize the flow of life force; the fourth stage or  limb of Ashtanga yoga

pranidhana = dedication

pranidhanani = surrender

prapada = tip of the feet

prasa = assemblage

prasarana = sweeping movement of the arms

prasarita = spread, stretched out

prashthana trayi = triple canon of authoritative text: The Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutra

prasvasa = expiration

pratikriya = counterpose

pratiloma = against the hair, against the grain

pratyahara =  internalization of the senses, independence from sensory stimuli; the fifth stage or limb of Ashtanga Yoga, withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and sensual objects; withdrawal of the mind, mental detachment from the external world

pratyaksa = direct evidence

prishta = back

prishtanjali = back salute

prithi = gross earth element

psoriasis = an ailment leading to dry and scaly patches on the skin

Punakeesar (Punnakeesar) = one of the Siddhars, a Guru of Machamuni (also referred to as Matsyendra)

pungu = wounded

punya = virtue, merit, righteous, just, good

puraka = inhailation

purana = literally, ancient, pure; the word that gave rise to English word “pure” and contains the concept that things are purest at their outset or origin

puranas = sacred texts that relate mysticism and philosophy, in the form of allegories and stories

purna = complete

purnata = fullness, perfection

purusha = pure consciousness, which is eternal and immutable; term used by Samkhya and yoga instead of atman

purusha shakti = energy of the soul, The Seer or the soul

purva = eastern

purvottana = intense stretch of the front side of the body


raga = love, passion, anger

raja = king, royal

raja yoga (raja-yoga) = royal yoga; a term generally applied to the three higher limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, that is dharana, dhyana and samadhi; the royal road to self-realization through the control of the mind. The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Spirit by becoming the ruler of one’s own mind by defeating its enemies, sighting the soul through a restraint of consciousness

raja-kapota (rajakapota) = king pigeon

raja-marga = the royal road to self-realization through the control of the mind

raja-yogi = one who has complete mastery over his mind and self; one who has conquered himself

rajarsi = a royal sage, a philosopher king

rajas = activity, frenzy, dynamics; one of the gunas of prakrti, unrelated thoughts; the aspect of energy in nature; one of the three constituents of prakriti

rajasic = vibrant quality of nature, spicy, pungent foods that overstimulate the body and mind

rajo-guna = the quality of mobility or activity

rakta sanchara = blood circulation

Rama = seventh avatar of Lord Visnu; hero of the Ramayana who proves that however great the mess, if you always give you best, you will end up okay

Ramana Maharshi = an important Jnana Yogi of the twentieth century

Ramanuja, Acharya = one of the world teachers; a teacher of Bhakti Yoga, the founder of Visishtadvaita Vedanta, the propounder of the inentity-in-difference doctrine, and the author of Shri Bhashya commentary on the Brahma Sutra

Ramayana = literally, Rama’s way; a famous ancient epic (itihasa) authored by Sage Valmiki that describes the life of Rama, an avatara of Lord Vishnu

Ravana = name of the demon king of Lanka who abducted Sita, wife of Rama

recaka bala = the efficacy of exhalation

rechaka = exhalation, emptying of the lungs

retus = semen

Rig Veda = litterally “Knowledge of Praise” – it consists of 1028 hymns and is the oldest known reference to yoga and possibly the oldest known text in the world

rishi = a Vedic seer, a liberated sage or saint, one who through suspension of the mind can see to the bottom of his heart

roga = sickness

rsi = an inspired sage

ru = the second syllable in the word “guru”, meaning “light”

Ruchika (Richika, Ruschika) = name of a Hindu sage, dedicated to the grandfather of an incarnation of Vishnu

Rudra = incarnation of Siva


sa = with

sadhaka = a seeker, an aspirant

sadhana = practice, quest

sadhana-pada = the second part of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, dealing with the means

sadhanas = practice for achievement

sadhu = one who practices a religious sadhana (discipline)

saguna = with form, with quality

saguna brahman = the Supreme Being, Brahman, with form

sahaja = easy, natural

sahajavastha = the natural state of the soul in samadhi

sahasrara = thousandfold

sahasrara chakra = energy centre situated at the crown of the head, the thousand-petalled lotus in the cerebral cavity, the most important 7th chakra which, when uncoiled, brings the seeker to freedom,

sahita = aided

sahita-kumbhaka = “sahita” means “accompanied” or “attended by” or “together with”; an intentional suspension of breath

sakti = power

sakuntala = the daughter of the sage Visvamitra and the nymph Menaka; she is the heroine of Kalidasa’s play bearing her name

sala = school

salabha = locust

salamba = with support

salambhava or sambhavi = belonging to Sambhu of Siva

sama = same, equal, even, upright

sama-sthiti = standing still and upright

sama-vritti = of equal movement in inhalation, exhalation and suspension of breath in Pranayama

samadhana = mental peace

samadhi = “putting together”: the ecstatic or state in which the mediator becomes one with the object of meditation, forgetting him/herself completely, (the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe) where there is a feeling of unutterable joy and peace, absorption, ecstasy, enlightenment,  self-realization; the state of meditation in which ego disappears and all becomes one; a state of absolute bliss; the eighth limb or stage of Ashtanga Yoga

samadhi yoga = yoga of absorption

samadhi-pada = the first part of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, dealing with the state of Samadhi

samaka (samoka) = equal

samana = equalizing, one of the vital airs whose function is to aid digestion

samantraka-suryanamaskara = the sun salutation with mantras

samapatti = the mind’s identity with an object; the state of the mind during objective samadhi

samapatti = total mental concentration

samasthiti = a state of balance

samaveda = one of the four Vedas

samayama = integration of the body, breath, mind, intellect and self

sambhava = birth

sambhu = a name of Siva

samkhya = the oldest system of philosophy, founded by Rishi Kapila; an analysis of the constituents of creation; a way to achieve liberation by means of intellectual reflection

samkhya karika = the treatise authored by Ishvarakrishna describing the Samkhya system of philosophy. The Karika is of great importance, since it is the oldest surviving text describing the Samkhya on which yoga is based. One needs to keep in mind, however, that this text is younger that the Yoga Sutra and is not representative of older and more original forms of samadhi

samprajnata = objective samadhi, cognitive samadhi

samsara = conditioned existence, the endless round of rebirths

samsaya (samsahya, samshaya) = doubt, problem

samskara = mental impression of the past, subconscious imprint

samyama = combined application of dharana, dhyana and objective samadhi, Integration; when the yogi has concentrated and meditated upon, as well as investigated an object or subject until everything about it is known understood

sanchalana = shaking

sanjivani = a kind of elixir or medical plant, said to restore the dead to life

Sankaracharya = a celebrated teacher of the doctrine of Advaita

Sankarar = Yogi from the 8th century B.C.

Sanmukha = literally with six mouths; another name of Kartikeya, the god of war

sanmukhi mudra (sanmukhimudra) = closing of all six ports (or sensory organs); a sealing posture where the apertures in the head are closed and the mind is directed inwards to train it for meditation

sannyasin = “he who has cast off”: a renouncer, spiritual seeker

sansara = “confluence”: the finite world of change, as opposed to the ultimate reality

Sanskrit = the programming language used to write the operating system of the subtle body; the language of the gods

santi = peace

santosa (santosha) = contentment

sapta = seven

saptarishis = the group of seven most prominent rishis

Saraswati = an ancient river, a tributary of the Ganges; also the name of the goddess of speech, art and learning, the consort of Brahma

sarpa = serpent, snake

sarva = all, whole

sarvaanga sadhana = a holistic science or practice which integrates all parts of  the body, mind and the self and is beneficial to the entire body

sarvanga = all-parts, the whole body

sasanga = rabbit

sat = six

sat = truth; according to Indic thought, only what is permanent is true – all else is appearance; the term “sat” therefore applies to pure consciousness only

sat-sanga = “company of truth”: the practice of frequenting the good company of saints, sages, and their disciples

Sati = the daughter of Daksha Prajapati; she immolated herself for the insult offered to her husband Siva by her father, and was then reborn as the daughter of Himalaya and again won Siva as her husband. She was the mother of Kartikeya (the god of war) and of Ganapati (the god of learning, wisdom and good luck)

Sattaimuni (Sri Sattaimuni Siddhar) = A deciple of Maha Bogar. He appealed to the common man with his simple language. He wrote Sri Sattaimuni Karpam and Sri Sattaimuni Nigandu among other works.

sattva = rhythm or tranquility, the quality of clarity and lightness; a guna, light, wisdom, intelligence; one of the gunas of prakrti, the illuminating, pure and good quality of everything in nature

sattva-guna = the quality of goodness and purity

sattvic = luminous nature, natural, organic, vegetarian food

satwic = the characteristic of light/order; one of the three constituents of prakriti

satya = truth; one of the yamas

satya yuga = the golden age, the age of truth; the first of the four yugas

saucha = purity or inner and outer cleanliness; one of the niyamas

sava (shava) = corpse

savitri = sun god

sayana (zayana) = bed, couch, sleeping

Sesa = a celebrated serpent, said to have a thousand heads; sesa is represented as the couch of Visnu, floating on the cosmic ocean, or as supporting the world on his hoods; other names of Sesa are Ananta and Vasuki

setu = a bridge, dam, dike

setu-bandha = the construction of a bridge; name of an asana i which the body is arched

shabda = sound; the eternity of all vibrational patterns

shabda brahman = Brahmic sound, divine intention

shaivite = a worshiper of Shiva

Shakti = The Great Goddess, the consort of Lord Shiva; personification of prakrti; energy, life force, prana, and the sense of self, which determine a person’s emotions, will power and discrimination

shalabha = grasshopper, locust

Shankara, Adi = world teacher, yoga master, propounder of Jnana Yoga and Advaita Vedanta; author of commentaries on the Brahma Sutra, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and thirty other texts; founder of ten monk orders and four large monasteries whose abbots today still carry the title Shankaracharya. His dates are disputed. Western academics often place him at 800 CE. Tradition places him at 1800 BCE. Also known as Shankkaracharya or Shankara Bhagavatpada

shastra = scriptures, good books; path to truth

shat kriyas = purification rituals

shatapatha brahmana = vedic text describing rituals

shatkriya = literally, “six actions” a set of purifying actions used in Hatha Yoga to restore the balance among the three constitution types (doshas) of the body

shiksha = the Vedanga (Vedic Limb) pertaining to phonetics

Shiva (Siva) = The most Powerful God in Hinduism, the Destroyer, a name of the Supreme Being, pure consciousness, Brahman with form

shloka = verse, stanza; also Sanskrit grammar

shodhana = yogic cleansing rituals

shoka = grief, the sentiment that led to the composition of Ramayana

shravana = listening to the instructions of the authentic teacher

shruti = literally, “that which is heard”; revealed scriptures of divine origin which are seen or heard by a rishi, that is Vedas or Upanishads

shvasa-prashvasa = uneven respiration or unsteadiness

siddha = accomplished, fulfilled, perfected; a sage, seer or prophet; also a semi-divine being of great purity and holiness, a perfected being, a yoga master who has become an immortal, ethereal being

siddhi = divine attribute, perfection, supernatural power, proof

simha = lion

sira = a tubular organ of the body (part of a nadi)

sirsa = head

sisya = a pupil, a disciple

sita = cool, cold

Sita = name of the wife of Rama, the heroine of the epic Ramayana

Sitakari and Sitali = types of pranayama which cool the system

sitali = a breathing technique involving the rolling of the tongue, then inhaling through it like a straw, a cooling technique

siva-samhita = a classical textbook on Hatha-yoga

Skanda = a name of Kartikeya, the god of war, general of the celestial army, Lord of War, second son of Lord Shiva and Godmother Uma Parvat

Skanda Purana = the largest Purana, dedicated to Lord Skanda

smrti = memory; a code of law, sacred tradition, scriptures conceived by the human mind that explain the revealed shruti; memory, one of the five fluctuations of the mind

sodhana = purification, cleansing

soham = “he am I”; the unconscious repetitive prayer that goes on with every inhalation within every living creature throughout life

soka = anguish, distress, grief, sorrow

sraddha = faith, trust

sruti = pitch

St. Brighid = known for establishing numerous monasteries

stambha = cosmic column

steya = theft, robbery

sthala basti = a yoga cleansing ritual for the colon involving a churning of the abdominal muscles

sthamba = transition

sthambha vritti = holding your breath after inhalation

sthira = steadiness

sthita-prajna = one whose wisdom is firmly established and  does not waver; one who is unmoved by the dualities of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat

sthiti = stability

styana = languor, sloth, lack of interest, reluctance to work

suchakra = located in the middle of your brow, also known as the third eye; the centre of unclouded perception

sucirandra = threading the needle

Sugriva = a monkey chief who assisted Rama in his search and recovery of Sita, who had been abducted by the demon kind Ravana

sukha = ease, lightness, comfort, happiness, delight, joy, pleasure; literally, agreeable mental space

suksma sharira = the subtle body, one of the three layers of the body

sumanasya = benevolence

Sundaranandar = one of the 18 Siddhars, author of numerous works on medicine

sunyasunya = the mind is in a state of void (Sunya) and yet a state that is not void (asunya)

supta = lying down or sleeping, reclining, supine

surya = sun

surya yantra = sun dial

surya-bhedana = piercing or passing through (bhedana) the sun; here the inhalation is done through the right nostril, from where the Pingala-nadi or Surya-nadi starts; exhalation is done through the left nostril, from where the Ida-nadi or Chandra-nadi starts

surya-chakra = nervous plexus situated between the navel and the heart

surya-nadi = the nadi of the Sun; another name for Pingala-nadi

sushumna = the main Nadi channel situated inside the spinal column, a hollow passageway between pingala nadi and ida nadi that runs through the spinal cord, and through which kundalini can travel once it is awakened

susumna = penetrating

susupti-avastha = the state of mind in dreamless sleep

sutra = “thread”: a work consisting of aphoristic statements such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra

sva = one’s own, innate, vital force, soul, self

svadhisthana-chakra = the nervous plexus situated above the organs of gestation

svadhyaya = education of self by study of divine literature

svadhyaya = self-study, to study one’s body, mind, intellect and ego; one of the niyamas

svadisthana = sweetness

svamin = a title of respect for a spiritual person who is a master of themselves rather than others

svana (swana) = dog; inspiration

svapnavastha = the state of mind in a dream

svarga = heaven

svasa-prasvasa = having and sighing

svasthya = health

svastika = good fortune

Svatmarama  = the author of Hatha-yoga-pradipika, a classical textbook on Hatha-yoga

swadhishtana chakra = site of worldly desires, energy centre located above the organ of generation

swami = the anglecized form of svamin

Swami Sivananda = a well-known Yogi of the 20th century, founder of Sivananda Yoga

Swami Vishnu Devananda = a close disciple of Swami Sivananda born on December 31st 1927

Swami Vivekananda = a guru from India who addressed the Parliament of Religions in 1893, and became a popular figure; he was followed by a number of other swamis who came to the United States to teach westerners along the eastern path of yoga

swasa kosa = lungs


taal-vrksa = palm tree

tada = mountain, straight tree

tadasana-samasthiti = a state of balance; an even distribution of weight while standing

taila dhaaravat = like the flow of oil

tamas = darkness or ignorance, one of the three qualities or constituents of everything in nature

tamas-guna = the quality of darkness and ignorance

tamasic = food containing meat or alcohol, inertic nature

tan = stretch, lengthen out or extend

tana = to stretch out, extend

Tandava (Thandava) = sacred frantic dance representing the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction performed by the Hindu Deity Lord Shiva

tantra = thread on the loom

Tantra yoga = this yoga is characterized by certain rituals designed to awaken the kundalini

tap = to burn, to blaze, to shine, to suffer pain, to be consumed by heat

tapa = austerity

tapas = a burning effort, glow, heat, austerity gained through the committed practice of yoga, self discipline, practice with discipline, devotion and religiosity

tapasvins = sages doing penance

tara = star

Taraka = a demon slain by Kartikeya, the god of war

tat twam asi = “that thou art”; the realization of the real nature of man as being part of the divine, and of the duality within himself which liberated the human spirit from the confines of the body, mind, intellect and ego

tataka mudra = pond gesture

tatsat = I am that

tattva = the true or first principle, an element of primary substance; the real nature of the human soul or the material world and the Supreme Universal Spirit

tattva-jnana = the knowledge of true principle

tejas = lustre, brilliance, majesty

tha = the second syllable of the worth “hatha”; the first syllable “ha” stands for the sun, while the second syllable “tha” stands for the moon; the union of these two if Hatha-yoga

thavali = frog in Tamil

tirieng = horizontal, oblique, transverse, reverse and upside down

tiryaka = horizontally, sideways, obliquely, across

tiryang-mukha = backward facing

tittibha = a small bird living along the coast line; also a firefly or insect

tola = balance, scale

tolana = weighing

tolangin = scales

tolangulasana = balance pose

triang (tri, tra, trimurti) = three

trianga = three limbs

trikona = three angle or triangle

tristhanam = three places of attention

Trivikrama = Visnu in his fifth incarnation, The Dwarf avatar of Lord Vishnu, who with his three steps (krama) filled the earth, heaven and hell, the conqueror of three worlds

trsna = thirst, longing, desire

tula = equilibrium, balance

turiyavastha = the fourth state of the soul, combining yet transcending the other three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping state – the state of samadhi


ubhaya = both

udana = one of the vital airs which pervades the human body, filling it with vital energy; it dwells in the thoracic cavity and controls the intake of air and food, upward moving

uddayate = fly, soar, fly up

uddiyana = a fetter or bondage, a yogic abdominal lock; here the diaphragm is lifted high up the thorax and the abdominal organs by tilting your pelvic floor up and pulling your belly button back toward your spine; the the Uddiyana-bandha the great bird Prana (life) is forced to fly up through the Susumna-nadi; to fly up

ugra = formidable, powerful, noble

ujjayi = a pranayama that produces sound in the throat with the inhalation, literally meaning “extended victory”; the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out, slow throat breathing

ullola = a large wave or surge

Uma = another name of goddess Parvati, consort of Siva

unmani = the state of samadhi

upanishad = the word is derived from the prefixes “upa” (near) and “ni” (down) added to the root “sad” (to sit); it means sitting down near a Guru to receive spiritual instruction. The Upanisads scriptures of ancient Hindu philosophy are the philosophical portion of the Vedas, the most ancient sacred literature of the Hindus, dealing with the nature of man and the universe and the union of the individual or self with the Universal Soul

upavista (upavistha) = seated, sitting, with legs spread

upeksa = disregard; upeksa is not only a feeling of disdain for a person who has fallen into vice or a feeling of indifference or superiority towards him.

urdhva (urdhwa) = upward, raised, elevated, inverted

urdhva-mukha = face upwards

urdhva-retus = (“urdhva” = upwards, “retus” = semen) one who lives in perpetual celibacy and abstains from sexual intercourse; one who has sublimated sexual desire

ustra (ushtra) = camel

ut = intense, a particle denoting intensity

utkaTa = fierce, powerful, exceeding the usual measure, excessive, squat

utpluti = lifting or pumping up

utripada = upright tripod

uttana = an intense stretch, upright

uttanasana = forward bend

utthita = extended, risen or rising, raised up, stretched


Vaasamuni Siddhar = a disciple of Shiva

vacha = speech

vachika = related to speech, oral

vadivu = old form; Gaja Vadivu is an animal posture from Kalari Yoga, a mystical tantric form of Yoga, which stems from Kalarippayat

vaikuntha = an epithet of Visnu

vairagya = absence of worldly desires

vairagya = detachment

vajra = thunderbolt, Indra’s weapon

Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra = Diamond Cutter Sutra, one of the sutras of Mahayana Buddhism focusing on the non-attachment

vakra = bent, curved, crooked

valakhili (valakhilya) = flying wise and virtuous companions, celestial beings; a class of divine personages of the size of a thumb, produced from the Creator’s body, and said to precede the chariot of the sun

valli = a chapter of the Upanishads

Valmiki = known as the father of Sanskrit classical poetry

vama = left side

Vamadeva = the name of the preserving aspect of the God Siva

vamana = Visnu in his fifth incarnation, when he was born as a dwarf to humble the demon king Bali

vandi = a court scholar at the court of king Janaka

vasana = desire, inclination, longing

vasanta = the season of spring personified as a deity; a companion of Kama, the god of love and passion

vaseth = to stay put; to remain

Vasistha = a celebrated sage, author of Yoga Vasistha – several Vedic hymns, most excellent, best, richest

vasuki = another name of Sesa

vata = wind, flow, to move, air

vatayana = horse

vayu = air, vital force, wind, vital air

veda = the sacred scriptures of the Hindus, revealed by the Supreme Being

vibhuti = might, power, greatness

vibhuti-pada = the third part of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, dealing with the powers that the yogi comes across in his quest

vidya = correct understanding, knowledge, learning, lore, perplexity

vijnamaya kosha = intellectual sheath, the fourth of the fifth sheaths of the body

vikalpa = fancy, resting merely on verbal expression, without any factual basis

viksepa (vikshepa) = distraction, distraction, confusion, perplexity

viksipta = a scattered, agitated and fearful state of mind

viloma = against the hair or grain, against the order of things; the particle “vi” denotes the negation or privation

vimana = aircraft, or chariot of the gods

vimsathi = twenty

vini = single movement

vinyasa = a steady flow of connected yoga asanas linked with breath, work in a continuous movement, going progressively, variation

viparita = reversed, inverted, turned

viparyaya = a mistaken view, which is later observed to be such, after study

vira = a brave or eminent man, heroic, chief, hero

virabhadra = a legendary warrior, a powerful hero created out of Siva’s matted hair

Virancha (Viranchi) = one of the names of Lord Brahma

virochana = a demon prince, who was the son of Prahlada and the father of Bali

virya = vigour, strength, virility, enthusiasm

visama = uneven, unequal

visama-vritti = uneven or vehement movement while breathing

Vishnu (Visnu, Narayana, Hari) = the second deity of the Hindu Trinity, All-Pervading essence of all beings, one who supports, Preserver God

vishuddhi chakra = seat of intellectual awareness, energy centre situated behind the throat, the nervous plexus in the pharyngeal region

vishva = entire, whole

Vishvamitra (Visvamitra) = a celebrated Hindu Sage, ruler so impressed with Vasistha’s knowledge and contentment that he became his disciple

visuddha = purity

vitasti = a span

vrischika (vrschika, vrzcika) = scorpion

vrksa = tree

vrsta = fallen or dropped as rain

vrt =  to turn, to revolve, to roll on

vrtti = a course of action, behavior, mode of being, condition or mental state , fluctuation or whirlpool

vyadhi = physical ailments

vyadhi = sickness, disease, illness

vyaghra = tiger

vyana = apart, one of the vital airs, which pervades the entire body and circulates the energy derived from food and breathing all over the body

vyayama = exercise


yajna = Hindu Sacrificial Ceremony

yama = ethical codes for daily life, self restraint

Yama = the god of death; Yama is also the first of the eight limbs or means of attaining yoga. Yamas are universal ethical codes for daily life, self restraint and moral commandments or ethical disciplines transcending creeds, countries, age and time. The five mentioned by Patanjali are: non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence and non-coveting

yantra = to sustain

yati = caesura

yoga = union, communion, the path which integrates the body, senses, mind and the intelligence with the self, derived from “yuj”, meaning to join or to yoke, to concentrate one’s attention on. It is the union of our will to the will of God, a poise of the soul which enables one to look evenly at life in all its aspects. The chief aim of yoga is to teach the means by which the human soul may be completely united with the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe and thus secure absolution

yoga marg = penultimate stage of the journey to self realization, when the mind and its actions are brought under control

yoga sutra (yoga-sutra) = a classical collection of aphorisms on the practice of yoga, attributed to the sage Patanjli. It consists of 185 terse aphorisms on yoga and it is divided into four parts dealing respectively with samadhi, the means by which yoga is attained, the powers the seeker comes across in his quest and the state of absolution

yoga-agni = the fire of yoga which, when lit, ignites the kundalini

yoga-mudra = a posture, a seal

yoga-nidra = the sleep of yoga, where the body is at rest as if in sleep while the mind remains fully conscious, though all its movements are stilled; yoga-nidra is also the name of an asana

yogabhrastha = falling from the grace of yoga

yogacharya = a teacher and master of yogic traditions

Yogananda = a great yogi of the 20th century

yogasana = yogic posture

yogi or yogini = one who follows the path of yoga, a student, a seeker of truth

yogic = an adjective describing things that are associated with yoga

yoni = the womb

yoni-mudra = womb or female seal or awakened kundalini, the sealing “the breeding place” and mudra is a seal; yoni-mudra is a sealing posture where the apertures of the head are closed and the aspirant’s senses are directed within to enable him to find out the source of his being

yudha = from Yudhisthira, a legendary warrior mentioned in Ancient Hindu Epic Mahabharata

yuga = an age

yuj = to join, to yoke, to use, to concentrate one’s attention on

yukta = one who has attained communion with the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe

yukti = union


zunaka = puppy dog

Daniel Lacerda


New York Times best selling author  & Guinness World Records title holder Daniel Lacerda (aka Mr. Yoga) is the worlds number one authority on yoga poses. This yoga pioneer has been featured in The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Men’s Health, and Self magazine to name a few.

Daniel’s students include TV celebrities and former Olympic athletes, along with everyday people. His personal goal is to get 1 billion people to practice yoga worldwide. Daniel continues to train others to become certified yoga teachers. All of the models selected to appear on this website are his students. The Mr. Yoga, Inc. office is located in Beverly Hills California.

Daniel Lacerda


New York Times best selling author & Guinness World Records title holder Daniel Lacerda (aka Mr. Yoga) is the worlds number one authority on yoga poses. This yoga pioneer has been featured in The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Men’s Health, and Self magazine to name a few.

Daniel’s students include TV celebrities and former Olympic athletes, along with everyday people. His personal goal is to get 1 billion people to practice yoga worldwide. Daniel continues to train others to become certified yoga teachers. All of the models selected to appear on this website are his students. The Mr. Yoga, Inc. office is located in Beverly Hills California.

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