of creation. Mother Earth, the all powerful Goddess.
Shaktipat - Direct transmission of kundalini energy from guru to disciple. May be experienced in a dream state, in meditation, by a touch, or merely a look.
Shatkarmas or Shatkriyas - The cleansing or purifying techniques of Hatha Yoga.
Shiva - Consciousness. The male aspect of creation. That which pervades Shakti or the energy principle of existence.
Shoonya or Shoonyata - A state of nothingness (no-thing-ness), a mental void, a darkness just prior to temporary or permanent enlightenment. Same as The Dark Night Of The Soul.
Shuddhi or Shodhan(a) - Purification.
Siddha - Literally: perfect. A master, a perfected one. One who has gained control over matter and the mind and therefore attains siddhis.
Siddhi - A psychic power. At advanced levels of yoga and meditation certain power of mind may be attained by the practitioner.
Soham - The natural mantra of the breath. The psychic sound of the breath. "SO" means "that" or the object of meditation. "HAM" means "I" or the subjective awareness.
Subji or Sabji - An Indian word for a dish which has any combination of vegetables, spices, herbs, seeds, nuts, oils etc. It can include grains and pulses as well. It is a bit of a hotch-potch of anything and everything according to your own tastes and whatever is available in the cupboard. It can include left-overs along with fresh ingredients. It can be dry, or wet, plain or spicy.
Surya - The sun.
Surya Nadi - Same as Pingala Nadi, the solar energy channel.
Sushumna Nadi - Main central nadi in the spinal cord, the path of kundalini shakti. A psychic central nervous system.
Sutra - Literally: a thread. The scriptural verses of the philosophical and religious texts of India. May be written or spoken.
Swadhisthana Chakra - The sacral chakra or psychic centre, located in the spinal passage at the level of the pubic bone. The psychic storehouse of the unconscious karmas. Associated with pleasure and sexuality. For more details see Table 4 on page 65, and also the specific Chakras Section, page 69.
Swadhyaya - Self study. The practice of awareness of one's actions and reactions.
Swami - Literally: master of oneself. May be a yogi, a renunciate, a disciple, an initiate, a devotee, who has attained (or aspires towards) self mastery through the techniques and life of yoga, meditation and higher awareness.
Swara - The current of prana which flows through the nostrils.
Swara Yoga - A branch
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Tamas or Tamoguna - (Adj. tamasic). One of the 3 gunas or states of nature (prakriti) typified by laziness, dullness, inertia, disinterest.
Tanmatra - Sense. The physical and psychic sensory attributes of sight, sound, taste, touch, smell.
Tantra - Believed to be the oldest science and spiritual philosophy of man, incorporating innumerable concepts and practices for expansion of consciousness (tan-) and liberation of energy (-tra). Very similar to Shamanism. Sometime referred to as the mother-science of yoga.
Tantra Shastra - The base scriptures of the tantric tradition.
Tantric Guru - A guru proficient in the theory and practice of tantra.
Tantric Yogini Ma - A female yogi guru who gives initiation into the rites of tantra.
Tantrika or Tantriki - A practitioner of tantra (male and female respectively) who offers himself' / herself to the tantric guru.
Tapas or Tapasya - Austerity. The periodic practise of austerity strengthens the will power and purifies the body of tamas and rajas tendencies, which helps with progress in meditation.
Tattwa - Metaphysical element. The 5 tattwas are earth (prithvi), water (apas), fire (agni), air (vayu), ether (akasha).
Trataka - Hatha Yoga meditation technique of steadily gazing at an object such as a candle flame, or yantra, or mandala. Develops the powers of concentration and purifies the mind.
Triveni - See Bhrumadhya.
Tulsi Mala - A type of mala used for Mantra Japa. The beads are made from the wood of the tulsi tree, which has the property of absorbing the negative energy of the user's mind.
Uddiyana Bandha - Uddiyana means "flying upward". One of the bandhas where the diaphragm is contracted and raised to concentrate and "raise" the prana.
Ujjayi - A pranayama technique made by contracting the glottis to produce a whispering sound in the throat.
Upanishad - A Vedic scripture. There are 108 Upanishads containing the revelations and discourses of the enlightened Vedic masters.
Upanshu Japa - Whispered repetition of a mantra.
Vajra Nadi - A nadi (psychic energy channel) which connects the sexual energy with the brain. The nervous pathway in which one senses an orgasm. The Vajrasana Series of
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postures help to awaken this energy and sublimate it to centres higher than the usual ones (i.e. the genitals).
Vajroli Mudra - A bandha (lock of psychic energy) and mudra (gesture) in the Vajra Nadi.
Vayu Tattwa - The tattwa (metaphysical element) of air element. Same as Pawan Tattwa.
Vedanta - The philosophy of universal oneness, non-dualism, as expounded in the Vedas.
Vedas - (Adj. Vedic). The oldest known religious scriptures of India, written about 5000 BC.
Vipassana - Literally: insight. A type of meditation which uses awareness and witnessing to understand and transcend the mental fluctuations, aiming to cause inner peace (see Antar Mouna) and wisdom (medha).
Vishuddhi Chakra - Psychic and energy centre at the cervical plexus in the neck. For more details see Table 4 on page 65, and also the specific Chakras Section, page 75.
Yamas - Restraints, rules of conduct, designed to remove emotional disorders in preparation for higher yoga practices. The 1st level of Patanjali's Raja Yoga.
Yantra - Geometrical symbol representing specific forces of Shakti. A symbolic design used for concentration and meditation.
Yoga - From the root Sanscrit word "yug", which means bound or enjoined. A spiritual science encompassing many branches and practises, leading the practitioner to a higher state of consciousness and self-realisation. Derived from and closely connected with tantra. Both a process towards, and the eventual state of, union between two opposite poles.
Yoga Nidra - Also called psychic sleep, or the yogi's sleep. The technique of developing a wakeful sleep state in which the body remains perfectly still and yet the mind or consciousness stays awake, focussing on different internal processes, the end result of which is fully conscious sleep. A state of deep relaxation, like a horizontal meditation (but not quite the same).
Yoga Sutras - See also Sutras. Usually refers to the texts of Raja Yoga as written by Patanjali.
Yogi - (Masculine) Originally used as term for one who, after much diligence over many years, had perfected the techniques of yoga to attain the level of an adept but not yet a master. Nowadays used to mean anyone of any level who practises yoga.
Yogini - Female form of the word yogi.
Yoni - The womb of a woman or shakti. Used to mean both the physical and psychic female organs, including uterus, vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Symbolised as a downward pointing triangle, same as pubic area.
Yoni Prana - The energy associated with the yoni. Female power.