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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: GLOSSARY

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Pranayama - Sanskrit for "control of breath/energy"; describes various breathing techniques designed to develop mastery over breath retention and the flow of energy in the body. This is the 4th stage of the 8-stage Yoga of Yoga Sutra.

See also: Yoga Sutra

Pratyahara - Sanskrit for "withdrawal"; describes the phenomenon of withdrawal of the external senses into an interiorized state. This is the 5th stage of the 8-stage Yoga of Yoga Sutra.

See also: Yoga Sutra

Raja Yoga - A branch of Yoga which focuses on techniques of mental concentration, meditation, and absorption. Stands in contrast to Hatha Yoga, which incorporates body-oriented techniques in addition to contemplative practices. Often used to describe the last 3 stages of the 8-stage Yoga of Yoga Sutra.

See also: Hatha yoga, Yoga Sutra

Samadhi - Sanskrit compound meaning "to acquire integration"; describes the state of absorption usually achieved as a result of meditative stabilization. There are several levels of samadhi described in the yogic texts, ranging from a general inner state of quiet, to perception of formless, nondual existence. This is the 8th and final stage of the 8-stage Yoga of Yoga Sutra.

See also: Yoga Sutra

Samkhya - One of the oldest of the 6 classical philosophical systems of India. A dualist philosophy which views all existence as divided between two aspects: Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter). Considered to have had a strong influence on the development of Yoga philosophy.

Sen Lines - Term used in Thai Massage and Thai Yoga to describe the nadi system.

See also: nadis

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Shatkarma - Sanskrit compound meaning "six actions"; in the Hatha Yoga system, refers to the six classes of bodily purification techniques used along with asana in the preparatory stages of Yoga practice.

See also: dhauti, basti, neti, trataka, nauli, kapalabhati

Soma - The Indian version of the nectar of immortality. In the context of Hatha Yoga, refers to secretions which emanate from the upper palate, which contain rejuvenating powers. Some Hatha Yoga techniques are designed to stimulate and preserve these secretions.

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Trataka - Sanskrit for "to look or gaze"; a technique in which the practitioner focuses the gaze on a chosen point (either internal or external), with the aim of developing single-pointed concentration, as well as for purifying the eyes and related energetic channels. One of the 6 purifying actions of the Shatkarma system in Hatha Yoga.

See also: shatkarma

Uddiyana Bandha - Spiderman

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