A Y P   Yoga   with Tristan Dorling

Glossary of Sanskrit terms


The following words are Sanskrit unless noted otherwise.



Ahamkara


The third aspect of citta: The I sense, self identification.


Anuloma viloma


Alternate nostril breathing. Also called Nadi Shoddhana or Sukha pranayama.  Anuloma Viloma energises the side channels and brings them into balance. As they are balanced and activated, prana begins to flow in the central channel (shushumna).


Asana


The word asana means posture. It can mean a sitting position, the thing that you sit on, or a posture of the body held for a period of time.


Atman


The higher Self. Not to be confused with the image we have of ourselves.


Bandhas


These are locks used in yoga to alter the way energy flows in the body. There are three principle locks used in yoga.


Mulabandha: Root lock

Udyanabandha: Stomach lock

Jalandarabandha: Throat lock


Brahma nadi


The main energy channel that runs from the root chakra up to the crown chakra passing through the centre of the shushumna nadi.


Buddhi


The second aspect of the citta: Discriminative awareness, attribution of name and form, memory, categorization, planning, formation of meaning, ideation, fantasy, logical reasoning.


Chakras


The chakras are the main energy centres of the body. There are 7  major chakras and many minor ones. The word means “wheel” in Sanskrit.  They are points where the energy channels (nadis) of the body intersect.  Click here for an image of the 7 major chakras. The 7 major chakras are:


Maladhara chakra:  Root centre

Swadistana chakra:  Sacral centre

Manipura chakra:    Solar plexus centre

Anahata chakra:  Heart centre

Vishuddha chakra:   Throat centre

Ajna chakra:    Third eye or brow centre

Sahasrara chakra:  Crown centre


Citta


Mind: The interface between Purusha and Prakriti, comprising of Manas, Buddhi and Ahamkara.


Dhyana


Dhyana means meditation. It is a state of mental absorption where the mind comes to rest and merges with the object of the meditation. In meditation it is the stage before samadhi.


Drishti point (Drishti bindu)


The point where the gaze is held during asana practice, pranayama or meditation.


Ida Nadi


The left channel running from the root chakra to the ajna chakra spiralling arround shushumna. This nadi passes close to the left nostril.


Kumbhaka


Breath retention. There are two kinds: internal and external. Breath retention is a powerful practice and causes prana to rise in the body.



Kriyas


There are three different kinds of kriya in yoga. One set of kriyas comprises a series of bodily cleansing techniques. The word kriya also describes a set of visualisation practices designed to awaken the subtle energy in the body and raise it to an ecstatic state. These range from basic techniques to advanced kriyas. The word kriya is also used to describe automatic body movements that can happen as kundalini is awakening. The word literally means “actions” in Sanskrit. Mention of the word kriya in this website will be to the second meaning above.


Kundalini


The word Kundalini refers to the energetic awakening of the subtle body. Prana , or subtle energy, awakens from near the base of the spine. Once it is awakened it begin to expand upwards and outwards through the body, activating the higher energetic centres and bringing the yogi into a state of permanent ecstasy.  


For more on kundalini click here.


Manas


The first aspect of the citta: Sense contact within the mind.


Mantras


Mantras are words that are used in yoga which have a particular energetic vibration. Mantras are chanted, or used in silence in meditation to change the vibration of the subtle body. For more on mantra and the use of mantras in meditation see here.  



Mudras


Mudras are gestures that we make to enhance our yoga practice. They are subtle movements of the body which affect the way that energy (prana) flows.


Nirodha


Cessation, reduction, restraint, arrest, avert.


Pingala Nadi


The right channel running from the root chakra to the ajna chakra spiralling arround shushumna. This nadi passes close to the right nostril.


Prakriti


The material universe, both seen and unseen, including the content of the mind and the mind itself. The opposite of Purusha.


Prana


The word prana means the air, or the breath and also the subtle energy which flows throughout the human body and within everything that exists.


Pranayama


Pranayama are a set of breathing practices used in yoga to change the way energy moves in the body. The practices are designed to both purify the body at the subtle level and to awaken it.  More...


Purusha


Pure universal consciousness


Sadhana


Spiritual practice.


Samadhi


Samadhi is a state of consciousness where the mind comes to rest in its own nature. It is our natural condition and a state of peace and of bliss. There are three main types of samadhi:


Savikalpa samadhi: samadhi with thought

Nirvikalpa samadhi: samadhi without thought

Sahaja samadhi: naturally or spontaneously arising samadhi


Sambhavi mudra


A technique of raising the eyes towards the ajna chakra to put a "pull" on ecstatic energy from the root chakra.



Savasana


Savasana is a yoga asana practised lying down on the back with the legs apart and arms lying away from the body with the palms of the hands facing upwards.


Shushumna nadi


The main energy centre running from the root chakra to the third eye. It begins as a thread or tube running up the front of the spine, and gradually expands through spiritual practice to fill most of the centre of the body.


Tapas


Literally “heat”, but also the process of spiritual purification of the body and mind.  


Tratak


Fixing the gaze upon a single point for the purpose of the development of concentration.


Vipassana (pali)


An enquiry practice involving contemplating the fact that all dhammas (aspects of phenomenal existence)  have three common characteristics:


Dukkha: (pali)  They do not give lasting satisfaction

Anicca: (pali)  They are impermanent

Anatta: (pali)  They are not who or what we really are.


Vritti


Turn, turn around, modification, fluctuation, whirl.


Yoga nidra


“Yoga nidra” literally means “yogic sleep”. It is a practice done lying on the back where we enter a state similar to that of sleep, but without losing consciousness. It is a very subtle and powerful practice.


Yogi


Someone who practices yoga. The word refers to both male and female practitioners. A female practitioner can also be called a yogini.