The 25 Most Common Sanskrit Words Used in Yoga (2023)

Last updated on October 25, 2022.

The original yoga texts are written in Sanskrit, and the language is still widely used in yoga classes today. This language is believed to be more effective and pleasurable due to its unique spiritual sound. More than 25 words are regularly used in yoga today.

The 25 most common Sanskrit words used in yoga today are:

  • the axes
  • Ahimsa
  • Ashtanga
  • namaste
  • Bhakti
  • tantra
  • sutra
  • yama
  • Niyama
  • Shanti
  • City
  • Dharma
  • Drishti
  • Guru
  • Mantra
  • Karma
  • bandha
  • Ranch
  • Hatha
  • mudra
  • kirtan
  • Pranayama
  • tapas
  • Yoga

All of these 25 Sanskrit words are regularly used in yoga classes today, and some might sound very familiar to you.

The words of this ancient language are widely known and used very often. Keep reading to learn more about Sanskrit and how often it is used. We'll discuss the meaning of these 25 words and some of the best books you can use to familiarize yourself with them.

Article topics

What is the Sanskrit word for yoga and what does it mean?

The Sanskrit word “yoga” is derived from the root “Yuj”, which means to unite, unite or enjoy”. The word Yoga means to unite or unite, and the practice of yoga aims to unite the mind, body and soul, all with ultimate reality.

The origins of yoga date back to India over five thousand years ago. Yoga was first mentioned in sacred texts calledRig veda,one text from a set of four Sanskrit writings. Yoga was defined by sages who documented their beliefs and practices of yoga in a collection of over 200 scriptures.

Is Sanskrit the original language of yoga?

Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago, dating back to an original set of sacred Sanskrit texts. Since then, Yoga has been adopted and documented by countries across the planet. Sanskrit is the root of many Indian languages ​​and one of the oldest in the world.

Is Sanskrit used today in yoga classes?

Although Sanskrit is no longer a commonly spoken language, it is regularly used in yoga classes these days. The Sanskrit language connects those who practice Yoga with its oldest and most classical form, but don't worry because you can stilllearn sanskrit for yoga today. Each Sanskrit word is believed to have its own consciousness and pronouncing them allows you to access the true meaning and consciousness of each word.

The 25 Most Common Sanskrit Words Used in Yoga

Many Sanskrit words are widely used in yoga classes today. Many of these terms and their meanings may be familiar to you, especially if you practice or study yoga. All these Sanskrit terms are widely used in yoga classes across the world. Let's look at the 25 most common terms used in yoga classes around the world today and what they mean.

(Video) Introduction to Sanskrit for Yoga Teachers


Although "OM" is not a word in itself, it is believed to be a sound rich in meaning and depth. It is said to resonate with the same vibration as the universe. "OM" is a mantra used regularly at the beginning and end of sessions. When pronounced correctly, it sounds like "AUM".

the axes

Asana is known as the postures used while practicing yoga. These positions are held for long periods to induce meditation. When translated into English, Asana means "seat". There are many Asanas that are used regularly in Yoga classes and practices.


Ahimsa is defined as respect for all living beings and a commitment to non-violence. Ahimsa is one of the five Yamas described in Pantajali's Yoga Sutras. It is similar to universal love and compassion.


Ashtanga is a type of yoga practice that consists of many poses performed in rapid succession. Ashtanga focuses on deep, controlled breathing. Ashtanga is also known as the eight limbs of yoga:

  • You are invited
  • Niyama
  • yama
  • Pranayama
  • Pratyahara
  • Dharana
  • samadhi
  • Dhyana

Ashtanga Yoga starts with outward control and focus and slowly moves inward.


Namaste is the most popular Sanskrit term for yoga. Namaste is still an Indian greeting translated as "the light in me honors the light in you". Namaste is used as a greeting in yoga classes, often returning at the end of a session.


Bhakti is the devotional worship of a supreme deity. This Sanskrit word can have many meanings when translated, including purity, devotion, participation or attachment.


Tantra is a Hindu or Buddhist text dating from the 7th century. Translated from the origins of the word, Tantra can mean "a device for spreading wisdom".


Sutra is the derivative of the English word “suture”. The Yoga Sutras of Pantajali is an essential text for the practice of modern yoga. Sutras lay the foundations of yoga philosophy through a series of topics or texts.

(Video) TOP 30 Yoga Poses In Sanskrit (EXPLAINED)


Yama is the first on the eight-step path of yoga. Yamas are spiritual guidelines that tell someone what to do and what not to do in order to lead a moral life. Pantajali describes five Yamas:

  • satya- Do not lie
  • Level- No Greed
  • Ahimsa- No violence
  • Brahmacharya– sexual self-control
  • Aparigraha– non-possessiveness

The five Yamas are also called the five restraints.


Niyama is the second on the path of yoga. Niyamas are positive duties for a healthy life. Niyama includes:

  • Santosha- Satisfaction
  • tapas– Self-discipline
  • Called– Body and word cleansing
  • Swadhyaya- Self study
  • Isvarapranidhana– Contemplation of Isvara or Immutable Reality

Niyamas are spiritual and physical enlightenment practices.


Shanti directly translates as "peace". It is regularly sung after the final "OM" at the end of most yoga classes.


Citta is defined as consciousness or mind itself. Yoga is used to calm or focus mental habits or thoughts.


Dharma is an aspect of truth or reality. It is the moral and religious law consisting of generosity, truth and other virtues.


Drishti is the yoga practice of looking focused and a way to develop concentration.


A guru is a spiritual teacher or guide whose duty it is to impart the knowledge and practice of yoga to his students.

(Video) Learn Sanskrit Names of Basic Yoga Poses


A mantra is a repeated word or sound to help develop concentration or focus. The root of "mantra" is "man" in Sanskrit, which means "to think".


Karma is a widely known term that means “what goes around, comes around”. Karma is a universal law shared by many religions in and around India.


Bandhas are blocks or foci in different parts of the body to collect energy. They include:

  • Muladhara– Contraction of the anus and perineum
  • Jalandhara- Chin lock
  • Uddiyana– Diaphragm lifting
  • Many– Contraction of all bandhas at the same time

These practices allow greater focus and concentration of energy in different parts of the body.


In Sanskrit, Chakra means "wheel". There are seven Chakras in the body:

  • Sahasrara- crown
  • anja- Third Eye
  • Visuddha- Throat
  • Ayer- Heart
  • Manipura- solar plexus
  • Swadhisthana– sacred
  • Muladhara- Source

These seven Chakras are places in the body where energy can accumulate.


Hatha means effort or vigour, referring to the effort and discipline required to actively practice yoga.


Mudra literally translates as "to produce". Mudras are symbolic hand gestures used to seal in specific energies. In Hinduism and Buddhism ceremonies, mudras are used with the hands and other parts of the body.


Kirtan is a Sanskrit word that translates as writing, describing or telling a story or idea. Kirtan is used in yoga practice during the chanting and chanting of mantras.


(Video) Common Sanskrit Words

Pranayama is the regulation and lengthening of the breath through exercises and concentration.


Tapas is a Sanskrit word meaning "heat" or "fire". Tapas are spiritual practices performed for self-discipline.


Yoga is the most well-known Sanskrit word around the world. Mine to join. The Sanskrit word “yoga” is derived from the root “Yuj”, which means to unite, unite or enjoy”.

Great Yoga Books to Learn and Practice Sanskrit

There are some useful books on the market that can help you learn and practice Sanskrit. These books contain some of the original Sanskrit texts dating back more than five thousand years. They teach you the pronunciation, grammar and meanings of many common Sanskrit words. The Yoga Sutras of Pantajali discussed below are one of the texts used by yoga teachers and enthusiasts across the world.

The authors of these books are highly experienced and world-renowned for their teachings, whether as yoga teachers or academic teachers of the Sanskrit language and chanting.

Many of these books also teach;

  • yogic meditation
  • ethic
  • daily practices

Many of these books come with CDs for audio pronunciation demonstrations and some chanting. A characteristic of these books is the focus on teaching the philosophy and culture of yoga, both for beginners and those more advanced in the practice of yoga.

Yoga Sutras de Pantajali by Swami Satchidananda

HeYoga Sutras by PantajaliIt is a complete manual for the study of yoga. The Sutras provide translations of the original Sanskrit text over four thousand years old. Pantajali's Yoga Sutras cover teachings on meditations, ethics, postures and daily practices.

Swami Satchidananda is one of the most revered and respected teachers of yoga. Pantajali's Yoga Sutras offer practical advice and some of Satchidananda's personal experiences on how to master the mind to achieve mental, emotional and physical harmony. These personal experiences are detailed in the Yoga Sutras and translated into how everyone can use them in their own lives.

The Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman

Heyoga languageby Nicolai Bachman is a comprehensive guide to asana names, Sanskrit terms, and chants. This book comes with CDs that provide pronunciations and examples of yoga chants. The language of yoga combines informal, traditional and academic teaching of Sanskrit sounds. Nicolai Bachman is the director of Sanskrit Sounds, a company that promotes the preservation of the language and many ancient sciences of India.

Yogavataranam: The Translation of Yoga by Zoe Slatoff-Ponte

yogavataranamintegrates traditional and academic methods into the Sanskrit learning method. Yogavataranam includes step-by-step instructions for writing the alphabet correctly, speaking exercises, vocabulary development, and sections on philosophy and culture.

Online audio examples accompany each chapter to ensure proper pronunciation. It is suitable for all spectrums of knowledge, from beginners to those looking to improve the technical aspects of the language. Yogavataranam covers pronunciation, grammar, language basics, vocabulary, yoga theory and practice.


Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages ​​on the planet, and although it is no longer spoken regularly, it is still very widespread in yoga teachings. Yoga classes regularly use 25 Sanskrit words and their meanings come from texts that are nearly five thousand years old. There are several books to help you learn some commonly used Sanskrit words and their definitions in relation to yoga practice.

(Video) How to Pronounce Sanskrit Poses | Over 30 Asanas


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