Sanskrit Glossary

Adho-mukha Downward facing.
Adho-mukha svanasana Downward facing dog pose.
Anga The body; a limb or a part of the body; a constituent part.
Ardha Half.
Asana Physical posture or pose; The third stage of yoga.
Asta The number eight.
Astanga Yoga The eight limbs of Yoga described by Patanjali.
Aum Like the Latin word ‘Omne’, the Sanskrit word ‘Aum’ means ‘all’ and conveys concepts of ‘Omniscience’, ‘Omnipresence’ and ‘Omnipotence’.
Baddha Bound, caught, restrained, firm.
Bakasana Crow; elbow balancing pose.
Balasana Child’s pose.
Bandha A bond or lock; it means a posture where certain organs or parts of the body are contracted and controlled.
Bhakti Worship, adoration.
Bhuja The arm or the shoulder.
Bhujanga A serpent, a snake.
Bhujangasana Cobra pose.
Chakra Literally, a wheel or circle. Energy (prana) is said to flow in the human body through three main channels (nadis), namely, Susumna, Pingala and Ida. Susumna is situated inside the spinal column. Pingala and Ida start respectively from the right and left nostrils, move up to the crown of the head and course downwards to the base of the spine. These two nadis intersect with each other and also the Susumna. These junctions of the nadis are known as chakras or the fly-wheels which regulate the body mechanism.
Chandra The moon.
Chatur The number four.
Chaturanga Crocodile; four limbs; a push-up position a few inches off the ground.
Chitta The mind in its total or collective sense, being composed of three categories: (a) Mind, having the faculty of attention, selection and rejection; (b) Reason, the decisive state which determines the distinction between things and (c) Ego, the I-maker.
Danda A staff.
Dandasana Staff pose.
Dhanu A bow.
Dharana Concentration or complete attention. The sixth limb or stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali.
Dhyana The seventh limb or stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali.
Drisht A point of focus or gazing point.
Dwi Two, both.
Dwi-hasta Two hands.
Dwi-pada Two feet or legs.
Eka One, single, alone, only.
Ekapada One legged.
Garudasana Eagle pose.
Gu First syllable in the word ‘Guru’, meaning darkness.
Gunas Three forces of nature; Satva, a positive creating nature or influence; Ragas, a negative or destructive nature or influence; Tamas, the influence or nature of things to stay the same.
Guru A guide who brings one from darkness to lightness; one who removes spiritual doubt.
Ha First syllable of the word ‘Hatha’, which is composed of the syllables ‘ha’ meaning the sun, and ‘tha’ meaning the moon. The object of Hatha-yoga is to balance the flow of solar and lunar energy in the human system.
Hala A plough.
Halasana Plough pose.
Hasta Hand.
Hatha Sun/moon; balance.
Hatha-yoga The way towards realization through rigorous physical discipline.
Janu Knee.
Jnana Sacred knowledge derived from meditation on the higher truths of religion and philosophy, which teaches a man how to understand his own nature.
Karma Action.
Karma-yoga The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Soul through action.
Kriya Process; anything you can do that brings one to a state of union, yoga.
Kundalini The Kundalini (kundala=coil of a rope; Kundalini=a coiled female serpent) is the divine cosmic energy. This force or energy is symbolised as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Supreme Universal Soul.
Mandala A circle.
Mantra A sacred word, thought or sound.
Matsya A fish.
Matsyasana Fish pose.
Mudra A seal.
Mukha Face or facing.
Nama Name.
Namaste Commonly said at the end of yoga class by the instructor and the students.
One beautiful interpretation: I honor that place in you where the whole Universe resides. And when I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, there is only one of us.
Nava A boat.
Navasana Boat pose.
Niyama Self-purification by discipline. The second stage of yoga mentioned by Patanjali.
Pada The foot or leg; also part of a book.
Padangustha The big toe.
Padma Lotus.
Padmasana Lotus pose.
Paripurna Entire, complete.
Parivrtta Revolved or rotated; to twist.
Parivrtta Trikonasana Revolved or rotated triangle pose.
Paschima West; the back side of the body.
Paschimottana Intense stretch of the back side of the body from the nape to the heels.
Paschimottanasana Seated forward bend.
Patanjali The author of the yoga sutras. The propounder of Astanga yoga. He put it on paper, so the world could experience it.
Pida Pain, suffering, pressure.
Prajna Intelligence, wisdom.
Prana Breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, strength. It also connotes the soul.
Pranayama Rhythmic control of the breath. The fourth stage of yoga.
Prasarita Separated.
Pratyahara A withdrawal from the senses; the body and mind to a focused place within; the self. The fifth stage of yoga.
Purva East, the front of the body.
Purvottana Intense stretch of the front side of the body.
Raja Royal or king.
Raja-kapota King pigeon.
Raja-yoga The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Spirit, by becoming the ruler of one’s own mind by defeating its enemies.
The chief of these enemies are: Kama (passion or lust), krodha (anger or wrath), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsara (jealousy or envy). The eight-fold yoga of Patanjali shows the royal road (raja-marga) for achieving this objective.
Ru The second syllable in the word ‘guru’, meaning light.
Salabha Locust.
Salabhasana Locust pose.
Salamba With support.
Samadhi The eighth limb or stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali; a state in which all thought has completed itself.  The divine state.  A state in which one experiences union with the universal source.
Samasthiti Standing in attention.
Samyana The meditative process as described by Patanjali involving different states of awareness; the sixth, seventh, and eighth limbs or stages of yoga, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, together are commonly referred to as Samyana.
San Six.
Sarva All, whole.
Sarvanga The whole body.
Sarvangasana Shoulder stand.
Sava A corpse, a dead body.
Savasana Corpse pose.
Setu A bridge.
Setu-bandha The construction of a bridge. Name of an asana in which the body is arched.
Setu-bandhasana Bridge pose.
Siddha A sage, seer or prophet; also a semi-divine being of great purity and holiness.
Sirsa The head.
Sukha A lightness of being; easy.
Supta Sleeping; supine or laying back.
Supta Virasana Supine hero pose.
Surya The sun.
Svana Dog.
Tada Mountain.
Tadasana Mountain pose; standing tall.
Tan To stretch, extend, lengthen out.
Tapas Burning away impurities through self-discipline.
Tha The second syllable of the word ‘hatha’. The first syllable ‘ha’ stands for the sun, while the second syllable ‘tha’ stands for the moon. The union of these two is Hatha-yoga.
Tri Three.
Trikona A triangle.
Trikonasana Triangle pose.
Ujjayi A type of pranayama in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out.
Urdhva Up or upwards; to raise or elevate.
Urdhva-mukha Upward facing.
Ustra Camel.
Ustrasana Camel pose.
Ut A particle, denoting intensity.
Utkatasana Chair or awkward pose.
Uttana An intense stretch.
Uttanasana Intense standing forward bend.
Utthita Extended.
Vajra A thunderbolt, the weapon of Indra.
Vasistha A celebrated sage, author of several Vedic hymns.
Vasisthasana Side plank.
Vinyasa Flow; a physical or energy flow.
Vira Hero; brave.
Virasana Hero pose.
Virabhadra A powerful warrior created out of Siva’s matted hair.
Virabhadrasana I Warrior I pose.
Virabhadrasana II Warrior II pose.
Virabhadrasana III Warrior III pose.
Vrksa Tree.
Vrksasana Tree pose.
Vritta Fluctuation.
Yama The god of death. Yama ia also the first of Patanjalis eight limbs or stages of yoga.
Yamas are universal moral commandments or ethical disciplines transcending creeds, countries, age and time. The five mentioned by Patanjali are:
non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence and non-coveting.
Yoga Union.
Yoga-mudra A posture.
Yogi or Yogini One who follows the path to union.
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