What is Kirtan?What is Kirtan?
"from Kirtan with Ragani"
Meditation doesn't come easy for many people. And that's where kirtan-an ancient participatory music experience-offers another method. Without the work of mentally quieting the mind, kirtan can carry us effortlessly to a place of quiet, to stillness. One of the oldest sacred music traditions of the world, the kirtan call-and-response chanting genre comes to us from India. Using ancient Sanskrit mantras, the kirtan calls upon sacred energies which serve to quiet the mind, remove obstacles, and bring us back to the center of our being.
Freedom from the Daily Chatter
By repeating simple mantras over and over, faster and faster, the kirtan is an easy way for people to experience some freedom from the daily chatter of the mind. And while it is true that we can sing these chants in the solitude of our own home, there is nothing like the magic of chanting live with musicians and hundreds of participants-from kids to seniors-all adding their energy to the chant. People often say they feel "buzzed" for days following such a chanting experience.
Absorb the Vibrations, Ignite the Spirits
So what gives us that buzz? Something about the kirtan experience goes beyond the music itself, goes to a deeper experience of vibration. We all resonate at different frequencies, and these frequencies change according to what we are doing and thinking. So when we are all doing the same thing-chanting, breathing, and moving to the same rhythms-our vibrations begin to synchronize and the resulting experience is very powerful. The laws of vibration help us out here, because vibrations align themselves to stronger vibrations, so even if you're having a truly rotten day, it may be difficult to hold onto those feelings during the chant experience. If you were only to sit in the room without participating, the idea is that you could still feel the shift. Something happens-the energy begins to activate the spirit that exists within us all.
It's the Heart, not the Art!
Although the kirtan involves music, the underlying art of kirtan chanting is not actually about musical ability or training-it is about the heart. Everyone can participate, regardless of age or cultural background. The purpose of this music is to get us out of our heads and into our hearts. Typically, the songs can last for 20-30 minutes each with a few moments of silence in between each song so you can soak it all up. The longer songs allow for deeper experience of the effects, and with the simple, repetitive lyrics (it's a chant, after all!) we really don't have to think much about the words.
In fact, because the ancient Sanskrit lyrics are not familiar to many of us Westerners, these words take us away from the mind's constant chatter a little easier. The powerful healing and transformational energies of these ancient chants can help to reconnect us to the Ever-Present and Eternal Being that lies within us all. All the mantras, melodies, and instruments of kirtan are designed to lead us toward this meditative state.
The Beauty of Relaxation!
We provide floor seating in the traditional style of kirtan events in India (and yes, we also provide chairs for those who prefer chairs), and this living-room style music experience allows people to sink into themselves, to relax and ground themselves during the chants. Most of us spend the day in our heads, running here and there, thinking about where we have to be and what we have to do next. The kirtan gives us a time to come back to our center. And when this happens, beautiful things begin to unfold. Feelings of inspiration, peace, and a sense of connectedness are common experiences.
Experience Peace, First Hand!
"The first time I came to a kirtan, I felt so peaceful, so relaxed," comments Amy, who now regularly participates in the Milwaukee kirtan experience. "Something happens during the kirtan, and I get this deep sense of inner peace and connectedness." Amy is not the only one with these experiences; a few hundred people attend the monthly Milwaukee kirtan event, and they often return with their friends the next month. "It's like you go into a space-the music takes you there-and when you emerge at the end, you feel different, more energized and inspired," says Jeff, another kirtan buff.
Quiet Your Mind, Feel Your Self!
Kirtan helps the mind become quiet, and when the mind quiets, we can begin to perceive the mystical things, the sacred experiences, that are around us always. In the silence between the songs, when the song stops, you can feel something. And that something is you. There is no greater experience than the experience of one's Self. And that vibration is always within you, that vibration is you. That's the beauty of any chant experience-with little or no effort we can experience and enjoy the vibrations of peace, energy, healing and inspiration that are always within us.
What is Kirtan?
Introduction to Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)Introduction to Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)
Surya Namaskara - Sun Salutation Series
Introduction to Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)
The basic translation of Surya Namaskara is salutations to the sun. It is a very ancient tradition which has been in existence since the Vedic age. In the context of sun salutations, spiritual consciousness is worshiped, consciousness being represented by the sun and salutations being a form of worship.
Although a very traditional series of asanas, sun salutations were not added to the yogic system until after the hatha yoga practices were developed. But it is an extremely effective system and is typically used for loosening up, developing, relaxing, and toning all of the physical structures including organs, muscles, joints, and bone structures of the body. Perhaps one of the most effective and dynamic asana practices, sun salutations provide stimulating and vigorous activity for the body and mind while also preparing the individual for future spiritual practices, some of which require a developed sense and awareness of the body and other forces within the human system.
When sun salutations are practiced in their fullest form, all aspects of yoga are put into practice including the practice of asana, pranayama, mantra, and meditation. Sun salutations are typically practice in the morning. For the evening practices another serious is used known as Moon salutations.
The techniques you'll be learning today will be a basic but vital introduction to the series of Surya Namaskara. The practice of this asana should be performed in a steady, rhythmic, and fluid sequence in which all parts of the mind, body, and soul work together in one harmonic movement. Concentration is of the utmost importance; whether focusing the mind on the body, the energy within the body, or the movement of the mind, one should keep focused throughout the entire practice.
While standards for Surya Namaskara do exist, there are many variations of the series and every school or ashram has its own unique style of moving through the practice. This series of Surya Namaskara is commenly used in the Tureyananda Style of Yoga from the Tureya Yoga Ashram in India.
Introduction to Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)
Common Poses English-SanskritCommon Poses English-Sanskrit
Common Yoga Poses English/Sanskrit
The following dictionary will be useful for all students of yoga. Poses, or asanas, are listed in English and Sanskrit along with their health benefits and a representative image. To suggest a missing pose or additional information for an existing pose, please add a comment at the bottom of the post. This list is not to be reproduced without explicit consent.
Bound Angle Pose / Baddha Konasana
This pose stretches the lower-body, working the inner thighs, groin, and knees. It also helps alleviate lower back pain and improve circulation.
Bound Warrior Pose / Baddha Virabhadrasana
This pose provides a deep stretch, opening up the hips, chest, and shoulders. It also helps strengthen and tone the thighs and ankles.
Bridge Pose / Setu Bandhasana
This pose increases bloodflow to the brain, reduces anxiety, and eases headaches. It stretches the chest and spine and is therapeutic for back pain.
Camel Pose / Ustrasana
This pose deeply stretches the front of the body. In doing so, it also builds back and abdominal muscles and improves posture.
Cat Pose / Marjaryasana
This pose is typically done in conjunction with the Cow Pose. It provides a light stretch for the back and engages the spine.
Chair Pose / Utkatasana
This pose works the thighs and ankles, especially if held for some time. It also stretches the shoulders and engages the abdominal muscles.
Child’s Pose / Balasana
This pose gently stretches the hips and legs and is used mostly for relaxation. It helps reduce stress and fatigue.
Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana
This pose helps to increase spinal strength while opening the front of the upper body.
Corpse Pose / Savasana
This pose is strictly for relaxation. It helps to calm the mind, regulate blood flow, and reduce stress.
Cow Pose / Bitilasana
This pose is typically done in conjunction with the Cat Pose. It provides a light stretch for the chest and neck and also engages the spine.
Crocodile Pose / Makarasana
This pose is strictly for relaxation. It helps to calm the mind, regulate blood flow, and reduce stress.
Dancer Pose / Natarajasana
This pose stretches the thighs, abdominals, shoulders, and chest. It also opens up the pelvis, strengthens the legs, and improves balance.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose / Adho Mukha Svanasana
This pose both relaxes and energizes. It strengthens and stretches the arms and legs: hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. It also benefits the upper back.
Eagle Pose / Garudasana
This pose requires balance and concentration. It also loosens the joints of the arms and legs and combats stiffness in the shoulders and neck.
Easy Pose / Sukhasana
This pose is primarily for relaxation and contemplation. It is helpful for reducing stress and increasing back strength.
Extended Side Angle Pose / Utthita Parsvakonasana
This pose works the entire lower body and the chest, spine, and shoulders as well. In addition, holding the position engages the abdominal muscles.
Half Moon Pose / Utthita Parsvakonasana
This pose opens the shoulder joints, engages the entire core, and increases spinal flexibility. It also relieves back pain and corrects poor posture.
Intense Side Stretch Pose / Parsvottanasana
This pose strengthens the legs and provides a deep stretch for the spine, shoulders, hips, and hamstrings.
Low Lunge / Anjaneyasana
This pose has widespread benefits, stretching the thighs, groin, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and neck.
Mountain / Tadasana
This pose is typically a starting position for other standing positions, however in itself it improves posture and strengthens the lower body.
One-Legged King Pigeon / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
This pose is a powerful stretch for the thighs, groin, chest, and shoulders. It also engages the abdomen and neck.
Plank / Kumbhakasana
This pose builds strength in the wrist, forearms, biceps, triceps, and spine. It also tones the abdominal muscles.
Plow / Halasana
This pose stretches the shoulders and spine and engages the abdominal muscles as well. Additionally it calms the brain and helps to reduce stress.
Reclining Hero Supta Virasana
This pose stretches the abs, thighs, groin, knees, and ankles. It is additionally helpful for arthritis, high blood pressure, and insomnia.
Shoulder Stand / Sarvangasana
This pose stretches the shoulders and neck and tones the legs and buttocks. It also helps reduce fatigue and reduce stress.
Standing Forward Fold / Uttanasana
This pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips. It also helps reduce stress and calm the mind.
Supine Spinal Twist / Supta Matsyendrasana
This pose twists the spine and back to increase flexibility and mobility. It also opens up the hips.
Thunderbolt / Vajrasana
This pose strengthens the pelvic muscles and deeply stretches the quadriceps. This meditative pose also helps the efficiency of the digestive system.
Tortoise / Kurmasana
This pose relaxes the head, neck, and shoulders while stretching the entire spine. It also increases circulation.
Tree / Vrksasana
This pose requires balance and strengthens the legs and spine. It additionally stretches the groin and inner thighs.
Triangle / Trikonasana
This pose engages almost the complete body: ankles, knees, thighs, hips, chest, spine, and shoulders. It also engages the core.
Upward-Facing Dog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
This pose opens the chest, shoulders, and core. It also strengthens the spine, triceps, and wrists.
Warrior 1 / Virabhadrasana 1
This pose strengthens the shoulders and back muscles as well as the thighs, calves, and ankles. It also stretches the upper body.
Warrior 2 / Virabhadrasana 2
This pose strengthens the legs and stretches the groin, chest, and shoulders. It additionally can be helpful for backaches.
Warrior 3 / Virabhadrasana 3
This pose requires balance and engages the core. It also strengthens the legs, shoulders, and back muscles.
Wheel / Urdhva Dhanurasana
This pose stretches out the chest and works the wrists, arms, legs, abdomen and spine. It can be very therapeutic for back pain.
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold / Upavistha Konasana
This pose deeply stretches the calves, knees, hamstrings, and groin. It also strengthens the spine. It can be relaxing as well.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold / Prasarita Padottanasana
This pose deeply stretches the legs and spine. It can also help calm the mind, ease back pain, and tone the abdominals.
Wind Relieving Pose with Hip Opener / Pavanamuktasana
This pose helps to strengthen the lower back and stretch the neck. It also works to improve digestion and addresses love handles.
Common Poses English-Sanskrit
Common Sanskrit TermsCommon Sanskrit Terms
Following are common terms use in the yogic tradition. If a word or phrase in a description appears in bold, it can be found under its own heading.
abhaya or abhayam: lit. "fearlessness."
agni: lit. "fire." Also the internal fires of the body, often referred to as tapas, meaning sacred heat. When capitalized, the god of fire.
ahamkaara or ahamkara: ego, self-love; selfish individuality. The mental faculty of individuation; sense of duality and separateness from others. Ahamkara is characterized by the sense of I-ness (abhimana), sense of mine-ness, identifying with the body (madiyam), planning for one's own happiness (mamasukha), brooding over sorrow (mamaduhkha), and possessiveness (mama idam).
ahimsa: lit. "noninjury." Nonviolence or nonhurtfulness. Refraining from causing harm to others, physically, mentally or emotionally. Ahimsa is the first and most important of the yamas (restraints). It is the cardinal virtue upon which all others depend.
ajnana: a term of Vedanta philosophy meaning ignorance, individual or cosmic. According to nondualistic Vedanta it is responsible for the perception of multiplicity in the relative world and also for humanity's bondage and suffering.
ananda: lit. "bliss."
arjava or arjavam: lit. "straightforwardness" or "uprightness."
asana: yoga poses or postures.
Atman: the Self, or Soul; denotes also the Supreme Soul, which, according to nondualistic Vedanta, is one with the individual soul.
ayama: lit. "stretch."
ayurveda: science of life. Practiced in India for the past 5,000 years, ayurveda is a comprehensive system that combines natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to treatment of disease. Ayurvedic medicine places equal emphasis on body, mind, and spirit, and strives to restore the innate harmony and balance of the individual.
bandha: bondage to the human condition of finite existence.
Bhagavad Gita: lit. "Lord's Song." Ancient Hindu scripture describing the life and times of Krishna.
bhakti: lit. "devotion." Surrender to God, gods, or guru. Bhakti extends from the simplest expression of devotion to the ego-decimating principle of prapatti, which is total surrender. Bhakti is the foundation of all sects of Hinduism, as well as yoga schools throughout the world.
bhakti yoga: union through devotion. Bhakti Yoga is the practice of devotional disciplines, worship, prayer, chanting, and singing with the aim of awakening love in the heart and opening oneself to God's grace. See Yoga Styles.
bhastra: one of the eight types of breath control used in Hatha Yoga
Buddha: lit. "the Enlightened One." The founder of Buddhism.
buddhi: The determinative faculty of the mind that makes decisions; sometimes translated as "intellect." Another translation is the higher mind, or wisdom.
chakras: nerve centers, or "wheels" of energy, located along the spine and considered a part of the subtle body.
cit or chit: lit. "consciousness" or "awareness." Philosophically, pure awareness; transcendent consciousness, as in Sat-chit-ananda. In mundane usage, chit means perception; consciousness.
darshana: lit. "vision" or sight." Insight or visionary states regarded as a result of meditation.
daya: compassion to all beings.
dharma: right action, truth in action, righteousness, morality, virtue, duty, the dictates of God, code of conduct. The inner constitution of a thing that governs its growth.
drishti: lit. "pure seeing."
eight limbs of yoga or the eightfold path: in Sanskrit, this is called Ashtanga Yoga or Astanga Yoga. It is a school of yoga as taught by Patanjali. The eight limbs are: moral restraint (yama); discipline (niyama); posture (asana); breath control (pranayama); sense withdrawal (pratyahara); concentration (dharana); meditation (dhyana); and ecstasy (samadhi).
eka pada shirshasana: foot-behind-the-head pose.
granthi: lit. "knot." Psychospiritual blockages of energy or currents within the body, the removal of which is necessary for self-realization.
gross body: physical body.
guru: one who leads a seeker from darkness to light. "Gu" means "darkness" and "ru" means "light." Guru is therefore the spiritual master who initiates and guides a seeker from darkness to light. A master; teacher. An authority of great knowledge or skill. A title for a teacher or guide in any subject, such as music, dance, sculpture, but especially religion.
hatha yoga: lit. "forceful yoga." A system of physical and mental exercise developed in ancient times as a means of rejuvenation by rishis ("seers" or Vedic bards) and tapasvins (ascetics) who meditated for long hours, and used today in preparing the body and mind for meditation. Its elements are 1) postures (asana), 2) cleansing practices (dhauti or shodhana), 3) breath control (pranayama), 4) locks (bandha, which temporarily restrict local flows of prana) and 5) hand gestures (mudra), all of which regulate the flow of prana and purify the inner and outer bodies. Hatha yoga is broadly practiced in many traditions. In the West, hatha yoga has been adopted as a health-promoting, limbering, stress-reducing form of exercise, often included in aerobic routines. Esoterically, ha and tha, respectively, indicate the microcosmic sun (ha) and moon (tha), which symbolize the masculine current, pingala nadi, and feminine current, ida nadi, in the human body. (See Yoga Styles)
japa: lit. "recitation" or "repetition." Reciting sacred texts, practiced verbally and mentally.
jalandhara bandha: net-holding lock. Like a fisherman would use to hold one end of his net beneath his chin, while casting out the rest of it.
Jana Yoga: yoga of knowledge.
Jana yoga vyavasthiti: steadfastness in seeking wisdom and practicing yoga
jiva: living being or life. The individual soul, which in essence is one with the Universal Soul.
jiva-mukta: spiritual liberation. Jiva means "life," and mukta means "liberation." Jiva-mukta therefore, means to be spiritually liberated while still living in a mortal body.
jiva-mukti: one who has found spiritual freedom while still living in the flesh
kapalabhati: a breathing practice that helps stimulate the brain and energize the body. "Kapal" means "skull" and "bhati" means "light" or "luster."
karma: lit. "action" or "deed." Karma refers to 1) any act or deed; 2) the principle of cause and effect; 3) a consequence or "fruit of action."
Karma Yoga: yoga of work or service.
kirtan: chanting; signing devotional songs; mantras that are sung to music.
kosa: lit. "sheath" or "covering." The following are the five kosas as described in Vedanta philosophy: (1) the annamayakosa, or gross physical sheath, made of and sustained by food; (2) the pranamayakosa, or vital sheath, consisting of the five pranas or vital forces; (3) the manomayakosa, or mental sheath; (4)the vijnanamayakosa, or sheath of intelligence; (5) the anandamayakosa, or sheath of bliss. These five sheaths cover the Soul, which is the innermost reality or the jiva and is untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths.
krishna: lit. "puller." Related to krishtih, meaning "drawing, attracting." One of the most popular Gods of the Hindu pantheon so-called because he attracts devotees to himself. He is worshiped by Vaishnavas as the eighth avatara, or incarnation, of Vishnu. He is best known as the Supreme Personage depicted in the Mahabharata, and specifically in the Bhagavad Gita. For Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Krishna is the Godhead.
kriya: lit. "act, action, undertaking, activity, or process." In a general sense, kriya can refer to doing of any kind. Specifically, it names religious action, especially rites or ceremonies to cleanse and purify the mind. In yoga terminology, kriya names involuntary physical movements caused by the arousal of the kundalini.
Kriya Yoga: yoga of technique.
kundalini: the divine serpent energy resting dormantly at muladhara chakra. This energy is stimulated by Tantra Yoga practices and can be brought to rise upwards, through the major chakras to the Thousand Petaled Lotus at the crown of the head.
Laya Yoga: laya means "absorption" or "dissolution" (of the mind). A variant of Kundalini Yoga, Laya Yoga awakens the latent power of kundalini, causing it to rise from muladhara to ajna (or beyond), thus dissolving the (conscious) mind and giving birth to the supra-conscious state of samadhi or turiya.
lingam: lit. "phallus." The masculine principal and male symbol. The lingam and the trident are both common symbols of Shiva.
lotus pose or asana: The most famous of hatha yoga poses and the optimum position for meditation. It is known as the padmasana (lotus pose), as the legs are crossed, turning the soles of the feet up, which then resemble a lotus flower.
maitri: loving-kindness, friendliness, friendship
manas: the faculty of doubt and volition, sometimes translated as "mind" to refer to the lower or instinctive mind, seat of desire and governor of sensory and motor organs. Manas is termed the undisciplined, empirical mind. Manas is characterized by desire, determination, doubt, faith, lack of faith, steadfastness, lack of steadfastness, shame, intellection, and fear.
mantra: lit. "instrument of thought." A prayer or song of praise; a mystical verse or magical formula used to invoke a deity or to acquire a divine power. Commonly used to refer to any word, phrase, or prayer used for meditation. One of the two main sections of the Vedas. Mantras are chanted loudly during puja to invoke the gods. Certain mantras are repeated softly or mentally for japa, the subtle tones quieting the mind, harmonizing the inner bodies and stimulating latent spiritual qualities. Hinduism's universal mantra is "aum" or "om."; The Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary are but two examples of a Christian mantra.
maya: lit. "consisting of" or "made of." As in manomaya, "made of mind." A term of Vedanta philosophy denoting ignorance obscuring the vision of Reality; the cosmic illusion on account of which the One appears as the many, the Absolute as the relative.
moksha: lit. "liberation." Release from transmigration, samsara, the round of births and deaths, which occurs after karma has been resolved and nirvikalpa samadhi—realization of the Self, Parasiva—has been attained. Same as mukti.
mudra: lit. "seal" or "gesture." Esoteric hand gestures that express specific energies or powers. Usually accompanied by precise visualizations, mudras are a vital element of ritual worship (puja), dance and yoga.
mula: lit. "root." The root, base or bottom or basis of anything, as in muladhara chakra. Foundational, original or causal.
mula bandha: lit. "root lock," performed by contracting the muscles of the anus sphincter. It is used to redirect the downwards moving apana vayu and send it back upwards.
muladhara chakra: lit. "wheel of the root support." This chakra is the first major energy center; located near the coccyx at the coccygeal plexus, it opens to the rear.
nada: lit. "sound; tone; vibration." Metaphysically, the mystic sounds of the Eternal, of which the highest is the transcendent or Soundless Sound, Paranada, the first vibration from which creation emanates. Nada also refers to other psychic sounds heard during deep meditation, including those resembling various musical instruments. Most commonly, nada refers to ordinary sound.
nirvana or nirvahana: blowing out, as a flame. Annihilation of desire, passion, and ego; liberation, characterized by freedom and bliss.
om: lit. "yes, verily." The most sacred mantra of Hinduism. An alternate transliteration of Aum (the sounds A and U blend to become O).
OM Mani Padme Hum: literally, "jewel in the lotus," signifying lingham in the yoni. An ancient and sacred Tantric mantra, relating (among other things) to the maithuna (intercourse) ritual.
padmasana: See: lotus pose
Patanjali: lit. "possessed of reverence." A Saivite Natha siddha who lived sometime between about 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E., but the exact date is unknown. Patanjali traveled throughout much of India, studying and analyzing what different practitioners and teachers were doing under the name of "yoga" and then codified the ancient yoga philosophy that outlines the path to enlightenment through purification, control, and transcendence of the mind. Patanjali probably did not actually contribute any new ideas or practices to yoga, rather he provided a valuable structural analysis of the yoga of his day. His great work, the Yoga Sutras, comprises 200 aphorisms delineating Ashtanga (eight-limbed), raja (kingly) or siddha (perfection) Yoga. Still today it is the foremost text on meditative yoga.
prana: lit. "vital air." From the root word "pran," which means "to breathe." Vital energy. Prana in the human body moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary life currents known as vayus, "vital airs or winds." These are prana (outgoing breath), apana (incoming breath), vyana (retained breath), udana (ascending breath) and samana (equalizing breath). Each governs crucial bodily functions, and all bodily energies are modifications of these. Usually prana refers to the life principle, but sometimes denotes energy, power or the animating force of the cosmos.
Prana Yoga: yoga of the lifeforce.
pranayama: yogic control of the breath.
puja: Hindu worship; flower offerings.
Raja Yoga: integral or royal path of Patanjali.
samadhi: lit. "putting together" or "joining or combining with," hence, a state of "oneness" related to feelings of absorption, bliss, ecstasy, trance, complete concentration, and communion with God.
samsara: the world of change and becoming; the relative world.
sannyasa: stage of life of renunciation and liberation.
Shakti: lit. "power," "ability," "strength," or "energy." The feminine aspect of divine creative expression, which in yoga is considered to reside at the base of the spine, in muladhara chakra.
Shiva: lit. "auspicious," "favorable," "benign," or "benevolent." The yang, or masculine, aspect of divine creative expression, which in yoga is considered to reside at the crown of the head, in the sahasrara chakra. Also, the Destroyer God; the Third Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma and Vishnu.
subtle body: known in Sanskrit as sukshma-sharira, the subtle body is the psychomental aspect of the human body that exists independent of the physical, or gross body, and is often considered to survive the death of the physical body and is involved in the process of rebirth and eternal life.
surya: sun. If capitalized, the Vedic Sun God or god of the enlightened mind.
surya namakara: lit. "obeisance to the sun." Sun salutations, a series of flowing yoga poses.
swami: lit. "one with the self." Hindu monk.
Tantra: lit. a "loom," hence: "framework," "structure," or "essential part." "Loom" is used to suggest the two cosmic principles (male-female, ying-yang, ha-tha) that make up the warp and woof of the woven fabric of life in the universe.
tapas: lit. "heat" or "glow." Sacred heat generated by certain physical or spiritual practices; ritual self-purification; austerity.
turiya: lit. the "fourth," being the fourth state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. This state is so far removed from all normal states of consciousness, that it is utterly beyond words to describe it. Therefore, the writer of Mandukya Upanishad chose this simple numerical designation to avoid any misleading attempt at a descriptive name for the state, which would serve only to confuse the student. It is said of this fourth state that, "Those who know, do not say [cannot say]; and those who say, do not know [because if they did know, they could not express it in words]."
uddhiyana bandha: lit. the "flying up lock," being the abdominal lock, a pose used in hatha yoga. In practice, the diaphragm and all the abdominal organs beneath it, down to the sexual organs, are lifted, so that they "fly up' toward the thoracic cavity.
ujjayi: lit. "victorious." One of the eight types of breath control, or pranayama, used in hatha yoga; the process of filling up the lungs so they are fully expanded.
Upanishads: One of the sections of the Vedas. There are 108 Upanishads extant, of which 11 are the most important. Regarded as sacred revelation and composed over thousands of years, predating the origins of Buddhism circa 500 B.C.E. and continuing into the 20th century. See: Vedas
Vedas: ancient sacred texts of Hindu India the ultimate authority of the Hindu religion and philosophy. The earliest Vedas were oral traditions handed down from generation to generation amongst the nomadic Aryan peoples who eventually moved into the Indian subcontinent and merged with the indigenous culture. The earliest Vedas were composed perhaps as early as 3,000 B.C.E. but none were written down until the beginning of the first millennium B.C.E. They were arranged by Vyasa into four books, namely, the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sama-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda.
yoga: lit. "union" or "communion." From the root "yuj," which means "to yoke" or "to harness." A term widely used today to describe a Hindu spiritual discipline of self-realization and the union of individual will to the will of God.
Yoga Sutras: classical text of Patanjali on yoga.
Common Sanskrit Terms
Yoga: A Dimension Beyond the PhysicalYoga: A Dimension Beyond the Physical
Yoga: A Dimension Beyond the Physical