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Sanskrit words - Yoga terms

Understanding at least some Sanskrit words, some Yoga terms is important if you want to learn the old healing system of Yoga, which has been practiced for more than 5000 years now. - This will help you master this spiritual art of Hinduism. Many words in Yoga vocabulary have an interesting story to tell. Willing to explore? You can check out the following Yoga dictionary, which contains several Sanskrit definitions for the most common "Yoga words".

Listed below are some of the key Yoga terms in Sanskrit and their meanings. Links for easier navigation:

a :: b :: c :: d :: e :: f :: g :: h :: i :: j :: l :: k :: m :: n :: o :: p :: q :: r :: s :: t :: u :: v :: w :: x :: y :: z Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'a'

  • Abhyasa - constant and regular practice over a long period
  • Adho-mukha - It helps in flexibility, building power and alertness. Another meaning of the term is to face-downwards
  • Adishvara - Primeval Lord Shiva
  • Advaita- only one, non-duality, union of Universal Spirit and individual soul
  • Ahamkara- referred to as ego in Hinduism
  • Amrita- it is referred to as nectar of immortality
  • Ananta- endless or infinite, which is the transcription of masculine and feminine form. It is another name of Lord Vishnu
  • Anga- the body, or part of the body
  • Antara- interior or within
  • Antaratma- inner self or Atman, it is the creation of god.
  • Anuloma- It is also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing technique. In this technique, we inhale through one nostril, retain, and then exhale through the other nostril in a natural order
  • Apana- It is one of the vital airs, which is moved in sphere of lower abdomen. It governs elimination of urine and stool.
  • Aparigraha- Freedom from hoarding/collecting
  • Ardha- Half
  • Arjuna- a mythical warrior prince, to whom Lord Krishna explained the purpose of life
  • Asmita- tough or strong as rock, another meaning of the term is egoism
  • Asteya- non-stealing
  • ashvini-mudra- Involves relaxation and contraction of anal sphincter muscles causing rise in pranic energy.
  • atma or atman- Atman is the core of life in absence of where the existence of body gets negated. Atma is our soul, which resides in our heart.
  • Avatara- it refers to arrival or incarnation of God
  • Avidya- It is Sanskrit word, which means ignorance, unlearned, delusion. Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'b'
  • Bandha- It is defined as damming of a river, building a bridge, or building over the sea. It also refers to the posture where certain organs are contracted or controlled
  • Bhagavan- used for God, gods, or holy soul
  • Bhagavat Gita-. Is a greatest of Hindu scriptures, constituting of Mahabharata. In short it is called as Gita which describes the Teachings of Lord Krishna to his disciple Arjuna at the commencement of the battle of Kurukshetra, with explanations on sannyasa yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, and jnana yoga. The Bhagavad Gita is also called GÄ«topaniá¹£ad, implying it having the status of an Upanishad, i.e. a Vedantic scripture. Since, the Gita is drawn from the Mahabharata; it is classified as a Smrti text. The Bhagavad Gita comprises 18 chapters and consists of 700 verses.
  • Bhakti- devotion
  • boddhi (tree)- it is also called as wisdom tree. And it is the world tree.
  • Buddha- awakened, also (in particular) referred to the founder of Buddhism Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'd'
  • Dakshina-An offering or gift, this concept is unique to Indian tradition and culture. Another meaning of the term is the right side
  • Deva- deity, god-like
  • Devadatta- was Buddhist monk and cousin of Goutama Buddha, It also refers to one of the vital airs (intake of extra oxygen) which causes yawning.
  • Dhananyaya- fire, one of the vital airs, which causes yawning
  • Dhanu- bow, zodiac sign of Sagittarius
  • Dharana- unbending concentration of mind
  • Dhenu- goddess Lakshmi, another meaning of the term is a cow
  • Dhyana- meditation
  • Duhkha- suffering, pain, grief
  • Durga- Inaccessible, goddess of war, universal shakti, wife of Lord Shiva, slayer of demons
  • Dvesha- hate
  • Dwi- two
  • dwi-hasta- both hands.
  • dwi-pada- both legs. Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'e'
  • Eka- one, single
  • eka-pada- one leg
  • eka-tattvabhyasa- it refers to the study of the single element- the Supreme Spirit
  • Ekagra- concentrated, another meaning of the term is focused on a single object
  • Ekagrata- concentration, it also refers to one-pointedness Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'g'
  • Ganga-the Holy River in India
  • Ganesh- the god of wisdom and remover of obstacles, son of Shiva and Parvathi
  • Garuda- a mythical eagle-like bird
  • Gheranda- author of Gheranda-Samhita
  • Go- refers to a cow
  • Gomukha- cow faced
  • gu (from guru)- is a divine figure in Hinduism and also refers to a Sanskrit word Brihaspati
  • Guna- property, quality, character
  • Gunatita- refers to the person, who is freed and gone beyond gunas
  • Guru- is a master or a spiritual teacher, it also refers to the person, who illuminates the darkness of spiritual doubt Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'h'
  • Ha (from hatha) - means sun while tha mean moon. The purpose of Hatha Yoga is to balance the flow of positive and negative (solar and lunar) energy in the human body
  • Hanuman- He is the monkey god and devotee of Lord Rama
  • Hasta- hand
  • Hatha- It means force as Hatha Yoga recommends vigorous discipline in order to find union with the Supreme
  • hatha-yoga-pradipika- is one of the main textbooks on Hatha-yoga written by Swami Svatmarama
  • Himalaya- it is a mountain range spread across 1500 miles across the Indo-Tibetan border. Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'i'
  • Ida- Hindu goddess of the earth, another meaning of the term is a nadi, a channel of energy running on left side of spine from mooladhara (base) to ajna (head) chakra.
  • Indra- God of thunder and rain
  • Indriya- a sensory organ
  • indriya-jaya- control over senses
  • Ishvara- the ruler of universe and foremost ruler
  • ishvara-pranidhana- dedication to the Lord of one's actions and will Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'j'
  • Janu-it refers to doorways, beginnings, doors. Another meaning of the term is knee
  • Japa- remembering or repeating the manthra.
  • Jathara- belly or stomach
  • Jaya- victory, another meaning of the term is control or mastery
  • Jivana- life
  • jivana-mukta- jivan means life and mukthi means liberation or release
  • Jivatma- souls in universe or jivatmas
  • Jnana- sacred knowledge derived from meditation, which teaches a man how to understand his own nature
  • jnana-marga- it refers to the path of knowledge, wisdom
  • Jnanendriya-it is an organ of knowledge comprising the 5 senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell) Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'k'
  • Kaivalya- detachment or solitariness, another meaning of the term is final emancipation
  • kaivalya-pada- isolation, last part of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, dealing with absolution
  • kama-rupa- desired body, the seat of genitals, Kama - god of passion
  • kanda- throat chakra- a place where three major energy pathways or nadis meet.
  • Kapalabhati- it is the technique of breathing for cleansing waste from lungs through nasal passage
  • Kapila- A sage, the founder of Samkhya system, who composed the Samkhya-Suthra
  • Karma- doing or making action
  • karma-marga - path of renunciation of ones action
  • Karma-yoga- it is a service to God by helping people in all good ways.
  • Karmendriya- the 5 senses or motor faculties used to hear, feel, see, smell, and taste
  • Karuna- compassion
  • Kathopanishad-it is one of the principal Upanishads written in the form of dialog between seeker Nachiketa and Yama- the god of Death.
  • Kevala- essential, absolute, simple
  • Klesha- pain, suffering, agony
  • Krishna- incarnation of Lord Vishnu, dark or dark-blued
  • Kriya- purifying action or dynamic yogic practice or activity
  • Kshatriya-member of royal or warrior Hindu caste
  • Kumbhaka- it refers to the suspension of breath
  • Kundalini- It is the supreme power, the energy or primordial shakthi, which lies on the coiled base of spine, in muladhara chakra of all human beings. It can be active or inert. It is present in the person with a spiritual aptitude. Such a person can attain union of the individual self with the supreme self through evolution of awakened Kundalini energy. The "Lotus of the Kundalini" is situated at the lower end of the hollow canal, and is triangular in form.
  • Lakshmi- good luck, goddess of fortune and prosperity, wife of Lord Rama
  • Laya-yoga-it refers to the union with Supreme through devotion and admiration
  • Lobha- possessiveness or greed Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'm'
  • Maha- great
  • Mahabharata-it is sacred epic Sanskrit poem of India dealing with many episodes of the struggle between two families.
  • Maharshi- great sage
  • Maitre- friendship
  • Mala- necklace
  • Manas it refes to the individual mind, having faculty of attention, selection, and rejection. it also refers to the ruler of senses
  • Mandala-circle
  • Manomani- fixedness of mind, another meaning of the term is the state of samadhi
  • Mantra-it is a sacred formula repeated in meditation, prayer or incantation
  • Manu- father of the human race
  • Marga- path
  • Matsya- fish
  • Matsyendra - one of the founders of Hatha Yoga
  • meru-danda- spinal chord
  • Moha- infatuation
  • Moksha-it refers to the liberation from cycle of rebirth and death
  • Mrita- dead
  • Mudha-unaware or unconscious state of a mind
  • Mudita- glad, joy
  • Mudra- body gesture, a sealing posture
  • Mukha- face, mouth
  • Mukta- liberated
  • Mukti- liberation
  • Mula- the base
  • Mundakopanishad- name of Upanishad dealing with Aum- the most sacred Hindu word Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'n'
  • Nada- inner sound heard during advanced stages of meditation
  • Nadi- Energy channels in the body, In Rigveda, nad means stream, whereas in yoga, nadi refers to the channel of kundalini energy. In yoga, nadi means the channel of mind and the chitta- the feeling of self
  • nadi-sodhana- - it refers to the purification and cleansing of nadis
  • Naga- one of the vital airs, another meaning of the term is serpent
  • Namaste- a Hindu way of greeting or salutation
  • Nara- it is a Sanskrit word, which means man
  • Nataraja- the dancing pose of Lord Shiva
  • Nauli- it is one of the most difficult exercises which involves contracting and isolating the abdominal region
  • neti neti- a mantra or chant, which means not this, not this
  • Nirodha- end, extinction, suppression
  • Niyama- laws or rules, self purification by discipline, it is second stage as mentioned by Patanjali Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'p'
  • Pada- the foot or leg
  • Padma- Lotus-hued
  • Paramapada- the supreme state
  • Paramatma- the Supreme Spirit
  • Parangmukhi- facing inwards
  • Paripurna- complete in all aspects
  • Parivartana- turning around, rotating
  • Parivritta- revolved posture
  • Parshva- next to, by the side of
  • Parvata- a rock or a mountain
  • Parvati- Shivas wife and she is the mother goddess devi
  • Patanjali- Complier of yoga sutras and preacher of the eight-fold (ashtanga) yoga, Patanjalis yoga is also called as Raja yoga, which deals with control of mind.
  • Pida-pain in Sanskrit
  • pinda-prana- the individual breath
  • Pingala- a particular energy channel running from mooladhara chakra to ajna chakra.
  • Prahlada- a great devotee of Vishnu, son of Hiranya-kashipu
  • Prajapati- the lord of creatures
  • Prajna- intelligence, wisdom
  • Prakriti- The nature, it also refers to the creative energy of nature as well as our thoughts about nature
  • Prana- the life is sustained by the vital energy - also respiration, breath, life, wind, energy, strength, and also- soul
  • prana-vayu- Vayu means breath, air, or wind or that which vibrates, it also refers to the primary energy.
  • Pranava - another word for Aum
  • Prasarita- spread, extended and expanded
  • Prashvasa-this involves the monitoring of inhalation and exhalation, expiration
  • Pratyahara- refers to the withdrawal of the mind from the domination of the senses and sensual objects. It is the fifth stage of yoga
  • Punya- virtue, purity, good work
  • Puraka- inhaling- a hatha yoga practice to control breath
  • Raga- melodic mode used by Indians to depict love, passion or anger
  • Raja- king or a prince in India
  • Raja-marga- the royal path that leads to self realization through mind-control
  • Rajas- one of the three gunas responsible for motion, energy, and conservation
  • rajo-guna- the quality of mobility and activity
  • Rama- incarnation of lord Vishnu, one of the most popular deities in Hinduism, hero of the most famous Hindu epic - Ramayana
  • Ramayana- it is a Sanskrit epic written by Valmiki
  • Ravana- a great scholar, ruler, and ten-headed devotee of Lord Shiva, who notoriously kidnapped Lord Ramas wife
  • Rechaka- the Exhalation
  • Retus- any straight muscles, as of eye, neck, abdomen and thigh, another meaning of the term is semen
  • ru (from guru)- light
  • Ruchika- attractive, lovely, beautiful, another meaning of the term is a sage Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 's'
  • Sarasvati- the one that flows, goddess of knowledge and arts, she is believed to bestow the power of speech
  • Shmrti- memory or a code of law
  • Shankaracharya- one of the most famous spiritual leaders, teacher of the doctrine of Advaita
  • Shaucha- purity, niyamas of yoga or Hinduism
  • Shava- dead body
  • Shirsha- head
  • Shishya- student, disciple
  • Sita- Lord Ramas wife, regarded as ideal womanhood by Hindus
  • shiva-samhita- Sanskrit text on yoga addressed by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati, it also refers to the classical book on Hatha Yoga
  • Siva (Shiva) - relating to the God Shiva- one of the 3 prominent Hindu gods, destructor of all the vices
  • Shodhana- the process of purification or cleansing
  • Shoka- grief, anguish, distress
  • Shraddha- faith, trust
  • Shunyashunya- nothingness
  • Shvasa- inspiration
  • Sadhaka- practitioner
  • Sadhana- practice
  • sadhana-pada- second part of Patanjali's Sutras, dealing with control of thought process to attain union with Supreme power
  • sahadjavastha- state-of-mind in Samadhi
  • Salamba- with support
  • Sama- same or togetherness
  • sama-sthiti- standing still and straight
  • sama-vritti- inhaling, exhaling and suspending breath for equal duration
  • Samadhi- Supreme Union
  • samadhi-pada- the first part of Patanajali's Sutras dealing with the understanding of human thought process, which restrains us from self-realization
  • Samana- equality, another meaning of the term is: Breathing exercises, mind and body.
  • Sambhava- achievable, possible,
  • Samsaya-doubt
  • Samskara- impressions, mental impressions of the past
  • Santosha- contentment
  • Sarva- all or everything
  • Sarvanga- all parts of body
  • Sattva- it is state of balance, joy, accord, and intelligence
  • sattva-guna- an inclination towards goodness and purity
  • Siddha- a sage
  • Soham- represents mantra in meditation, He am I, an unconscious repetitive prayer with every breath, Meditation on Soham mantra is a meditation form of Yoga. Soham is a Sanskrit word and a universal mantra, which relates to the breath. Soham means I am that, or I am that I am.
  • sthita-prajna- a person whose wisdom is firmly established and does not waiver
  • Sthiti- stability, immovability
  • Sukha- happiness
  • Sumanasya- benevolence
  • Supta- reclining or sleeping
  • Surya- acquirer or sun
  • surya-nadi- pingala nadi
  • Sushumna- it is sustainer of universe and path of universe and path of salvation, another meaning of the term is the main energy channel located inside the spinal column
  • sushupti-avastha- it refers to the state of mind in dreamless sleep
  • Svadhyaya- self-study or study
  • Svapnavastha- it refers to the state of mind in a dream Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 't'
  • tha (from hatha)- moon
  • Tamas- darkness, ignorance
  • tamo-guna- quality of darkness,
  • Tapas- suffering, austerity
  • tat twam asi- you are that
  • Tattva- principle, reality, it is an element or absolute reality, tattva refers to the basic forces of nature
  • tattva-jnana- Knowledge of the reality
  • Tejas- fearlessness
  • Udana- up-breath, one of the vital airs having its seat at neck, dealing with intake of food and air
  • Unmani-Samadhi
  • Upanishad- sitting down near or sitting close to a Guru to receive spiritual instructions, The Upanishads are sacred Hindu text dealing with metaphysical questions and core teachings of Vedanta
  • Urdhva- lifted, elevated
  • urdhva-retus- a celibate Sanskrit words, Yoga terms starting with 'v'
  • Vacha-speech
  • Vairagya- supreme detachment, another meaning of the term is absence of worldly desires
  • Vajra- diamond, the weapon of Indra
  • Vasishtha- Vedantic text that is accredited to Valmiki where Vasishtha sage teaches Prince Rama doctrine of non-duality or advaita
  • Vayu- air, wind
  • Veda- Knowledge, the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, revealed by saints and sages of India
  • Vibhuti- glory, wealth, might
  • vibhuti-pada- the third part of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which deals with achieved union and its result.
  • Vidya- applied knowledge
  • Vikshepa- confusion, tossing of mind
  • Vikshipta- alternative, doubt
  • Viloma- against a natural order
  • Virya- Zeal, effort, or energy
  • Vishnu- the Hindu God responsible for preservation and restoration of universe
  • Vritti- conceiving of something as existing
  • Vyadhi- sickness
  • Vyana- up-breath, one of the vital airs dealing with function of inhalation and exhalation
  • Yama- God of death, it also refers to the first of eight limbs of yoga
  • Yoga-nidra- a deep relaxation technique is called yogic sleep
  • Yoga sutra- it will explain and define the practice of yoga, the classical work by Patanjali, which finds its origin around 3rd or 4th century BC. It is one of the most definitive texts on the philosophy of classical yoga, which contains a total of 195 sutras, which are again structured around four padas or chapters- Samadhi pada, Sadhana pada, Vibhuti pada, and Kaivalya pada.
  • Yuj- to join, unite or yoke
  • Yukta- the balance between the moon and the sun

    You are welcome to contact me - requesting meaning of other Sanskrit words, Yoga terms you would like to clarify. You are also welcome to send a correction if you found some incorrect interpretation above... And of course - please feel free to send me a Sanskrit word, a Yoga term with explanations not yet included here. - I'll be happy to update this "Yoga vocabulary" for benefits of all.

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