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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: GLOSSARY

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Khechari Mudra - Advanced Yogic practice in which the tongue is stretched and inserted backward and up into the nasal passage (or alternately, down the back of the throat).

See also: Mudra

Kosha - Sanskrit for "sheath", also "body"; Describes any aspect of the being - physical, energetic, mental, etc - which the Yoga system views as a distinct layer of the overall Self.

See also: Interactive Kosha Map

Annamayakosha - Physical layer of the human being. Any material substances in the body - bones, flesh, blood, mucous, sweat, etc. - belong to this layer.

Pranamayakosha - Bio-energetic layer of the human being. Prana, or life energy, makes up the essence of this layer. This layer is also where the chakras, nadis, and other energetic structures are housed.

Manomayakosha - Lower mental layer of the human being. Related to emotions and basic thought processes.

Vijnanamayakosha - Higher mental layer of the human being. Related to deep mental patterns, collective consciousness, and personal karmic structures.

Anandamayakosha - Bliss layer of the human being. Related to essential nature, beyond time, space, or mental activity.

Kundalini - Sanskrit for "coiled"; describes a quality of energy in the subtle bodies which generally lies dormant, and which can be awakened by various Yoga practices.

Laya Yoga - Laya is "dissolution" in Sanskrit; Laya is the steady contemplation of an object until the sense of an individual self merges with the object. In the Hatha Yoga tradition, Laya Yoga is performed on the chakras, or on nada, the inner sound that arises in one's perception as a result of practice.

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Lingam - Sanskrit for "phallus". Often used in Yoga to symbolize the masculine aspects of consciousness.

Manas - Sanskrit word describing the concrete mind - the mind of thoughts and feelings.

Mantra - A specific sound used as an object of meditation. Composed of single or multiple syllables, uttered aloud or silently. The seed syllable OM is perhaps the most famous example of mantra, although each of the chakras have their own mantra as well - all of which are employed in Hatha Yoga.

Mental Projection - The phenomenon of projecting one's conscious awareness out beyond the limits of the physical senses, to perceive events distant in space and/or time. Unlike its related phenomenon, astral projection, this occurs without much emotional affect; more of a detached, objective observation.

See also: astral projection

Meridian - Term used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to describe the nadi system.

See also: nadis

Microcosmic Orbit - Taoist term describing the nadis (energetic channels) which carry energy in a loop around the center line of the head, torso, and trunk. This looping effect is not stressed as much in Hatha Yoga as it is in Taoist Yoga; generally, in Hatha Yoga more emphasis is placed on the upward rising of prana (energy) along the spine. Circulation of energy along the Microcosmic Orbit is a technique for raising Kundalini energy.

See also: nadis, prana, Kundalini

Mohenjo-Daro - Major urban settlement of the Indus Valley civilization, which flourished in India and Pakistan in the 4th - 2nd centuries BCE. Mohenjo-Daro is actually located in what is modern Pakistan, although India considers it to be an important part of it cultural and religious heritage.

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