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Yoga Glossary of Terms

Terms Used in Yoga

Patient Comments
  • 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

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. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2016
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Yoga Glossary of Terms:

Yoga Glossary of Terms - Terms

What yoga terms do you find most useful as part of your yoga practice?

What is yoga used for?

Most people who try yoga for meditation find that it increases their flexibility and reduces stress. If you suffer from a long-term (chronic) medical condition, you can often combine yoga and conventional medical treatment.

Several studies have shown that yoga helps lower blood pressure, improves a person's sense of well-being, and can help people who have asthmalearn to breathe more easily. A study determined that a 6-month yoga program improved fatiguein people with multiple sclerosis(MS).1


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