Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1. someone who knows a lot about yoga

2. a student of Indian religions

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

Yoga is taken directly from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘union’. It was first used in English in the early 19th century. Yogi, meaning someone who practises yoga, comes from the same root.


June 21 is International Day of Yoga, an annual celebration of yoga established in 2014 by the UN General Assembly and designed to raise global awareness of the benefits of the practice. This year’s theme is Climate Action. Someone who is an expert in yoga is known as a yogi. Originating in India as a set of physical, mental and spiritual practices based in Hinduism and other Indian religions, yoga became popular in the West essentially as a system of exercise and relaxation. Modern yoga takes many different forms, including hot yoga, a strenuous sequence of positions or poses performed in a very hot environment. Many people’s first encounter with the term yogi will have been in the form of the animated cartoon character Yogi Bear, a bear-like creature with many human characteristics who inhabited the fictional Jellystone park. Yogi Bear had no connection whatseover with yoga, his name probably being based on that of baseball player called Yogi Berra who was famous at the time when the cartoon was produced.


Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.”
(B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar yoga)

“I’m not a yogi, but I know the sun salutation.”
(Marc Jacobs, Fashion Designer)

Related words

chakra, position, yoga

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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