As you continue on your journey of discovery in yoga, you’ve no doubt probably come across a few terms that are unfamiliar to you, either from your yoga instructor, classmates or in books and magazines you might have read on the subject. Some terms might refer to yoga moves or poses, or they may refer to concepts particular to yoga.
Don’t panic if they are unfamiliar to you. Like many special practices, yoga comes with its unique terms that become familiar to yoga enthusiasts during their journey. Many of the terms (if not all) are Hindu in origin and might be difficult to grasp (or even pronounce) at first. But as you continue your yoga journey, these words and others will become clear and relevant to your life.
Below are a few terms that you may run across in the study of yoga. This list is, of course, in no ways a complete one, but it might provide a useful overview of the concepts of yoga.
Abhyasa means “practice” and refers to the constant spiritual yoga practice.
Acarlya refers to a instructor or guide, primarily one in religious areas, but it is also used in yoga.
Ananda is the state of bliss and ultimate joy. aerial yoga swing It gets its name from one of the most devout followers of Buddha.
Asana is the name of the actual poses in yoga, which are designed to promote a sense of well being and harmony of the mind and body. There are numerous asanas that promote different types of flexibility or mental relaxation.
Ayurveda is an Indian medical system that has a long tradition in the country. Despite the millions of practitioners worldwide, it is looked at as an alternative medicine by many doctors in the West.
Bhakti Yoga, or the “yoga of devotion”, is a major branch of yoga that focuses on forming a devotion to a personal form of God. Within Bhakti, there are three schools: Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism.
Bodhi means “awakening” or “enlightenment” and is the state of the awakened Buddha.
Buddha is the title given to a person who has attained enlightenment and ultimate inner peace. Is it the honorary title of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama.
Chakra means “wheel” and refers to the psycho-energy centers on the body. Buddhism yoga maintains there are five chakras on the human body, while Hindu yoga practitioners believe there may be seven or more.
Diksha is an initiation process given to those who gain insight into the hidden aspects of yoga. It may include the presentation of a mantra given by a guru of Buddhism, Hinduism or Jaimism
Goraksha was the founder of hatha yoga and was its first teacher. These days the name also applies to a person who has reached an upper level of yoga practice and has mastered some of the more difficult hatha yoga poses and practices.
Guru is an advisory and spiritual teacher.
Guru-Yoga is a theory in yoga that placed the guru at the center of a yoga practitioner’s learning process.
Hatha Yoga is one of the major branches of yoga that is highlighted by its combination of poses, body cleansing practices and breathing exercises.
Ishvara-pranidhana teaches practitioners to focus on restraint, self-control and dedication to their spiritual side.
Jnana-Yoga is a branch of yoga that focuses on obtaining knowledge and wisdom. The practice focuses on four distinct paths: development of a discriminating mind, the skill to remain dispassionate when needed, virtue and freedom from earthly bonds.
Kaivalya is the ultimate goal of yoga, to be free of the material constraints of the world and “isolated”. People in a kaivalya state are aware of everything around them but have the ability to stand apart from it.
Karma refers to an action of any kind and its subsequent effect on one’s life. Karma concerns the entire cycle of life, the causes and effects.
Krishna is the human form of the god Vishnu, whose teachings form the basis of the practice of Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavate-Purana.