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YOGA GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 

Abhyanga: A specialized oil application and massage.

Agni: Digestive and metabolic fire.

Ama: Poorly digested food material that accumulates in the body.

Ama Visha: An especially harmful, disease-promoting type of ama that contains highly reactive toxins.

Amrit kalash: literally means "container of immortality".

Ananda: Bliss or joy. In Indian philosophy of the Upanishads, Ananda was an important attribute of the supreme being, Brahman. "Bliss" was used to define Brahman and was also considered to be the highest state of the individual self. Ananda Yoga: Ananda Yoga focuses on gentle postures designed to move the body's energy to different organs and muscles, but primarily to the brain to prepare for meditation.

Antahkarana: The mind.

Antaratma: The inner self, residing in the heart.

Ardha Chandrasana: In Hatha Yoga, the Half-Moon posture.

Ardha Padmasana: in Hatha Yoga, the Half-Lotus posture.

Arjuna: The hero of the Indian epic Mahabharata, he was the friend and devotee of Lord Krishna, who revealed the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to him on the eve of the battle.

Artha: Worldly wealth, the pursuit of wealth and social status.

Artharya Veda: "Knowledge of Incantations", the fourth Veda.

Aryans: The migrant invaders of India from approximately 1500 b.c; people of spiritual values.

Asampranjata: The highest super-conscious state where the mind is completely stilled and Reality is experienced.

Asana: Originally an immobile body posture; a seat or sitting posture that was used for meditation and to help facilitate perfect concentration. Hatha yoga developed this practice into a series of asanas or postures.

Ashram: A spiritual settlement or community, a peaceful retreat. A place to meditate or study the philosophy of Yoga.

Ashramas: Nearly 2,000 years ago, the dharma texts described the four ashramas (stages of life). It taught that a man should first be a chaste student, then become a married householder who honors his ancestors by begetting sons, then devote himself to spiritual contemplation, and finally, become a homeless wandering ascetic.

Ashtanga: The eight parts or stages into which the sage Patanjali divided Yoga. He wrote a structural and functional analysis of the techniques, called the "Yoga Sutras" which to this day are still considered to be the single most definitive treatise on the subject.

Ashtanga Yoga: A Yoga regimen commonly know as "Power Yoga", Ashtanga is a flowing practice in which the postures are linked together and are always done in the exact same sequence.

Asthi: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly bone and bone metabolism.

Asthi Soshirya: Porous or brittle bones; osteoporosis.

Atmajnana: Knowledge of the Self.

Atman: The self as Spirit which is eternal and super-conscious; our true nature or identity, or spiritual essence. Sometimes a distinction is made between the atman as the individual self and the Parame-Atman, as the transcendental self

Atmiyata: The feeling of oneness.

Avadhuta: An enlightened being who lives in a state beyond body-consciousness.

Avatar: A divine incarnation of God, usually incarnations of Vishnu and his wife Laksmi. Krishna and Rama are the two principal ones, while Buddha is considered the ninth avatar of Vishnu.

Ayurveda: A division of the Vedic literature that deals with health, literally "knowledge of the totality of life". Originated in India approximately 3,000 years ago. It is still a favored form of health care in India. Ayurvedic medicine is both preventive and curative. The preventive part emphasizes the need for a strict code of personal and social hygiene. The curative aspect of Ayurvedic medicine involves the use of herbal medicines, Yoga, and diet.

Baba: A term of affection and respect for a saint or holy man.

Bala: Strength or immunity.

Bandha: Binding, a muscular lock.

Bandha Padmasana: The bound lotus posture.

Basti: An herbal enema.

Bhagavad-Gîtâ: meaning "Song of God", The epic poem Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Krishna, part of the 2000-year-old Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, is considered by many to be the most important text in the Hindu religion. The poem takes the form of a dialogue in which the god Krishna advises the human hero Prince Arjuna before a great battle. Krishna also talks about Sankhya and Yoga, two of the six orthodox Hindu schools of thought.

Bhagwan: One endowed with spiritual power, righteousness, knowledge, and renunciation. A term and title of great honor.

Bhakt: The path of devotion; an intense love of God. When a man gets it, he loves all, hates none; and becomes satisfied forever.

Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Yoga is the practice of devotional disciplines. It is union through devotion.

Bhastra: Breath control. Hatha Yoga uses eight different kinds of breath control. Bhastra is one of them. Bhranti Darshana: A delusion.

Bhuja: Arm or shoulder.

Bhujangasana: The cobra posture.

Bikram Yoga: A rigorous form of Yoga performed in a room heated to at least 95 degrees. Each posture in the sequence is designed to safely stretch and open the body, in preparation for the next posture.

Bindi: A mark (usually round and red), worn on the centre of the forehead to show that a woman is married, typically now a days it is worn as makeup.

Bodhi: Enlightenment; the pursuit of pure truth without any attachment. Prince Gautama, the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree (actually a fig tree), determined to stay there until he experienced supreme enlightenment.

Bodhisattva: A being who has developed the aspiration to attain the state of Buddhahood and devotes his life to the task of achieving it for the sake of all sentient beings.

Brahma: As part of the Hindu Trinity of Vishnu and Shiva, Brahma is the creator of the Universe.

Brahmacharya: Literally means practicing conduct that leads one to God. Mostly it is used to describe self-restraint, especially over sexual desire, the first stage in the fourfold Hindu life cycle.

Brahmadvara: The opening where kundalini enters the spine.

Brahmanda Prana: Cosmic breath.

Brahmin: A priest or scholar; a member of the most privileged of the four social classes of Hinduism.

Brihaspati: The Hindu Deity of Wisdom; the chief of all the priests. Buddha: The Awakened One - The honorary title of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism who lived in the sixth century B.C. The name is also given to those who achieve true enlightenment and as a result, inner freedom.

Buddhi: Wisdom, the higher mind or intellect.

Chakra: Literally, the wheel of a wagon; it is a term used to represent the energetic centers of the body. In Hindu Yoga there are seven such centers that store and release life force (prana): the base of the spine, the genitals, the naval, the heart, the middle of the forehead, and the top of the head.

Chela: A pupil, as student who studies spirituality.

Chiti: The power of universal Consciousness; the creative aspect of God.

Chaitanya: The fundamental, all-pervasive, divine Consciousness. When used in reference to a mantra, the capacity to draw one's mind spontaneously into meditative stillness.

Charaka Samhita: A classical text of Ayurveda.

Dahl: A small lentil.

Dakshina: An offering or gift to God or the Guru. Traditionally, when one seeks the teachings or blessings of a saint, one brings an offering; this act of giving invites grace. The practice of giving dakshina is an expression of gratitude and love for what has been received on the spiritual path.

Dalit: A person outside the class system of Hinduism who was formerly termed as Untouchable.

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana: Standing bow pulling posture, This posture frims the abdominal wall and upper thighs, and tightens upper arms, hips and buttocks.

Darshama: A visit to a great person, viewpoint or vision.

Darshana: Visionary states or insight experienced during or after meditation. Literally "vision" or "sight".

Daya: Compassion for all creatures.

Deva: Male deity; literally 'shining one'.

Devi: Female deity.

Dharma: A term of many meanings, including "law", "virtue", and "righteousness". In general, dharma means the religious discipline for the four orders of life: maintaining celibacy and studying, family life, a devout and renounced life (but living with the spouse), and total renunciation for God realization.

Dharana: Concentration. The sixth limb of the Ashtanga or Raja Yoga system.

Dharma Sastra: Law Books forming part of the scriptures of Hinduism.

Dhatu: One of seven divisions of the body, it correlates with the modern scientific concept of "tissue".

Dhi: The mind's ability to learn or acquire knowledge.

Dhriti: The mind's ability to process and store what it has learned.

Dhyana: Meditation. The seventh limb of the Ashtanga or Raja Yoga system.

Dirgha Svasam: A comprehensive breathing technique in yoga.

Doshas: Three governing principles in nature that guide the functioning of the mind and body.

Dravidians: The oldest known inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent. Archeological remains of their civilization have been found in the Indus River Valley dating back to 2700 BCE. In some areas, the Dravidians were conquered by the Aryans when they migrated from the West around 1500 BC.

Durga: One of the wives of Shiva. She is the goddess of retribution and justice. She is both beautiful and fierce, and usually appears with eight arms carrying weapons and riding upon a tiger or a lion.

Eka: or Ek, meaning One, single.

Eka Pada Hastasana: The one leg posture.

Eka Pada Kakasana: The one leg crow posture.

Flow Yoga: Flow Yoga is about linking the breath with the pose. One moves from pose to pose in a smooth, easy manner, like Meditation in Motion and on a deeper level, as resistance is released and tension is shed, you flow with the present moment.

Gautama: Siddhartha Gautama abandoned a life of comfort as the son of a. local king and dedicated himself to finding a way to end human suffering. At first he was an extreme ascetic, but eventually found a "middle way" and finally, after meditating intensely under the bodhi tree, he had a vision of the entire cycle of birth and rebirth and with it a path of non-attachment that showed the way out of sorrow and suffering. With perfect enlightenment he became the Buddha.

Ganesha: An elephant-headed God, son of Shiva who takes away all obstacles and is the God of good fortune.

Ghee: Clarified butter.

Govinda: Another name for Krishna, who is also referred to as Gopala.

Granthi: Blockages of energy within the body. Literally, a "knot". In order to experience self-realization, the knots must be released.

Grihastha: A person at the second of the four stages of life, the stage of the householder.

Gunam: Inner beauty.

Gunas: The three (raja, tamas, sattva) basic qualities of nature that determine the inherent characteristics of all created things. They are: purity, light, harmony and intelligence, activity and passion, and dullness, inertia and ignorance.

Guru: A personal spiritual teacher or guide who has himself achieved spiritual insight. From at least the time of the Upanisads, India has stressed the importance of the tutorial method in religious instruction. Classically, the pupil lived at the home of his guru and served him with obedience and devotion.

Guru Gita: A sacred text consisting of mantras that describe the nature of the Guru, and the Guru-disciple relationship.

Gurukul: Traditional Hindu residential schools of learning; typically the teacher's house or a monastery.

Hanuman: The monkey king, and one of the heroes of the Ramayana. He was devoted to Lord Rama, for whom he performed many acts of magic and daring.

Hatha: Force or overcoming will.

Hatha Yoga: A branch of Yoga, perhaps the most practiced style of Yoga, emphasizing the physical aspects of the spiritual path, with postures and breath control.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika: The oldest significant manuscript devoted specifically to the exposition of Hatha Yoga, which was not established as a separate form until sometime around 700 - 1000 B.C.

Hinduism: It is both a civilization and a community of religions; it has no beginning or founder, nor a central authority, hierarchy, or organization. Every attempt to define Hinduism has proved to be unsatisfactory in one way or another. It embraces one god and many gods, it is unique, but acknowledges many paths to one truth.

Hridayam: That which is especially nourishing and healing for the heart.

Indra: Vedic God of being or life.

Ishvara: Ishvara literally means "Lord of the Universe". It is used to refer to a god who is seen as the personalization of the Creator Brahman.

Iyengar Yoga: This is probably the best known and widely practiced system of Hatha Yoga today. Iyengar is unique for its use of props such as cushions, straps, blankets and blocks to assist in doing the postures.

Jainism: Non-orthodox form of Vedic/Aryan teaching, emphasizing non-violence.

Japa: Reciting sacred texts, practiced verbally and mentally.

Jiva: Life. The individual soul; at one with the universal soul.

Jiva-mukta: Spiritual liberation. A combination of Jiva "life," and mukta "liberation." meaning to be spiritually liberated, while still living in a mortal body.

Jiva-mukti: A person who lives in the flesh, but has found spiritual freedom. A Yoga practice that is intellectual and physically rigorous.

Jnana Yoga: The yoga of wisdom; the path to liberation based on wisdom, through the ability to distinguish between the Real and the unreal, and rejecting what is unreal.

Kama: Pursuit of desire. Also, the Hindu God of desire.

Kama Sutra: An epic tale of love and desire infused with all the pageantry, passion and vibrant color of 16th century India. An ancient Sanskrit text giving instruction on the art of lovemaking.

Kapalabhati: A breathing technique designed to stimulate and energize the body and the brain.

Kapha: The dosha governing all strength, substance, and structure of the body.

Karma: One of the central ideas of Hindu philosophy, Karma is literally action of any kind, including ritual acts. But Karma also includes the concept of cause and effect, the spiritual equivalent of Newton's law that every action has an equal an opposite reaction. Karma itself is the action and bad or good karma refers to past actions.

Karma Yoga: Yoga of service or work.

Kichari: A nourishing, easily digested porridge made of rice and dahl.

Knjee: A nourishing, easily digested rice-water drink.

Kirtan: Mantras that are sung to music. Chanting and singing devotional songs.

Kosa: Literally, "Covering" or "Sheath". There are five sheaths protecting the soul, the deepest reality or "Jiva", and that soul is not affected by the sheaths.

Krishna: An incarnation of God Vishnu, the God-man whose teachings can be found in the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bhagavata-Purana.

Kriya: Religious action designed to purify and cleanse the mind (rites or ceremonies). "Undertaking", "process" or "activity".

Kriya Yoga: Technique of Yoga.

Kshaya: Reduction of the body, whether through purification and weight-loss measures, inadequate nutrition, or poor assimilation.

Kundalini: The body's energy that is found at the base of the spine; symbolized by a coiled female serpent. Kundalini yoga uses breath, sound, and meditation as its major resources - specifically, moving the breath along the spine to stimulate different energy centers.

Laya: "Dissolution" or "absorption" of the mind.

Laya Yoga: The goal of Laya Yoga is to quiet the conscious mind and give birth to the ecstatic state of Samadhi. Related to Kundalini Yoga, Laya Yoga stimulates the latent power of Kundalini, making it travel from the spine to the head.

Lassi: A drink made of organic plain yogurt blended with water, cardamom powder, organic sugar, and rosewater.

Lotus Position: Padmasana, or Lotus Pose, named so because the position puts the souls of the feet up, reminiscent of a lotus flower. The prime position for meditation, it is the most renowned of all Hatha Yoga postures.

Maha: meaning Great.

Mahabharata: One of India's two great ancient epics telling of the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas and serving as a repository for many spiritual and moral teachings.

Maharishi: Maha means great, rishi means 'seer', A Great sage. A Great soul.

Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK): Proprietary name for a traditional herbal formula of MAV for health and longevity.

Maharishi Ayurveda (MAV): The complete, consciousness-based system of natural medicine from the Vedic civilization of ancient India.

Majja: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the bone marrow and its metabolism.

Malas: Bodily wastes; includes urine, feces, sweat, and others.

Mamsa: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly muscle and its metabolism.

Manas: The instinctive mind, ruler of motor and sensory organs. The seat of desire, Manas is termed the undisciplined mind. Manas is fraught with contradictions: doubt, faith, lack of faith, shame, desire, fear, steadfastness, lack of steadfastness.

Mandala: A circular geometric design that represents the cosmos and the spirit's journey. It is a tool in the pilgrimage to enlightenment. One of the most famous mandalas appears on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France.

Mantra: "Man" means "mind" or thinking, and "tra" means to "release or free". Mantras are sacred sound vibrations, that asist in freeing the mind and to bring clarity, peace and well being. They can be used in rituals, whispered, or chanted. Hindus believe that god, good health, fortune, and victory over enemies can all be attained by chanting the right mantra.

Mantra Yoga: The yogic path utilizing mantras as the primary means of liberation.

Mara: From the root "mri", meaning killing or destroying (cf. English "'murder"). Hence the Evil One, the Destroyer, who tempts men to indulge their passions and is seen as the great enemy of Buddha and of his religion.

Marga: A path or way often used to indicate a particular spiritual path, as in "bhakti marga" means the "path of devotion".

Maya: The illusion by which the world is seen as separate from the ultimate Reality.

Meda: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly fat and metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and hormones.

Medhya: That which is especially nourishing and supportive to the mind and brain.

Meditation: The emptying of the mind of thoughts, or concentration of the mind on just one thing in order to aid mental or spiritual development, contemplation, or relaxation. Although the practice originated in India, it is common to many religions. Hatha yoga is a form of meditation.

Moksha: Freedom from birth and death liberation from the bondage of worldly action based on detachment and freedom within oneself. The nearest English equivalent is salvation.

MRT: Maharishi Rejuvenation Therapy; traditional cleansing and balancing treatments (panchakarma), specifically prescribed for each individual by a medical doctor trained in Maharishi Ayurveda.

Mudra: Hand movement mainly of the fingers, capable of expressing ideas and emotions. In yoga these sacred hand positions relate to a particular meditation, enhancing the effect of the posture.

Muladhara: The sanskrit name given for the first chakra located at the base of the spine, near the coccyx. It is a major energy center.

Murti: A representation of God or deity that has been sanctified by worship. A murti can be symbolic; a recognizable human figure, as in the image of a saint.

Nada: Inner sounds that may be heard during advanced stages of meditation; nada may take the form of sounds such as bells, the blowing of a conch, and thunder.

Nadi: A channel in the subtle body through which prana and kundalini flow. The channels loosely correspond to the central, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Nadi also refers to the normal veins and arteries of the physical body.

Namaste: A tradtional Indian greeting. Two hands pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed. Namaste means "I bow and honor the divine presence in you." Namaskar is another variation of Namaste.

Nirvana: Characterized by bliss and freedom. Letting go of ego, passion and desire. Liberation.

Niyama: The second step in Raja Yoga, observance, purity and contentment.

Ojas: The subtle, health-promoting substance through which consciousness and Nature's intelligence are connected the body.

Om: also written as 'AUM' according the Yogi's and Rishi's OM (AUM) is considered to be the sound that represents the Ultimate Reality, the primordial vibration, which is prefixed to many mantras. Om shares many of the same meanings with its Semitic counterparts: the Hebrew "Amen" and the Arabic "Amin." All three are used to open or close prayers.

Om Yoga: A practice that combines Buddhist meditation with an emphasis on alignment and fluidity.

Padma: Lotus; lotus flower. Another name for the chakras, because sometimes they are visualized as spoked wheels, and at other times as lotus flowers.

Padukhas: The Guru's sandals, objects of the highest veneration and a figurative term for the Guru's teachings.

Panchakarma: A series of traditional cleansing and balancing treatments.

Panir: A type of soft, fresh cheese.

Paramahansa: Parama meaning 'supreme', hansa - meaing soul. This was the name give to Yogananda by his guru. Who wrote the famous - "Autobiography of a Yogi"

Patanjali: The author of Yoga Sutras, the foremost scripture on Raja Yoga, The Yoga of meditation and mind control.He lived around the time of Christ and brilliantly summarized and synthesized the yoga practices of his time.

Phalam: The fruit of Karma, the results, outcome or consequences of our actions.

Pitta: The dosha governing all digestion, metabolism, and transformation in the body.

Pradakshina: The act of worshipful walking around a holy temple, shrine or place. Always done clockwise.

Prajapati: A name for the father of creation and protector of life.

Prana: Prana is the energy that animates everything and is a fundamental concept of Hatha Yoga. Prana is also breath, the life force sustaining the body.

Pranayama: Breath control, consisting of conscious inhalation, retention and exhalation. Breathing is the essential element of all yoga.

Prana Vata: The chief subdivision of vata, it governs the mind, the heart, respiration, and life itself.

Prem: Prem is Love, the highest form of Love.

Puja: Hindu Worship; flower offerings.

Raga: In Indian music, a series of five or more notes upon which a melody is based; a particular melody. Ragas evoke particular moods in the listener and are often performed to resonate with a season or time of day.

Raja: meaning royal; a king.

Raja Yoga: Royal Yoga. The Yoga path of meditation. Hatha Yoga is actually a branch of Raja Yoga.

Rajas Ajas: One of the three Gunas which generates passion and restlessness.

Rakta: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the red blood cells.

Rama: A very popular hero god who is an avatar of Vishnu, whose story is told in one of the most famous in India - The Ramayana. His wife is Sita.

Ramayana: For the past two thousand years the Ramayana has been among the most important literary and oral texts of South Asia. Telling the story of the banishment, wandering and eventual return of Prince Rama, this epic poem continues to influence the politics, religion and art of modern India.

Rasa: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the plasma (clear part of the blood).

Rasa Vaha Srotas: Those channels or blood vessels that carry the plasma throughout the body; includes the coronary arteries in the heart.

Rasayana: Herbs, foods, or behaviors that support immunity, good health, and long life; that which causes ojas to be produced.

Restorative Yoga: Designed to relieve stress; this is a very slow and relaxing kind of Yoga.

Rig Veda: The oldest of the four sections of the Vedas.

Rishi: Literally "seer"; refers to one who sees the reality of life as described in the Veda and Vedic literature. Roopam: Outer beauty.

Sadhaka Pitta: A subdivision of pitta dosha that governs how we process our experiences, it coordinates thinking, feeling, and emotions and is responsible for the fulfillment of our desires.

Sadhu: Pious man; Sannyasin.

Samadhi: Ecstasy, total absorption, or a thoughtless state of the mind. It is the highest state of being.

Samsara: The world of change and becoming; the relative world.

Sannyasa: A person in the fourth ashrama, or stage of life when one lives as a wandering hermit, owning nothing save the clothes one is wearing and a small wooden bowl for food.

Sanskrit: The classical literary language of India. All the words relating to Yoga come from Sanskrit, the ancient Indo European language of Hinduism, the Vedas and other sacred texts.

Satsanga: The practice of being in the presence of the wise, in whose company it is easier to learn and practice.

Satya: also Sat - meaning Truth.

Shakti: Energy Force, feminine in nature, In Yoga, the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine houses the Shakti, or the feminine part of divine creative expression.

Shanti: Peace.

Shirodhara: A treatment of warm oil poured gently on the forehead to balance the mind and nervous system.

Shiva: The Divine; a deity that has served yogis as an archetypal model throughout the ages. Also, in the Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head, according to Yogic thinking, lives the yang or masculine aspect of divine creative expression. As the third member of the Hindu Trinity, Shiva is the Destroyer God, joining Brahma and Vishnu.

Shukra: One of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the ova and their supportive tissue

Siddhi: Spiritual perfection, being at one with reality. Siddhi often involves paranormal ability.

Sivananda: A form of Yoga integrating movement, breathing and meditation.

Smriti: Memory.

Srotas: Channels or spaces through which flow occurs.

Sthapatya Veda: the Vedic science of architecture.

Subdosha: A subdivision of a dosha; each dosha has five subdoshas that carry out different functions in the body.

Subhanga Karanam: True beauty, in which every aspect of the body is radiantly healthy.

Sushruta Samhita: A classical text of Ayurveda.

Surya: the sun, also the Vedic Sun God or god of the enlightened mind.

Surya Namakara: Sun salutations - a series of Yoga postures honoring the sun.

Sutra: The Sanskrit word sutra literally means "thread" but it also means an idea expressed as a concise, clear statement. The sutra texts, express a variety of world views. The Yoga Sutra, written by Patanjali is the wellspring of modern yoga practices.

Svadhyaya: Self-study. The process of inquiring into your own nature, the nature of your beliefs, and the nature of the world's spiritual journey.

Swami: Title given to a monk; a swami is a monk who has taken vows of renunciation and of service to God and humanity.

Tantra: Literally a loom or warp. Tantra refers to a group of religious writings written over a period of 300 years, starting in the eighth century. The texts deal mainly with folk magic and rituals. The Tantras are in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Shatki, and are best known for their blending of sensuality and religious practice.

Tapas: Sacred heat generated by certain physical or spiritual practices; ritual self-purification.

Trikanasana: The triangle posture is the only posture that improves every muscle. joint, tendon. and internal organ in the body

Tripti: A feeling of being deeply nourished and satisfied by your food.

Tuladandasana: The balancing stick posture that increases the circulation, and strengthens the heart muscle.

Upanishads: The second great collection of ancient sacred Hindu texts, the Upanishads followed the Vedas and set forth doctrines such as Self-realization, Yoga, meditation, karma and reincarnation, which were kept veiled under the symbols of the older texts.

Ustrasana: Known as the Camel posture. it stretches the abdominal organs to the maximum firming and slimming the abdomen and waistline, opens the rib cage to give more space to the lungs, produces maximum compression of the neck and spine.

Vanaprastha: The third ashrama, or stage of life in Classical India.

Varna: The Hindu term for caste, a social division into which a person is born. There are four major castes in Hindu society: Brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra. Each varna can be divided into a number of jatis. Below these four varnas are the untouchables.

Vaidya: An Ayurvedic physician.

Vastu Vidya: The precise rules of construction and design of Vedic architecture.

Vata: The dosha governing all motion and flow in the body.

Vayastyag: Lasting, ageless beauty.

Veda: The Veda, meaning "Knowledge," is a collective term for the sacred scriptures of the Hindus. There are four volumes or collections, written from about 1500 to 1000 BC including the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas.

Vedanta: The system of Indian philosophy that forms the basis of most modern forms of Hinduism. The term Vedanta in Sanskrit means the "conclusion". Its source is the Upanishads which are the conclusion of the Veda.

Vishnu: Vishnu is one of divine trinity in Hinduism, also known as the preserver, Vishnu has had nine incarnations, including Rama and Krishna. Vyana Vata: A subdivision of vata dosha that governs all circulation and is associated with moisture balance and sensation in the skin.

Yama: Moral precepts that have universal application. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defined five yamas of moral conduct. They are: nonviolence, truth and honesty; not stealing, moderation and non-possessiveness.

Vinyasa: The liquid movement from one posture to another.

Yoga: meaning Union, A broad range of disciplined forms of meditation, which share the goal of freeing the mind from attachment, and distraction and opening the way for an experience of oneness with everything. Recent discovery of 5000 year old medals illustrating classic yoga poses, have confirmed the ancient origins of Yoga. Yoga is also an integral part of Buddhism, Jainism and other offshoots of Hinduism.

Yoga Sutras: The classical text from the yoga school of Indian philosophy. Written by Patanjali around the time of Christ, it remains a primary source of guidance about yoga.

Yogi: Literally, one who practices Yoga. In common usage it refers to one who has mastered the practice of yoga, and teaches it to others.

Yogini: A female Yogi.

 
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