30 Common Sanskrit Words Defined

The ancient language of Sanskrit dates back to 2nd century BCE, India. Sanskrit was considered the language of the Gods. It was the philosophical language of Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Sanskrit was used in ancient poetry, drama, and religious/philosophy texts.

So – how is Sanskrit connected to yoga?

During the era that yoga was developing in India, Sanskrit was the common spoken and written dialect. For reference, the Bhagavad Gita and Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras were written during the same time period.

Today, yoga teachers from around the world guide students through poses often still using their Sanskrit names. As yogis, we are connected through the Sanskrit language no matter what your native language is.

Here Are 30 Sanskrit Words Commonly Used in Yoga


Adho: AH-doh
Downward, as in Adho Mukha Svanasana for Downward Facing Dog

Ahimsa: a-HIM-sah
Non-violence; compassion for all living things. Ahimsa is the first of the Yamas, or moral codes in yoga to live by.

Want to know more about the Yamas? Learn All About the Yamas and Niyamas From the Yoga Sutra

Ananda: A-nun-dah
Defined as ecstasy, a state of complete bliss and love. Ananda Balasana in Sanskrit is Happy Baby Pose

Ardha: AR-dha
Translates to “half,” as in Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose

Asana: A-sa-na
The physical postures of yoga. Every yoga pose name in Sanskrit ends with asana (which is how you know a Sanskrit word is referring to the name of a pose)

Aura: Au-rah
A metaphysical rainbow of light, the body’s external subtle energy field

What’s Your Aura? Learn All About Aura Meaning, Colors, Cleansing and How to Read Them

Bandha: bAhn-da
A body lock in yoga, the combination of muscles that are contracted and focused in order to direct energy flows

What are Bandhas? How to Engage Them to Enhance Your Yoga Practice

Bhakti: bAHk-ti
Love and devotion, from the root word “bhaj” which means “to adore or worship God,” bhakti is love toward the Divine

Chandra: chun-drAh
The moon, as in Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose

Chakra: CHak-rah
Seven energy centers in the body each associated to a specific color, emotion, and earth elements

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Dharma: DAR-mah
The teachings of the Buddha; one’s life purpose or path to truth and enlightenment

Dhyana: dhyA-na
Meditation, the seventh limb of Patanjali’s eight-limbed…

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