Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sangha Mean?

Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means "association," "assembly," "company" or "community." It is mostly used to describe the Buddhist community of ordained monks and nuns. Currently, the popular definition has expanded to include all Buddhist practitioners, but the more strict definition from Buddhist scripture applies to those practitioners who have at least directly realized emptiness.

In Buddhism, the Sangha is the third of the Three Jewels, along with the Buddha and the dharma (the teaching).

Sangha is also closely connected to yoga. The shared sense of community among yoga practitioners (even internationally) has grown in recent years. This has helped novice yoga practitioners to assimilate more easily into yoga culture, while seasoned yogis are able to share their experience and lifestyle choices with a larger audience.


Yogapedia Explains Sangha

In the modern Western world, sangha is used to identify a community or a network of people. But the concept of community is not very strong in classical yoga philosophy. Although there are communities in yoga — like ashrams, where students live under the same roof and practice under the guidance of one guru — the yogic path has been mostly a solitary pursuit.

With the growth of yoga and spiritual values in the Western world, the term yoga sangha has been established, referring to a community of yoga practitioners. Yoga sangha hastens the learning process, breaks down boundaries and provides support for the true spiritual practice. As the practitioner learns to center themself as an individual, they are encouraged to be inclusive and accepting in a broader community setting.

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