Essential Vocabulary (Yoga & Meditation)

Here are a few of the terms, derived from Sanskrit, an ancient language used today, by yogis. Many of the mantras used in meditation derive from Sanskrit, the successive and repeated chanting of mantras is effective in giving the mind something to focus on to prevent wandering while attempting to achieve a state of inner peace. When we quiet our minds, we open up the channels, or chakras, that allow the divine to flow through us. This is what allows intuitive insights and the natural problem solving ability that comes from within. We already have access to all the answers to any questions we seek to resolve. We just need to put the question out there, get quiet and wait for the response to surface. So, in order to do so, we repeat a particular sound, i.e. “Om” or series of sounds which become mantras, eliciting the aid of the universe to understand our predicament, and deliver the appropriate response to us.

Following are basic terms and their respective loose definitions:

First a basic understanding that the entire universe is made up of universal energy, atoms, molecules, cells, within and outside our physical bodies, therefore, this energy is interactive throughout the universe. We, and every component of our physical, mental and emotional beings is innately connected with every other aspect of the universe.

Om = A chanted mantra which gathers the force of the universe to your aid. It represents the entire cacophony of the sounds of the universe. Incidentally, my Ashtanga yoga instructor recently informed us that scientists have recorded the vibrational sounds of the sun recently, and it sounds like “Om.”
Shanti = Peace
Namasté = “The divine in me greets the divine in you.”
Mudra, or Mudra of Calm = when you put your index finger and your thumb together, which resembles the “OK” sign made with your hands. Backs of hands usually resting on knees in a sitting pose, palms up- opening up to the universe.
Asana = pose- a series of asanas are stringed together in a logical sequence of poses to form a yoga practice.
Yoga = a form of meditative practice focusing on particular postures/poses/asanas, which induce calm, strengthen and increase flexibility in the physical body, which is the vessel of the soul, during the soul’s human experience.
Meditation = a practice of finding one’s own calm and inner peace which strengthens every aspect of life, including the body’s ability to heal, the mind’s ability to problem-solve and the search for personal pursuit of purpose and passion. It alleviates tension, improves sleep, allows the brain to function optimally and without distraction. It’s a vehicle for the soul to most proficiently utilize the vessel (body and mind) to achieve life’s purpose.
Chakra = there are multiple chakras or energy access points along meridian points aligned with the nervous system, the 7 main chakras are aligned with the spinal column starting at the Root Chakra (red), located at the base of the spine, next is the Sacral Chakra (orange) located just above the pubic bone, 3rd is the Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow) located in the gastrointestinal area of the spine, followed by the Heart Chakra (green), the Throat Chakra (blue), Third Eye Chakra (indigo) located just above and between the eyes in the center of the forehead, and finally the Crown Chakra (white or violet) located at the soft spot on the top of the skull. Each of these chakras is significantly related to the part of the body it is located in the vicinity of, as well as being associated with certain emotions, physical and mental stresses and life pursuits, i.e. areas of soul work to be accomplished. Each chakra represents an energy center and emanates a colored light/frequency. The chakras must remain open and spinning, dispensing energy in order for the body to heal, the mind to center and the soul’s ease. When we become blocked, we are stuck and may not find the answers we seek, and may also experience physical ailments associated with the chakra that is stressed and out of balance.

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