Common Yoga Sanskrit Glossary: 120 Essential Yoga Terms

120 Common Yoga Sanskrit Glossary

Common Yoga Sanskrit Glossary: 120 Essetntial Yoga Terms
  1. Achara: A component of lifestyle related to day-to-day conduct, attitudes, and feelings in life.
  2. Adhyatmik Yoga: A type of yoga that involves self-awareness to realise one’s ‘self.’
  3. Agnisara Kriya: ‘Agni’ means fire, and ‘Sara’ means essence. According to Hatha Yogic Tradition, the nature of fire is located in the navel region, and Kriya means action. Manipulation of this is called Agnisara Kriya, and it is associated with Manipura Chakra.
  4. Ahimsa: One of Patanjali’s five Yamas refers to non-violence or not hurting physically, mentally, or in any other way.
  5. Ajna Chakra: Ajna is one of the Chakra, located between the eyebrows.
  6. Anandamaya Kosha: Bliss body, the most subtle body representing reality within us all. According to Taittiriya Upanishad, one of the five bodies (Pancha-Kosha).
  7. Annamaya Kosha: According to Taittiriya Upanishad, one of the five bodies (Pancha-Kosha) is the physical or gross body, which can be understood by human anatomy and physiology.
  8. Antar Kumbhaka: Process of controlled holding/suspension of breath after inhalation.
  9. Antara Akash: Internal void/space in the heart region.
  10. Antaranga Yoga: Internal Yoga or working with the internalising (internal) faculties enabling the person to work inside their body. Consists of the last three limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, namely, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.
  11. Aparigraha: One of Patanjali’s Yamas refers to non-acquisition, non-covetousness. Apathyaahara: A kind of food which is harmful.
  12. Ardha Chakrasana: Ardha means half. Chakra means wheel. In this posture, the body is formed like a half-wheel.
  13. Asana: A posture, when performed, involves body, mind, and self-awareness. According to Patanjali, it is a stable, comfortable posture that facilitates the Yogic practices of Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Asana, according to Patanjali, is a meditative posture. According to Hatha Yogic texts, it refers to various psycho-physical states, channelling Prana, opening Chakras, and removing energy blocks. Asana gives stable awareness of one’s structural existence for a considerable time.
  14. Ashuddhi-kshaya: Decay/elimination of impurities.
  15. Astanga Yoga: The School of Yoga deals with eight limbs of Yoga as Maharishi Patanjali advocates. It comprises of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.
  16. Asteya: One of Patanjali’s five Yamas. Refers to honesty or non-stealing by thoughts, words or deeds; also includes not using others’ things without their permission.
  17. Bahya Kumbhaka: Process of controlled holding/suspension of breath after full exhalation, where the lungs are made optimally empty/empty to the optimum extent.
  18. Bahyaakash: External space outside the body. BahyaYoga: External Yoga or working with the externalising faculties enables the person to work in the external world. Consists of the first five limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, namely Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara.
  19. Bandha (Lock): Psycho-muscular energy locks are performed by controlling specific organs and muscles to redirect the pranic energy to Sushumnanadi (channels). Three Bandhas, namely, Mula-Bandha, Jalandhar-Bandha, and Uddiyana-Bandha, are mentioned in traditional Yoga texts.
  20. Basti: Practice intended to clean the lower abdomen, especially the descending colon.
  21. Bhakti Yoga: The school deals with Yoga of devotion, a path to self-realisation attained through worship of a personal God.
  22. BhautikaYoga: A type of yoga involving sensory and motor organs and the various objects, events, and phenomena in the external world.
  23. Bhava-tapas: Stress-related functional disorders.
  24. Brahmacharya: One of Patanjali’s five Yamas, meaning celibacy or self-restraint.
  25. Brahma-sthiti: The state of being established in Universal Consciousness.
  26. Chakra: Chakra means wheel circle or vortex. They can be considered wheel-like structures or the Pranic body’s energy centres (Prana). It may be called the nerve centre or a meeting point of subtle channels (Nadis) responsible for specific physiological and psychological functions. There are seven main Chakras along the spine, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.
  27. Chin Mudra: Attitude of consciousness in which the first finger is kept at the root of the thumb, and the last three fingers are separated.
  28. Chitta: Individual consciousness includes Citta’s subconscious and unconscious layers. In Samkhya Philosophy, Citta essentially means the three internal organs, that is, Buddhi (intellect), Ahamkara (ego) and Manas (mind).
  29. Chittavritti: Mental modifications, movements or disturbances occurring due to various inputs from different sources.
  30. Chittavritti-nirodha: Controlling mental modifications to make the mind (Chitta) still.
  31. Dandadhauti: One of the Shatkarmas; a technique for cleansing the oesophagus with a flexible tube or a soft stem of a turmeric plant or a stick made of a softcore of the banana tree.
  32. Darshana: In Indian tradition, the word used for philosophy is ‘Darshana’. This word comes from the Sanskrit root ‘drish’ (to see, to experience). Darsana is divided into Astika’s and Nastika’s schools of thought. The Astika darsana is called Sadh Darshana (six systems — Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta). The Nastika Darshana includes Charvaka, Buddhism, and Jainism. Dehashuddhi: Purification of the body internally and externally.
  33. Diksha: Initiation by Guru/teacher.
  34. Drishta: Observer or seer. Dugdhaneti: One of the Shatkarmas; nasal cleaning with milk instead of Jala (water).
  35. Ekagra is one of the five states of mind where the mind becomes one-pointed. The other four states are Kshipta, Mudha, Vikshipta, and Niruddha.
  36. Ghritaneti: One of the Shatkarmas; nasal cleaning with purified butter.
  37. Guna: Quality of nature is a threefold capacity of manifest Shakti, Prakriti, and Prime Nature, namely Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. In Yoga, Samkhya, and many schools of Vedanta, one of the three primary constituents of nature (Prakriti): Sattva (principle of clarity), Rajas (principle of dynamism) and Tamas (principle of inertia).
  38. Hasta-Mudra: Various positions of hands formed with the help of thumb and fingers of the hand (Hasta); generally performed in a sitting position during the practice of Pranayama, Dharana, Dhyana, and Mantra Japa.
  39. Hatha Yoga: The school of Yoga emphasises bodily postures, regulation of breathing and cleansing processes, etc., as a means to spiritual perfection. The literal meaning of Hatha is (Ha-sun, Tha–moon) sun and moon. Another purpose of Hatha is to create balance in both ‘with force’ and ‘with effort’, which is called Hatha-Yoga.
  40. Ida Nadi: One of the three major Nadis (channels); the other two are Sushumna and Pingala. It is said to be situated on the left side of Sushumna or the spine. It is supposed to govern the mental processes.
  41. Ishwar-pranidhana: One of Patanjali’s five Niyamas and also one of the three components of Patanjali’s Kriya Yoga; refers to devoting or dedicating everything in thought, words, and action to the Supreme Being/God.
  42. Jalandhara-bandha (Throat Lock): One of the three body locks in which the chin is brought forward and is rested upon the upper sternum, arresting the flow of breath.
  43. Jnana Mudra: Psychic gesture of knowledge in which the index finger is joined with the tip of the thumb, and the other three fingers are spread apart.
  44. Jnana-dipti: Bright knowledge about the self.
  45. Kaivalya: Absoluteness, isolation, liberation.
  46. Karmendriya: Organs of action which enable the body (person) to act. There are five karmendriyas, namely mouth (action of speech), hands (action of holding or doing), feet (action of walking), anus (organ of elimination), and genitals (act of reproduction).
  47. Kevala Kumbhaka: This is where the movement of the breath ceases naturally due to systematic advancement in the practice of Sahita Kumbhaka (Antar-Kumbhaka and Bahya-kumbhaka).
  48. Klesh: According to Patanjali, there are five inborn psychological dispositions, namely Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesha, and Abhinivesha. Klishta Vritti: Disturbing behavioural modifications.
  49. Kosha: According to Taittriya Upanishad, a body/sheath reflects the existence of a human being at a specific dimension/level.
  50. Kriya Yoga: According to Patanjala Yoga Sutra, a Yoga consisting of Tapa, Swadhyaya, and IshwarPranidhana to attenuate Kleshas.
  51. Kriya: It refers to actions or practices in Yoga.
  52. Kumbhaka: One of the three phases of a Pranayama, refers to a pause in breathing orientation of breath. It is of two types: Antar Kumbhaka and Bahir Kumbhaka. Antar Kumbhaka is breath retention inside after inhalation (Puraka), and Bahir Kumbhaka refers to breath outside after exhalation (Rechaka).
  53. Kundalini Yoga: The school of Yoga expounds the awakening of energy (dormant spiritual force) and inherent consciousness within the human body and mind.
  54. Laya Yoga: The school of Yoga deals with the state of absorption of the mind in the consciousness and pacification of prana by overcoming subliminal impressions (Vasana) that distract the mind. To this, hankering behind the object of the senses is to be avoided. It is attained by practices such as Nadanusandhana, Sambhavi Mudra, etc.
  55. Maha Bandha: Great Lock. It combines Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha with Kumbhaka.
  56. Manipura Chakra: Manipura is one of the Chakras at the navel centre and is associated with the fire element.
  57. Manomaya Kosha: According to Taittiriya Upanishad, one of the five bodies (Pancha-Kosha) refers to the mental body consisting of Manas, Ahamkara, memory and lower levels of intellect, subtler than the Pranamaya Kosha.
  58. Mantra: A sacred syllable, word or phrase chanted repeatedly.
  59. Merudanda: Vertebral/spinal column.
  60. Mitahara means food in limited quantity. However, according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it refers to food that has three components: (1) food which is nourishing and easily digestible; (2) food which is in limited quantity, i.e., half of the stomach filled with food, one quarter with water, and one quarter left empty for air movement; (3) food, which is eaten in a pleasant state of mind.
  61. Moksha: Liberation from the cycles of birth and death.
  62. Mudra: Specific psycho-physical state or gesture indicating the individual in the form of expression of a feeling/emotion.
  63. Mukh-prana: Breathing through mouth.
  64. Mula-bandha (Perineum/Cervix Retraction Lock): One of the three body locks in which the perineum in males and the cervix in females are contracted.
  65. Muladhara Chakra: Muladhara is one of the Chakras, located at the base of the spine and connected to the earth element.
  66. Nadi: Subtle channel that conducts the flow of energy (Prana) in the Pranic body.
  67. Nasikagra Mudra: The hand position was adopted during Pranayama to alternate the flow of breath through the nostrils.
  68. Nasikya prana: Breathing through nostrils.
  69. Nauli: Practice contracting and isolating the rectus abdominis muscles by manipulating the stomach as per the technique mentioned in Hatha-Yoga.
  70. Neti: It refers to nasal cleansing practice. It can be done with Jala (water), Sutra (thread), Dugdha (milk), or Ghrta (ghee/purified butter). It helps to remove toxins from the nasal passage.
  71. Pancha Prana: Five principles Vayus important for the Yogi to recognise. These five vayus are categorised as Pranavayu, Apana vayu, Samanavayu, Udanavayu, and Vyanavayu. Pancha-kosha: According to Taittiriya Upanishad, there are five bodies or sheath (Koshas), namely, Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya Kosha, and Anandmaya Kosha.
  72. Pancha Upa-vayus (Five secondary vayus): Motor activity proving hindrance or obstacle in Yoga Sadhana.
  73. Pancha Vayus (Five main vayus): Motor activity functional for Yoga Sadhana.
  74. Paramarthika Yoga: A type of yoga that involves the expansion of the ‘self’, like the world as a family.
  75. Paramaushadhi: Effective and ultimate medicine.
  76. Pingala Nadi: One of the three major Nadis (channels); the other two are Sushumna and Ida. It is said to be situated on the right side of Sushumna or the spine. It is supposed to flow Prana-Shakti (force of Prana) and is considered to be associated with externalised awareness.
  77. Prana Marga: Lines, channels or pathways along which movement of muscles (vayus), material substance, or mind is felt and experienced.
  78. Prana: Vital energy or force of the Universe essential for life pervading the whole body and present in macro-cosmos and micro-cosmos. Prana is vital to life; without it, there will be no life. At the individual level, it is supposed to regulate and control the physical and mental functions by moving in specific ways in specific regions of the human body.
  79. Pranamaya Kosha: According to Taittiriya Upanishad, one of the five bodies (Pancha-Kosha) refers to the energy (Pranic) body, subtler than the Annamaya Kosha. It is vital for survival and is supposed to be constituted by nadis (channels), Chakras (energy centres), and Pranas (vital energy).
  80. Prashvasa (out-breath): Awareness developing during exhalation because of the sensations arising from the touch of air movement inside the body during involuntary or voluntary breathing.
  81. Puraka: One of the three phases of Pranayama, Refers to conscious, slow, deep, and prolonged inhalation or filling of the lungs with air.
  82. Rajasik Ahara: very spicy Food and is heavy to digest. However, this food is required for physically active people.
  83. Rajo-guna is characterised by dynamism, movement, or oscillation.
  84. Rechaka: One of the three components of Pranayama refers to conscious, slow, deep and prolonged inhalation or emptying of the lungs.
  85. Sadhana: Any spiritual practice that helps the person attain life’s goal; realise the ‘Self’ or the ‘Super-Consciousness’.
  86. Sahasrara Chakra: Sahasrara is one of the Chakras (literally, thousand-petaled lotus) located just above the crown of the head.
  87. Samadhi: Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga’s eighth and final limb can be considered an advanced or ultimate stage of Dhyana and characterised by oneness with the object (form, thought, or sound) of Dhyana (meditation), or merging of the subject of consciousness into the entity of consciousness, thus characterised by the absence of subject–object relationship. It also refers to the state of identifying the Individual Self with the Supreme Self.
  88. Samana Vayu: It is responsible for digestion and assimilation in the stomach region. It comes between Apana Vayu and Prana Vayu.
  89. Samprajnata Samadhi: A state of Samadhi in which Chitta has merged itself in a gross or subtle object; in this state, Samskaras are not destroyed, and the person remains aware of the process followed and its outcome.
  90. Samyama: Combination of three consecutive practices of concentration,i.e., practising Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, all together having the same object.
  91. Sattvik Ahara: A type of food mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita; it refers to food which is fresh, nonspicy, nourishing, and easily digestible. Includes milk, milk products, seasonal vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, cereals, sprouts, pulses, honey, jaggery, sugarcane, natural and unprocessed sugars and oils.
  92. Satya: One of Patanjali’s five Yamas refers to truthfulness or speaking by the fact. Shanmukhi Mudra: In this Mudra, one is supposed to close the seven gates of perception with the fingers of both hands. It is one of the Mudra in Hatha-Yoga.
  93. Shaucha: One of Patanjali’s five Niyamas refers to cleanliness and purity of body and mind.
  94. Shiksha: Education/knowledge.
  95. Shvasa (In-breath): Awareness developing during inhalation because of the sensations arising from the touch of air movement inside the body during involuntary or voluntary breathing.
  96. Sthula Vyayama: Gross (macro) practices.
  97. Sukshma Vyayama: Subtle (micro) practices.
  98. Sushumna Nadi: The most important Nadi (channel) is supported by the spinal column in the human body. It is situated between Ida and Pingala Nadis and is supposed to conduct Kundalini Shakti (potential energy).
  99. Svadhisthana Chakra: Svadhisthana is one of the Chakras located at the pelvis and associated with the water element.
  100. Swadhyaya: One of Patanjali’s five Niyamas and one of the three components of Patanjali’s Kriya Yoga, refers to self-study and study of the scriptures relating to realising the ‘Self’.
  101. Tamasik Ahara: Stale, tasteless, decomposed, and putrid food, which is stimulating. Includes stale, leftover, contaminated or over-ripe substances, meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, and fermented foods such as vinegar.
  102. Tamo-Guna: It is characterised by inertia, dullness, laziness, and ignorance.
  103. Tantra Yoga: The school of Yoga that deals with a path of ritual and esoteric practices to awaken Shakti (latent cosmic energy).
  104. Tapa: One of Patanjali’s five Niyamas and one of the three components of Patanjali’s Kriya Yoga refers to austerity, abstaining from sensual pleasure, and turning the mind towards the ‘Self’.
  105. Tri Guna: Tri means Three, and Guna means Quality. It refers to three Prakriti (Nature) principles: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
  106. Trikonasana: Trikona means triangle. In this Asana, the final body posture resembles a triangle, made by the trunk, arms, and legs.
  107. Tyaga: Renunciation of egoism, passions, and desires of worldly pleasures.
  108. Udana Vayu: It is responsible for speech and higher activities in the region of the throat.
  109. Vaikhari: A mode of Mantra recitation where the Mantra is loudly recited during exhalation: generally used for learning and teaching.
  110. Vedanta: It is one of the Shad Darshana. Vedanta, also called Uttara Mimamsa, literally means ‘end of the Vedas’. Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from, or were aligned with, the speculations and philosophies of the Upanishads, specifically, knowledge and liberation.
  111. Vichara: Thoughts/thinking process.
  112. Vihara: Any kind of activity undertaken for relaxation.
  113. Vijnanamaya Kosha: Refers to the Wisdom Body. According to Taittiriya Upanishad, it is one of the five bodies (Pancha-Kosha), which is supposed to be interior to the Manomaya Kosha and consisting of higher levels of intellect (buddhi).
  114. Vishuddhi Chakra: Visuddhi is one of the Chakras located near the base of the throat.
  115. Viveka Khyati: It is the knowledge that Purusha (Atman or Soul) and Prakriti (Nature or Matter) are different. It can be considered as discriminative awareness.
  116. Vrtti: It refers to Citta’s behaviour mode, the mental attributes that keep the mind disturbed or engaged. In Patanjali Yoga, these are Pramana (true knowledge), Viparyaya (false knowledge), Vikalpa (conceptualisation), Nidra (sleep), and Smriti (memory).
  117. Vyana Vayu: It is responsible for the circulation of body fluids and is present throughout the body.
  118. Vyavahara: Any type of activity, behavioural transactions or interaction.
  119. Yama: Self-restraints to be observed in social life; the first limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. According to Patanjali, there are five Yamas.
  120. Yoga Marga: Spiritual path consisting of components of Yogic practices.
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