Vocabulary

This is a quick guide to Yoga and meditation terms. We've kept the definitions short and simple. We used a couple of dictionaries as well as yoga reference books. In translation there may be different interpretations of words.

Ahimsa. Noninjury, nonviolence, harmlessness (one of the yamas). 

Ananda Yoga. Gentle, inward Yoga that uses silent affirmations while in the asanas (postures).

Anusara Yoga. heart-oriented, this Yoga integrates the celebration of the heart, universal principles of alignment, and energetic asanas.

Aparigraha. Nongreed, noncovetousness (one of the yamas).

Asanas. Yoga poses. Pronounced AH-sah-nahs.

Ashram. Retreat or secluded place, where the principles of Yoga and meditation are taught and practiced.

Ashtanga Yoga. Physically challenging Yoga to build strength, flexibility, and stamina. Also called Power Yoga.

Asmita. Ego, individuality, I-am-ness.

Asteya. Nonstealing (one of the yamas).

Aum or Om. Mantric word chanted in meditation. This word is interpreted as having three sounds representing creation, preservation, and destruction. Pronounced AH-ooh-um

Bhakti Yoga. The path of devotion; of love. Paths).

Bikram Yoga. Rigorous Yoga performed in a hot environment.

Brahmacarya. Purity, chastity, nonlust (one of the yamas).

Brahman. The absolute. Divinity itself, God as creator. "

Buddhi. The intellect.

Chakras. Centers of radiating life force or energy that relate to major nerve plexuses and glands in the physical body. There are seven chakras that store and release life force, energy. Simplified, they are: the top of the head; the brow, slightly above and between the eyebrows; the throat, the heart, the solar plexus, digestive center; the base of the spine; and the sacral center, located three to four inches above the base of the spine.

Dharana. Concentration of the mind. Holding the mind to one thought.

Dharma. Self-discipline, the life of responsibility and right action.

Dhyana. Meditation or contemplation. The process of quieting the mind.

Flow Yoga. The practice of smooth transition of asanas.

Guru. Spiritual teacher, described as the "dispeller of darkness."

Hatha Yoga. Balancing body, mind, and spirit through breathing exercises and sustained asanas, promoting physical well being.

Integral Yoga. Pranayama (control of breath) and meditation with asanas.

Ishvar-pranidhana. Center on the Divine (one of the niyamas).

Iyengar Yoga. Focuses on the body and how it works. Attention is paid to detail, precise alignment of postures, and the use of props.

Jnana Yoga. The path of knowledge or wisdom.

Karma Yoga. The path of action, work and service.

Kripalu Yoga. Emphasizes proper breath, alignment; coordinating breath and movement.

Kundalini. A cosmic energy in the body that is often compared to a snake lying coiled at the base of the spine, waiting to be awakened.

Kundalini Yoga. Chanting and breathing are emphasized over postures; designed to awaken and control the release of kundalini (sexual) energy.

Laya Yoga. Uses Chakras to bring about higher states of spiritual realization.

Mandala. A circular geometric design that represents the cosmos and the spirit's journey.

Mantra. Sacred chant words.

Mantra Yoga. Yoga of prayer and invocation.

Meditation. Inward attention to enable a person to get more out of life and to move more completely in the direction one intends to.

Mudras. Hand gestures that direct the life current through the body.

Namaste. A Hindu salutation. "The divine in me honors the divine in you." Used in greeting or parting. It is usually accompanied by the gesture of holding the palms together in front of the chest. Pronounced NUM-ah-stay.

Neti-neti. "Not this. Not this." In meditation, you gently dismiss thoughts, images, concepts, sounds, and distractions by applying the principle of neti-neti or telling yourself, "Not this. Not this."

Niyamas. Personal,inner discipline and responsibility. Purity, contentment, self-discipline, The study one's self and living with the awareness, surrendering all thoughts and actions to God.

Prana. Life energy, life force, or life current. Chi in Chinese.

Pranayama. Method of controlling prana or life force through the regulation of breathing.

Pratyahara. Contol of the senses.

Raja Yoga. The path of physical and mental control. Meditation Yoga.

Santosha. Contentment (one of the niyamas).

Satya. Truthfulness and honesty (one of the yamas).

Samadhi. State of absolute bliss.

Shauca. Purity, inner and outer cleanliness (one of the niyamas).

Shodhana. Yogic cleansing ritual.

Sivananda Yoga. Relaxed and gentle yoga that encourages a healthy lifestyle: proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, and positive thinking with meditation.

Svadhyaya. Self-study. The process of inquiring in to your own nature and beliefs, and the nature of the world's spiritual journey (one of the niyamas).

Swami. Title of respect for a spiritual master.

Tantra Yoga. Brings every aspect of life in to mutual harmony, using visualization, chanting, asanas, and strong breathing practices. It is usually associated with sex.

Tapas. Self-discipline or austerity (one of the niyamas).

Ujjayi. Breathing exercise that produces sound in the throat when inhaling. Pronounced you-jie-ah.

Viniyoga. A gentle form of Flow Yoga in which poses and flows are chosen to suit the student's abilities.

Vinyasa. Steady flow of connected Yoga postures linked with breath work in a continuous movement. An example is sun salutation.

Yamas. Ethical principles of nonviolence; truth and honesty; nonstealing; purity, and nonpossessiveness-noncovetousness.

Yoga. The science of dealing with the search for one's soul. Achieving union with the supreme spirit through physical (asanas) and mental (meditaion) disciplines, as well as contolled breathing.

Yoga Sutra. A sage, Patanjali, systematized Yoga philosophy about 2000 yeras ago in this text which is acknowledged as an authoritative text of Yoga.

Yogi. Someone who practices Yoga.

Yogini. A female who practices Yoga.