Yogic Encyclopedia

An encyclopedia of yogic terminology and sanskrit words. (In progress.)

Adhibhuta The consciousness immanent in physical creatures and the physical cosmos. It is the physical world, both the universe as a whole and the individual parts and beings of it.

Adhidaiva The consciousness manifests in astral bodies and in the astral cosmos.

Adhiyagya The Supreme Creative and Cognizing Spirit; God. It is both the causal world (the world of thought where the most advanced souls go before becoming one with God) and God Himself, without the illusion of the physical or astral worlds.

Adhyatma Oversoul; God manifested as the soul of all beings.

Affirmation An affirmation is a statement of truth which one aspires to absorb into his life.

Ahankara Ego, or ego-consciousness; causative self-awareness.

Ahimsa Non-violence or non-injury; an attitude of harmlessness and a feeling of universal benevolence.

Ananda Bliss or Divine Joy. It is also the name for a worldwide movement based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and founded by Swami Kriyananda.

Apana The outgoing breath; descending energy in the astral (energetic, as opposed to physical) spine.

Aparaprakriti The outer world that we can experience through the senses.

Asana Asana (the third “limb” of Ashtanga Yoga outlined by the sage Patanjali) means to be seated in a firm, pleasant, and relaxed position.

Ashtanga Ashtanga Yoga (literally "eight-limbed yoga") is a system developed by the ancient yogic sage Patanjali oulined in his yoga sutras. It consists of eight progressive stages on the path to Self-Realization.

Astral Body The astral body is the type of body one possesses in the astral world, where most beings go after death. It is made of prana, or life force.

Astral world A world of energy rather than physical matter made of vibrations of light and color, where most physical beings go after death and before reincarnating. It is also full of astral beings, and is hundreds of times larger and more beautiful and joyous than the physical world.

Astrological Bangle An astrological bangle is a band worn next to the skin which counteracts negative energy from the planets.

Avatar “Divine descent,” typically used to describe an incarnation of God such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Krishna.

Bandha Literally "lock" or "closed." A particular type of yogic technique for raising the kundalini energy in the spine, which helps one to attain Self-realization.

Bhakti Yoga Bhakti yoga is union with God through devotion. A bhakti yogi thinks of God in personal terms. This helps the bhakti yogi to awaken love for God.

Bhav Spiritual feeling or attitude; devotion; the religious attitude of immersing oneself in the thought of God.

Brahman Brahman is the Indestructible and Supreme Spirit. It is in every atom of creation, but remains there as the Viewer, meaning it is not affected by the physical matter it is in. The individual soul is a part of Brahman.

Brahmanadi The causal (deepest) spine. Raising one's energy through the brahmanadi is the last test a yogi must go through to attain full union with the Divine.

Brahmisthiti Absolute oneness with the Infinite.

Causal Body A body made of thought or ideas, rather than physical matter. A causal body is very similar to an individual soul.

Causal World The world of ideas or thoughts. It is the most subtle of the three worlds, or the closest one to God.

Chela Disciple; from Sanskrit verb root, “to serve.” Close student.

Chitta Chitta is feeling, centered in the heart. It is subjectivity, one's emotional reaction, affected by what it sees and it's own nature.

Ego A soul attached to a body. The ego divides the world into “mine” and “not mine.”

Gyana (Jnana) Yoga Union with the Divine through wisdom or knowledge of the Divine. It is also sometimes referred to as the path of discrimination.

Hatha Yoga Hatha Yoga, which literally means "union through discipline of force", is a school of Yoga that stresses mastery of the body as a way of attaining a state of spiritual perfection in which the mind is withdrawn from external objects.

Kali Yuga 2,400-year age of darkness during which consciousness is limited to gross matter.

Karma The law of cause and effect. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” — The Book of Galatians

Maya Cosmic illusion; literally, ‘the measurer.” Maya is the power in creation by which limitations and divisions seem to exist in the Oneness that is true reality.

Niyama Niyama is the second stage of the spiritual path as outlined by the ancient sage Patanjali in his yoga sutras. It lists five things you should do to make spiritual progress.

Patanjali Patanjali is an ancient exponent of raja yoga and the author of the Yoga Sutras, a series of verses about the eight steps needed to attain Self-Realization.


Soul The Spirit of God in each individual, which is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. The soul has the same qualities as God.

Yama Yama is the first stage of the spiritual path as outlined by the ancient sage Patanjali in his yoga sutras. Yama is also sometimes called "the five restraints", because it lists the "do nots" of the spiritual path, such as "do not lie" and "do not covet".

Yoga Yoga literally means "union". This can be taken many different ways, but most commonly is taken to mean the union of the little self, the individual, with the divine consciousness.

Yogi Anyone who practices a scientific technique of God-contact is a yogi.