Yoga Philosophy Vocabulary

Yoga philosophy is an ancient form of spiritual practice which has been embraced by millions, and its rich vocabulary provides a unique window into the depths of its practices. The specific terminology associated with yoga philosophy can be hard to understand at first, however, mastering its language takes no more than time to learn and grasp.

In addition to stretching the body and strengthening muscles through physical practice, there is much more to receive from yoga philosophy. Knowing the basics of yoga philosophy vocabulary will enhance all aspects necessary for achieving self-realization and understanding one’s true potential.

The Sacredness of Yoga Philosophy Yoga philosophy views the physical body as nothing but a vessel for self-discovery, and its purpose is to help an individual become more aware. Each phrase within anatomy related to yoga has symbolic implications that unlock many greater truths contained within this wisdom tradition.

For instance, according to Vedic texts, the chakras are said to correlate with different levels of consciousness or higher states of being. This formulates a belief that using breath awareness we can start to consciously intuit our way up from the pelvic base chakra towards our crown pointing outwards toward understanding spirituality through omens higher than ourselves.

The Path Towards Self-Realization Through Yoga Philosophy Another great aspect of yoga philosophy is discovering joy in one’s own spiritual journey as each person seeks their personal path towards self-realization.

A directed effort searching for truth will bring contentment found only when inner truth in aligned with outer truth; reinforcing harmony between external life and what lies beneath it in internal space meditation offers opportunities for deeper discovery about who we are as individuals, along with techniques such as conscious breathing exercises which enable us breakthrough barriers stifling spiritual evolvement leading ultimately form liberation found by enlightenment obtained through yoga philosophy.

Yoga philosophy helps an individual identify any inner blockages preventing growth while building strength from within enabling practitioners personalized journey necessary when a healthy perspective on life has been achieved-a feeling shared throughout humanity seeking meaning beyond materialism born out of finite physicality while broadening spiritual perspectives rooted firmly within connectedness between self-understandings akin metaphorically ‘letting go’ connecting infinite souls floating freely on transcendental planes towards fulfilling ultimate goals concerning freewill most appropriately encouraged by collective efforts possessing empowered intuitions helping uncover newfound civilities between morality while infusing evolutionary spirits liberating those able astral project beyond perimeters originally set by life circumstances arriving full circle – going beyond the sun-founding purest incarnation ever known; complete life embedded fathoms below indescribable mysticism inherent two souls prancing boldly liberated within infinity enjoying forever embraces held closely tucked away deep inside playfulness shining bright regardless what perceivably appears kept invisible without superficial disguises conflicting internal pains felt prior coming out strong ascending upward heavenly acme providing safely sanctuary allowing closer access playing innocently opening further possibilities-dangerously loose lifting fragrantly radiating love fiercely transcending powerful vibrational frequencies fuelling vital bliss quietly smothered stormy nights beckoned others likely eventually traversing well trodden paths ahead.

Basics of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of physical and spiritual practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. The main purpose of yoga is to bring the body, breath, and mind into unity and balance. It can also help reduce stress levels, improve overall health and well-being, and boost self-confidence.

The philosophy behind yoga comes from the Vedas – a set of sacred Hindu texts that lay out the path to emancipation or liberation (Moksha) from all suffering. There are four main branches of yoga: Raja (Royal), Jnana (Path of Knowledge), Karma (Path of Action), and Bhakti (Path of Devotion).

In order to be able to understand and appreciate these core tenets of yoga philosophy, it’s important to know some essential terms and vocabulary related to yogic concepts:

  • Ahimsa: This concept advocates non-violence or peace towards all – both within and without.
  • Satsang: This term refers to gatherings that involve spiritual practices like meditation, prayer or dialogues about spiritual topics.
  • Asanas: These are postures or positions that aid in stretching and strengthening the body in order to promote physical well-being.
  • Chakra: Literally meaning ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’, these are energy centres located throughout our body which are said to govern our mental processes and emotional well-being when balanced.
  • Pratyahara: This concept signifies withdrawing your senses from any kind of external stimulation for better concentration.
  • Pranayama: A yogic breathing technique used as part its practice allows one to gain control over life force – prana.

In addition, there are several other key terms associated with yogic postures such as adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog pose) which focus on alignment, strength building and flexibility. Also included is savasana or corpses pose – a practice used at the end of any physical session which helps clear the mind after rigorous exercise before moving onto deeper meditation practice.

Lastly there is mudra – hand gestures used during meditative practices which bring greater clarity by directing energy flow through various points in our bodies.

Origins of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of practice and philosophy that offers its practitioners mental, physical, and spiritual health. Its origins stretch back centuries into the mystical land of India where it began as a path to self-discovery and enlightenment. It is around this time that several key terms related to the philosophical teachings of yoga were developed. The following list provides examples of these terms:

  • Karma – Traditionally, karma refers to the idea that one’s actions have consequences in both their present and future lives.
  • Ahimsa – Ahimsa translates to “non-harming” or “non-violence” and is an important traditional principle in Hinduism.
  • Dharma – Dharma is considered by many to be a moral code that one must adhere to if they are to live a meaningful life.
  • Samsara – Samsara can be thought of as the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth for all living things.

The term Yoga itself shares the same root as the Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means “to yoke.” That metaphor implies joining together two distinct entities in order to make them into something united. Similarly, yogis seek union between mind, body and spirit – three components essential for healthy growth. In addition to finding unity within oneself, advancing along the path of yoga opens up believers to greater understanding of themselves by uniting with those around them through mutual respect and compassion.

The ancient scholars who created yoga were also responsible for another key concept; Pranayama. This term describes various breathing techniques intended at generating life energy (prana). Engaging in pranayama helps yogis achieve better concentration while meditating which allows for more internal peace along their journey toward self-discovery.

Finally, Atman is another key concept within yoga’s philosophical vocabulary. It is usually translated as “the soul” or “the universal Self” which holds all past, present and potential versions of individual existence together in a unified force. Yogic practices focus on connecting with this spiritual power within each person so they may further connect spiritually with those around them ultimately leading to inner harmony with all living beings at large.

Yoga Philosophy In A Nutshell

Yoga Philosophy Vocabulary

Yoga is more than just an exercise routine. It’s a way of life, centered on improving and deepening one’s spiritual connection to the divine. To fully comprehend it, you must become aware of its core principles to connect the body and mind. This includes understanding its philosophical language and terms. Here are some of essential terms to be familiar with when delving into the Yoga philosophy:

  • Vinyasa – A style of yoga that combines breathing practices with postures or asanas.
  • Pranayama – The practice of controlling prana or life force with breath techniques.
  • Ayurveda – An ancient Indian healing science that uses natural oils, foods, herbs, massages, and medicines for wellness.
  • Mudra – A gesture that helps restore energy balance throughout the body.
  • Chakras – Seven psychic centers in the subtle body where spiritual energy is focused.

Yoga philosophy can also include meditation and contemplation to increase self-awareness and consciousness. By practicing meditation, one can slow down their breath and quieten the inner dialogue which may be disturbing balance and peace in one’s life.

These meditative activities result in an increased sense of well-being by releasing stress and tension within the body as well as allowing for a greater frame of reference mentally. Meditation can also lead to insight around how physical postures work to break down energy blockages within the subtle energy bodies that surround us all.

The practice of contemplation allows for developing an inner relationship with oneself while reflecting on oneself from a deeper perspective. To further captivate elements within contemplation, physical exercises like karma yoga (the path of selfless action) can remove daily distractions interfering with aligning inner self with outer actions. Finally, Bhakti yoga (the devotional path) incorporates chanting mantras or meditating on symbols or ideas embodying God’s presence-all aimed at the goal communicating spiritually through heart-centered practices.

The Sutras

Yoga philosophy is an ancient practice with a strong spiritual background. As its foundation, the Sanskrit text known as “The Sutras” is revered among yogis and practitioners of all levels. The Sutras provide an in-depth look into the origins of yoga, its purpose and fundamental principles that have been followed throughout history. The knowledge within these texts serves as a guideline for the modern day interpretation of yoga.

It is essential to understand some of the main terminology found within The Sutras in order to comprehend its teachings. The eight limbs of yoga are divided into four sections which are Yamas (universal principles), Niyamas (inner attitudes for self-discipline), Asanas (physical postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises).

Yama involves universal codes of conduct between individuals and the world surrounding them, such as truthfulness, non-harming, non-coveting and contentment. Niyama refers to personal discipline such as regular self-purification exercise, studying spiritual topics, maintaining contentment and surrendering sense attachment for one’s own spiritual growth.

Asana derives from the root word meaning “seat”, referring to physical postures practiced while on your seat or mat during yoga classes. Through these postures we strive for full body alignment, focus on breathing and develop increased strength and flexibility. Lastly, Pranayama reasons that breath controls life force energy – prana – thus explaining how regulating your breath through mindful practice can ease emotions while boosting overall wellbeing.

These four options offer distinct benefits when practiced in harmony with each other to create a perfectly balanced yoga practice both physically and mentally All together these four components form the basis for understanding The Sutras’ philosophy: by understanding each one better we get closer to deepening our relationship with ourselves and connecting more deeply with our soul’s journey towards enlightenment.

Overall these sacred teachings serve as a reminder that living according to core values brings satisfaction beyond material matters; happiness comes from exploring oneself through a steady devoted practice.

The Eight Limbs

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga, represent a complex system of spiritual and practical guidance for achieving enlightenment. They are derived from Patanjali’s yoga sutras, written at least 2,000 years ago. The Eight Limbs can be broadly divided into four groupings: the ethical disciplines and decisions, or yamas; the observances, or niyamas; the physical postures and breath work of asana and pranayama; and the more profound aspects of meditation, dharana and samadhi.


The first two limbs relate to restraint in thought and actions. Yamas refers to a set of five ethics that builds an attitude which encourages non-violence towards all life forms, integrity in thought words and behavior, contentment with what is already known or owned by self/others, firmly engaging in virtuous actions only and embracing a meaningful detachment from external aspects that can affect one morally.

  • Ahimsa: Non-violence
  • Satya: Truthfulness
  • Asteya: Non Theft
  • Brahmacharya: Celibacy
  • Aparigraha: Non Greediness


Niyamas follows yamas with another set of five guidelines intended to invoke spiritual discipline within oneself throughout their practice. These include ensuring a clean body both through hygiene rituals alongside internal healing practices like deep breathing. Self-study helps individuals understand oneself better by His/Her beliefs, values, ideologies etc along with observing certain religious rituals.

Surrendering yourself to something that is greater than you invoking faith along with deep connection to self-expression like dancing, chanting etc. Lastly cultivating contentment no matter what is achieved so far internally or externally allowing peace without longing for something new at every instance.

  • Sauca : Purity
  • ( Santosha ) Contentment
  • Tapas : Austerity
  • Svadhyaya :Self Study
  • Ishvarpranidhana : Surrender To God


Karma is a central part of the yoga philosophy and arguably its most fundamental principle. The term is often misinterpreted as bad fortune or fate, but it actually translates as “action” or “deed”. This concept suggests that for every action taken, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, every thought and deed – good or bad – has repercussions that must ultimately be returned to us.

The Three Gunas

The process of karma is influenced by what are known as the three gunas: sattva (purity), rajas (power), and tamas (inertia). This system helps explain why some people continually repeat cycles of suffering while others find joy in life with relative ease; the three gunas explain how our thoughts create realities for our lives.

For example, someone who generally has a positive attitude will manifest it in their lives via sattva guna, whereas someone whose mind constantly looks on the negative side of life will attract this type of energy into their experience through rajas guna.

The Cycle of Karma

The cycle of karma begins with an act either done consciously or unconsciously at which point it enters the collective conscious to become a karmic imprint on our soul; this triggers reactions within ourselves and those around us depending on the choices we make.

Every decision we make regarding how we respond to these reactions will determine both our future reactions and the reactions of others to us-this makes conscious living a tremendous asset when it comes to managing Karma overall as it allows us to break free from old patterns of behavior that no longer serves us.

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Yoga’s Power To Break Unhealthy Karmic Cycles

Yoga practice can also provide guidance when navigating karma – yogis believe that self-knowledge gained through meditation can help us recognize patterns in our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that may be causing negative karmic cycles in our lives while teaching us how to create healthier choices instead.

Ultimately, yogis use breathing techniques such as pranayama (breath control) and mudra work (body position) as tools for taking control over their mental state so they can begin releasing any stored up energy which can lead them towards spiritual liberation and enlightenment away from unhealthy karmic cycles once they add intention into the mix.


Yoga is more than just a physical practice to strengthen and flex the body – it is also a philosophy grounded in principles of non-harming (ahimsa). Ahimsa means “non-violence”, and it is the first of the yamas (ethical restraints) in Patanjali’s 8-limbed system known as Raja Yoga. Practicing ahimsa means cultivating an attitude of kindness, compassion, love, and respect towards yourself and others.

This includes being mindful of your thoughts and how they can influence your words and actions. It also involves removing or reducing sources of harm such as violence in speech or action; even small interactions with people can have larger consequences so we should always strive to be kind.

To bring mindfulness to practicing ahimsa both on and off the mat requires being aware of our triggers – those events which can easily cause us to become angry or frustrated with someone else. Instead of responding immediately with negativity or lashing out at another person we should take a few moments to pause, assess the situation, recognize our own emotions, and then act accordingly.

Opposing views are more easily accepted when discussed intellectually without resorting to name-calling or criticism. As subtle shifts in perspective often bring peace of mind, if anger far outweighs overall happiness then something deeper needs tending too – our mental wellbeing in relation to everyone else around us needs attention & prioritizing so that peace prevails.

We can cultivate ahimsa into our daily lives by:

  • Not allowing negative talk consumption from media
  • Resisting arguing against opposing views
  • Greeting everyone with a smile
  • Giving compliments wherever appropriate
  • Thinking before speaking

Ahimsa does not mean avoiding conflict entirely; however it encourages thoughtful resolution within ourselves first before discussing an issue at hand because without internal peace external chaos will continue to prevail among us humans & other creatures alike. In order for us all to interact harmoniously on the ground level raising our own vibrational awareness as individuals must be top priority.

Making small conscious efforts helps spread love within ourselves that radiates outwards touching anyone around us who pick up on this vibration – living with integrity reaps huge rewards towards achieving balance & harmony between all forms of life.


The practice of yoga includes more than just postures and exercises. It also involves delving into the philosophy, learning certain terms in order to understand how it was intended to be practiced. Some of the essential vocabulary used in yoga philosophy is described below.


Ahimsa is a term derived from Sanskrit which means “non-violence” or “non-harming”. This idea suggests that any act of aggression or violence is condemned. It instructs practitioners to live their lives without inflicting harm on anyone, including animals or plants, and maintaining a respect for all life forms. Consequently Ahimsa encourages living in a peaceful way with compassion for everything around you – essentially living with kindness and love for everyone.


Samyama, stemming from the Sanskrit words samadhi (absorption) and yama (to stop), is an integrative practice of meditation, contemplation and absorption aiming to still the mind in order to attain inner peace and freedom from distraction. Through Samyama practitioners learn to maintain focus and inner awareness while stilling their body as they move through different levels of meditation with giving thanks and praise for what has been learned during the process at each stage.


Contemplation is an introspective practice involving reflecting on yoga philosophy concepts such as Ahimsa & Samyama often using visualizing, meditating or writing methods Through this practice one can gain greater insight into how these techniques can influence their individual practices & everyday lives as well as lead to an overall deeper understanding of yoga philosophy as a whole:

  • Retaining constant awareness of non-violence against all life forms.
  • Establishing a peaceful state of mind without distractions.
  • Focusing your energy inwardly to reflect on ideas behind yoga philosophy.
  • Improving mental clarity thereby aiding comprehension & understanding.
  • Developing stronger self-control over thoughts.

Now Practice

Yoga has evolved well beyond being presented as a physical discipline, with its philosophy becoming just as important and revered. Yoga philosophy serves the purpose of guiding practitioners through life’s journey, aiding in spirituality, physical health, mental clarity, and other aspects of the human experience. To more deeply understand yoga’s teachings, students must become familiar with its unique set of vocabulary – composed of Sanskrit words and their English translations.

The term yoga itself refers to union or connection between our individual self (also known as Jiva) with the Cosmic Self (otherwise known as Paramatma) or an enlightened state of awareness. This concept is core to all yogic systems, though it differs from one school of thought to another. Through its practices – including pranayama (breath control), postures (asanas), meditation (dhyana), correct conduct (yamas), disciplined actions (niyamas) – practitioners cultivate this inner union and elevated consciousness.

To truly benefit from their practice however, one must look within themselves by using these ancient tools and techniques combined with mindful dedication. With fully embracing yoga philosophy comes a connection with something higher than ourselves – at both a physical level through the body, breath and energy pathways as well as mentally through developing new ways of looking at both ourselves and the world around us.

Yogis also strive for living a compassionate life that honors not only ourselves but those around us too. By understanding the meaning behind such philosophies such as ahimsa – non-harm – we can gain insight into how our actions should align for working towards a peaceful existence.

We can also take on board Yamas like satya-truthfulness-in striving to be honest not only for ourselves but for others too whilst following Niyamas like Santosha-contentment-in accepting what is projected upon us rather than trying to change it or longing for it to be different so that we can live in an overall place of peace within this ever-changing world.

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