Advanced Yoga Practices
Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
This glossary of Sanskrit terms is designed primarily to support the Advanced Yoga Practices lessons. Since the lessons were written with a mind to simplify things, including minimizing the use of Sanskrit terms, this glossary should not be considered to be a complete general purpose one for use in academic studies. Nevertheless, there are over 100 Sanskrit terms here, which is not too skimpy. Nearly all of them are related in some way to the conduct of yoga practices.

Advaita - The same as vedanta, the monistic (non-dual) branch of Indian philosophy discussed mainly in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra. Advaita upholds the oneness of God, soul and universe.

Ajna - Means, command. The sixth chakra, also known as the third eye, encompasses the neuro-biology from the center of the brow to the center of the head, and the medulla oblongata (brain stem). The third eye is the command center controlling the ecstatic aspects of the enlightenment process, which is the orderly awakening of kundalini.

Akasha - Means, space. Inner, omnipresent space in particular. When used in samyama, akasha reveals the body to be one and the same as inner space, allowing it to be effortlessly transported anywhere.

Amaroli - Urine therapy, an ancient spiritual practice described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Damar Tantra.

Amrita - Means, nectar. In yoga, most often associated with fragrant secretions coming from the brain, down through the nasal pharynx and into the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.

Anahata - Means, unstruck sound. The fourth chakra located in the heart area. This is where the yoga practitioner first experiences the vastness of inner space, which is often filled with celestial sounds and other inner sensory experiences.

Ananda - Means, bliss. One of the three characteristics of sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence.

Asana - Means, posture. The third limb of the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Asanas are used to physically loosen and open the subtle nerves of the body, particularly the sushumna/spinal nerve. Asanas are generally practiced immediately before pranayama and meditation.

Ashtanga Yoga - Means, eight limbed yoga. A system of yoga practices based on the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Asvini Mudra - A dynamic version of mulabandha (root lock), where the anal sphincter muscle is gently flexed and released periodically. This happens automatically as ecstatic conductivity rises in the nervous system.

Atman - The immortal soul of a human being. The divine Self that exists in every person. Upon beginning meditation, it is first experienced as stillness, peaceful inner silence, and, later, as ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love.

Avatar - Means, incarnation of God in human form. Also is regarded to mean a spiritual savior of humankind. The birth of an avatar is sometimes foretold beforehand, and he or she typically undergoes the trials of achieving final enlightenment, and then takes on a mission to help many others advance spiritually. Well known avatars in the East include Krishna and Buddha, and in the West, Jesus. Many avatars have come to earth, and most are little known. Everyone has the inherent ability to become an avatar because everyone contains the same divine potential. The primary mission of an avatar is to show us that this is so.

Ayurveda - The ancient yoga-based system of medicine that focuses on balancing the doshas (constitutional elements) and pranas (energies) in the body. The great strength in this system is in the application of natural modalities and preventive measures that pre-empt illnesses, or resolve them before they can become chronic. Ayurveda can aid in resolving imbalances and internal energy excesses that can crop up on the path of yoga.

Bandha - Means, lock. A fixed muscular position that is applied in the course of yoga practices. Examples: mulabandha (root lock) and uddiyana bandha (abdominal l

Basti - Cleansing of the large intestine (colon) with enema using a mild saline solution. This facilitates the flow of ecstatic energy throughout the neurobiology, once ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) has become active as a result of other practices. Prior to that, basti may be used on occasion a health aid, since many diseases originate in the colon. Obviously, diet plays a role in this also.

Bastrika Pranayama (also spelled Bhastrika) - Means, bellows breathing. A rapid (panting) breathing technique used in advanced stages of yoga practice. In the AYP lessons it is used while tracing up and d
own the spine with the attention, and is called spinal bastrika pranayama.

Bhagavad Gita - Means, song of God. The most widely read scripture in India, sometimes referred to as the Hindu Bible. It is part of the much longer epic, the Mahabharata, and details a dialog between Krishna and the great warrior, Arjuna. In the Bhagavad Gita the path to enlightenment is described, including many of the methods found in the AYP lessons.

Bhakti Yoga - Bhakti means, love of God or love of Truth. The first manifestation of this is desire for something more in life, for an ideal (ishta). Bhakti yoga practice systematically channels desire and emotion toward the practitioners highest ideal, beginning with the question, Why am I here? and ending with ecstatic union with the divine within.

Brahma Sutra - A primary scripture of vedantas non-dual philosophy. The others are the Bhagavad Gita and the 108 Upanishads.

Brahmacharya - Means, walking in Brahma or walking in the creative force of God. Commonly interpreted to mean celibacy, but it means more that that. It means preservation and cultivation of the vital force (sexual energy) in the yoga practitioner, which can be accomplished by both celibates and non-celibates through yogic methods.

Brahmari Pranayama - Means, bee sound. A supplemental pranayama that involves using the larynx (voice box, located below the epiglottis) to restrict the exit of air on exhalation while making a sound deep in the throat like the high pitched hum of a bee. This is a powerful stimulator of the OM vibration emanating from the medulla oblongata (brain stem), and is most effective once ecstatic conductivity has arisen in the nervous system. In AYP, Brahmari optionally can be used instead of ujjayi during spinal breathing pranayama. 

Chakra - Means, wheel. Chakras are neuro-biological/spiritual energy centers in the human body, connected together by thousands of subtle nerves/nadis. There are seven major chakras and numerous minor ones. The seven major chakras are muladhara (perineum), svadhisthana (inner reproductive organs), manipura (naval/solar plexus), anahata (heart), vishuddhi (throat), ajna (brow to medulla) and sahasrar (crown).

Chit - Means consciousness. One of the three characteristics of sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence.

Darshan - Means, to see or experience. To see or experience the presence of ones chosen ideal. It also means, generally, to be in the presence of and receive spiritual energy from an enlightened person.

Dharana - Means, focused attention. The sixth limb of the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Dharana is the first stage of meditation, and also of samyama, when the attention is focused in a particular way on either a mantra or a sutra.

Dharma - Means, that which sustains. In yoga, this refers to activity one does in the world that is naturally supportive their spiritual evolution ones dharma. In Buddhism, this refers to the entire teaching of the Buddha the dharma.

Dhauti - Cleansing of the entire intestinal tract by ingesting a substantial measured quantity of saline water, and expelling it through bowel movement. Like basti, this facilities the advance of active ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) within the GI tract. Dhauti taxes the neurobiology much more than basti, and therefore should be used sparingly to achieve a positive effect.

Dhyana - Means, meditation. The seventh limb of the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Meditation is the process of attention expanding from focus on an object (like a mantra) to an unbounded undifferentiated state of blissful awareness called samadhi. The process of meditation, correctly practiced, leads to pr
ofound stillness and purification in the human nervous system.

Doshas - The three basic types of biological humors in Ayurvedic medicine, which determine an individuals co
nstitution: vata (movement), pitta (heat) and kapha (structure). The therapies of Ayurveda promote balance of the doshas, which provides the foundation for good physical and spiritual health.

Guru - Means, dispeller of darkness. The guru is that within us, and also reflected outside us, that leads us gradually toward the experience of enlightenment. Our innate desire for Truth and God (bhakti) is the most fundamental manifestation of the guru. There is a common belief that the guru can only be found in the form of another person. In fact, it is the inner guru that leads us to all other forms of the guru. We are never more than a heartbeat away from the illuminating power of the guru.

Hatha Yoga - Means, joining of the sun and moon. A system of yoga practice focusing on purifying the nervous system through physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama) and related means.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika - A five hundred year old scripture by Svatmarama, detailing many of the practices of Hatha Yoga.

Ida and Pingala - Two of the primary spiritual nerves (nadis) in the body. Second in importance only to the spinal nerve (sushumna).

Ishta - Means, chosen ideal. Ishta is at the heart of bhakti yoga, and is that which each person chooses as the ideal to inspire active engagement on the spiritual path. The ishta can be as simple as the constant question, Who am I? and its gradually unfolding answer. Or as complex as a guru in human form. Any object or idea can serve as the touchstone for a persons ishta statues, philosophical concepts, the beauty of nature, etc. What all ishtas have in common is their ability to inspire the aspirant to diligently pursue spiritual practices.

Jalandhara Bandha - Means, chin lock. Practiced during certain stages of k
umbhaka (breath retention). A more advanced version in the AYP lessons is called dynamic jalandhara, or chin pump.

Jala Neti
- Nasal wash, which is passing a saline solution through the nasal passages, using either a "neti pot," or by drawing the water directly up from a bowl through the nasal passages and releasing out through the mouth. Jala neti aids in promoting the function of ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) in the delicate nasal passages and sinuses, and has a relationship with sambhavi mudra, kechari mudra, and other methods designed to purify and open the upper energy channels. Jala neti is also good for health, particularly for sinus allergies, and may be used at any time with little risk of undesirable side effects.

Jiva - The individual soul. Body and ego-bound consciousness. An unenlightened human being.

Jivan Mukti - A liberated soul, merged with the infinite. An enlightened, living human being. One who has attained Christ consciousness.

Jnana (or Chin) Mudra - The well-known hand mudra where the thumbs and index fingers of both hands are joined to form circles with hands resting, palms upward or downward, on the knees during sitting practices. This mudra is more effect than cause, since it arises automatically with the awakening of kundalini energy in the nervous system.

Jnana Yoga - Path of knowledge. A system of yoga practice based on inquiry and intuitive reasoning. Jnana yoga is commonly misunderstood to be the collection of intellectual knowledge about spiritual matters. In reality, it is a close cousin of bhakti yoga, where the mind and heart both melt in the tapas (heat) of the ever-penetrating inquiry, Who am I?

Jyotish - The Indian system of astrology.

Kama Sutra - An ancient guidebook on social and sexual relations between men and women. While it is commonly believed in the West to be a tantric scripture, the Kama Sutra does not contain the core principles or sexual techniques of tantra yoga, which are embodied in brahmacharya the preservation and cultivation of sexual energy by celibate or non-celibate tantric methods.

Kapalbhati - Means "shining forehead" or "luminous face." Kapalbhati is a traditional shatkarma. It is a pranayama technique, where the breath is taken in normally and suddenly expelled through the nose or mouth (with pursed lips). This practice increases air pressure in the nasal pharynx and sinuses in short bursts, providing a cleansing of the brain and upper body. The effects of kapalbhati are similar to bastrika pranayama.

Karma - Means, action and its effects. This is the idea that our past actions have created current tendencies, limitations and opp
ortunities in the present. This is sometimes referred to as the law of karma. In Christian theology, it is contained in the phrase, As you sow, so shall you reap. Karma is the basis for the doctrine of reincarnation, and the idea that dissolving stored karma (samskaras) in the nervous system through yoga practices will unfold more happiness in this life, the next life, and eventually lead the soul to eternal life in the higher realms, freed from the necessity of taking human birth.

Karma Yoga - The path of action. This is the spiritual method of acting in the world in a spirit of service (seva), while systematically letting go of the expectation to receive anything in return, thereby promoting a positive cycle of causes and effects. Living a lifestyle of karma yoga emerges naturally as yoga practices have been engaged in over a period of time. Some are born with the gift of karma yoga, and spend their lives lifting up all of humanity (and themselves) through their good works.

Kechari Mudra - Means, to fly through (inner) space. Kechari is the practice of raising the tongue to the soft palate, and eventually above it into the spiritually erogenous nasal pharynx. This closes a neurological circuit in the body, enabling ecstatic energy to flow between the pelvic region and the head. Kechari, practiced in coordination with sambhavi and other yoga methods, leads to opening of the ecstatic celestial realms within the heart, and throughout the subtle levels of the nervous system.

Kirtan - Devotional chanting. Through a combination of bhakti (devotion), mantra repetition, and pranayama, the practice of kirtan can significantly enhance ecstatic conductivity and inner silence. Chanting kirtans in groups can also strengthen the beneficial effects and power of group spiritual consciousness.

Kriya Yoga - Means, the yoga of techniques. It comes in many forms through the various traditional lines of teaching. The main teachings of kriya yoga focus on pranayama, with spinal breathing being the core practice. Kriya yoga also utilizes many of the methods of hatha yoga.

Kumbhaka - Means, suspension of breath. The breath is held in (internal kumbhaka) and out (external kumbhaka) at different times during yoga practices. When practiced in conjunction with other yogic methods, such as mudras and bandhas, kumbhaka plays an important role in awakening the kundalini energy located in the pelvic region. Kumbhaka also occurs spontaneously at times during yoga practices, especially during deep meditation when the metabolism comes to a near standstill.

Kundalini - Means, coiled serpent. A metaphorical word and concept used to describe the latent and active states of sexual energy in the overall process of human spiritual transformation. When kundalini is awakened, it is the activation of sexual energy in the pelvic region in an upward flowing direction, permeating the entire nervous system with great transforming power. The feminine name, Shakti, is often used interchangeably with kundalini once the energy becomes dynamic. In the Christian tradition, it is called the Holy Spirit.

Kundalini Yoga - A system of practices designed primarily to awaken kundalini energy throughout the body. Techniques used are taken mainly from hatha yoga, focusing more on the use of pranayama, kumbhaka, and mudras and bandhas, and less on asanas.

Lingam - The male sexual organ, both literally and energetically as the Shiva power in the yogic merging of Shiva and Shakti energies throughout the nervous system.

Maha Mudra - Means, great seal. An advanced yoga asana designed to purify and open the sushumna (spinal nerve).

Mahabharata - The great epic poem of India covering the life of Krishna and a war between two rival families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata.

Mala - A string of beads (like a rosary) containing 108 beads, used for counting repetitions of spiritual practice. Also sometimes worn for ceremonial and devotional purposes.

Manipura - Meaning, city of gems. The third chakra, located in the naval/solar plexus area, associated with digestion, including the higher metabolism associated with the production of enlightenment-promoting organic compounds in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract that radiate sparkling energy. Hence the reference to gems.

Mantra - A specially chosen syllable or series of syllables that is used in the practice of deep meditation.

Mantra Yoga - A system of yoga practice based on mental techniques that utilize mantras and sutras.

Maya - Means, illusion. Refers to the illusory nature of the world experienced by an unenlightened person. Acts of ignorance and death are regarded as part of maya. An enlightened person has a different experience, seeing maya as a play (lila) on the infinite, immortal field of pure bliss consciousness, which is known to be ones Self. Though an enlightened person is affected by acts of ignorance and death on the earth plane, he or she lives a radiant reality that is forever untouched by maya. That is the outcome of yoga a purified nervous system that has been opened to the infinite within pure bliss consciousness and outpouring divine love.  

Moksha - Enlightenment. Liberation in this life in the form of ongoing ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love. Freedom from the wheel of birth and death.

Mudra - Means, seal. Various physical postures and maneuvers that direct ecstatic energy toward higher levels of manifestation in the nervous system.

Mulabandha (also spelled Mula Bandha) - Means, root lock. Systematic stimulation of sexual energy upward in the nervous system during yoga practices through gentle compression of the anal sphincter muscle.

Muladhara - Means, root or foundation. The first chakra, located at the perineum,
where kundalini energy is first awakened.

Nada Yoga - A path of yoga utilizing naturally occurring inner sound (such as OM) as the object of meditation. Since the natural occurrence of inner sound may not be consistent at any particular time in a practitioner, or among any number of practitioners, the consistency and effectiveness of nada yoga will also vary widely. In the AYP approach, nada may be heard in the form of inner sounds and vibrations (particularly OM), often accompanied by blissful ecstatic energy flow. The advice in such cases is to favor the procedure of the practice we may be doing at the time, since it is the practice that is producing the experience. In the case of AYP, nada (inner sound) is effect rather than cause.

Nadi - Means, channel
. Nadis are the subtle (spiritual) nerves corresponding with the physical nerves. There are thousands of nadis in the body, but only a few are deliberately purified and opened to achieve the broad effects of yoga throughout the entire nervous system.

Nadi Shodana - A simple and relaxing form of pranayama involving use of the fingers to achieve alternate nostril breathing.

Nauli - Means, to churn. A yoga practice involving the twirling of the abdominal muscles first in one direction, and then the other. This practice stimulates the higher functioning of the digestive system and raises kundalini.

Niyama - Means, observance. The second limb of the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The niyamas are aspects of conduct that support the process of human spiritual transformation. They are saucha (purity and cleanliness), samtosa (contentment), tapas (heat/focus/austerity), svadhyaya (study of spiritual writings and self) and isvara pranidhana (surrender to the divine).

Ojas - A luminous substance/energy that ecstatically permeates the human body as sexual energy is cultivated and refined to a higher spiritual purpose.

OM - (also spelled AUM) The most sacred mantra syllable in India, and found in other cultures as well. The primordial vibration of God in human beings. OM is used alone and with other syllables for meditation. As yoga practices advance, OM can be heard as a natural spiritual vibration emanating ecstatically from the medulla oblongata (brain stem). The medulla, which is part of the ajna/third eye, is also called, the mouth of God.

Padmasana - Means lotus posture. A way of sitting for pranayama and meditation that involves crossing the legs and resting both feet on top of the opposite thighs.

Prana - Means, first unit. Prana is the first manifestation of consciousness in the nervous system. It is experienced as moving energy, and it is moved in yoga practices to advance the process of human spiritual transformation.

Pranayama - Means, restraint of prana. Prana is the first manifestation of consciousness in the body, and can be encouraged toward higher spiritual expression. This is accomplished with the breath through a variety of pranayama (breathing) practices to stimulate the flow of prana in the body. Pranayama cultivates the subtle nerves (nadis), making the nervous system a much more receptive vehicle for meditation.

Prasad - A spiritual offering or gift offered to ones ishta, guru, or teacher, which is returned bearing a spiritual blessing.

Pratyahara - Means, withdrawal. Withdrawal of the primary focus of attention on the external senses. This is caused by the expansion of inner sensuality due to yoga practices and the awakening of ecstatic conductivity. The attention is naturally drawn inward to more enjoyable levels of inner experience. Over time, inner sensuality expands back out into sensory perception of the everyday world. Pratyahara (the withdrawal) is the first step on the journey of attention going inward toward divine perception, and then back outward again to divine perception everywhere.

Raja Yoga - Means, royal yoga. A name given to the systematic application of the practices contained in the eight limbs of yoga described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Rishi - Means, seer. One who has raised ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) in the nervous system and experiences refined sensory perception inside and outside the body. Then the relationship of consciousness and prana (refined energy) can be observed directly. Hence the term seer. Rishi is also a general term that is used describe a sage, sadhu, hermit, or mendicant.

Ramayama - A great epic poem of India, telling the story of Rama and the path of right action the Dharma.

Sadhana - The regular practice of spiritual disciplines.

Sadhu - An ascetic practitioner of yoga. A mendicant. A holy person.

Sahasrar -  Means, thousand-petaled lotus. The seventh chakra, located at the crown of the head (corona radiata). Awakening and entering it leads to the merging of individual consciousness with infinite divine consciousness. Awakening the sahasrar prematurely leads to many troubles in a nervous system that has not been sufficiently purified beforehand. Awakening the ajna (third eye) first prepares the nervous system, while at the same time slowly and indirectly opening the sahasrar with much greater safety.

Samadhi - Absorption in the inner silence of pure bliss consciousness. The repeated destination of meditation, and, ultimately, a state which is sustained throughout daily living. This is the eighth limb of the eight limbs of yoga described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Sambhavi Mudra - The practice of lifting the eyes to the point between the eyebrows while slightly furrowing the brow, producing physical stimulation back through the brain to the medulla oblongata (brain stem). When used in coordination with other yoga practices, sambhavi is a primary means for purifying and opening the ajna (third eye). This is first experienced as an ecstatic connection between the head and the pelvic region.

Samkhya - The dualistic branch of Indian philosophy which is closely integrated with yoga. In it, unmanifest pure bliss consciousness and the manifest universe are seen as two sides of the whole of life, and can be experienced as one by the yogi and yogini. This two becoming one is the intersection of the dual (samkhya/yoga) and non-dual (vedanta/advaita) philosophies if India. It is through yoga practice and direct experience that the apparent inconsistency is resolved.

Samyama - A practice which utilizes the characteristics of the last three limbs of the eight limbs of yoga in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption in inner silence). Through the initiation of sutras (particular words and phrases with meaning), in the quietest levels of awareness, consciousness is moved through the nervous system with great purifying effects. Samyama is the source of miraculous powers exhibited by human beings. These are called siddhis, and are effects rather than causes of rising enlightenment, and are best regarded as such.

Sanskrit - The ancient language of Indian spiritual culture (the vedas) and of the great scriptures that have emanated from it.

Sat - Means eternal existence. One of the three characteristics of Sat-chit-ananda, our blissful inner silence. It is that in us which never dies.

Sat-Chit-Ananda - Means, eternal bliss consciousness. Inner silence. Immortal Self. Pure bliss consciousness. The witness. the Tao. God the Father. It is that in us which is our self-awareness in every moment. Through yoga practices, our nervous system is cultivated toward its natural evolutionary transformation to provide the direct, permanent experience of this, our essential nature.

Satsang - Means, association with truth. Keeping company with those of high spiritual aspiration. Also, association with enlightened persons. Bible: If two or more are gathered in my name I will be there in their midst. Any contact or communication with others on matters pertaining to human spiritual evolution will stimulate the inner energies of bhakti. Reading spiritual writings can be a form of satsang also.

Shakti - The dynamic, feminine creative force in the human body and in nature. Shakti is awakened kundalini. In order to create, Shakti must merge with her counterpart, Shiva, who is the silent seed behind all manifestation. The movement of kundalini/Shakti in the human nervous system is toward that end, and yoga practices are designed to facilitate the union of Shiva and Shakti everywhere in the body, leading ultimately to an ecstatic overflowing from the head down to the melting heart. The Christian name for Shakti energy is the Holy Spirit.

Shaktipat - The awakening of the kundalini/Shakti power in an aspirant by a guru or spiritual teacher. While this may have benefit, the ultimate responsibility for spiritual progress remains with the aspirant, who can carry the process forward through the conduct of daily yoga practices.

Shiva - In yoga, Shiva is analogous with inner silence, the silent, blissful aspect of experience gained through meditation and other yoga practices. Shiva is the silent seed from which all is manifested, and to which all must return. It is the blending of inner silence (Shiva) and the dynamic ecstatic energy (kundalini/Shakti) in the body that produces enlightenment in the human nervous system. In Hinduism, Shiva is personified in the trinity of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva (dissolver/destroyer), and plays a major role in the religious heritage and customs of the culture. The Christian equivalent of Shiva is God the Father.

Siddhasana - Means posture of the perfected ones or perfect posture. A way of sitting for pranayama and meditation that involves crossing the legs and sitting with the perineum firmly on the heel of one foot. This seat provides stimulation of sexual energy upward through the nervous system, ultimately creating a constant fountain of ecstasy throughout practices. Over time, siddhasana, practiced in coordination with other yoga methods, will lead to ecstasy naturally being experienced throughout daily life. This is so because the nervous system can be cultivated to naturally sustain a condition of ecstatic conductivity. This is one of the primary prerequisites for enlightenment.

Siddhi - Means, perfection. Siddhis refer to powers, which result as a by-product of yogic purification occurring in the nervous system on the path to enlightenment. This is especially so in Samyama practice, which cultivates the movement of consciousness in the nervous system in particular ways for the purpose of enhanced purification and opening to the divine within.

Soma - A substance produced in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract that greatly enhances the processes of yoga. Soma arises from the alchemy of food, air and sexual essences blending naturally in the digestive tract, giving rise to a luminosity that begins in the belly and travels throughout the body. The production of soma is stimulated by kumbhaka (suspended breath) and mudras and bandhas, and is closely related to the raising of kundalini energy. Soma is also a hallucinogenic plant in India, which is referred to in the ancient Vedas.

Sri Vidya - Means, glorious knowledge. In tantra it is the scriptural and experiential fruition of human evolution. Sri vidya is ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love, expressed through the enlightened nervous system, and in the mathematical precision of the ancient Sri Yantra diagram.

Sri Yantra (or Sri Chakra) - Means, glorious diagram or glorious wheel. Represents the spiritual structure of the human nervous system and the universe. Mathematically, the Sri Yantra recreates the wave pattern formed by the vibration of OM, the sacred sound that resonates naturally within the human nervous system as purification and opening occur.

Sushumna - The spinal nerve that extends from the perineum to the head. It is the most important spiritual nerve (nadi) in the body. By purifying and opening the sushumna, the entire nervous system is transformed to higher spiritual functioning. All of the practices in yoga are designed to cultivate, in one way or another, the purification and opening of the sushumna.

Sutra - Means, stitch. A short verse containing potent spiritual knowledge. When a group of such short verses are brought together, they stitch together the whole of knowledge. Particular sutras can be used for the purpose of structured samyama practice, as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The use of sutras in samyama can have dramatic effects on the course of the enlightenment process in the nervous system, and can also lead to the manifestation of siddhis (powers).

Svadisthana - Means, dwelling place. This is the second chakra, located in the area of the internal reproductive organs. It is the dwelling place of the great storehouse of pranic energy, the sexual vitality. Once activated, vast energy flows up from there and spiritually illuminates the entire nervous system.

Swami - Means, master or owner. A title given to indicate a teacher who is enlightened. More commonly, it is a title given to indicate rank in the religious hierarchy, like the title of priest, rabbi, or mullah.

Tantra Yoga - Tantra means, two woven together. The meaning is similar to that of yoga, to join. Tantra is the broadest known system of yoga, encompassing the methods of all other systems. While tantra includes the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it goes beyond them by addressing sexual practices that have been controversial for hundreds of years. Hence, tantra has been known as the yoga of sex. But sex is only an aspect of the whole of tantra, so the label is misleading. Tantra is concerned with meditation, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, asanas and every other useful practice in yoga, including methods that promote the expansion of sexual energy upward to facilitate the enlightenment process.

Tapas - Means, heat or intensity. This is an aspect of bhakti (devotional desire), which determines the spiritual force behind the desire for union with the divine, and
enlightenment. Tapas is commonly associated with austerity and self-sacrifice (sometimes extreme) in spiritual practices. There is no standard to meet for tapas. Each aspirant will experience and apply tapas in their own way.

Trataka - Means "steady gazing," and involves fixing the gaze on an object and continuing this for a period of time. This aids in purifying the inner machinery of attention. Traditionally, trataka is done with the eyes on an external object, such as a candle, wall (common in Buddhism), or other object. In the AYP approach, inner objects such as mantra and spinal nerve are used with enhanced effects. In this ways all external objects naturally become objects of trataka, as they come to be seen with the unblinking eye of abiding inner silence (the witness).

Turiya - Means, the fourth state. This is the experience of inner silence cultivated in meditation. It is called turiya because it is distinct from the first three states of consciousness waking, dream
ing and deep dreamless sleep. As yoga practices advance, turiya gradually comes to coexist as a constant condition during the other three states of consciousness. It is the beginning stage of enlightenment. In that situation, one is never unconscious, whether awake, dreaming, or in deep sleep. That is called witnessing.

Uddiyana - Means, to fly up. A yoga practice involving the lifting of the abdomen with the diaphragm while the lungs are empty. This practice stimulates the higher functioning of the digestive system and raises kundalini. It is also a preparation for Nauli practice.

Ujjayi Pranayama - This is an additional practice that is done during spinal breathing and other pranayamas. It involves partially closing the epiglottis (the windpipe door we hold our breath with) while exhaling during pranayama, making a fine hissing sound deep in the throat. This creates additional air pressure in the lungs and pranic pressure throughout the nervous system. It also creates a fine vibration deep in the throat that assists in purifying and opening the neuro-biology in the chest, throat and head.

Upanishads - Commentaries on the Vedas, written in dialog form, forming the basis for vedantas non-dual philosophy. There are 108 Upanishads.

Vajroli Mudra - A practice enabling a man or woman to draw ejaculative or pre-ejaculative sexual emissions up the urethra and into the bladder. It is performed using uddiyana/nauli and mulabandha/asvini, sometimes combined with conscious control of the ejaculation process. The vajroli effect can also be accomplished by physically blocking ejaculations with the finger pressing on the urethra behind the pelvic bone. In ongoing yoga practice, vajroli has the greatest significance as it evolves naturally to become an automatic biological function in connection with an awakened kundalini. In this case, vajroli is preorgasmic, and provides a constant drawing up of sexual essences into the bladder, GI (gastrointestinal) tract, spinal nerve and other components of the spiritual biology. As the nervous system evolves to become constantly ecstatic, vajroli becomes a constant natural function. The rise of natural vajroli is an important part of the fulfillment of the role of brahmacharya the preservation and cultivation of sexual energy.

Veda - Means, knowledge. The Vedas are the most ancient scriptures of India, preserved through oral and written tradition for 5000 years. There are four Vedas: Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva.

Vedanta - Means, the end of the Veda. The monistic (non-dual) branch of Indian philosophy discussed mainly in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra - An ancient tantric scripture that identifies many of the methods of yoga practice, including the essential principle involved in tantric sex the preservation and cultivation of sexual energy.

Vishuddhi - Means, purity. The fifth chakra, located at the throat. This is a gateway for pranic energy to rise into the head. It is also a key center for speech and communications. With daily yoga practices, purification and opening occur naturally in the throat. The internal and external expressions of energy open up simultaneously.

Yama - Means, restraint. The first limb of the eight limbs of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The yamas are aspects of conduct that support the process of human spiritual transformation. They are ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (preservation and cultivation of sexual energy) and aparigraha (non-covetousness).

Yoga - Means, to join, or union. The vast field of knowledge and practices concerned with promoting the evolutionary process of human spiritual transformation. The methods of yoga are many and diverse. Yet, all are connected by virtue of their common denominator, the human nervous system. All of yoga is derived from the innate ability for divine unfoldment contained within every person.

Yoga Nidra - Means, yogic sleep. It is the state of remaining conscious during deep sleep. It can be cultivated by specific techniques. It also arises naturally as one advances in daily yoga practices. In that case it is called turiya" (the fourth state), or the witness.

Yoga Sutras - Means, stitches of union. The most famous scripture on yoga, written by Patanjali about 500 years ago. The Yoga Sutras contain the main elements of yoga practice (the eight-limbed path, plus samyama), and detailed descriptions of the experiences that are encountered on the road to enlightenment, and at the destination. The Yoga Sutras are a measuring rod by which all spiritual paths can be measured for completeness.

Yogi - A male practitioner of yoga.

Yogini - A female practitioner of yoga.

Yoni - Means, womb or origin. It is the female sexual organ, both literally and energetically as the Shakti power in the yogic merging of Shiva and Shakti energies throughout the nervous system.

Yoni Mudra - A yoga practice that purifies and opens the ajna (third eye), and stimulates kundalini/Shakti energy to rise from the pelvic region, up the sushumna (spinal nerve) to the ajna, and permeate the entire nervous system.

Yuga - An age, or era, determined through astronomical calculations of the earths position over time in relation the sun, planets and constellations. The concept of a yuga is from jyotish (Indian astrology). The concept of ages also exists in Western astrology. Yugas depict rising and falling human spiritual sensitivities over long periods of time, in a repeating cycle that goes round and round over thousands (or millions) of years. Astrologers utilizing various mathematical approaches do not agree on the length of the overall cycle, on the length of the yugas/ages, or on what yuga/age we are in right now. It is a subject of debate. Suffice to say, history records that spiritual sensitivities and knowledge have been slowly on the rise over at least the past 100 years, so perhaps those who say we are entering (or have entered) an age of enlightenment are right. There is still much darkness in the world, but the light of yoga and rising human enlightenment are becoming stronger every day.