The Anjali mudra (prayer hands) is a hand posture commonly used during the practice of yoga, the drawing together of one’s palms at the heart. Not only for the opening and closing of the class but it can also be applied to some other postures. The beauty of this gesture, which positions us right at the core of our being, is timeless and universal.
Also called Yoga Postures or poses; Asanas are gentle stretching movements designed to help balance the mind and body. Patanjali in ashtanga yoga defines asanas as Steady and Comfortable pose. See also: Why Yoga is more than just asanas.
A Style of Yoga developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, it literally means Eight Limb Yoga and revolves around Pattanjali’s idea that the path of purification is composed of eight spiritual practices. See also: Ashtanga Yoga
The term denotes a binding, lock or bondage that may be either internal or external to the body. Bandha may be defined as a particular focused and intentional action involving pressure, contraction or force on the muscles or some other bodily or sensate phenomena.
In yogic traditions,bandha are to be studied, maintained and held principally whilst engaged in pranayama.
See also: MindBodyGreen
A center of radiating life force or energy that is located between the base of the spinal column and the crown of the head. Sanskrit for “wheels.” There are seven chakras. See also: 7 Chakras for Beginners
This means meditation. A continuous flow of perception (or thought) is Dhyana (meditation). See also: More On Dhyana
Drishti is the focus of the eyes in meditation or yoga. This is the focal point where one’s gaze lies to attain concentration alignment, and inner and outer balance. One actually does this to prevent distractions, but should be looking inwardly and not concentrating on the physical object. This could be the tip of your nose or in between your eyebrows, depending on your yoga pose.
This is the most popular branch of Yoga and from which a lot of the Styles of Yoga originated including Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites.
B.K.S. Iyengar developed this yoga style, which stresses understanding the body and how it works. Students focus on symmetry and alignment, using props — such as straps, blankets, wooden blocks, and chairs — to achieve postures. Each pose is held for a longer amount of time than in most other yoga styles. See also: BKS Iyengar Yoga Home Page
Kirtan began in India centuries ago as a spiritual practice, and was known as the layman’s way to connect with the Divine. Kirtan is a very different kind of music. Based on ancient chants, it has the ability to quiet the mind if listened to with intention. Everyone experiences kirtan differently, and it doesn’t have to be a religious experience. You can think of it as a sing-along. See also: New World Kirtan
Kriyā (in Sanskrit “action, deed, effort”) most commonly refers to a “completed action”, technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result.
Another meaning of Kriya is the outward physical manifestations of awakened kundalini. Kriyas can also be the spontaneous movements resulting from the awakening of Kundalini energy.Kriya Shakti is “a power of thought” said to be greatly studied by yogis.
A sacred mystic syllable, word, or verse used in meditation to quiet the mind, balance the inner body, and attain other desired aims. ‘MAN’ means mind. ‘TRA’ means to tune the vibration (just as one tunes the strings of a guitar). Mantra is a sound current which tunes and controls mental vibration. See also: How to Use a Mantra In Yoga
This is one of the Five Principles of Yoga. It is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. It requires you to focus your mind at one point and stilling the mind in order to perceive the self.
A symbolic gesture transmitting or redirecting energy in yoga or meditation. This can be a whole-body gesture or a hand gesture, like pressing your palms together. It is also defined as a hand gesture used in a traditional Indian dance. See also: What is A Mudra?
… or “I bow to the divine in you”. Namaste is a traditional Indian greeting of respect and thank you, with spiritual and symbolic meaning. This is done with your palms pressed together in the middle of your forehead (third-eye) or at your heart, and lightly bow your head and shoulders. All Yoga classes will close with this traditional gesture of respect and thank-you. See also: Yoga Journal’s Meaning
or “aum”, a single-sound mantra that signifies the unification of the body, mind and spirit. This is an ancient Indian chant where the whole world was created and radiates. Om is also the vibration symbolizing Brahman/God. It was said that enlightenment and unification with the Supreme Being/God can be attained through this natural sound. The beginning and end.
Life energy, life force, or life current. These finer-than-atomic energies have inherent intelligence, according to Yogananda, as opposed to atoms and electrons, which are considered to be blind forces. The Chinese call this life force chi. See also: Prana
Also called Yogic Breathing or Breathing Exercise, Pranayama is one of the Five Principles of Yoga which promotes proper breathing. See also: Pranayama in different Yoga Styles
Restorative yoga is used to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for balancing the body. By stimulating this system, you experience a lower heart rate and blood pressure. This also helps stimulate your immune and endocrine systems in a healthy way. When you experience stress or feel overwhelmed, it the parasympathetic nervous system that restores balance.
This is a style of meditation. Sat=true, Sanga= company. This typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one’s daily life.
Also called corpse pose, is the classic relaxation Yoga Pose, practiced before or in between Asanas and as Final Relaxation to allow the practice to “soak in.” It it practiced by laying with back outstretched on ones mat, hands resting palms up away from the sides of the body, and legs outstretched and slightly wide. Eyes are closed and breathing is observed rather than forced.
Means peace or tranquility in Sanskrit.
Also called Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation limbers up the whole body in preparation for the yoga asanas. Sun Salutations stretch all the major muscle groups of the body, relax the mind, and help you to deepen your breath. Here’s a sample video.
Also called Loud Breathing, this involves drawing air in through both nostrils with the glottis held partially closed. Ujjayi is translated as “what clears the throat and masters the chest area.” You may hear this referred to the Ocean Breath and it helps to warm the whole body.
Simply means “flow.” Vinyasa is style of Ashtanga Yoga which incorporates breathing and movement in and out of asanas or yoga poses.
Mostly sitting or lying postures for promoting growth, clearing energetic blockages, and enhancing circulation. Postures are held longer than other styles of yoga and is a more meditative, internal practice.
Someone who follow the practice of yoga. A female yogi is called a yogini.
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