Linga sharira is the subtle body within Hinduism’s three-body philosophy. From Sanskrit, linga translates to “reason,” “characteristic” or “conclusion,” and sharira means “body.” This body is considered to contain all vital functions and keeps the physical (gross) body alive. It is believed to exist after an individual dies and operate as a medium for reincarnation.
Within a spiritual practice, yogis seek to balance the three bodies through pranayama, meditation and asana.
Dan tien roughly translates as “energy center” or “sea of qi,” where qi is the life force energy. They are areas of the body that are the focus of spiritual energy. Dan tien are an important concept in Taoism and Chinese medicine, and also feature in practices such as qigong, reiki and martial arts. Descriptions in literature of the dan tien date back to the 3rd century C.E.
Many meditative, spiritual and physical practices guide the yogi to focus on the dan tien. To act in a way guided by the dan tien is associated with higher levels of awareness, or samadhi.
Samana vayu (known as “balancing air” in English) is one of the five vayus that make up prana. Samana vayu is believed to exist in the abdomen with the navel as its energy base and oversees the digestion of everything from food to thoughts.
Balancing the samana vayu while practicing yoga poses not only promotes physical strength, but also helps the practitioner move closer to their spiritual aspirations.
Sahaj samadhi is a type of samadhi, or “deep spiritual bliss,” which yogis believe to be their natural state. Many consider sahaj samadhi to be the highest, or the most complete level of samadhi. It is said to be unconditioned, non-dualistic and uncontrived; and, as a state, it is always accessible to the wise and those who have burned their past karma.
Sahaj means “natural” or “effortless.” As such, sahaj samadhi can also refer to a type of meditation practice that yogis consider to be a natural and effortless system of meditation.
Tilak is a mark typically worn on the forehead by Hindus. It is a protective mark as well as a sign that shows religious affiliation.
There are different types of tilak in different sects of Hinduism. In the Vaishnava tradition, the tilak is called urdhva pundra and is usually made of sandalwood paste, clay or vermilion and applied as two lines that form a “U” shape, with a third vertical line in the middle. Saivites usually use a sacred ash, called vibhuti, and apply the tilak as three horizontal lines on the forehead, with a red dot at the center. This tilak is called tripundra. The devotees of Shakti and Devi use red turmeric powder, called kumkum, and draw only one vertical line or dot.
Ekagrata is a Sanskrit term meaning “one-pointed” or “single-minded.” It is a one-pointed focus and pursuit of one matter, undisturbed concentration and absolute attention. In yoga, it is achieved through consistent practice of meditation or abhyasa. Through ekagrata, the yogi is able to eliminate all distractions from their consciousness. Also in yoga, ekagrata helps one keep the mind calm and grounded.
Santosha is the second niyama (“virtue”) described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It denotes contentment and a lack of desire for what others have. The term is derived from the Sanskrit sam, meaning “completely” or “altogether,” and tosha, meaning “contentment” or “acceptance.” Altogether, it may be translated as “complete contentment.”
Santosha is generally considered to be both an attitude and a state of deep inner peace. Through practicing santosha, the yogi is freed from cravings and desires. When they are free from such influences, they are also free to pursue their own calling without fear or manipulation. This is considered an essential part of spiritual development.
Jivanmukti, according to Hindu philosophy, is the state of being spiritually liberated while still alive. The Sanskrit term is derived from the root words, jiva, meaning “life,” and mukti, meaning “freedom.” Jivanmukti is a state in which one possesses limitless knowledge, free from suffering, and enjoys eternal bliss.
The Upanishads link jivanmukti to karma as attaining jivanmukti depends on the karma of Self. The concept of jivanmukti was synthesized by the 14th century sage, Swami Vidyaranya.
Rasayana is a Sanskrit word that translates to “path of essence.” The term is derived from the root words, rasa, meaning “essence,” and ayana meaning “path.”
In Ayurveda, rasayana refers to both the science of promoting longevity and the herbal remedies used to maintain optimal health as well as to reverse the effects of aging. Ayurveda and rasayana go hand-in-hand with yoga to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health. In fact, yoga asanas are considered a type of rasayana.
Jagrat is the Sanskrit term for one of the four states of consciousness of the mind, called avasthas in yogic philosophy. Jagrat is the waking state that people experience whenever they are not asleep. In jagrat, the mind is said to occupy the brain. It perceives external objects in the physical world through the senses, and it also identifies itself with the gross body, which is another external object. The mind in jagrat depends on these outward impressions arriving in its field of perception. In contrast, when the mind is in the dreaming state of consciousness (svapna), it creates its own impressions and objects to perceive, often using memories and ideas recalled from the waking state of jagrat. When the mind returns to jagrat, these dream objects vanish. Yogis believe that in jagrat, although the perception is that one is awake and perceiving reality, this is actually just another dream. In truth, “reality” exists in all the possible states of consciousness.