Friday, February 8, 2013

Sanskrit Word in English: Yoga

The Sanskrit word YOGA is now very familiar to speakers of English!  What is fascinating about the word "yoga" is that it is also a way to see how Sanskrit and English are related languages, both belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. The Sanskrit word "yoga" is from the Indo-European root *yeug- which is also the root of English words like "yoke" and also "join." If you are interested in the history of the Indo-European languages, you can read more at Wikipedia. You can see a detailed list of the Indo-European words from the yeug- root at the UT Indo-European Lexicon.

The idea behind the Sanskrit word is a "joining" or "yoking," in the sense of harnessing something in order to put it to use. It can also refer to the sense of "joining" with the divine.  You can read about the history of yoga and the different yoga traditions of India in this article at Wikipedia.

In Sanskrit, a man who practices yoga is called a "yogi" (yogin), while a woman who practices yoga is a "yogini." Sanskrit is a language that forms many compound words; you can see a list of Sanskrit compound words with yoga at Vedabase.net.


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