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Yoga Speak Glossary of Sanskrit Words
13 Juli 2014
Yoga Speak Glossary of Sanskrit Words

You may be in a yoga class and hear the teacher using Sanskrit words for yoga poses (asanas) and concepts (Bryan's phrase for "any dimwit can jam themselves deeper"). We thought you might find this list helpful in translating some of the more commonly used terms.

Adho-mukha

Face downwards.

Adho-mukha svasana

Downward facing dog pose.

Anga

The body; a limb or a part of the body; a constituent part.

Apana

One of the vital airs which move in the sphere of the lower abdomen.

Ardha

Half.

Asana Posture

The third stage of yoga.

Asta

The number eight.

Astanga Yoga

The eight limbs of Yoga described by Patanjali.

Aum

Like the Latin word 'Omne', the Sanskrit word 'Aum' means 'all' and conveys concepts of 'Omniscience', 'Omnipresence' and 'Omnipotence'.

Baddha

Bound, caught, restrained, firm.

Bakasana

Elbow balancing pose.

Balasana

Child's pose.

Bandha

Bondage or fetter. It means a posture where certain organs or parts of the body are contracted and controlled.

Bhakti

Worship, adoration.

Bhuja

The arm or the shoulder.

Bhuja-pida

Pressure on the arm or shoulder.

Bhujanga

A serpent, a snake.

Bhujangsana

Cobra pose.

Chakra

Literally, a wheel or circle. Energy (prana) is said to flow in the human body through three main channels (nadis), namely, Susumna, Pingala and Ida. Susumna is situated inside the spinal column. Pingala and Ida start respectively from the right and left nostrils, move up to the crown of the head and course downwards to the base of the spine. These two nadis intersect with each other and also the Susumna. These junctions of the nadis are known as chakras or the fly-wheels which regulate the body mechanism.

Chandra

The moon.

Chatur

The number four.

Chaturanga

Four limbs; a push-up position a few inches off the ground.

Chitta

The mind in its total or collective sense, being composed of three categories: (a) Mind, having the faculty of attention, selection and rejection; (b) Reason, the decisive state which determines the distinction between things and (c) Ego, the I-maker.

Danda

A staff.

Dhanu

A bow.

Dharana

Concentration or complete attention. The sixth stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali.

Dhyana Meditation

The seventh stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali.

Dwi

Two, both.

Dwi-hasta

Two hands.

Dwi-pada

Two feet or legs.

Eka

One, single, alone, only.

Gu

First syllable in the word 'Guru', meaning darkness.

Guru

Spiritual preceptor, one who illumines the darkness of spiritual doubt.

Ha

First syllable of the word 'Hatha', which is composed of the syllables 'ha' meaning the sun, and 'tha' meaning the moon. The object of Hatha-yoga is to balance the flow of solar and lunar energy in the human system.

Hala

A plough.

Hasta

The hand.

Hatha

Sun/moon; balance.

Hatha-yoga

The way towards realisation through rigorous discipline.

Janu

The knee.

Jnana

Sacred knowledge derived from meditation on the higher truths of religion and philosophy, which teaches a man how to understand his own nature.

Kapota

A dove, pigeon.

Karma

Action.

Karma-yoga

The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Soul through action.

Karna

The ear; also one of the heros in the Mahabharata

 

Karda Pidasana

Pressure on ears pose.

Kriya

An expiatory rite, a cleaning process.

Kundalini

The Kundalini (kundala=coil of a rope; Kundalini=a coiled female serpent) is the divine cosmic energy. This force or energy is symbolised as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Supreme Universal Soul.

Mala

A garland, wreath.

Mandala

A circle.

Mantra

A sacred thought or a prayer.

Matsya

A fish.

Mudra

A seal; a sealing posture.

Mukha

Face.

Nama

Name.

Namaste

Commonly said at the end of yoga class by the instructor and the students.
One beautiful interpretation: I honor that place in you where the whole Universe resides. And when I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, there is only one of us.

Nava

A boat.

Nirodha

Restraint, suppression.

Niyama

Self-purification by discipline. The second stage of yoga mentioned by Patanjali.

Pada

The foot or leg; also part of a book.

Padangustha

The big toe.

Padma

A lotus.

Parigha

A beam or a bar used for bolting or shutting a gate.

Pharigasana

Lateral side stretch.

Paripurna

Entire, complete.

Paripurna Navasana

Boat pose.

Parivrtta

Turned around, revolved.

Parivrtta Trikonasana

Twisting triangle.

Parsva

The side, flank; lateral.

Pasa

A fetter, trap, noose.

Paschima

West; the back side of the body.

Paschimottana

Intense stretch of the back side of the body from the nape to the heels.

Paschimottanasana

Seated forward bend.

Patanjali

The author of the yoga sutras. The propounder of Astanga yoga. He put it on paper, so the world could experience it.

Pida

Pain, suffering, pressure.

Prajna

Intelligence, wisdom.

Prana

Breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, strength. It also connotes the soul.

Pranayama

Rhythmic control of the breath. The fourth stage of yoga.

Prasarita

Spread out, stretched out.

Pratyahara

Withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and sensual objects. The fifth stage of yoga.

Purva

East, the front of the body.

Purvottana

The intense stretch of the front side of the body.

Purvottasana

Pose of the intense stretch of the front side of the body.

Raja

A king, a ruler.

Raja-kapota

King pigeon.

Raja-yoga

The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Spirit, by becoming the ruler of one's own mind by defeating its enemies.
The chief of these enemies are: Kama (passion or lust), krodha (anger or wrath), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsara (jealousy or envy). The eight-fold yoga of Patanjali shows the royal road (raja-marga) for achieving this objective.

Ru

The second syllable in the word 'guru', meaning light.

Salabha

A locust.

Salamba

With support.

Samadhi

A state in which the aspirant is one with the object of his meditation, the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe, where there is a feeling of unutterable joy and peace.

San

Six.

Sarva

All, whole.

Sarvanga

The whole body.

Sarvangasana

Shoulderstand.

Sava

A corpse, a dead body.

Savasana

Corpse pose.

Setu

A bridge.

Setu-bandha

The construction of a bridge. Name of an asana in which the body is arched.

Siddha

A sage, seer or prophet; also a semi-divine being of great purity and holiness.

Sirsa

The head.

Supta

Sleeping.

Supta Virasana

Supine hero pose.

Surya

The sun.

Svana

A dog.

Tada

A mountain.

Tadasana

Mountain pose; standing tall.

Tan

To stretch, extend, lengthen out.

Tapas

Burning away impurities through self-discipline.

Tha

The second syllable of the word 'hatha'. The first syllable 'ha' stands for the sun, while the second syllable 'tha' stands for the moon. The union of these two is Hatha-yoga.

Tola

A balance.

Tri

Three.

Trikona

A triangle.

Ujjayi

A type of pranayama in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out.

Upavistha

Seated.

Urdhva

Raised, elevated, tending upwards.

Urdhva-mukha

Face upwards.

Ustra

A camel.

Ut

A particle, denoting intensity.

Utkata

Powerful, fierce.

Uttana

An intense stretch.

Uttanasana

Standing forward bend intense stretch.

Utthita

Raised up, extended, stretched.

Vajra

A thunderbolt, the weapon of Indra.

Vasistha

A celebrated sage, author of several Vedic hymns.

Vira

A hero; brave.

Virabhadra

A powerful hero created out of Siva's matted hair.

Virabhadrasana I

Warrior I pose.

Vrksa

A tree.

Vritta

Fluctuation.

Yama

The god of death. Yama ia also the first of the eight limbs or means of attaining yoga.
Yamas are universal moral commandments or ethical disciplines transcending creeds, countries, age and time. The five mentioned by Patanjali are:
non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence and non-coveting.

Yoga

Union, communion.

Yoga-mudra

A posture.

Yogi or Yogini

One who follows the path of yoga.

Note: Some of this glossary is from the book Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar

Source: www.poweryoga.com

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