Yoga Terms and Definitions

The main sources of yoga are texts from ancient India. All these texts are in Sanskrit. So, it is difficult to understand. Some words are very important and are most commonly used. Now we will take a look at them.

  • Ahimsa: Means non-violence. Ahimsa means no appearance of anger and not causing injury to other humans and animals. This should be in action, in word and in thoughts.

  • Asana: Means posture. It means steady and comfortable pose. In Hatha yoga, there are so many Asanas (postures) to get relief mentally and physically. It is one of the eight limbs of Patanjali yoga.

  • Chitta, Manas: These are synonyms and they mean mind.

  • Dharma: Dharma has Sanskrit root of ‘dhri’ which means the thing that maintains stability and harmony. Dharma means virtue, righteousness, dutiful.

  • Dharana: Dharana also derived from Sanskrit root ‘dhri’. It means concentrating or holding the mind on single thought. This is the sixth limb of Patanjali yoga.

  • Dhyana: Dhyana means meditation. Dhyana is a Sanskrit root ‘Dhyaa’, which means ‘to think’.

  • Guru: A person who has the practical experience in a certain domain, and has the ability to teach, mentor and lead his disciple or student perfectly.

  • Isvara pranidhana: Isvara means pure consciousness. Pranidhana means sincerity and dedication.

  • Jnana: Knowledge or wisdom, can also be knowledge from meditation.

  • Nirodha: Confinement, restrain from getting influenced by outside factors.

  • Niyama: Niyama means rules or laws prescribed for personal observances.

  • Prana: Life energy, life force sustaining the body, life current, vital energy or breath.

  • Pranayama: “Prana” means breath. “Ayama” means control. Pranayama means a systematic control of breathing.

  • Pratyahara: Withdrawing the senses, sensory inhibition. One of the eight limbs from Patanjali yoga.

  • Sathya: Means truth, correct, reality, unchangeable, absolute truth. Stick with truth in words and thoughts.

  • Siddha: Accomplished goal, perfection, perfect person, perfected master.

  • Svadhyaya: ‘sva’ means “self”, “adhyaya” means “inquiry/examination”. Thus svadhyaya means self-realization, finding limitations, keeping away from unwanted and self- destructive thoughts.

  • Yama: means discipline, restraint, self-control, ethics and social behavior. It is an inner practice to overcome greed, lust, anger, envy, jealousy, and teaches us to deal with outside world morally.

  • Yogi: A yogi is a person who follows the path of yoga.


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