Aum (or Om) is a Sanskrit syllable. It is found in several religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, or Brahmanism.
This sound is considered to be the divine primitive vibration of the Universe which represents all existence. The original sound from which the Universe would have structured.
The AUM syllable therefore represents the totality of what exists, as well as the Hindu trinity:
The letter A represents the beginning, the birth, and the creator god Brahma.
The letter U represents continuation, life, and the god Vishnu
And the letter M represents the end, death, and the destructive god Shiva.
The pronunciation of Aum is sometimes described as follows: first A emerges from the back of the throat, towards the palate, then U rolls on the tongue and M ends on the lips.
A symbolizes wakefulness, U, dream, M, sleep. Awakening corresponds to the fourth step: silence, departure and rebirth of Being.
This is the first syllable of the famous Aum Mani Padme Hum mantra.
Sanskrit is the sacred language of ancient India, many terms of which are now frequently used in the world of yoga and wellness in general.
With our little Sanskrit lexicon, enter a mysterious world of infinite wisdom!
AHIMSA: This term, popularized by Gandhi, means “non-violence” and “benevolence towards all creatures”. This is the first principle of “yamas”, the codified rules guiding yogis on their path of life.
ASANA: Literally “yoga posture, or sitting”.
ASHRAM: spiritual community gathered around a sage.
AUM or OM: primordial vibration of the universe, link between interior and exterior. Represents the four degrees of reality: waking (A), dreaming (U), deep sleep (M) and turya or silence.
AYURVEDA: From “ayur”, “life” and “veda”, “knowledge”, Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India which dates from the Vedic period. According to Ayurveda, Matter is composed of five elements (the tattvas): earth (prithivi), water (apas), fire (tejas), air (vayu) and ether (akasha). These elements come together in three combinations to form what are called “doshas”, which determine the different “types” of people.
BANDHAS: Energy locks in the physical body that yogis use to hold life energy. The three main bandhas are mulabandha (at the level of the root chakra); uddyanabandha (at the level of the diaphragm) and jalandharabandha, (at the level of the throat).
CHAKRAS: The chakras are the energy centers, located along the spine. They are often symbolized by lotuses (padma).
DHARMA: this term designates the natural law, the duty, the wheel of the journey of life.
GUNAS: the material world is made up of three qualities which are the “gunas”. These three qualities are present in living beings and food: “tamas” = laziness and resistance; “Rajas” = energy and movement; “Sattva” = balance and purity.
GURU: “Gu” means shadow and “ru” means light. The guru is a master, a teacher who guides us from shadow to light.
KARMA: means “action”, “movement of energy”. Karma is the law of cause and effect (or law of causation).
KOSHAS: The five envelopes of the human being: the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies.
LILA: the divine ballet or “game” of the physical world.
MALA: Hindu rosary. In general, the mala is made up of 108 pearls, a sacred number in yogic mythology. Often composed of natural stones and seeds, it is used to count breaths or mantras.
MANDALA: literally “center, circle, unity and totality”. Mandalas are geometric designs widely used as a medium for meditation.
MANTRA: It is a phrase, sequence of words or syllables, repeated while singing, and / or meditating. This practice is based on the power of repetition.
MAYA: It is the illusion of the physical world and the main cause of our suffering.
MOKSHA: Refers to the liberation of the soul, when it has completed its cycle of reincarnations.
MUDRA: Sacred gestures performed with the hands and fingers. The practice of mudras helps to raise vibrational energy.
NAMASTA: This is a greeting commonly used in India and in yoga classes as a sign of gratitude, benevolence and peace.
NIRVANA: Refers to the liberation of a being from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). The self is no longer separated from the rest of creation and with this state comes intense happiness. This is the goal of the Buddhist and Hindu spiritual journey.
PRANA: This Sanskrit word means indifferently “vital breath”, “energy of life”, “light”.
PRANAYAMA: “control” or “mastery” of “prana” ie the breathing techniques of yoga.
PUJA: Offering to the statues representing the Gods: chanting of mantras, garlands of flowers, fruits, sacred woods, milk, rice, water, incense…
SADHU: Holy man who gave up earthly pleasures to pursue a spiritual quest.
SATYA: Means “truth” in the sense of “sincerity”.
SHANTI: This Sanskrit word often sung by yogis literally means “peace”.
SUTRA: Short philosophical texts which expose a sacred knowledge.
SVASTIKA: Very ancient and powerful symbol of luck and protection. It was used by the Nazis who gave it an extremely negative connotation, but today it needs to be given back its true meaning.
VEDAS: Very ancient sacred texts from India.
YOGA: Indian ancestral art of self-knowledge. Yoga is a holistic practice aimed at training the body, the breath and the mind. It aims for the union of the self and the divine.
YOGI (male), YOGINI (female): practitioner of Yoga
Ganesha or Ganapati is a cross between the human and divine worlds. His body is that of a man while his head is that of an elephant. His mount, Mushaka, is a tiny rat.
Known as the god of wealth, wisdom and luck, traders, travelers and the household. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati.
Ganesh protects from any obstacles and unawareness, and it is customary to make an offering in the form of of flowers (preferably red), fruit (bananas, coconuts, mangoes …), plants, lamps, candles and incense, as well as treats, which he loves before one foregoes an examination, a trip, or a ceremony.
A warm and welcoming god, Ganesh is extremely popular in India and as He is seen in temples, houses, shops, restaurants…
His favorite days are Tuesday and Friday.
Other names of Ganesh are: Ganapati: Lord of Ganas Vinyaka: Best guide Gajnara: Elephant Head
The third eye corresponds according to oriental traditions to the sixth chakra. It is found in various cultures and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and most meditative practices.
People of India often wear on their foreheads a bindi, bindu or tikal, which symbolizes and materializes the third eye, and its Sanskrit name is “Ajn”.
But what really is the third eye?
The third eye is a mystical and esoteric metaphor for the inner gaze, beyond the physical eyes, and more generally for the spiritual awakening.
It is located on the forehead, between the two eyes. It’s the other look, the real look, that of knowing yourself and the world around you. It would also be the centre of the soul.
The third eye scientifically corresponds to the pineal gland, which is connected to the nose, ears, and the nervous system. It is connected to the hypothalamus, the “heart” of our brain.
The seat of intuition
When its functioning is optimal, the third eye is the source of many gifts and capacities: increased perceptions, clairvoyance, and intense intuition.
We find our ability to make clear choices, and to know what we really want in our life. We are “inspired”.
When this chakra is not functional, we are unfortunately more egocentric, interested and frightened. We stay focused on our habits and our security without any real possibility of evolution. We cannot calmly accept the vagaries of existence.
Opening of consciousness
Opening the third eye raises awareness, and we become more lucid. We then better understand the thrue essence of the human being, and the meaning of life and death.
How to activate the third eye?
Its proper functioning would be degraded by the heavy metals accumulated in our body, such as fluorine and calcium. But to activate the third eye there are several methods, you can for example place an intense blue color stone, like a sodalite, or massage it with a drop of essential oil of dill, immortelle or palmarosa.
So, are you ready to open your third eye and activate your inner sun?
Mudras are hands gestures whose origin goes back to ancient India, several millennia ago.
According to the ancient tradition, our five fingers represent the five building blocks, or the five main elements of the universe (called Panchamahabhootas ).
The thumb is connected to the Fire (Agni)
The forefinger is linked to the Air (Vayu)
The middle finger is connected to the Ether, the Sky (Akasha)
The ring finger is connected to the Earth (Prithvi)
The little finger is connected to the Water (Jala)
It is worth mentioning that the 5 elements do not refers to the same concepts in the Indian and Chinese culture, the correspondences also change (learn more about the 5 Chinese elements here).
Murdas is practiced by creating, with one’s fingers, particular forms that generate energy and subtle vibrations that care for the body and the mind.
It also includes the principle of Asanas (postures of yoga). Moreover, mudras are often referred to as ” finger yoga”.
Practiced regularly, the mudras improve our general health, and harmony body-spirit-universe.
Mudras are omnipresent in Hindu dances, especially the dances that talk about the story of the manifestation of God in the universe.
Each mudra has a deep meaning and has a share of the magic of Life.
The Sanskrit word ‘mudra’ means ‘sign’ or ‘seal’. It comes from the terms: ‘mud’ which means ‘bliss’, happiness and ‘dhra’ which means ‘dissolution’.
Each finger has its own function and power in the body. Used properly it can help maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health.
When the fingers touch, the ‘nadis’ (energy channels) are connected and some energies are activated. The different elements that make up our body and the whole universe can associate and cooperate.
Our hands can replace our eyes in the dark, they can also be used to communicate with our fellow humans and with the rest of the universe. Our hands are the first means of expression before one learn how to speak!
Our destiny rests in our hands, and this expression is to be taken literally and figuratively.
With Hakini Mudra, the five energetic channels are equally activated.
Dharmachakra mudra is the gesture of the turning wheel of life.
Padma mudra or lotus seal is excellent to open oneself to universal love.
The god Shiva is known under numerous names and forms.
One of its forms is Shiva Nataraja. It embodies the cosmic dancer who rhythms the entire universe, alternating phases of creation and destruction.
In Sanskrit, “nata” means “dance” and “raja” stands for “king”.
In India, dance is considered as a means to reach ecstasy and unite with the heavenly. Shiva Nataraja is the dance god and it is worshiped by Hindu’s musicians and dancers.
The Nataraja temple is located in Chidambaram (60km south of Pondicherry) and is entirely dedicated to Shiva. On the stone of the temple is carved Bharata Natyam poses, south Indian sacred classical dance, directly inspired by Shiv sacred dance. The legend goes that this temple was built on the spot where Shiva performed the tandâva in front of the Dârukavana forest’s elders.
The tandâva is “the bliss dance” that endlessly creates and re-creates the universe. This cosmic dance symbolizes the world’s periodic renewal.
To Hindus, dance is older than the world itself because its Shiva’s dance that created the world. To dance is also the grandest way to please the gods. When dancing, one lets their inspiration and creativity and reconcile with the universe’s vibrations.
This facet of Shiva shows its tireless energy – which can be passive or active, static or dynamic with an internal or external focus because what is happening in the universe can also be experienced in the intimacy of one’s being and Nataraja is the cosmic dancer, it is also the god that dance in the hearts of men.