A typical Yoga class has the following set of instructions in it:

  1. Relax your Scapulas
  2. Relax your clavicle
  3. Stretch your vertebral column.
  4. Stretch your hamstrings

What are our scapulas, clavicle and vertebral column? Doctors and health practitioners would know for sure but do common people know what these mean?

Let’s have a look at their definitions, along with a look at their pictures (this would mean we would know them for sure):

1. Scapulas: Either of two flat triangular bones one on each side of the shoulder in human beings.
2. Clavicle: Bone linking the scapula and sternum
3. Vertebral column: The series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord.
4. Hamstrings: One of the tendons at the back of the knee.

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The above is a description of the some of the words about our body that one faces in the Yoga classroom. Well, let us have a look at some that one comes across while reading about Yoga. We will begin with a very simple yoga text and try to identify certain words peculiar to this ancient mix of art, philosophy and science.

A Wikipedia definition to begin with: “Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in modern India, whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Within Hindu philosophy, the word yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Yoga in this sense is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and is also known as Rāja Yoga to distinguish it from later schools. Patanjali’s system is discussed and elaborated upon in many classical Hindu texts, and has also been influential in Buddhism and Jainism. The Bhagavadgita introduces distinctions such as Jnana Yoga (“yoga based on knowledge”) vs. Karma Yoga (“yoga based on action”).”

The above is a simple extract taken from Wikipedia but this simple extract too offers us a host of words. Let’s have a look at these words one by one:

1. Spiritual: The word spiritual comes from the word spirit, which is nothing else but a reference to our soul and the prime thoughts that move our life. Anything spiritual concerns these matters of the spirit. Remember, in the current sense, spiritual is strictly different from religious sense of the word. In yoga, the word spiritual is about being in touch with your own self and the thoughts that define an individual.

2. Attainment: Attainment is the act of achieving an aim. In the current sense, the attainment is of a spiritual nature than any physical one.

3. Insight: An insight is a feeling of understanding, a clearing of doubts from within. But what is this word doing in our Yoga article? Pretty simple logic: Yoga is based on getting a person to reveal oneself with the help of these insights or moments of understanding which lend greater clarity to a person.

4.Tranquillity: This is a definite yoga word. It means a state of peace and quiet, the very aim of yoga.

5. Meditative: this is another one of those words that you cannot just omit from the Yoga dictionary. It means being deeply thoughtful or serious. This is what yoga lends to an individual, a state of mind which is a lot more thoughtful and aware of one’s surroundings.

6. Orthodox: This is an applied word and one we learn from the context it appears in. It means Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established beliefs, whether those are of religions or philosophical practices. Since Yoga is based on one of these, it is a traditional belief.

This was a small illustration, of how certain words can make appearances against a certain backdrop. This is certainly not the last of Yoga words we are reading about and there will be a lot more words that we will learn from the same context. Till that time, happy learning words and practice some Yoga too, happily.


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