As you learn about Kundalini Yoga, you will notice that there are many unique terms and words in the practice. You need not be confused by the terminology that you come across. To help you understand their meaning, here’s a full glossary:
Asanas: Positions that you hold during your Kundalini Yoga practice. The word translates as “seat” and is a core part of many yogic and spiritual practices worldwide.
Ananda: Translating as “bliss” or “exquisite joy,” this is the name of teachings that we use within the world of Kundalini Yoga.
Aromatherapy: Within Kundalini Yoga, we use various scents to embolden our journey. The collective name for this part of the practice is aromatherapy.
Bandha (body lock): Body locks engage different muscles to create a firm shape. The movement and poses allow you to quickly create a level of tension within the body. You can apply these to help direct the prana (also known as the “lifeforce”).
Buddha: This word translates as both “awakened” and “enlightened”. In historical terms, Buddha was the founder of Buddhism, a spiritual practice and way of life.
Breath of Fire: Quick and forceful breathing done through the nostrils. Breath of Fire increases your lung capacity and also gives you more energy.
Chakra: The energy systems of the body. There are eight chakras in the realms of Kundalini Yoga. The word translates as “wheel” and allows us to understand how energy moves and is used throughout the human body.
Citta: Translating as “mind,” this word represents your current mindset. You may use certain meditative practices to release or change your citta.
Diaphragm lock (Uddiyana Bandha): This is a body lock that quickly energizes the lower chakras to increase circulation. It is only done when your breath is completely exhaled. You draw your navel area back and press the lower-mid spine forward.
Dharma: This is the name given to the cosmic laws that guide us. When you are living in dharma, it means that you are following the path suited to your spirit. It is all about the virtues of the right way of living and following your inner truth each day.
Dukkha: This word describes the pain that each of us feel when we are dissatisfied with our everyday lives. It can translate as “suffering” or simply “pain” of mundaneness.
Gong bath: Also known as a sound bath, this meditative practice includes the sounds of the gong or other ancient noises. To participate in this type of session, you will be literally “bathed in sound,” allowing it to envelope every part of your being.
Guru: In Sanskrit, this term translates as bringing light to the darkness. A guru is a person who is a teacher or master of their craft. You may decide to call your Kundalini Yoga teacher by this name should you find that it fits the relationship you have.
Gyan mudra: This hand position is when the index finger and thumb touch together. It is about bringing together our ego (thumb) and wisdom (finger). The mudra is often used as part of a wider meditation or Kundalini Yoga practice.
Har: Har is the word we give to infinite power — or what some people call “God”. You will find that this word is used in many of the mantras in Kundalini Yoga.
Kirtan: This is the name that we give to a religious and spiritual event. The occasion brings together many of the most joyous parts of practice. That is singing and dancing.
Kriya (exercise set): In Kundalini Yoga, a kriya is an exercise set. The movements flow from one position to another. You may practice a wide range of kriyas, each of which gives their own benefits and rewards. Often enough, you will work toward a certain outcome.
Kundalini awakening: Also known as a spiritual awakening, this is cosmic shift that occurs along the way on your journey. The spiritual change reverberates through every part of your physical and spiritual body, allowing you to become reborn.
Kundalini energy: Each of us has Kundalini energy inside us. It is the creative potential that is coiled at the base of your spine, much like a serpent. As you practice Kundalini Yoga, you start to unleash this remarkable potential and it moves within your being.
Mantra: Mantras (or chants) are sound vibrations that can transform your consciousness. Many meditation practices and exercise sets will also include an element of mantra. Each of these chants has a different outcome and will bring you new benefits when you use it.
Mudra: These hand positions are a series of traditional symbols we make when we are practising. Each one offers different outcomes and they are a part of your toolkit.
Navel center: The navel center is the point where energy transforms within the body. It is positioned a few inches below your actual navel. It may also be called the navel point.
Neck lock (Jalandhar Bandha): Helping you get into a state of deep relaxation, the neck lock requires you to sit with a straight spine, lift your chest and tuck in your chin. You need to keep your neck as straight as you can when applying this banda.
Prana: Prana is the name that we give to the lifeforce that is in all of us. It is often associated with the breath and various breathing exercises.
Pranayama (breathwork): Pranayama is a type of breathwork that we use to direct the prana, or lifeforce. There are many exercises that you can use to increase your power.
Root lock (Mula Bandha): The root lock is similar to kegel exercises and requires you to contract the muscles in your pelvis. This lock helps to strengthen that area of your body.
Sadhana: This is a practice that we use at the start of the day — during the ambrosial hours. It is a personal Kundalini Yoga practice that can include a variety of elements. You use this particular discipline to help support your mind, body, and soul.