Glossary

The mere presence in the dictionary of a word like ‘living’ does not mean it necessarily has to refer to something definite in the real world.

Richard Dawkins

Ahimsa (noun): the ethical principle of not causing harm to other living things (including oneself).

Alchemy (noun): a power or process that changes/transforms something in a mysterious or profound way; the medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter.

Asana (noun): a posture adopted in performing hatha yoga.

Being (noun): absolute existence in a complete or perfect state, lacking no essential characteristic; your essence.

Chakra (noun): any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy.

Coach (noun): an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.

Compassion (noun): concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others;  the ability to feel sorrow over another person’s suffering, and to express that sorrow in a way that is intended to alleviate that suffering.

Connection (noun): a dependence of one phenomenon on another in a certain relationship; when two or more people choose to engage in vulnerable interactions where each person is heard, seen, known and valued.

Dysregulation (noun): a poor ability to manage emotional responses or to keep them within an acceptable range of typical emotional reactions.

Empathy (noun): the ability to sense other people’s emotions; an emotional reaction to another person’s emotion or situation that matches, more or less, what the other person feels or is expected to feel, and that has as its object the other person.

Harmony (noun): gathering different things together and making them balanced – when five tones are harmonious, the sound is audible; when the five colours are harmonious, they become design; when five flavours are harmonious, they are edible; when five elements are harmonious, there is wellness.

Hatha (noun): ha means sun and tha means moon; a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites.

Hero’s Journey (noun): in narratology and comparative mythology, the hero’s journey is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.

Holistic (adjective): characterised by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Illusory (adjective): producing, produced by, or based on illusion; deceptive or unreal.

Immunity (noun): the function that preserves the integrity of the organism in terms of protecting and restoring its individuality; the persistence of a stable, core identity defined in terms of its insularity and autonomy.

Innate (adjective): qualities or characteristics that are part of one’s inner essential nature; inborn.

Integral (adjective): consisting or composed of parts that together constitute a whole.

Integration (noun): a positive psychological development that indicates psychological maturity and may help an individual move past negative habits; the process during which both the individual and collective unconscious are integrated into the personality.

Mantra (noun): a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit, Pali and other languages believed by practitioners to have religious, magical or spiritual powers.

Meditation (noun): a practice whose premise is that a decisive share of the trouble in our minds comes from thoughts and feelings that haven’t been untangled, examined or confronted with sufficient attention; to engage in contemplation or reflection; to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.

Mindfulness (noun): paying attention in the present moment in a particular way on purpose and non judgmentally; bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.

Narrative (noun): cognitive structures and a means of communication, as well as an aid for people in framing and understanding their perceptions of the world.

Parasympathetic (adjective): relating to the part of the autonomic nervous system which balances the action of the sympathetic nerves. It consists of nerves arising from the brain and the lower end of the spinal cord and supplying the internal organs, blood vessels, and glands.

Pilgrimage (noun): a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place.

Pranayama (noun): the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises.

Purpose (verb): one’s intention or objective; (noun): a person’s sense of resolve or determination.

Raja Yoga (noun): a form of yoga intended to achieve control over the mind and emotions.

Re-membering (verb): a special kind of recollection in which ‘members’ or people who belong to one’s life story are ‘re-collected’ and their status and influence ‘re-organised’ in a way that thickens and reinforces the preferred identity story.

Samadhi (noun): the highest state of mental concentration that people can achieve while still bound to the body and which unites them with the highest reality.

Somatic (adjective): relating to the body, especially as distinct from the mind.

Soul (noun): the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

Source (noun): the essence that is eternal, unchanging, and indistinguishable from the essence of the universe.

Transformation (noun): the act or process of changing completely; an inward orientation towards the depths of being and being conscious.

Trauma (noun): a deeply distressing or disturbing experience; an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.

Truth (noun): an experience of reality immersed in a subjective narrative.

Vedanta (noun): in Sanskrit, it means  the conclusion (anta) of the Vedas, the earliest sacred literature of India. It applies to the Upanishads, which were elaborations of the Vedas, and to the school that arose out of the study (mimamsa) of the Upanishads.

Well (adjective): in good health; sound in body and mind.

Wellbeing (noun): how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.

Wellspring (noun): an abundant source of something.

Wisdom (noun): insight, understanding and accepting of the fundamental nature of things in life.

Yoga (noun): a group of physical, mental, vital and psychic practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind.