Definition - What does Mahayoga mean?

Mahayoga is a Sanskrit word that means “great yoga.” In Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, it is an inner transformative practice that focuses on dhyana, or deep meditation, to train the mind to enter a state of awareness. Used as a healing practice, it is also sometimes called siddha mahayoga.

Mahayoga is one of the three yanas (method of spiritual practice in Buddhism) that comprise the nine yanas and are based on the three inner tantras.

Yogapedia explains Mahayoga

Mahayoga yogis practice deep meditation to remove the veils of illusion that obscure the mind, thereby gaining pure perception and knowledge of reality. This practice is, among other things, used to remove aggression and anger.

The three inner yanas of the Nyingma school include:

  • Mahayoga (development stage)
  • Anuyoga (completion stage)
  • Atiyoga (stage that cultivates realization of the reality of phenomena)

Mahayoga also is used to describe a path of yoga also known as Siddha yoga. This path consists of seeking initiation through a guru, who absorbs the yogi's negative karma and awakens kundalini shakti energy. Regular meditation helps the yogi reach a state of self-realization.

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