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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

Ayuverda – is a science of life with ‘ayur’ meaning “life” and ‘veda’ meaning “science or knowledge”. It is a wholistic body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy, while realizing their full human potential.

Bandha – energy lock

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”

Shakti – divine energy and power that is thought to move through the entire universe

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

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

Tantra – non-dualistic yogic system that promotes the exploration of subtle energies within the body and their connection to the universe to understand the purpose of life and the principles of union in new dimensions

Ujjayi – deep and audible “drawing breath” exercise

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”