Skandha

Definition - What does Skandha mean?

Skandha is a Sanskrit word with numerous meanings. It is typically translated as “aggregate,” “heap” or “multitude,” but it also means the upper part of the back, typically the shoulder. it can also mean “king,” “sage” or “teacher.” In Hinduism, it refers to chapters; for example, the Bhagavata Purana has 12 skandhas, or main chapters.

In Buddhism, skandhas are the five aggregated states of existence, although, the interpretation of these states varies depending on the specific school or tradition of Buddhism.

Yogapedia explains Skandha

Typically, the five skandhas of Buddhism are listed as:

  • Rupa – form or the physical body
  • Vedana – sensations, feelings and emotions as observed through the senses
  • Samjna – perception, reasoning and recognition of both concepts and physical objects
  • Samskara – mental formations or activity, including predispositions, desires and beliefs
  • Vijnana – consciousness or awareness of vedana, samjna and samskara

In the physical practice of yoga, skandha typically refers to the shoulder. Skandha chakra asana is a shoulder rotation pose that reduces anxiety and stress. The fingers of each hand are placed on the corresponding shoulder, then the elbows are rotated in circles, both clockwise and counterclockwise.

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