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Sanskrit Glossary

Asana – one of the “eight limbs of yoga”; means yoga posture

Ashram – place or community setting where yoga is practiced

Asthanga – athletic style of yoga, popularly known as Power Yoga, that emphasizes strength, stamina, flexibility and the movement of heat around the body

Bandha – energy lock

Bhujangasana – cobra posture used in the sun salutation exercise sequence

Chakras – physical or spiritual energy centers located along the spine, above the head, as well as in the hands and feet

Dharana – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that means “concentration”

Dhyana – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that means “meditation”

Guru – yoga master or one that guides you from the darkness to the light; a “goo remover”

Hatha – yogic system of bodily control, consisting of physical exercises, pranayama and meditation

Iyengar – hatha yoga practice that emphasizes structure and alignment using props

Jnana – yogic system of  knowledge or wisdom; “path of knowledge”

Kapalabhati – cleansing breathing exercise that literally means “skull shining”

Karma – yogic system believing that everything you do, say or think has an immediate effect on the universe and in you

Kundalini – hatha yoga practice that emphasizes breath work (specifically moving the breath along the spine to stimulate different energy centers)

Mantra – meditative sound or prayer consisting of a repetitive Sanskrit word/words

Meditation – a mindful experience with best results when practiced at regular times each day, 5 to 30 minutes, 1 to 2 times daily

Namaste – traditional greeting of reverence (prayer like gesture) still in everyday use in India; in Western civilization it is traditionally used at the end of a yoga practice meaning “I salute the divine light within you”

Niyama – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that refers to self observation

Om (aum) – a sacred symbol and sound vibration used as a mantra to feel connection with everything; refers to universal oneness

Pranayama – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that refers to deep breathing exercises or breath control

Pratyahara – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that refers to a withdrawing of the senses

Samadhi – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that refers to the highest stage of meditation in which a person experiences oneness with the universe or enlightenment

Sanskrit – ancient language in which the Hindu scriptures and classical Indian epic poems are written; older than Latin or Greek and is considered to be the “Language of the Gods”

Sukhasana – easy sitting posture; position for meditation and communing with the divine source

Surya Namaskara – “sun salutation” which is a series of flowing postures done as gratitude towards the sun

Tadasana – mountain posture used in the sun salutation exercise sequence

Tantra – yogic system that promotes heightened sexual pleasure

Trikonasana – triangle posture

Ujjayi – deep and audible “drawing breath” exercise

Vrksasana – tree posture

Yama – one of the “eight limbs of yoga” that refers to ethical disciplines

Yogi – a gender neutral term used to describe “a person who practices yoga”. “Yogin” specifically refers to a male student and “yogini” is used for a female practitioner

Yoga – means “union” or “to yoke”