Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

by Monday, August 15, 2016

What does yoga mean? How about namaste? Interested in Bikram? Delve deeper into yoga’s world using this yoga dictionary. Have you come across yoga articles that made you say, “What is she talking about?” I understand the feeling. I still ask the same question once in a while as yoga can be very technical.

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

Let’s talk about Namaste and Shanti. To help you in your yogic journey, I’ve come up with a yoga dictionary composed of 20 words beginners like you should know.

1. Ananda

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

Ananda is a Hindu philosophy that pertains to a state of extreme joy, divine bliss, or higher self-consciousness. It may also refer to the type of yoga that combines meditation and affirmations.

2. Asana

Asana refers to posture or pose. Different types of yoga can have their own series or sets of postures.

3. Ashtanga

Ashtanga is a type of Vinyasa yoga based on the eight principles outlined in Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. It is highly structured with specific poses in every series that have to be executed correctly.

4. Bikram Yoga

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury. It is composed of 26 asanas that should be performed in a particular sequence.

5. Chakra

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

“Chakra” is a Sanskrit word for “wheel.” In Indian, yoga, or Hindu philosophy, it refers to a wheel of energy. It is believed the body is composed of 7 chakra points or nodes where energy flows: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. If one or more of these chakras are blocked, a person may develop an illness.

6. Dhyana

Dhyana means meditation or contemplation for the purpose of increasing self-knowledge. It should not be confused with dharana, which is focusing the mind on a particular object or idea (concentration).

7. Guru

A guru is a person who teaches, guides, or mentors a person. He or she illustrates an expertise or knowledge in a particular field.

8. Hatha

Hatha yoga is usually used as another term for yoga since it combines two essential elements of the practice: postures and breathing. This can also include any yoga exercise that doesn’t follow a structure or sequence.

9. Karma

Karma is a popular Buddhist or Hindu principle that refers to the consequences of one’s actions – that is, the future depends on the person’s actions today. It can also refer to the type of yoga that promotes selfless action that can help a person attain perfection.

10. Kundalini

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

Kundalini refers to the energy stored in the base of the spine. Incredibly powerful, it is often likened to a coiled serpent.

11. Mantra

Mantras may also be called chants, which are performed during yoga postures or meditation to improve concentration, stillness, or flow of energy. One of the well-known mantras is om.

12. Mudra

Mudra means gesture which is often done by the hands or fingers. The one above is called the chin mudra, which is formed by joining the tips of the thumb and the forefinger.

13. Namaste

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

Namaste is a greeting and is done to show respect. It translates to “I bow to you.” In yoga, we bow or do namaste to show regard to a person’s soul.

14. Prana

Prana means breath. Breathing is one of the most important elements in yoga.

15. Pranayama

This comes from the word “prana,” which we already defined above, although this specifically refers to the series of exercises, postures, or techniques for controlled breathing.

16. Savasana

The famous Corpse Pose! A staple in yoga exercises, this is a good way to end a session as it restores energy and boosts relaxation.

17. Shanti

Shanti means a wonderful type of peace, a sense of calmness of the mind, body, and spirit despite discord in a person’s surroundings.

18. Vinyasa

Vinyasa can mean coordination and flow. During classes, the yogis perform postures and coordinated breathing with each movement flowing seamlessly to the next.

19. Yoga

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

What’s a yoga dictionary without the word “yoga,” right? Yoga can mean many things to a lot of people. It can be an exercise, an activity, or a practice. It is often defined, however, as a discipline that combines meditation, postures, and breathing control to promote spirituality, mindfulness, and physical benefits.

20. Yogi

Yoga Dictionary | 20 Words Every Beginner Should Know

A yogi is a practitioner of yoga, although women are technically called yogini.

Let’s go beyond our yoga dictionary! Listen to more than an hour of calming yoga mantras by Julia Elena:

Now that you have your beginner’s yoga dictionary, go read some of my articles again or check out what’s available online. It’s time to enrich your mind and love yoga more.

Have you learned something today? Do you have any other Yoga terms you want to discuss? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Boost your knowledge with a yoga dictionary and more. Click or subscribe to Yoga Form to read yoga techniques, postures, and tips.  

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