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Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्) Words & Phrases

Many of the words and phrases used in yoga today that describe the poses, principles and philosophy come stright from the sanskrit language. Sanskrit is an ancient language that has its earliest attestations in the Indus valley dating from around 260BCE. With so much of the terminology of yoga coming from sanskrit it can be confusing for modern yoga students, for this reason we have collected together some of the more common words and phrases and their meanings.

Use the simplified popup guide to aid you as you browse the words, or the more detailed full guide to learn about the correct pronounciation of Sanskrit.


WordSanskritMeaning
abhyāsapractice
ācāryaआचार्यteacher
advaitaअद्वैत वेदान्तnondualism
ājñāआज्ञाcommanding
anāhataअनाहत unstruck
Atmanआत्मन्the true Self
chakramचक्रं wheel
maṇipūraमणिपूर jeweled lotus
mūlādhāraमूलाधार root
sādhakapractioner
sādhanāसाधनाmode of practice
sahasrāraसहस्रारthousand petaled
samādhiसमाधिachieve oneness
svādhiṣṭhānaस्वाधिष्ठान origin of kundalini
viśuddhaविशुद्ध purity