Yoga Glossary of Terms

Terms Used in Yoga

  • Asana: a low physical impact posture practiced in yoga
  • Aum: Sanskrit word meaning "all" represents the omnipresence of Paramatma (the supreme spirit)
  • Chakra: a point of intersection of the main channels of energy flow in the body (Chakras regulate the functioning of the body and correspond to the major endocrine glands in the body.)
  • Guru: teacher; spiritual preceptor
  • Hatha yoga: the path of yoga that starts with the practice of asanas
  • Karma yoga: the path of yoga that starts with emphasis on performing one's duty (action)
  • Kundalini: latent energy lying dormant at the base of the spinal column
  • Kundalini yoga: the path of yoga that starts with meditation
  • Maharishi: a great sage
  • Mudra: a seal; a sealing posture
  • Nadi: a tubular organ of the subtle body through which the energy flows
  • Nauli: a process in which the abdominal muscles and organs are made to move in a surging motion
  • Patanjali: name of the first writer of the yoga philosophy
  • Prana: breath; life; vitality
  • Pranayama: the rhythmic regulation of breath
  • Raja yoga: the path of yoga that starts with psychic control of the mind
  • Rishi: an inspired sage
  • Sadhana: quest
  • Surya: the sun
  • Yoga: union (The aim of yoga is to practice the means by which the human soul may be completely united with the supreme spirit.)
  • Yogi: one who follows the path of yoga

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


United States. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. "Yoga for Health: An Introduction." Feb. 3, 2012. <>.