Glossary (terms I often mention in class):

Ananda: bliss

Anahata: heart chakra (energy center)

Asana: seat; yoga posture

Bhakti: devotion (as in Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion, or the path of the Heart)

Chakra: energy center; our basic system has seven chakras (root, sacrum, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown), each associated with a color, element, syllable, significance, etc.

Dharma: truth, duty, righteous path

Drishti: gazing point used during asana practice

Ganesh/Ganesha: a beloved Hindu deity with an elephant head and a little boy's body. The Remover of Obstacles.

Guru: one who brings us from darkness to light; a spiritual mentor

Hanuman: a Hindu deity; a monkey god that epitomizes Bhakti or Devotion

Karma: the yogic path of Action and Selfless Service; the law of karma is the law of cause and effect

Karuna: compassion

Kirtan: musical meditation; a community gathering involving the singing of divine names and mantras accompanied by live music; a main practice of Bhakti Yoga

Krishna: a Hindu deity; the all-attractive one, part of the Bhagavad Gita

Ma: the divine feminine, the Mother. Other names for Ma are Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Sita and Parvati

Maha: great

Mantra: a repeated sound, syllable, word or phrase; often used in chanting and meditation, which through repetition aims at expanding one's awareness or consciousness

Mudra: a hand gesture; the most common mudras are anjali mudra (pressing palms together at the heart) and gyana mudra (with the index finger and thumb touching)

Namaste: “I bow to you” - a word we say together at the end of class which is most commonly translated as “the light within me sees and honors the light within you;” a common greeting in India; a salutation said with the hands in anjali mudra (palms together at the heart center)

Niyama: five principles that (along with the yamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Sauca (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender)

Om: the original syllable; the primordial sound that encompasses all other sounds

Prana: life force

Pranayama: breath control; breathing exercises

Samadhi: the state of complete Self-actualization; enlightenment

Samskara: impression stored in the mind that forms the basis of our beliefs, attitudes and personality

Sankalpa: intention; spiritual resolve

Santosha: contentment

Sat-Chit-Ananda: Truth-Consciousness-Bliss (our true nature)

Savasana: corpse pose; final relaxation; typically performed at the end of every yoga class

Seva: selfless service (Karma Yoga)

Shakti: divine feminine energy (all forms of Ma)

Shanti: peace (often chanted three times in a row)

Shiva: divine male energy; consciousness; a Hindu deity

So Hum: a mantra meaning "I Am That;" recited during Yoga Nidra with "So" on the inhalation and "Hum" on the exhalation

Sutras: classical texts; the most well-known in yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Tadasana: mountain pose, standing pose

Third Eye: a chakra center located between the eyebrows

Yama: five principles that (along with the niyamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Satya (truth), Ahimsa (nonviolence), Asteya (not stealing), Bramacharya (self-control and sexual responsibility) and Aparigraha (not grasping)

Yoga Nidra: yogic sleep

Yogi/Yogini: a male/female practitioner of yoga