Yoga Terminology

So you go to your first yoga class and you are like hold on I don’t even know how to do the pose yet what are all these words you are saying. I thought this was a beginner class? So here’s a short yoga 4-1-1 of the most popular phrases you will hear to help you in your next class.

Sanskrit – The ancient Indian language associated with Hindi text and the language used in yoga. So yoga poses will have a Sanskrit name and an “English” name too.

Pranayama – Meaning Lifeforce trasnlates to breath control. Most breathing exercises will be described as a pranayama exercise.

Ujjayi – Is the type of breath used when practising yoga, it is often described as ocean breath.

Chakras – There are seven Chakras and these are focal points within the body.

Bandhas – Meaning body locks in which there are three in the body. When described in classes they are often used in terms of turning on those locks to help engage within certain postures.

Suyra Namaskra A & B – These are sun salutations and there are two versions (but variations of both). These are usually at the beginning of the class.

Chaturanga – A pose within the sun salutations and probably one of the most common sanskrit words I have heard in a class. Depending on what yoga class you go to you may or may not hear any Sanskrit words but there are a few that you are likely to hear. This posture can be easily modified so you are on your knees to come down to the ground before lifting up to cobra or upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svānāsana).

Downward Facing Dog – the Sanskrit term is Adho Mukha Svānāsana, the one that looks like an upside down V and is meant to be a resting position.

Shavasana – Corpse pose. The bit where you lie down at the end of a class and try not to fall asleep!

Namaste – Often said at the end of the class. It gives thanks and respect and can mean in short the light in me honors the light in you.

Yogi/Yogini – A term for yoga practioners, yogi for the masculine and Yogini for the feminine.

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