Yoga sanskrit words

80 Yoga Sanskrit Words Every Yoga Teacher Should Know

Table of Contents

  • 1. 80 Common Yoga Sanskrit Words And Their Meanings
  • 2. Benefits Of Learning Sanskrit
  • 2.1. In-Depth Knowledge Of Yoga
  • 2.2. Easy To Teach Yoga
  • 2.3. Dissolves Language Barriers
  • 2.4. Illuminates The Significance Of Yoga Poses
  • 2.5. Gain Fresh Perspectives On Yoga Philosophy
  • 2.6. Improved Chanting¬†

Sanskrit is regarded as the earliest language known to man. Sanskrit was the language in which the "Vedas," were written, which are the oldest texts of the human race. The  Sanskrit language was considered by the Indians to be the language of God and is acknowledged as the Divine speech. Yoga Sanskrit words are still unfamiliar to many, and people are unaware of their significance to yoga and its meaning. 

According to scholars, each of the 50 Sanskrit letters is believed to have a sound frequency that has a particular therapeutic value. Awareness is embedded into every syllable. The yoga Sanskrit words were also used by significant authors of numerous classic literatures on philosophical, spiritual, cultural, and scientific texts like astronomy, architecture, astrology, and medicine to express, share, and record opinions and ideas. 


80 Common Yoga Sanskrit Words And Their Meanings

  1. Ahamkara: Ego, ‘I am’-ness.

  2. Ahimsa: Non-injury in thought and deed. 

  3. Ajapa-japa: Repetition of So-ham Mantra.

  4. Ananda: Bliss; happiness.

  5. Anahata: The fourth chakra, celestial sounds heard by yogis.

  6. Ananta: Infinite; endless.

  7. Asana: Posture

  8. Ashtanga Yoga: Yoga with eight limbs; dynamic flow of yoga

  9. Ashrama: Hermitage; place of spiritual retreat

  10. Asteya: Non-stealing; one of the five virtues of Yama.

  11. Atma: soul, real self.

  12. Bandha: Bondage, lock, knot

  13. Basti: Cleansing of the bowels and abdomen

  14. Bhajana: Worship; praise; taking refuge (in the Lord). 

  15. Bhagavan: The Lord; Narayana.

  16. Bhakta: Devotee

  17. Bhakti: Devotion; love (of God).

  18. Bija: Seed; source

  19. Brahma: The creator of all beings

  20. Brahma-muhurta: Period of an hour and a half before sunrise.

  21. Buddha: The enlightened one; who is full of knowledge.

  22. Chakra: Centre of psychic energy in the human system.

  23. Citta: Mind, Consciousness

  24. Dharana: Concentration of mind

  25. Dharma: Righteous way of living, characteristics; virtue.

  26. Dhauti: Flushing out impurities and cleaning the stomach

  27. Dhyana: Meditation

  28. Diksha: Initiation; consecration

  29. Gayatri: Sacred Vedic mantras, hymn

  30. Gita: Song; the word of god, refers to the renowned sacred text Bhagavad Gita

  31. Granthi: Tie or knot

  32. Guru: Teacher

  33. Guna: Nature, quality (sattva, rajas, tamas)

  34. Hatha yoga: Yoga to bring balance between the Ida and Pingala through Asanas, Pranayama, Bandhas, Mudras, and Kriyas.

  35. Ida: Nerve-current flowing through the left nostril;  lunar Nadi

  36. Japa: Repetition of mantra.

  37. Jnana: Knowledge; wisdom of reality

  38. Jnana yoga: The path of knowledge; meditation through wisdom

  39. Karma yoga: The yoga of selfless action; one’s own duty; service to humanity.

  40. Kriya: Physical action; exercises in Hath Yoga and Kundalini Yoga

  41. Mala: Rosary; beads used for counting the number of Japa.

  42. Mantra: Spiritual syllable or word, prayer or song, to attain realization of the Self.

  43. Mauna: Silence. 

  44. Maya: Illusion, the veiling power of the universe. 

  45. Nadi: Nerve; channel; psychic current.

  46. Nidra: Sleep

  47. Nirvana: Liberation

  48. Niyama: The second virtue in Ashtanga Yoga; positive practices, purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God

  49. Pada: Foot

  50. Pancha kosha: Five sheaths or body layers

  51. Pingala: A channel that links to the right nostril; solar nadi.

  52. Prakriti: Nature, causal matter

  53. Prana: Vital energy; life-breath; life-force

  54. Prasada: Food dedicated to God at his worship and eaten by the devotees as something holy

  55. Puraka: Inhalation of breath.

  56. Rajas: One of the three traits of cosmic energy; this quality generates passion and energy

  57. Rechaka: Exhalation of breath.

  58. Rudraksha:  Eye of Lord Siva; a berry of which the seeds are worn around their necks, heads, and arms, sacred to Lord Siva.

  59. Shakti: Power; energy; force; divine feminine energy

  60. Samadhi: The state of absolutness and self-absorption; highest state in spiritual practice; joy; oneness.

  61. Sankalpa: Intention, desire

  62. Sanyasa: Renunciation of worldly ties; the last stage of Hindu life.

  63. Shastra: Scripture; words of authority.

  64. Saucha: Purity (internal and external); cleanliness; one of the five Niyamas in Ashtanga Yoga.

  65. Seva: Service. 

  66. Shat-karma: Cleaning processes in Hatha Yoga- Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Kapalabhati and Trataka

  67. Tamas: Ignorance; darkness

  68. Tantra: A particular path of Sadhana laying stress upon the Japa of a mantra and other esoteric upasanas.

  69. Tapas: Purificatory action; austerity

  70. Tattva: Element; essence; principle

  71. Trataka: Steady gazing; the process of fixing the gaze on a small dot, point, etc. 

  72. Vairagya: Indifference and detachment towards all worldly things and enjoyments

  73. Vata: Wind; one of the three humors of the body.

  74. Vidya: Knowledge (of Brahman); there are two kinds of knowledge, Paravidya and Aparavidya

  75. Yoga: Union; teaching the process of union of the individual with the universal soul: union with god.

  76. Yoga Nidra: A state of half-contemplation and half-sleep; Yogic sleep when the individual retains slight awareness; state between sleep and wakefulness

  77. Yoni: Source, womb.

  78. Yama: First step of the eight limbs of yoga, moral guidelines in terms of respect for others, 

  79. Om: Sacred sound from which the universe is created

  80. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of senses


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Benefits Of Learning Sanskrit

In-Depth Knowledge Of Yoga

The original language of yoga is Sanskrit. Thus, it is essential to understand Yoga Sanskrit words for an in-depth study of yoga. It is crucial for a yoga instructor to be able to comprehend the history of yoga as well as its current evolution. Many of the Sanskrit names have deeper connotations that help to understand the original intent behind each pose, practice, and technique.


Easy To Teach Yoga

Yoga is an old art that might seem mysterious and unapproachable to some of us. That feeling of intimidation can be removed with the understanding of Sanskrit. Understanding the yoga Sanskrit words, and other jargon can help you better comprehend the old language and the yoga practice as a whole. The term "pranayama," for instance, comes from the root word "prana," meaning "life energy,"  and "yama"  meaning “control”. That itself gives us more insight into what you're practicing.

Dissolves Language Barriers

Sanskrit is a language that many yogis appreciate. Sanskrit yoga words also tend to dismantle linguistic barriers between speakers of other languages. This common language fosters a closer, more spiritual bond. Sanskrit names convey meaning through a combination of sound and feeling. It fosters a sense of oneness among the students and teachers when they use Sanskrit terminology as a medium of instruction and communication. It turns into a shared experience that unites all beyond just physical health. This could be the first step towards realizing the connection that yoga teaches.


Illuminates The Significance Of Yoga Poses

No matter how long you've been doing yoga, it may help you learn the poses you already know with a a deeper understanding. While instructing the alignment and anatomical features of yoga postures, Sanskrit terminology is frequently used. Acquiring knowledge of Sanskrit yoga words can help practitioners comprehend the subtleties of every posture, enabling more accurate alignment and performance. 


Gain Fresh Perspectives On Yoga Philosophy

Yogis occasionally uses Sanskrit to describe a notion that is difficult for an English speaker to express in words. However, if one is not familiar with the language, the meaning of the term might get distorted. Learning Sanskrit can be beneficial since it will reveal the true meanings and origin of different yogic philosophical terms. 


Improved Chanting 

Acquainting oneself with the phonetics and characters of Sanskrit may be necessary as part of the learning process. Given that many chanting mantras sessions include Sanskrit words and phrases, this understanding can improve these practices. A more profound experience may arise from a better comprehension of the language.

About Author

Meghna Banerjee
Meghna Banerjee

Meghna is a 500-RYT, Yoga Alliance certified Yoga teacher. She has conducted over 500 sessions to date. With 6+ years of experience in the health and well-being field, our expert offers an integrative approach toward healing which constitutes evidence-based therapies and transformative yoga practices.