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Yoga, aka: Yogā; 17 Definition(s)


Yoga means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

Śaivism (Śaiva philosophy)

Yoga (योग) is the tradition (ovallī) founded by Vṛddhanātha, who was one of the twelve princes born to Kuṃkumā, consort to Mīnanātha, who is the incarnation of Siddhanātha in the fourth yuga, belonging to the Pūrvāmnāya (‘eastern doctrine’) tradition of Kula Śaivism, according to the Ciñcinīmatasārasamuccaya. Siddhanātha incarnates as a Kaula master in each of the four yugas. Vṛddhanātha was one of the six princes having the authority to teach.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

about this context:

Śaiva (शैव, shaiva) or Śaivism (shaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Śiva as the supreme being. Closeley related to Śāktism, Śaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

Arthaśāstra (politics and welfare)

Yoga (योग) refers to “suggestion of similar facts” and is the name of a yukti, or ‘technical division’, according to which the contents of the Arthaśāstra by Cāṇakya are grouped. Cāṇakya (4th-century BCE), aka Kauṭilya, was the chief minister of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the famous Maurya Empire.

Source: Wisdom Library: Arthaśāstra

about this context:

Arthaśāstra (अर्थशास्त्र, artha-shastra) literature concers itself with subjects such as statecraft, economics politics and military tactics. The term arthaśāstra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kauṭilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.


1a) Yoga (योग).—Practices of:1 eight-fold: its characteristics.2 Bhaktiyoga:3 born of Kriya, Kriyāyoga:4 the course of: followed by Nārada and others in their worship of Nārāyaṇa:5 System of.6 Also three-fold jñāna, bhakti and karma of this bhakti is important.7 Spoiled by bad association, especially association of women;8 is an aiśvarya, and possible through kriya and gurupriya: of 24 truths: trayī is its limb;9 other limbs, yama, niyama,10 yajña, dāna, vedābhyāsa, and dhāraṇa; philosophy of;11 the strength of the Pitṛs, out of which soma grows; from jñāna;12 methods of: control of the senses and the mind by fasting; a means to fructify austerities, then knowledge sprouts;13 praise of;14 of Nakṣatra and Ṛṣi;15 as a result of svādhyāya or study and vice-versa;16 explanation of the nature of yoga by Keśidhvaja to Khāṇḍikya.17

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 2. 28; II. 1. 6; 2. 23; Matsya-purāṇa 1. 12.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. Ch. 28.
  • 3) Ib. III. Ch. 29.
  • 4) Ib. IV. 1. 51; Vāyu-purāṇa 71. 64.
  • 5) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 14. 45; 19. 10; VII. 3. 9; 11. 3.
  • 6) Ib. IX. 12. 4; X. 8. 45; Ch. 29 (whole) ; XI. 14. 20.
  • 7) Ib. XI. 20. 6-8.
  • 8) Ib. XI. 26. 3 and 24.
  • 9) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 34. 65; III. 3. 89; 9. 62 and 66; 10. 4 and 115; 19. 29 and 62; IV. 3. 55.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa 13. 5; 183. 44 and 50; 193. 38; 247. 9; 248. 17.
  • 11) Ib. 2. 16; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 110.
  • 12) Ib. 71. 66; 101. 75, 211, 350.
  • 13) Ib. 77, 124-35.
  • 14) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 6. 40; Vāyu-purāṇa 18. 5-6.
  • 15) Ib. 99. 422.
  • 16) Viṣṇu-purāṇa VI. 6. 2.
  • 17) Ib. VI. 7. 26-92.

1b) A name of Śiva.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 97. 175.

2) Yogā (योगा).—A Śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 32. 17.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Yoga (योग) is a Sanskrit technical term, used in law, referring to either “fraud” or “deceit”. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Manubhāṣya, verse 8.165)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Yoga (योग) is explained as ‘fraud’ in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 90); which adds that the king shall nullify every transaction in connection with which he detects some fraud. ‘Fraud’ is deceit; when a certain thing has been mortgaged fraudulently,—i.e., when it is found that it has been done in an improper manner,—then the king shall ‘nullify it’. (See the Manubhāṣya, verse 8.165)

Source: Google Books: Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣya

about this context:

Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

Yoga means: to merge, join or unite; Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions and is a tool that allows us to withdraw from the chaos of the world and find a quiet space within. To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, vibrant and balanced approach to living.

Source: Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy

about this context:

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

Yoga (योग) refers to the time during which the sun and the moon together accomplish 13 degrees and 20 minutes of space. The term is used throughout Jyotiṣa literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa

Yoga (Sanskrit: yoga, 'union') is a combination of planets placed in a specific relationship to each other.

Rāja Yogas are givers of fame, status and authority and are formed typically by the association of the Lord of Keṅdras/ quadrants, when reckoned from the Lagna/ ascendant, and the Lords of the Tṛkoṇa/ trines. The Rāja Yogas are culminations of the blessings of Viṣṇu and Lakṣmī. Some planets, such as Mars for Leo Lagna, do not need another Graha to create Rājayoga, but are capable of giving Rājayoga suo-moto due to their own lordship of the 4th Bhāva and the 9th Bhāva from the Lagna, the two being a Keṅdra and Tṛkoṇa Bhāva respectively.

Dhana Yogas are formed by the association of wealth-giving planets such as the Dhaneśa or the 2nd Lord and the Lābheśa or the 11th Lord from the Lagna. Dhana Yogas are also formed due to the auspicious placement of the Dārāpada/ A7, when reckoned from the Ārūḍha Lagna (AL). The combination of the Lagneśa and the Bhāgyeśa also leads to wealth through the Lakṣmī Yoga.

Sanyāsa Yogas are formed due to the placement of four or more Grahas, excluding the Sun, in a Keṅdra Bhāva from the Lagna.

There are some overarching Yogas in Jyotiṣa such as Amāvasyā Doṣa, Kāla Sarpa Yoga-Kāla Amṛta Yoga and Graha Mālika Yoga that can take precedence over planetary placements in the horoscope.

Source: WikiPedia: Hindu Astrology

about this context:

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Yoga: A practical methodology attributed to sage Patañjali who taught that the means to liberation was eighth-fold — aṣṭāṅga. Four of the limbs apply to physical and moral development and the other four deal with meditation.

Source: Red Zambala: On the Salvific Activities of God

Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means "union" and is interpreted as "union with the divine". One of the most detailed and thorough expositions on the subject is the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, which defines yoga as "the stilling of the changing states of the mind" (Sanskrit: yogaḥ citta-vṛtti nirodhaḥ). Yoga is also interpreted as the yoke that connects beings to the machine of existence.

In Vedic Sanskrit, the more commonly used, literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga which is "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" from the root yuj, already had a much more figurative sense, where the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses takes on broader meanings such as "employment, use, application, performance" (compare the figurative uses of "to harness" as in "to put something to some use"). All further developments of the sense of this word are post-Vedic. More prosaic moods such as "exertion", "endeavour", "zeal" and "diligence" are also found in Epic Sanskrit. There are very many compound words containing yog in Sanskrit. Yoga can take on meanings such as "connection", "contact", "method", "application", "addition" and "performance".

In Hindu philosophy, the word yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are often labelled as Rāja yoga.

According to Pāṇini, a 6th-century BCE Sanskrit grammarian, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga (to yoke) or yuj samādhau (to concentrate). In the context of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the root yuj samādhau (to concentrate) is considered by traditional commentators as the correct etymology.

In accordance with Pāṇini, Vyasa (c. 4th or 5th century CE), who wrote the first commentary on the Yoga Sutras, states that yoga means samādhi (concentration).

In other texts and contexts, such as the Bhagavad Gītā and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the word yoga has been used in conformity with yujir yoge (to yoke).[29] Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi or yogini.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

This word, derived from the root Yuj (“to join”), is in grammer samdhi, in logic avayavaśakti, or the power of the parts taken together and in its most widely known and present sense the union of the jīva or embodied spirit, with the Paramātmā, or Supreme Spirit, and the practices by which this union may be attained. There is a natural yoga, in which all beings are, for it is only by virtue of this identity in fact that they exist. Yoga is variously named according to the methods employed, but the two main divisions are those of the haṭhayoga (or ghaṭasthayoga) and samādhiyoga, of which rājayoga is one of the forms.

Source: Hindu Online: Yoga

In Buddhism


Yoga, (Vedic yoga, see etym. under yuga & yuñjati. Usually m.; pl. nt. yogāni occurs at D. II, 274 in meaning “bonds”) lit. “yoking, or being yoked, ” i.e. connection, bond, means; fig. application, endeavour, device.—1. yoke, yoking (rare?) J. VI, 206 (meant here the yoke of the churning-sticks; cp. J. VI, 209).—2. con‹-› nection with (-°), application to; (natural) relation (i.e. body, living connection), association; also conjunction (of stars). mānusaka yoga the relation to the world of men (the human body), opp. dibba yoga: S. I, 35=60; Sn. 641; Dh. 417; expld at DhA. IV, 225 as “kāya. ” ‹-› association with: D. III, 176; application: Vism. 520 (+uppāda). yogato (Abl.) from being connected with, by association with PvA. 40 (bālya°), 98 (sammappadhāna°).—pubba° connection with a former body, one’s former action or life-history J. V, 476; VI, 480; Miln. 2. See pubbe1.—aḍḍhayoga a “half-connected” building, i.e. a half-roofed monastery Vin. I, 239; Vism. 34.—nakkhatta° a conjunction of planets, peculiar constellation (in astrology) J. I, 82, 253 (dhana-vassāpanaka suitable for a shower of wealth); III, 98; DhA. I, 174; DhsA. 232 (in simile).—3. (fig.) bond, tie; attachment (to the world and its lusts), or what yokes to rebirth (Cpd. 1712). There are 4 yogas, which are identical with the 4 oghas viz. kāma°, bhava°, diṭṭhi°, avijjā°, or the bonds of craving, existence, false views, and ignorance; enumd in detail at A. II, 10; D. III, 230, 276; J. I, 374; cp. Ps. I, 129 (catūhi yogehi yutto lokasannivāso catu-yoga-yojito); VbhA. 35. Mentioned or referred to at S. V, 59; Dhs. 1059 (ogha+, in defn of taṇhā), cp, Dhs. trsln 308; Nett 31 (with ogha), 114 (id.); as sabba- (or sabbe) yogā at Th. 2, 4; 76; S. I, 213; DhA. III, 233; severally at It. 95 (bhava-yoga-yutta āgāmī hoti, +kāma°); ogha+yoga: Pug. 21 (avijjā°); Vism. 211, 684; cp. also D. II, 274 (pāpima-yogāni the ties of the Evil one); It. 80 (yogā pamocenti bahujanaṃ).—4. application, endeavour, undertaking, effort DhA. III, 233, 234 (=samma-ppadhāna). yogaṃ karoti to make an effort, to strive after (Dat.) S. II, 131; A. II, 93 (āsavānaṃ khayāya y. karaṇīya); Miln. 35. yogaṃ āpajjati to show (earnest) endeavour, to be active S. III, 11 sq.; Vbh. 356 (attanā).—dhamma° one who is devoted to the Dhamma A. III, 355; yutta° (bent on, i.e. ) earnest in endeavour J. I, 65; yāca° given to making offerings: see yāca.—5. pondering (over), concentration, devotion M. I, 472; Dh. 209 (=yoniso manasikāra DhA. III, 275), 282 (same expln at DhA. III, 421); Miln. 3; Vbh. 324 (yoga-vihitesu kamm’& sipp’—āyatanesu; VbhA. 410 expls: y. vuccati paññā;— perhaps better to above 4?).—6. (magic) power, influence, device, scheme J. VI, 212 (yoga-yogena practice of spells etc. =tāya tāya yuttiyā C.); PvA. 117 (combd with manta, ascribed to devas).—7. means, instrument, remedy J. I, 380 (vamana° an emetic); VI, 74 (ekaṃ yogaṃ datvā; but we better read bhesajjaṃ tassa datvā for vatvā, and ekaṃ yogaṃ vatvā for datvā; taking yoga in meaning of “charm, incantation”); Miln. 109 (yena yogena sattānaṃ guṇa-vaḍḍhi ... tena hitaṃ upadahati).

—âtiga one who has conquered the yoke, i.e. bond of the body or rebirth It. 61 (muni), 81 (id.). —âtigāmin= °âtiga; A. II, 12 (same as sabba-yoga-visaṃyutta). —âvacara “one at home in endeavour, ” or in spiritual (esp. jhāna-) exercises; one who practises “yoga”; an earnest student. The term is peculiar to the Abhidhamma literature.—J. I, 303, 394, 400; III, 241 (saṃsārasāgaraṃ taranto y.); Ps. II, 26; KvuA 32; Miln. 33 sq. 43, 366, 378 sq.; Vism. 245 (as hunter) 246 (as begging bhikkhu), 375 (iddhi-study), 587, 637, 666, 708; DhA. II, 12 (padhānaṃ padahanto y.); III, 241 (°bhikkhu); DhsA. 187 (ādhikammika), 246 (°kulayutta); VbhA. 115, 220, 228 (as bhikkhu on alms-round), 229 (as hunter), 258, 331; KhA 74; SnA 20, 374. —kkhema (already Vedic yoga-kṣema exertion & rest, acquisition & possession) rest from work or exertion, or fig. in scholastic interpretation “peace from bondage, ” i.e. perfect peace or “uttermost safety” (K. S. II. 132); a freq. epithet of nibbāna (same in BSk. : yogakṣema, e.g. Divy 98, 123, 303, 498) M. I, 117 (°kāma), 349, 357, (anuttara); S. I, 173 (°adhivāhana); II, 195 (anuttara), 226; III, 112 (°kāma, neg.); IV, 125; V, 130 sq.; A. I, 50 (anuttara); II, 40, 52 (a°), 87, 247; III, 21, 294 sq. 353; D. III, 123, 125, 164 (°kāma); Vin. II, 205=It. 11 (°ato dhaṃsati, whereas Vin °ā padhaṃsati); It. 9, 27 (abhabbo °ssa adhigamāya); Th. 2, 6; Sn. 79 (°adhivāhana), 425; Dh. 23 (anuttara, cp. DhA. I, 231); Ps. I, 39; II, 81; Vbh. 247 (kulāni y-kh-kāmāni, which VbhA. 341 expls: catūhi yogehi khemaṃ nibbhayaṃ icchanti); ThA. 13.—kkhemin finding one’s rest, peace, or salvation; emancipated, free, an Arahant S. III, 13 (accanta°); IV, 85; A. II, 12; IV, 310 (patta°); V, 326 (accanta°); DhA. III, 233, 234 (=sabba-yoga-visaṃyutta); neg. not finding one’s salvation A. II, 52 (in verse)=Ps. II, 80; It. 50.—ññu knowing the (right) means Miln. 169 sq. —bahula strong in exertion A. III, 432. —yutta (Mārassa) one who is tied in the bonds (of Māra) A. II, 52 (so read for °gutta; the verse also at Ps. II, 80, 81, and It. 50). —vibhāga dividing (division) of the relation (in grammar: to yoga 2) SnA 266. (Page 558)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

yoga : (m.) connection; bond; endeavour; conjunction; attachment; effort; mixture.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

The Yokes or Yogas are another group of defilements. The "yokes" tie a person to the cycle of birth and death.

The four yoghas are:

  1. the yoke of sensuous desire, kamayogha
  2. the yoke of desire for rebirth, bhavayogha
  3. the yoke of wrong view, ditthiyogha
  4. the yoke of ignorance, avijjayogha
Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

'yokes, bonds', is another name for the 4 cankers (āsava) .

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Yoga (योग) refers to “application / contemplation of mind” and is one of the causes leading to the influx (āsrana) of karmas extending pleasant feelings (sātāvedanīya).

Yoga is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra, an ancient and authorative Jain text from the 2nd century A.D. containing aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

1) Yoga (योग).—The operation of the body, the organ of speech and the mind is called yoga (activity). What is meant by activity (yoga)? Vibrations caused in the space-points of the soul induced by mind, body and speech is called yoga /activity. How many types of yoga are there?

There are three types of yoga differentiated according to the nature of the cause namely;

  1. manoyoga (mind activities),
  2. vacanayoga (speech activities),
  3. kāyayoga (body activities).

What is the cause of the vibrations in the space-points of the soul? The vibrations in the space-points of the soul are caused by the actions /movements of the organs of the mind, speech and body.

2) Yoga (योग).—What is meant by application/ contemplation of mind (yoga)? To observe the above activities i.e. (compassions for both general and devout), charity and self-control with attachment, with full application of mind and completely is yoga. Also yoga is said to be as performing flawless activities, meditation and samādhi with auspicious objectives.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Influx of karmas

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