3HO: the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving humanity through the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and the 3HO lifestyle as taught by Yogi Bhajan. www.3ho.org.
4 Pillars of Sikh Dharma: There are four main practices within Sikh Dharma. Bana – dressing to represent your grace and spirit; Bani – chanting and singing the Sound Current of the Shabad Guru; Seva – selfless service to others; and Simran – one-pointed meditation where the mind intermixes and surrenders to the Divine Identity within you.
Ajna: see Brow Point
Akal: deathless, undying
Akal Takhat: Literally: Throne of the Deathless. The Akal Takhat was established as an institution to protect the spiritual and earthly sovereignty of the Sikh community.
Akhand Path: A continuous recitation of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, lasting about 48 hours, by a team of readers.
Akashic Records: Etheric records where all actions and thoughts are recorded
Ambrosial Hours: also known as the Amrit Vela. The 2½ hours before sunrise. Said to be the best time of day to meditate and pray. Find out More
Amrit: nectar of bliss; blessed water used for Sikh baptism. Read More
Amrit Ceremony (Amrit Sanchar): the Sikh baptism ceremony Find out More
Amrit Vela: also known as the Ambrosial Hours. The 2½ hours before sunrise. The best time of day to meditate and pray. Find out More
Amritsar: city in northwest India founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, and home of the Golden Temple
Anand: soulful bliss
Apana: the eliminating force of the body; the outgoing breath
Aquarian Age: Age of “I know. I want to experience;” beginning on November 11, 2012; an Age of expanded awareness obtained through direct experience. Find out More
Arc Line: the 6th energy body extends from one earlobe across the hairline and brow to the other earlobe and represents the projecting power of prayer
Asana: yogic posture
Ashram: a spiritual community or home where yoga is lived and taught; literally “house of the teacher”
Aura: the energy field that surrounds and interpenetrates the body, also called the electromagnetic field
Ayurveda: a holistic system of medicine, from the Sanskrit words meaning “life” and “knowledge,” or the knowledge of life
Baisakhi: Sikh holiday commemorating the birth of the Khalsa and the spirit of renewal. For more information, see The First Baisakhi.
Bana: traditional Sikh clothing
Bandh: lock or knot
Bangara, Bhangra: lively Indian folk dancing
Bani: sacred Sikh prayer
Beads of Truth: a Dharmic magazine published in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s View Beads of Truth Articles
Bhai Sahib or Bhai Sahiba: A reverent title given to honor a Sikh for his or her spiritual insight and knowledge.
Bhakti Yoga: yogic path of devotion
Bharat: a Hindi name of the republic of India.
Bij Mantra: seed sound, Sat Nam
Bole So Nihal: “The one who speaks shall be blessed.” Traditionally called out at occasions when a unifying Sikh affirmation is desired. The answering call is Sat Siri Akal “Great undying Truth.”
Breath of Fire: continuous rapid nostril breathing, two to three breaths per second, while pulling the navel point in on the exhale and relaxing it on the inhale
Brow Point: To focus at the Brow Point, close the eyes and focus at the root of the nose, between the eyebrows, and up about 1/8 inch, as if you were looking at a small blackboard on the inside of your forehead; also called the Ajna, or Third Eye.
Canon-Fire Breath: powerful exhalation through ‘o’ shaped mouth
Celestial Communication: mudra in motion; meditation with mantra and movement of the arms and upper body
Chakras: eight energy centers located at the base of the spine, sex organs, navel point, center of the chest between the nipples, throat, brow point, crown of the head, and electromagnetic field surrounding the body
Chapati: Indian flat bread
Chardi Kala: high spirits
Corpse Pose (Savasana): Lie on the back, arms at the sides, palms facing up, ankles uncrossed. This posture facilitates deep relaxation.
Crown Chakra: the seventh chakra at the top of the head
Darshan: blessing by seeing or being seen
Dasvandh: Das means ten, Vandh means to give; the principle of tithing: if you give to Infinity, Infinity will give back to you tenfold. For more information, see Dasvandh and Prosperity .
Dharma: spiritual path
Diaphragm Lock: see Uddiyana Bandh
Easy Pose: a comfortable, cross-legged, sitting position; Sukhasan
Ek Ong Kar: translation- “There is One Creator who created the Creation.”
Electromagnetic Field: see aura
Frog Pose: Squat down on the toes. The heels are touching, and off the ground. Put the fingertips on the ground between the knees. Keep the head up. Inhale as you raise the hips up, keeping the fingers on the ground, the heels up, and the knees straight. Exhale and come squatting back down to the starting position.
Full Lotus: from Easy Pose, bring one foot up onto the opposite thigh. Then bring the other foot up onto the other thigh
Gatka: a Sikh martial art form
Golden Chain: the chain of teachers that forms the channel through which the energy, wisdom, and protection of the tradition of Kundalini Yoga flows
Golden Temple: most revered and sacred Sikh temple in the world, located in Amritsar, India; also called the Harimander Sahib
Golden Temple Inc.: A company created by Yogi Bhajan in the 1970s which was a manufacturer of Peace Cereals, Yogi Tea, Golden Temple Bulk Granola, Wha Guru Chews, and other natural food and health products. The company is now called East West Tea Company
Gunas: the three fundamental attributes or qualities that permeate and infuse all life: sattva (essence), rajas (activity), tamas (inertia)
Gurbani: sacred language based on the power of the sound current
Gurdwara: Sikh temple or place of worship, the “gate of the Guru”
Gurmukh: a person who flows with the integrity of the Guru’s words.
Gurmukhi: the sacred language based on the transformative power of the sound current
Guru: Literally “that which takes you from darkness to light” or “teacher.” Guru has a number of related meanings. Depending on the context, it can refer to one of the ten Sikh Gurus, or the Siri Guru Granth Sahib-sacred writings of enlightened beings. The Sikhs had ten living Gurus, and the 10th Guru transferred the Guruship to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Arjan Dev: the 5th Sikh Guru, known for self-sacrifice Read More
Guru Gobind Singh: the tenth Sikh Guru, known for his royal courage and radiance Read More
Guru Nanak: the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, a saint and minstrel, and the founder of the Sikh lifestyle Read More
Guru Ram Das: the 4th Sikh Guru, the embodiment of compassion, humility, integrity and service, known for his healing power as “The Lord of Miracles” Read More
Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology: a foundation based in Espanola, New Mexico, which provides health education and instruction in yoga and meditation to persons with chronic or life-threatening illness, training for health professionals to use these techniques in their practice, and which conducts research into the medical effects of Kundalini Yoga
Gyan Mudra: the tips of the thumbs and index fingers touch and the rest of the fingers are straight; activates the wisdom and knowledge areas of the brain
Gyan Yoga: yogic path of the intellect
Har: one of the names of God in His creative aspect; the ‘a’ is short and sounds like the ‘u’ in ‘mud’ and the ‘r’ is rolled as in Spanish
Heart Center: area around the heart that corresponds to the Heart Chakra
Heart Chakra: the fourth chakra; center of love and compassion; located at heart level in the center of the chest
Hemkunt: A saced lake at an altitude of 4,329 metres in the Indian Uttarkhand Himalayas bordering Tibet and Nepal. In his previous incarnation, the 10th Sikh Master meditated at this place and achieved union with the Divine. For more information on Hemkunt, click here.
Ida: One of the three major channels (nadis) for subtle energy in the body. It is associated with the flow of breath through the left nostril and represents the qualities of the moon—calmness, receptivity, coolness, and imagination. It is associated with the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system but is not identical to it nor derived from it.
Jaap Sahib: Sikh prayer written in praise of God by the 10th Guru Read about the Sikh prayers “banis”
Jalandhar Bandh: Neck Lock; stretch the back of the neck gently straight by pulling the chin straight back and lifting the chest
Jaap: recitation/repetition of God’s Name
Japji: the first of five daily Sikh prayers recited to connect one to one’s own soul Read More About Japji
Jetha: a group of travelers on a spiritual journey, usually musicians
Kali Yug: the current period of the world time cycle lasting 432,000 years; the age of conflict
Karma: the cosmic law of cause and effect, action and reaction
Karma Yoga: selfless action without thought of reward
Khalsa: those who live by their inner purity and light; those who are pure of heart
Khalsa Panth: the collective body of all baptized Sikhs, who have taken the Amrit of Guru Gobind Singh, and agree to live by the highest ideals of Sikh principles
Kirtan: sacred music
Kriya: combination of posture, mudra, mantra, breathing, and rhythm; literally means completed action; a kriya can one exercise or a specific sequence of exercises
Kundalini: from the root word ‘kundal’ in Sanskrit, meaning “the lock of the hair from the beloved;” The uncoiling of this “hair” is the awakening of the Kundalini, the unlimited potential that already exists in every human
Langar: Free community kitchen open to all, regardless of religious background.
Laya Yoga: a form of meditation using rhythmic mantra patterns and bandhs (locks)
Long Deep Breathing: long, deep, slow rhythmic breath; the abdomen expands to begin the inhale, and contracts to end the exhale
Mahan Tantric: Master of White Tantric Yoga. The Mahan Tantric is the only person qualified to conduct White Tantric Yoga courses and there can be only one living Mahan Tantric at any one time
Mala: a string of beads used as a meditation too.
Mantra: a syllable or combination of syllables that help focus the mind
Maya: the illusion of the reality of sensory experience of one’s self and the world
Miri Piri: Principle established by the sixth Master in Sikh Dharma, Guru Hargobind. It means that the community of Spiritual Seekers are soverign in their relationship with the Divine. And are self-governing in their earthly affairs.
Miri Piri Academy: an international elementary-high school in Amritsar, India that promotes the development of leadership skills
Mudra: yogic hand position
Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba (MSS): Minsterial title from Sikh Dharma International given to a woman who has done exceptional service to the community. Indicates an elder in the Sikh Dharma International ministry.
Mukhia Singh Sahib (MSS): Ministerial title from Sikh Dharma International given to a man who has done exceptional service to the community. Indicates an elder in the Sikh Dharma International ministry.
Mulbandh: Root Lock, used to close off the lower three chakras, allowing the Kundalini energy to flow upwards; simultaneously contract the muscles of the rectum, sex organs, lower abdomen, and Navel Point
Naad: sacred sound current; basic sound for all languages originating from the sound current
Nam: noun, true identity
Neck Lock: see Jalandhar Bandh
Neutral Mind: the mind that judges and assesses without attachment in relation to either fear or wishful thinking; it observes the actions of both the negative and positive minds, and then makes decisions in relationship to the higher self
Nirvana: characterized by bliss and freedom; letting go of ego, passion, and desire; liberation
Panj Piaray (Five Beloved Ones): the first five initiated Sikhs, during the Baisakhi clelbrations of 1699, who volunteered to give up their lives as a sign of their faith and love for their Guru. The names of these five men were: Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, Mohkam Singh, Himmat Singh and Sahib Singh. For more information, see The First Baisakhi.
Parkarma: walkway surrounding the Golden Temple
Patanjali: the first yogi to record the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written in the second century B. C.
Pauri: steps of knowledge guiding one to experience God consciousness; also used in Sikh prayers to indicate a verse of spiritual poetry.
Pingala: One of the three major channels (nadis) for subtle energy in the body. It is associated with the flow of breath through the right nostril and represents the qualities of the sun—energy, heat, action, and projective power. It is associated with the functions of the sympathetic nervous system but is not identical to it or derived from it.
Piscean Age: Age of “I want to know. I need to learn.”
Prakirti: feminine aspect of the Divine. Creative primal power.
Prana: the life force or vital air above the navel center
Pranayam: yogic breathing technique
Prashad (Prashaad): Guru’s gift (often meaning blessed food)
Pratyahar: consciously and analytically directing your mind towards the Infinite
Purkha: masculine aspect of the Divine. Indicates strength, courage and protection.
Raga: traditional Sikh and Indian spiritual music in a tonal system in which variations are improvised within a prescribed framework of progressions, melodic formulas, and rhythmic patterns
Ragi: one who plays sacred Sikh music
Raj Yoga: royal path of yoga; mental path
Ram Das Puri: the name of the land where the Summer Solstice Celebration in held, in the foothills outside of Espanola, New Mexico. Visit our calendar for more information about Summer Solstice
Rehit Maryada: the rules and traditions which define the Sikh way of life
Rishi: a sage or saint
Rishi Dusht Dawan: the name of the previous incarnation of the 10th Sikh Master. Rish Dusht Dawan meditated at Hemkunt, attained union with the Divine, and then came back as Guru Gobind Rai later to be baptized as Guru Gobind Singh.
Rock Pose: sitting on your heels; Vajrasan
Root Lock: see Mulbandh
Sadhana: daily spiritual practice. Find out More
Sangat: community of like-minded people
Sardarni Sahiba (SS): title given to a woman who has become an ordained Sikh minister through Sikh Dharma International. Find out more about the Ministry
Sat Nam: true identity
Sat Nam Rasayan: ancient healing art based on the application of the meditative transcendent mind; from Sanskrit meaning “universal remedy of manifested truth;” “deep relaxation in the true identity”
Sattva: one of the three gunas or qualities meaning pure, calm, and clear
Sensory Human: the fully-functioning human, intuitively aware, self-validated, and authentic Read Lecture on Sensory Human
Seva: selfless service. For more information, see Seva – Selfless Service.
Sevadar: One who serves selflessly, without payment or thought of reward.
SGPC: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Governing body for Sikh Gurdwaras in India.
Shabad: sound current, Divine word
Shabad Guru: sacred volume of writings and source of spiritual wisdom and guidance Find out more
Shakti: woman; feminine, creative aspect of God Find out more
Shuniya: a state of stillness where the ego is neutralized and the Universe flows through you
Shushmanaa (or Sushmuna): One of the three major channels (nadis) for subtle energy in the body. It is associated with the central channel of the spine and is the place of neutrality through which the Kundalini travels when awakened. When mantra is vibrated from this place it has the power of soul and consciousness.
Sikh: literally a seeker of Truth Find out More
Sikh Dharma: the youngest of the major world religions, founded by Guru Nanak and based on belief in one God, conscious living, equality of humankind, and respect for all religions Find out More
Singh: middle or last name given to a man who becomes a Sikh and/or takes Amrit. Singh means Lion.
Singh Sahib (SS): title given to a man who has become an ordained Sikh minister through Sikh Dharma International. Find out more about the Ministry
Siri Guru Granth Sahib: revered as the living Guru for Sikhs, a volume containing the sacred words of many enlightened beings who wrote while in a state of union with the Divine; source of spiritual wisdom and guidance Read More
Siri Singh Sahib: Chief Religious and Spiritual Authority for Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere. Title give to Harbhana Singh Khalsa Yogiji in 1971 by the then-president of the SGPC, Sant Charan Singh. Read More
Subtle Body: characterized by intuitive knowing and mastery; carries the soul at the time of death
Summer Solstice: annual Kundalini Yoga camp held in New Mexico by 3HO at the time of the summer solstice. Visit our calendar for more information about Summer Solstice
SuperHealth: a de-addiction program based on Kundalini Yoga, meditation, and the 3HO lifestyle. Find out more here
Sutra: section from the scriptures; thread
Tattwas: qualities associated with earth, water, fire, air, and ether
Tapasia: one who practices the yogic approach to the “inner fire” that burns and clears the karmas.
Third Eye: see Brow Point
Uddiyana Bandh: Diaphragm Lock, applied on the exhale by lifting the chest and pulling the diaphragm muscle (the area above the navel) up and in
Upanishads: writings which form the last section of the literature of the Vedas, composed beginning 900 B.C.; the basis for the later philosophical schools of Vedanta.
Vedanta: one of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy
Vedas: ancient Hindu scriptures
Venus Lock: Mudra with fingers interlaced. For men, the right thumb tip presses on the Mound of Venus (base of the thumb) of the left hand, with the left thumb tip resting on the webbing between the thumb and index finger of the right hand. For wormen, the mudra is reversed.
Wahe Guru: Indescribable wisdom
White Tantric Yoga: meditation workshop for healing and transmuting subconscious thought patterns and expanding awareness, and taught only by the Mahan Tantric. Find out more here
Yatra: spiritual journey
Yoga: union; the science of yoking or uniting the individual consciousness with the Universal consciousness
Yogiji: term of respect and affection used to address or refer to Yogi Bhajan Read More Here
Yogi Tea: a healing formula made from cinnamon, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, and milk; the original recipe also calls for black tea
Yogini: a female student of yoga
Yuga: the Sanskrit term for an ‘Age’ meaning one of the four periods into which the world time cycle is divided: Sat Yug (Golden Age), Treta Yug (Silver Age), Doapar Yug (Copper Age), and Kali Yug (Steel Age)