A Glossary of 108 Yoga Terms

A List of 108 Yoga Terms
I remember my first time reading in my very first yoga book that I got when I was a teen, it was a new world of new terms that I had to start to learn about. When starting yoga it can be quite intimidating to go to yoga class and feel like “Am I the only one not getting this?” “What does asana, Surya Namaskar, bandhas actually mean?” Everything is new when you embark your journey with yoga, especially when the terms are in Sanskrit. That’s why I am so grateful that you are here and have found my list of  108 yogic terms. We are going to talk about it further and in-depth through posts also but I hope this archive will bring more light to your understanding. 

108 Yoga Terms

WHY 108 YOGA TERMS?
The number 108 in yoga serves a spiritual completion. This is why japa malas have 108 beads, why we do sun salutations 108 times and so on. 

PRINTOUTS: SHARING IS CARING AND TERMS OF USE
I have made a complete list for you to study and also print out so you feel that you have a better understanding of the new words. All yogic words are in the Sanskrit language. You are welcome to bring this list to your yoga studio and also free to use it on your own blog, website, and social media if you follow my terms. 

TERMS OF USAGE
You are free to use the Yoga Glossary list under the following terms; you can not edit it and use it as your own or sell it to another party under your copyright. I spent a lot of time working on this glossary and I would appreciate that my terms are followed. If you decide to share it and re-publish it on your channels, you are welcome to do so. The terms for using this on your social media platforms, website, blog etc, is that you are required to link back to my website http://www.mettayoga.net and state who made it. Otherwise, you are free to download and share the wonderful yogic terms. Enjoy! You are free to copy this for your convenience and add it to your blog, website or social media of your choosing.

Yoga Terms Glossary created by Tiaga Nihal Kaur. © http://www.mettayoga.net. All Rights Reserved. 

HERE ARE THE YOGIC TERMS ALPHABETICALLY LISTED

A

A

Ahimsa: a cardinal virtue. Ahimsa means “not to injure” and “compassion and refers to the Yamas, in the eight limbs of yoga. Inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy,  therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself. Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa. 


Asana: means “seat”. In the Yoga Sutras, the only rule Patanjali suggest for practicing asana is that it be “steady and comfortable”. Asana is the third limb of the eight-limbed path of yoga as prescribed by Patanjali.


Aparigraha: is the virtue of non-possessiveness, non-grasping, and non-greediness and also one of the five yamas in the eight limbs of yoga. The precept of aparigraha is a self-restraint from where one`s own material gain or happiness comes from hurting, killing or destroying other human beings, life forms or nature.


Ananda: means bliss or divine joy. It is also the name of a worldwide movement based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.


Abhyasa: means practice in Sanskrit and refers to a practice that aims at achieving a tranquil state of mind. Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, explains the importance of abhyasa and vairagya (detachment) to achieving a yogic state of mind. He also defines abhyasa as the practice or discipline that is used to attain and remain in a state of harmony with the self.


Ayurveda: the word Ayurveda means “life-knowledge”. Its a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.


Atman: meaning “self” or “soul and also the essence of an individual. In order to attain moksha (liberation), a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma) which is to realize that one`s true self (atman) is identical with the transcendent self Brahman.


Akasha: the word is derived from a root “kas” meaning “to be visible”. Its a term for ether in traditional Indian cosmology.


Agni: means fire and represents the Vedic fire god of Hinduism.


Avidya: means ignorance, misconceptions, misunderstandings, incorrect knowledge.


Asteya: is the Sanskrit term for “non-stealing”.  Asteya is considered as one of the five yamas from the eight limbs of yoga. (virtuous self-restraint) in Indian philosophy. The practice of asteya demands that one must not steal, nor have the intent to steal another’s property through action, speech, and thoughts. In Hindu scripts, its defined as “the abstinence” in one`s deeds or words or thoughts.


Asthanga: is derived from the Sanskrit word “ashtan” which means eight. therefore ashtanga means “having eight parts”. It is a system of yoga in which the practitioner follows the eight limbs of yoga presented by Patanjali. Popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian Yoga.


Ajna Chakra: is the third eye chakra. This part of the brain can be made more powerful through meditation and yoga. It signifies the unconscious mind, the direct link to Brahman. While the two eyes see the physical world, the third eye is believed to reveal insights about the future. The third eye connects people to their intuition and helps them receive messages from the past and the future. It`s located between the eyebrows at the bridge of the nose. The pineal gland deep inside the brain is also associated with Ajna, as both are considered a “third eye”.


Anahata Chakra: is the heart chakra meaning “unstruck” and “unbeaten” and is the fourth primary energy channel in the body. Anahata is associated with balance, calmness, and serenity. The heart chakra is located in the center channel of the spine near the heart.  The seed mantra is Yam.


B

Brahmacharya: literally means “going after Brahman” (supreme reality, self or God). It`s also traditionally regarded as one of the five yamas in eight limbs of yoga. It is a form of self-restraint regarded as a virtue which usually includes cleanliness, ahimsa, simple living, studies, meditation, and voluntary restraints on certain foods, intoxicants, and behaviors (including sexual behavior).


Bhakti: means “attachment, fondness for, faith, love, devotion, worship”.


Bandha: is a set of internal “body locks” in the body which a yogi can apply to direct the prana (lifeforce).


Bhagavad Gita: means the “Song of the Lord”, and is often referred to as simply as the Gita. It`s a Hindu scripture with 700 verses that are part of the epic Mahabharata.


Brahma: is a creator God in Hinduism, he has four faces and is also know as Svayambhu (self-born).


Buddha: means the “awakened, enlightened”) also the founder of Buddhism, who lived in the sixth-century B.C.E.


C

Chakra: meaning “wheel, circle”), sometimes also spelled Cakra, they are conceived as an energy focal point, bodily functions or psychic node in the subtle body. They are not a part of the physical body but connected by energy channels called Nadi. Nadi.


Citta: meaning “mind” primarily it represents one`s mindset or state of mind.


Chit / Cit: means “consciousness, awareness”


 

D

Dharana:  is the sixth limb of eight in Yoga. It can be translated into as “holding steady, concentration” or “single focus”. Dharana is the initial step of deep concentrative meditation, where the object being focused upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it.


Deva: means “heavenly, divine, anything of excellence”, and is also one of the terms for a deity in Hinduism.


Dharma: includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and the “right way of living”. In Buddhism dharma means “cosmic law and order”.


Dhyana: is a series of cultivated states of mind, which lead to a “state of perfect equanimity and awareness”. It is commonly translated as meditation and is a part of the eight limbs of yoga as the seventh limb presented by Patanjali.


Drishti: is a focused gaze, as means for developing a concentrated intention. It relates to the fifth limb of yoga (pratyahara) concerning sense withdrawal.


Dukkha: means “suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness” it refers to the fundamental unsatisfactoriness and painfulness of mundane life.


Dosha: according to Ayurveda (Life-knowledge), its one of the three substances that are present in a person`s body. Authoritative Ayurvedic treatises describe how the quantity and quality of these three substances fluctuate in the body, according to the seasons, time of day, diet and several other factors. In Ayurveda, it is said that health exists when there is a balance between these three doshas called, Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water).


G

Guru: is a term that means “teacher, guide, master” of a certain knowledge or field. In Sanskrit, Gu means the darkness, assuming the form of (ignorance) and Ru the radiance in the form of spiritual knowledge, which dispels this darkness or ignorance.


Gunas:  means “string, virtue or strand” depending on the context. There are three gunas which are called the Sattva (goodness, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and the tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). All of these three gunas are present in everyone and all things. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.


Ganpati / Ganesha: is one of the best-known and most worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon.  Ganpati`s elephant head makes him easy to identify. He is widely known to be the remover of obstacles.


H

Hatha: means “force, effort, exertion”. First, “hatha yoga” technically refers to an approach to Yoga which begins with exertion or physical effort.  Traditionally, we would start with asanas, then work toward more subtle practices, (breathwork, muscular and energetic “locks” designed to guide the flow of energy), before finally moving to the more internal level of meditation.


I

Ishvarapranidhana:  is one of the five Niyamas (ethical observances) in Yoga from the eight limbs presented by Patanjali. the word is composed of two words, Isvara, and pranidhana. Isvara literally means “ruler of choices, blessing” and pranidhana is used to mean a range of senses including “fixing, applying, attention, meditation, desire”.


Iyengar: named after and developed by B. K. S. Iyengar, is a form of Hatha Yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision, and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility, and stability is gained through the asanas.


Ida-Nadi: is one of the three main nadis or energy channels in the body. It is a Sanskrit term with Ida meaning “comfort” and Nadi meaning “channel” or “flow”. The ida channel is also connected to lunar energy.


J


Jivamukti:
 the Jivamukti Yoga method is a proprietary style of yoga created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984. Jivamukti is a physical, ethical, and spiritual practice, combining a vigorous hatha yoga, vinyasa-based physical style with adherence to five central tenets: Shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsā (nonviolence, non-harming), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation).


Japa: is a meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name. The mantra or name may be spoken softly, enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be spoken within the reciter`s mind. Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture or while performing other activities.


Jnana: the idea of jnana centers on a cognitive event which is recognized when experienced. It is knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality, especially a total or divine reality.


K

K

Kundalini: means the “coiled one” and refers to a form of primal energy or shakti said to be located at the base of the spine.  Kundalini awakening has been said to occur as a consequence of deep meditation which sometimes results in a feeling of enlightenment and bliss. However, Kundalini awakenings may happen through a variety of methods. Many systems of yoga focus on awakening Kundalini through meditation, pranayama (breath control), the practice of asana and chanting of mantras.


Kundalini Yoga: also known as laya yoga, is a school of yoga that is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of meditation, pranayama, chanting mantra and yoga asana. Called by practitioners “the yoga of awareness”, it aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak the truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.”


Kriya: means “action, deed, effort” and is a technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result. 


Karma: means “action, work or deed” it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

 


Kosha: is a covering of the Atman, or self according to Vedantic philosophy. There are five Koshas, and they are often visualized as the layers of an onion. 1) Annamaya kosha, 2) Pranamaya kosha, 3) Vijnanamaya kosha, 4) Anandamaya kosha.


Kleshas: is a term meaning “poison” the second chapter of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali explicitly identifies the five poisons as; ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and fear of death.


Karuna: is generally translated as compassion.


Kapalabhati:  os an important part of Shatkarma, the yogic system of body cleansing techniques.


M

Mudra: literally means ‘gesture’ -mudra expresses and channelizes cosmic energy within the mind and body.


Maha Bandha: translated as “The great bandha” is one of the internal locks or bandhas described and employed in yoga.


Metta: means “loving kindness” and an active interest in others”. The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.



Mantra: is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or a group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. Mantra meditation helps to induce an altered state of consciousness. The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit by Hindus in India, and are at least 3000 years old. 


Maya: the illusion of individuality.


Moksha: is a term which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation, and release.


Mūla Bandha: Mula denotes “root, base or foundation” while bandha denotes “bondage or catching hold of”. A posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted or lifted up and towards the spine. Its also known as the root lock.


Mudha: unconscious or unaware state of mind.


Muladhara: root chakra located at the base of the spine “energy center in the subtle body”.


N

Naadi: energy channels in the body, similar to the meridians in acupuncture.


Neti: is an important part of Hindu shatkarma, also known as shatkriya, the yogic system of body cleansing techniques.


Niyama: there are five rules described in the eight limbs of yoga of Patanjali. It means “positive duties or observances”. Niyamas and its complement, Yamas, are recommended activities and habits for healthy living, spiritual enlightenment, and liberated state of existence.


Namaste: I bow to you.


Nauli: abdominal massage,  a cleansing technique (shatkarma) involving the contraction of the rectus abdominal muscles.


Nirvana: the term represents the ultimate state of release and liberation from rebirths in samsara.


O

Om: See Aum above.


P

Patanjali: author of the Yoga Sutras and preacher of the eight limbs of yoga.


Pranayama: the technique of breathing, and breath control which regulates energy flow and aims at maintaining energy balance.


Pratyahara: sense withdrawal, the first stage of concentrating on the mind during meditation.


Pingala-Nadi: one of the main energy channels running on the right side of the spine from the muladhara (root) chakra to the ajna chakra in the head by intersecting various chakras on the way.


Prajna: means “wisdom” is the insight into the true nature of reality, namely primarily anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), anatta (non-self) and sunyata (emptiness).


Prana: vital energy force sustaining life and creation.


Purana: means “ancient, old” and is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly myths, legends and other traditional lore.


Purusha: pure consciousness.


Padmasana: means the “lotus seat” from the root word Padma “lotus” + Asana “seat”. A pose in which one sits cross-legged with each foot sole-upwards on the opposite leg in the lotus position.


R

Rajas: is one of the three Gunas (qualities) developed by Hindu philosophy.  The other two qualities are Sattva (balance, goodness) and Tamas (destruction, chaos). Rajas are an innate tendency or quality that drives motion, energy, and activity.


S

Sutras: a sutra can refer to a single aphorism, a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or even a condensed manual or text. Sutras are considered to be a genre of ancient and medieval Indian texts.


Sadhana: means “quest, spiritual practice” and “accomplishing something”. It refers to any spiritual exercise that is aimed at progressing the sādhaka (is someone who follows a particular sādhanā,) towards the very ultimate expression of his or her life in this reality.


Surya Namaskar: is a warm-up routine in yoga, it means the “sun salutation” and is based on a sequence of asanas.


Sahasrara Chakra: the highest energy center located at the crown of the head, just above the top of the head. It is generally considered the seventh primary chakra.


Samadhi: the final stage of yoga in which concentration becomes one with the object of concentration; supreme union, absorption, state of God consciousness, the realization of one’s own nature, the eighth of the eight stages of classical Yoga.


Satya: is the Sanskrit word for truth. It also refers to a virtue of being truthful in one’s thought, speech, and action. In Yoga, Satya is one of five yamas, the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions.


Samsara: the process of a worldly life, the cycle of life caused by birth, death, and rebirth.


Sanskrit: a language used in of Yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism, and an official language of India, considered “historical”.


Savasana: also called the “corpse pose” is an asana usually done at the end of a yoga practice in which practitioners lie flat on their backs with their heels spread as wide as the yoga mat and the arms a few inches away from the body, palms facing upwards. The name comes from the word shava meaning “corpse” and asana meaning “posture” or “seat”.


Samskara: strong impressions in the mind that create our beliefs, attitudes, and persona.


Sat: meaning “the true essence” and that “which is unchangeable” of an entity, species or existence.


Satya: meaning truth, and also refers to one of the yamas in the eight limbs of yoga.


Saucha: means “purity, cleanliness and clearness” it refers to the purity of mind, speech, and body. Saucha is one of the Niyamas of yoga. Shaucha goes beyond purity of body and includes purity of speech and mind. Anger, hate, prejudice, greed, pride, fear, negative thoughts are a source of impurity of the mind.The impurities of the intellect are cleansed through the process of self-examination, or knowledge of self (Adhyatma-Vidya). The mind is purified through mindfulness and meditation on one’s intent, feelings, actions and its causes.


Sahasrara: means “thousand-petaled” and refers to the crown chakra and is considered as the seventh primary chakra, according to most tantric yoga traditions.


Santosha: means “contentment, satisfaction”. It is also an ethical concept presented in the eight limbs of yoga as one of the Niyamas.


Siddha: having achieved spiritual realization.


Sushumna-Nadi: main energy channel in yoga, in the center of the spinal cord through which kundalini shakti flows.


Swadhisthana chakra: the second chakra in the spinal column also called the sacral chakra.


Shakti: vital force, energy.  It is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe.


Shanti: peace, tranquility, or bliss.


Soham: represents a mantra in meditation; literally means, ‘I am That’. Represents the psychic sound with the sound ‘so’ during inhalation and ‘ham’ during exhalation.


Santosha: means contentment, one of the five niyamas, second of the eight limbs of Yoga presented by Patanjali.


T

Tapas: the tapas practice often involves solitude, and is a part of monastic practices that are believed to be a means to moksha (liberation, salvation).


Tantra: means a “weave, system” and denotes the esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism that co-developed most likely under the middle of the 1st millennium CE.


Tattva: meaning “reality, principle or truth”. According to Indian schools of philosophy, a tattwa is an element or aspect of reality.


Tamas: the quality of inertia, laziness, procrastination.


U

Ujjayi pranayama: a kind of breathing technique which produces a light sonorous sound.


V

Vissuddhi Chakra: one of the energy centers located in the spine behind the throat and connected with the cervical plexus, tonsils and thyroid gland.


Vinyasa:  is a Sanskrit term often employed in relation to certain styles of yoga, that usually refers to a transition between two different positions. Like many Sanskrit words, vinyāsa has many meanings; nyasa denotes “to place” and vi denotes “in a special way”. The term “Vinyāsa” can also be used to reference a style of yoga practiced as one breath, tied to one movement.


Y

Yoga: is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj which means to “yoke, bind together”. It is a state of union between two opposites, body and mind, individual and universal consciousness. A process of uniting the opposing forces in the body and mind in order to achieve supreme awareness and enlightenment.


Yoga Sutras: a collection of concise aphorisms on the aims and practices of Yoga as collected and written by the scholar Patanjali.


Yogi: one who has attained Yoga, or union of the two bodies, one who practices Yoga on a committed basis.


Yamas: means “restraints”, nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, celibacy, and nonhoarding, five of the ten ethical guidelines of classic Yoga.


PRINTOUTS: SHARING IS CARING AND TERMS OF USE
I have made a complete list for you to study and also print out so you feel that you have a better understanding of the new words. All yogic words are in the Sanskrit language. You are welcome to bring this list to your yoga studio and also free to use it on your own blog, website, and social media if you follow my terms. 

TERMS OF USAGE
You are free to use the Yoga Glossary list under the following terms; you can not edit it and use it as your own or sell it to another party under your copyright. I spent a lot of time working on this glossary and I would appreciate that my terms are followed. If you decide to share it and re-publish it on your channels, you are welcome to do so. The terms for using this on your social media platforms, website, blog etc, is that you are required to link back to my website http://www.mettayoga.net and state who made it. Otherwise, you are free to download and share the wonderful yogic terms. Enjoy! You are free to copy this for your convenience and add it to your blog, website or social media of your choosing.

Yoga Terms Glossary created by Tiaga Nihal Kaur. © http://www.mettayoga.net. All Rights Reserved. 

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With loving kindness,
Tiaga Nihal Kaur.
Namaste ॐ

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