Basic Yoga Terms and What They Mean

Most yoga terminology stems from Sanskrit. The word yoga means to “yoke” or “unite.” According to Womenshealth.gov, “yoga is a mind-body exercise that combines stretching and controlled breathing to achieve relaxation and a stable mood.” Many people get scared away from yoga because of its perceived difficulty and foreign-sounding terminology. In order to get the most out of doing yoga, it is helpful to understand the different terms that are referenced by yoga instructors and books.

Basic Yoga Terms

What do all these words mean?

1. Ahimsa means no injury, violence and harm to any human being and non-human being (one of the yamas).

2. Ananda yoga is a yoga that uses silent confirmations while in the asanas or poses.

3. Anusara yoga is a yoga that integrates the celebration of the heart, universal principles of alignment and energetic asanas.

4. Asanas are yoga poses. The most famous pose is the lotus position, which can really tangle up beginners.

5. Ashram is a residential place of people living together in yogic tradition.

6. Ashtanga yoga is also called Power yoga and is a physically challenging yoga to build strength, flexibility and stamina.

7. Bhakti yoga is a yoga which emphasizes the devotion to the divine.

8. Chakras are the centers of energy that is located between the base of the spinal column and the crown of the head.

9. Dhyana is the process of calming the mind.

10. Hatha yoga is the yoga of physical well-being, designed to balance body, mind and spirit.

11. Jnana yoga is a yoga that it emphasizes questioning and meditation.

12. Mantra yoga is a yoga which involves chanting of sounds.

13. Om or Aum is a word that is used as a mantra.

14. Prana is Life energy, life force or life current.

15. Pranayama is the method of controlling prana or life force through the regulation of breathing.

16. Raja yoga is the path of physical and mental control.

17. Samadhi is the state of absolute bliss and super consciousness.

18. Tantra yoga uses visualization, chanting, asana and strong breathing practices to blow highly charged kundalini energy in the body.

19. Tapas are self-discipline or austerity.

20. Vinyasa means steady flow of connected yoga postures linked with breath work in a continuous movement. For example: sun salutation.

21. Yoga word is derived from the Sanskrit word for “yoke” or “join together.” It means union.

 22. Yogi is the term used for male who practices yoga and a female who practices yoga is called a Yogini.

If you’re in the New York City area, check out the yoga classes and instructors on HeyKiki and find the perfect yoga practice for you. If you’re looking for someone in the NYC area to practice with, we have yoga practice buddies on HeyKiki just waiting to connect with you!

If you’d like to learn a sport or activity other than yoga, we have other sports and activities instructors and classes in your area on HeyKiki too.

Post By Sarah James (2,580 Posts)

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