Yoga Dictionary | Vital And Important Terms & Definitions That You Need To Know

Your Yoga Dictionary For Better Studies

This Dictionary Contains Translations/Explanations Of Key Sanskrit Terms For Yoga-Meditation Studies

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  1. Abhyasa– Practice.
  2. Abhinivesha– Clinging to bodily life. Fear of death of one’s physical body or identity. [Klesha/Poison]
  3. Advaita– Non-dualism. Oneness.
  4. Agni– Fire element.
  5. Ahamkara– Sense of “I”-am-ness (most commonly of the individual ego).
  6. Ahimsa– Nonviolence: One of the Yamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  7. Ajapa– Total absorption of a mantra.
  8. Ajna– Third-Eye Chakra.
  9. Akasha– Space/Ether element.
  10. Aladani– The transition into “deep sleep” or formless thought. This is a state of latent impressions and knowledge that includes dormant Samskaras and past karmas. This state can be a distraction to Samadhi if one gets attached.
  11. Anahata– Heart Chakra.
  12. Anicca (sounds like eneecheh)- Impermanence: Everything in the universe comes and goes; everything has a beginning and an end.
  13. Antarayah– Obstacles to Samadhi.
  14. Anushasanam– Discipline.
  15. Aparigraha– Non-Greed/Non-Attachment: One of the Yamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  16. Apas– Water element.
  17. Asamprajnata (Samadhi)- Undistinguished “I” of the pure self.
  18. Asana– Limb three of the Eightfold Path in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga: Stretching and bodywork designed to create lightness of the body and an effective meditative posture.
  19. Asmita– Egoism. [Klesha/Poison]
  20. Asteya– Non-Stealing: One of the Yamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  21. Atman– True Self.
  22. Aum– See OM.
  23. Avidya– Cloud of spiritual ignorance. A misconception of reality. [Klesha/Poison]
  24. Ayurveda– Study of longevity.
  25. Bandha– Internal lock.
  26. Bhavana– Cultivate/cultivating/cultivation (often refers to states of being, understanding, etc).
  27. Bhumisu Viniyogah– Working through/seeing/exploring the layers of inner distortion (the Karmashea) that cloud the True Self.
  28. Brahmacharya– Self-Control: One of the Yamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and other types of Yoga.
  29. Buddhi– The “higher” mind, dealing with advanced cognitive functions, like discernment and decision-making. It is often seen as the doorway to inner wisdom.
  30. Chakras– The body’s energy centers.
  31. Chitta– Mind. The memory bank for mental sensory information and latent impressions.
  32. Chitta Vrittis– Mind-stuff. Thoughts. Mental distortions/delusions/unconscious and other mental-modifications.
  33. Concentration– One pointed focus on a subject or object. (See Dharana)
  34. Contemplation– To ponder deeply. To consider using attention and focus.
  35. Dama– Self-control.
  36. Dharana– Limb Six Of The Eightfold Path In Raja (Royal), and Some Other Types Yoga: Concentration and the development of a pure, well-cultivated mind.
  37. Dharma– The nature of things. Is often associated with rightful work or duties. “The meaning of dharma includes virtue, justice, law, duty, morality, religion, religious merit and steadfast decree.” (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
  38. Dharmamegha– The highest discriminative (telling reality from fantasy, truth from lies, etc) awareness.
  39. Dhyana– Limb Seven Of The Eightfold Path In Raja (Royal), and Some Other Types Yoga: Meditation. Deep contemplation that involves the cessation of words/thoughts.
  40. Doshas– “That which causes problems” in Ayruveda.
  41. Drashtuh– The experience of being the Seer beyond the ego.
  42. Dukkha– Suffering (All life is/can be suffering): The first of the Four Noble Truths.
  43. Dvesha– Aversion/hatred. [Klesha/Poison]
  44. Ekagrata Parinamh– One-pointedness. Refers to a state of mind.
  45. Eightfold Path (In Yoga)- Eight-limbed path lived/practiced in Raja (Royal) and some other types of Yoga. The Limbs of this path include: Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Pratyaharas, Dharanas, Dhyanas, and Samadhi.
  46. Four Noble Truths– The Four Truths of Life according to Gautama Siddhartha (The Buddha). These include: Dukka, Samudaya, Nirhodha, and Magga. Life brings ongoing suffering. There is a cause to all suffering. There is an end to suffering. There is a path (the Eightfold Path) that liberates all beings from this perpetual cycle of suffering.
  47. Granthi– Psychic (pertaining to the mind) knot.
  48. Gunas– The three constituents of Prana (or life force)/nature: sattva, rajas, and tamas. Shape Prakriti.
  49. Guruh/Guru– That which moves one from/out of darkness to light. Teacher. Representative of an energy as opposed to a person. The guru energy exists within everyone (to the extent of their higher Self connection or their sheer ability to serve as a means for another to gain insight or understanding either directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, good or bad…the Guru energy is everywhere and is not partial);it can come from anything, including objects.
  50. Ida– Left energy channel: tied to the parasympathetic nervous system.
  51. Ishwara Pranidhana– Devotion to a higher path/practice: One of the Niyamas that one must abide by In Raja (Royal), and other types of Yoga.
  52. Isvara– Pure-Self-knowledge. The manifested seed of omniscience.
  53. Japa– Repetition of a mantra with the intention to fully absorb its meaning into your being.
  54. Jivanmukta– One who exists in physical expression but is simultaneously liberated from it.
  55. Jnana– Pure awareness acquired through meditation (knowledge).
  56. Jnanendriyas– Five senses (five entrance doors). Hearing, tasting, seeing, smelling, touching.
  57. Kaivalya– Independence from primal matter.
  58. Kapha– Solid/Heavy Dosha in Ayurveda.
  59. Karma– A non-judgmental and neutral law of cause and effect that states that thoughts, words, and actions have an effect in the world.
  60. Karmashea– The veil of Karmic illusion that hides the True Self. Habit patterns of mind, body, speech, and perceptions.
  61. Karmendriyas– Five outward movements (five exit doors). Speaking, moving, desiring, pro(creating), eliminating.
  62. Klesha/Klesa– Poisons. Obstacles. Attachments of the ego that come in the form of attractions and aversions, biases, judgments, and other types of mental distortions/delusions and “modifications.” Include: ignorance (Avidya), egoism (Asmita), attachment (Raga), hatred (Dvesha), aversion, clinging to bodily life (Abhinivesha).
  63. Kshipta– Disturbed/troubled state of mind. A state of worry, agitation, and generally restlessness.
  64. Magga– Liberation from suffering-There is a path (Eightfold Path or any other Yogic path) that liberates one from the inevitable and ongoing sufferings of life: The fourth of the Four Noble Truths.
  65. Mahabhutas– Five great elements. Earth (Prithivi), water (Apas), fire (Agni), air (Vayu), space/ether (Akasha).
  66. Mahapurascharna– Deeply meditative state attained by the most devoted Yogis after 2.4 million mantra recitations.
  67. Maha-Videha– Perception outside of the mind.
  68. Mala– Impurity. Or, garland (as in mala beads used in Japa practice…which one could interpret as being used to clear away the impurity of ignorance, etc to come to greater purity/clarity.)
  69. Manas– Lower mind that relates to the external world through the senses.
  70. Manipura– Solar plexus Chakra.
  71. Mantra– Chant, song, and/or internally generated sound that is used purposefully in practice.
  72. Maya– Illusions of/in the world.
  73. Meditation– Deeply immersed “silent” mental concentration. (See Dhyana)
  74. Mudha– Dull/heavy state of mind. Depressed.
  75. Muladhara– Root Chakra.
  76. Mudra– Purposeful hand gesture used to regulate energy flow in the body.
  77. Mumuksuta– The enduring, unyielding, and powerful desire to be free from suffering and bondage in the world. The intense desire for liberation that is the prerequisite for attaining and maintaining it.
  78. Nadi– Energy channel.
  79. Nidra– See Sutra 10: Sleep. Refers to a type of thought that is of the illusion of blankness.
  80. Nirhodha– All suffering has a beginning/end/reason: The third of the Four Noble Truths. This also refers to the process of letting go of the distortions that prevent the experience of the True Self (see Nirhodha Parinamh). When referring to a mental state it refers to a “mastered” state of mind.
  81. Nirhodha Parinamh– Flow of suppressing/setting aside mind-stuff as they arise. Mind/ego-self-mastery.
  82. Nirbija (Samadhi)– “Seedless” Samadhi in which impressions are wiped out and total Union with the True Self is obtained. Also synonymous at different levels of expression with Kaivalya/Turiya.
  83. Nirvicara (Samadhi)– Non-reflective higher, Asamprajnata, Samadhi on subtle objects where the object shines above the I-am, and “the supreme Self shines.” Impressions are wiped out, and “rtambhara (God) prajna (Deep Sleep/Subconscious Mind State), or the absolute true consciousness” is attained (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).
  84. Nirvitarka (Samadhi)– The second stage of Lower, or Samprajnata Samadhi, in which the knowledge of an object shines above the name, form, and quality.
  85. Niyama– Limb Two of the Eightfold Path in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga: Habits and ethical practices.
  86. Om– Universal sound and symbol of Yoga.
  87. Parinamh (Parimama)- Signifying transformation that takes place when leaving the cycle of suffering.
  88. Pingala– Right energy channel: tied to the sympathetic nervous system.
  89. Pitta– Hot Dosha in Ayurveda.
  90. Prakriti– Elemental creative force/energy. Original natural “form” beyond normal perception; it is the essence/source, seed, and energetic material for all objective (subtle, and tangible) form.
  91. Prajna– The “deep sleep” subconscious state of consciousness symbolized by the M, or “mmmm,” of the OM/AUM symbol/word and sound. A state of higher awareness that brings clear wisdom.
  92. Pramana Sutra 7: Correct or right thought/knowledge.
  93. Prana– Life force/energy.
  94. Pranayama– Limb Four of the Eightfold Path in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga: Breath (force/energy) work/control/expansion.
  95. Prasupta– Inactive/latent/dormant [Relating to Klesha/Poison].
  96. Pratipaksa Bhavana– The practice of replacing negative thoughts with the opposite (positive thoughts), or reflecting upon how negative thoughts (and their resulting actions) bring pain. Aspects of the Yamas and Niyamas.
  97. Pratyahara– Limb Five Of The Eightfold Path In Raja (Royal), and Some Other Types Yoga: Mastery of the senses.
  98. Prithivi– Earth element.
  99. Purascharna– Clear, pure, mind attained after 125,000 manta repetitions.
  100. Purusa– The True Self of Asamrajnata Samadhi. The seed of consciousness. The unchanging/eternal source of awareness that exists within all of creation.
  101. Raga– Attraction/craving/addictive attachment. Greed, lust, etc. [Klesha/Poison]
  102. Rajas– Activity. [Guna]
  103. Rtambhara– God, Upholder of Truth.
  104. Sabja– “With seed” of Samskara impressions.
  105. Sadhana– Daily spiritual practice. A tool for Self-Realization.
  106. Sahaja Samadhi– Spontaneous Union obtained through Sahaja Yoga/Meditation.
  107. Sahasrara– Crown Chakra.
  108. Satya– Truthfulness: One of the Yamas One Must Abide By In Raja (Royal), and Some Other Types Yoga.
  109. Sama– Quietness of mind.
  110. Samadhi– Limb Eight Of The Eightfold Path In Raja (Royal), and Some Other Types Yoga: True clarity of concentration and awareness, occurring in purer and purer stages, which brings Self-Realization and prepares you for union with your Divine aspects/expressions.
  111. Samadhih Parinamh– One-pointed focus.
  112. Samsara– “Wandering.” Perpetual cycle of death and rebirth.
  113. Samskara(s)– Impression in the mind associated with past actions, words, desires, feelings, and thoughts (often latent/unconscious).
  114. Samprajnata (Samadhi)– Distinguished “I.”
  115. Samudaya– There is a cause to suffering: The second of the Four Noble Truths.
  116. Samyama (Interchangeable With Samyamh)- Work done to attain Samadhi. Primarily includes Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation), but the preceding limbs of the Eightfold Path are preparation for this work as well.
  117. Samyamh (Interchangeable With Samyama)- The practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi upon one object.
  118. Sangha– Community.
  119. Sankalpa– Heartfelt, dedicated, intention.
  120. Santosha– Contentment: One of the Niyamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  121. Savicara (Samadhi)– Reflective, Asamprajnata, Samadhi on subtle objects.
  122. Shusumna– Central energy channel: tied to the spinal chord/central nervous system.
  123. Shaucha– Self-Purification: One of the Niyamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  124. Shraddha– Faith/confidence/trust that one is moving in the right direction. Faith in your teacher and what he/she is teaching.
  125. Smrtayah (smirti, smirtih)- Sutra 11: Memory. Type of thought.
  126. Sutra– Translates to “thread.” In Yoga, they refer to philosophical lessons to be practiced in Raja (Royal) and some other types of Yoga.
  127. Sattva– Tranquility. [Guna]
  128. Sattvic– “[T]he quality of goodness, positivity, truth, serenity, balance, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards Dharma and Jnana” (Wikipedia).
  129. Savitarka– The initial state of Dhyana (meditation) that leads to a type of Samprajnata Samadhi. A lower, or first step, of Samadhi.
  130. Siddhis– Physical and worldly supernormal powers. Can become obstacles to Samadhi.
  131. Svadhistana– Sacral Chakra.
  132. Swadhyay– Self-Study: One of the Niyamas one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  133. Taijasa– The “dreaming” state of consciousness symbolized by the U, or “oo,” of the OM/AUM symbol/word and sound.
  134. Titiksha– Ability to endure extreme discomfort, suffering, insult, injury and pain.
  135. Tamas– Inertia. [Guna]
  136. Tanu– Weakened [Relating to Klesha/Poison].
  137. Tantra– Interweaving traditions.
  138. Tapa– Self-Discipline: One of the Niyamas that one must abide by in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga.
  139. Tejas– Fire element.
  140. Turiya– The silence/pure state of being symbolized by the silence that precedes the OM/AUM symbol/word and sound.
  141. Udaranam– Active/sustained [Relating to Klesha/Poison].
  142. Unmani – The transition between the concrete form of Vaishvaanara and the dreaming state. Often referred to as a state of “no mind” different from Samadhi. This state exists between the conscious and unconscious mind.
  143. Uparati– A state of being “above” the temptations, and attachment/attraction to objects, in the world.
  144. Vairagya– Non-attachment.
  145. Vaishvaanara– The gross, waking state of consciousness symbolized by the A, or “ah,” of the OM/AUM symbol/word and sound.
  146. Vasanas– Subconscious impressions. Desires.
  147. Vata– Cold/Dry Dosha in Ayurveda.
  148. Vayu– Air. Also refers to the five forms of prana.
  149. Vicchinna– Intercepted/cut-off [Relating to Klesha/Poison].
  150. Vichara– Contemplation with words and thoughts.
  151. Vikalpa– Sutra 9: Type of thought–Verbal delusion, imagination.
  152. Vikshipta– Distracted/noisy state of mind. Often referred to as “monkey mind.”
  153. Viparyaya Sutra 8: Misconception, incorrect thought/knowledge.
  154. Virya– Devoted/Dedicated. Confident conviction that one will follow through with, pursue, or accomplish a goal/thing.
  155. Visshudha– Throat Chakra.
  156. Viveka– Discernment.
  157. Vritti– Modifications. Delusions. Compulsions, and so forth. See Chitta Vrittis
  158. Yantra– A mystical diagram used for meditation.
  159. Yama Limb One of the Eightfold Path in Raja (Royal), and some other types of Yoga: The values, morals, ethics, and restraints that we choose to abide by.
  160. Yoga– Translates into “union.” It is a natural phenomenon of human inner evolution and a science of the mind and body that focuses on the connection of body, mind, breath, and spirit, as well as the expression of, and union with, one’s highest Self and the Source/Truth of Creation/pure consciousness itself. The systematic practice originated in the country that is now known as India.
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