COMMON YOGA TERMS
Sanskrit: The language of Yoga. The ancient language of India with a potent, vibrational sound.
Yoga: Derived from the sanskrit root "yuj", i.e. "to yoke" ; the yoking of the individual soul (Atman) or sense of self with the external, universal soul (Brahman). Union with God (Samadhi). Yoga embraces a wide range of disciplines whose ultimate goal is the joining of body, mind and spirit, a conscious unification into Oneness.
Hatha Yoga: The physical practice of yoga. There are many types of physical practice such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Anusara, Kundalini, Kripalu, Integral and Bikram.
Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of Devotion
Karma Yoga: The Yoga attained through selfless service
Raja Yoga: The path of Meditation (Ashtanga - The eightlimbed path of Patanjali)
Jnana Yoga: The Yoga of Wisdom (study of the self)
Asana: Pose or posture; literally translates as seat.
Ashtanga Yoga: Patanjali's eight-limbed path, also called Raja Yoga. Also the "brand" name for the style of yoga developed and taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Bhagavad Gita: "The Song of The Lord" written circa 200B.C. part of the epic Mahabarata. Bhakti and Karma Yoga are emphasized. This is the essential Yoga Text.
Bhandhas: Energy gates or locks used to direct the flow of prana.
Chakra: "Wheel"; energy centers within the body.
Drishti: Gaze or focal point
Kirtan: Devotional chanting; musical prayer. The rhythmic quality of this call and response chanting kindles a joyful mood and can lead to profound states of meditation. In India Kirtan is accepted as one of the surest paths to enlightenment.
Namaste: Greeting, hands in prayer form at heart center and bowing forward. In doing so you are acknowledging the sacred divinity within each being. (The divine in me honors the divine in you.)
Om: Universal Sound; the sound symbol for God. The sound that connects us to universal consciousness; the most powerful mantra. Often chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga class.
Patanjali: Sage considered to be an incarnation of the divine Serpent, Ananta, who supports the whole universe; compiler of the Yoga Sutras, considered the founder of yoga philosophy. There are disagreements as to when he lived, ranging from 3000B.C. to 300B.C.
Pranayama: Expansion of vital energy through the regulation of breath; to restrict the life force and/or to set it free.
Satsang: Attachment to the truth; association with those who remind you of your True potential.
Shakti: Feminine power of the divine; force of nature; vital energy.
Sutra: "Thread"; teachings given in concise statements
Tapas: "To burn" ; practice with discipline and devotion
Vinyasa: Flow of movement connected to the breath