Yogic Encyclopedia

An encyclopedia of yogic terminology and sanskrit words.

Adhibhuta The consciousness immanent in physical creatures and the physical cosmos.

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

Adhiyagya The Supreme Creative and Cognizing Spirit; God; both the causal world and God Himself, without the illusion of the physical or astral worlds.

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

Affirmation A statement of truth which one aspires to absorb into his life.

Agya Chakra The sixth chakra or highest spinal center. The center of consciousness of enlightened beings.

Ahankara Ego, or ego-consciousness. The root cause of self-awareness.

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

Anahata Chakra The fourth chakra or heart center. Expresses as love, for either the divine or the material world.

Ananda Bliss or Divine Joy. It is also the name of 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.

Atman Spirit or soul. The Supreme Self that is immortal and ever-changeless.

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.

Bishuddha Chakra The fifth chakra or throat center. Controls the voice and speech, and allows one to break through the veils of delusion.

Brahmacharya (Stage of Renunciation) The householder stage of life. The first of four ashrams or stages of life in Hindu philosophy.

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.

Brahmin A person who knows God; a priest. One of the four Hindu castes.

Brahmisthiti Absolute oneness with the Infinite.

Buddhi Intellect; discernment. One of the four aspects of consciousness.

Caste System System of four true castes or "races" of man. Based not on birth but on man's natural capacities and goals of life.

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.

Darshan The blessing which flows from the mere sight of a saint.

Day of Brahma A period of one kalpa or a thousand mahayugas during which creation is manifested.



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

Grihastha The householder stage of life. The second of four ashrams or stages of life in Hindu philosophy.

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.

Ida On either side of the (astral or energetic, not physical) spine there is an energetic nerve channel, or nadi : ida on the left and pingala on the right.

Jivan Mukta One who is inwardly free while living in this world.

Kali Yuga A 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

Kosha Sheath. That which encloses the pure consciousness of Spirit in its material manifestations.

Kshatriya A person who surrenders his ego consciousness to God; a warrior or nobleman. One of the four Hindu castes.

Magnetism Spiritually, the force of God to attract and Satan to repel.

Manas The perceiving mind. One of the four aspects of consciousness. Also known as mon.

Manipura Chakra The third chakra or lumbar center. Expresses as anger or fiery self-control.

Maun Complete silence; the spiritual practice of perpetual silence.

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.

Muladhara Chakra The first chakra or coccyx center. Supports an attitude of perseverance or stubbornness.

Night of Brahma A period of one kalpa or a thousand mahayugas during which creation is unmanifested.

Nishkam Karma Action without desire for the fruits of action that allows one to gradually and ultimately free oneself from the bondage of karma.

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.

Param Mukta A supremely free soul that has been liberated from the actions committed by his soul in delusion during all incarnations.

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.

Pilgrim Vow Taken by one who wishes to make a greater commitment to God.

Pingala On either side of the (astral or energetic, not physical) spine there is an energetic nerve channel, or nadi : ida on the left and pingala on the right. Energy automatically moves up the ida nadi, and down the pingala nadi, along with the breath.

Prana Can refer to energy, life, or breath. In other traditions it is called chi or qui.

Pranayama A type of meditation technique that involves controlling the breath, with the goal being to raise one's energy up the deep spine to the spiritual eye or sixth chakra, which brings one to enlightenment.



Rajas (or Rajoguna) The activating element of nature. That which represents movement between the two opposing sides of duality.


Sadhu A holy man; one who is deeply devoted to the spiritual search.

Sahasrara Chakra The seventh chakra or crown center. The center at which one attains liberation.

Samadhi Perfect union of the individualized soul with infinite spirit. A state of oneness; complete absorption.

Samsara The outward play of maya or delusion. The world of delusion in which we all live.

Sangha Association, especially of spiritual practitioners.

Sannyas The stage of complete renunciation. One of the four ashrams or stages of life in Hindu philosophy.

Satsang Wholesome and uplifting company. Good company, especially on the spiritual path.

Sattwa (or Sattwa Guna) The elevating quality of nature. That which lifts the soul toward divinity.


Sevaka Order A monastic order in relation to Ananda communities.

Shakti The feminine aspect of nature known as Cosmic Vibration.

Siddha A perfected being who has worked out all past karma and freed himself from entanglement in the world of maya.

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.

Sudra A person at the lowest stage of consciousness; a peasant. One of the four Hindu castes.

Superconsciousness Heightened awareness; true wisdom.

Sushumna The deep (astral or energetic, not physical) spine, through which Kundalini energy rises as a person advances spiritually.

Swadisthana Chakra The second chakra or sacral center. Controls sexual energy and creativity.

Tamas (or Tamoguna) The darkening quality of nature. That which obscures the underlying unity of life.


Turiya The state beyond deep, dreamless sleep, in which the superconscious becomes overtly active.

Vaisya A person characterized by cleverness, creativity, and selfish motivations; a merchant. One of the four Hindu castes.

Vanaprastha The stage of partial retirement from worldly life. The third of four ashrams or stages of life in Hindu philosophy.

Vedanta One of the three main systems of Indian thought, which describes the nature of Brahman or divine consciousness.

Vishnu The preserving aspect of the cosmic vibration AUM; also the personification of this aspect.

Vritti Vortex, eddy, whirlpool. Cyclical movements of energy in the spine.

Yagya (Yajña) A sacrificial rite or performance of duty. It should be offered with devotion, without any desire for personal gain, and with firm belief in its rightness.

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.