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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: GLOSSARY

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Upanishads - Ancient texts of esoteric Indian philosophy.

Vaisnava - School of Hinduism marked by its worship of the god Vishnu and his various human incarnations (Rama, Krishna, etc.)

Vayu - Sanskrit for "air" or "wind". Describes the movement of prana through the body (ie. Upward moving, downward moving, etc.) Traditionally split into 5 major Vayus and 5 minor Vayus.

Apana vayu - Governs elimination of waste products, and, more generally, all that which pushes things down and out from the body (giving birth is also facilitated by Apana vayu, for example). Seated in the area of the pelvis.

Prana vayu - Governs the beating of the heart, as well as breathing. Seated in the area of the chest.

Samana vayu - Governs digestion and metabolism, also the regulation of body heat. Seated in the area of the abdomen.

Udana vayu - Governs the vocal chords and vocal expression - speaking, singing, laughing, crying. Represents the upward-rising energies in the body. Seated in the throat and head.

Vyana vayu - Governs the movement of the musculature, also the circulation of energy in the limbs and extremities. Seated throughout the entire body.

Kandarpa vayu - Governs the energies flowing out from kanda, the root of the nadis in the human body.

See also: Kanda

Vedanta - One of the six classical philosophical systems of India. Espouses the belief that the phenomenal world is merely a vast illusion which obscures Brahman, the true reality. Vedanta followers (Vedantins) tend to be wary of the emphasis that Hatha Yogis place on developing the physical body and its energies, as to them they are simply manifestations of the greater illusory nature of the apparent universe.

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Yama - Sanskrit for "death" or "restriction"; in the context of Yoga, refers to any one of a set of self-imposed restraints, such as non-violence or non-theft, which are intended to purify the lifestyle of the aspiring Yogi. This is the 1st stage of the 8-stage Yoga of Yoga Sutra. See also: niyama, Yoga Sutra.

See also: niyama, Yoga Sutra

Yoga - From the Sanskrit "to yoke or unite"; 1. in its broadest sense, describes any system of spiritual practice which aims to develop realization of the inherent unity of all phenomena; 2. one of the 6 categories of classical Indian philosophy (along with Mimamsa, Nyaya, Samkhya, Vaiseshika, and Vedanta), with several branches including Bhakti, Jnana, Karma, and Hatha.

See also: hatha yoga

Yoga Sutra - Ancient treatise on the practice and philosophy of the Yoga system. Outlines the 8-stage Yoga adopted by many modern Hatha Yogis.

See also: Patanjali

Yoni - Sanskrit for "vagina". Often used in Yoga to symbolize the feminine aspect of consciousness. Also a symbol for the resting place, or womb, of Kundalini energy, which lies dormant at the base of the spine (in the Muladhara chakra) until awakened through Yogic practice.

See also: Muladhara chakra

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