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Yoga Phrases Decoded: Important Yoga Vocabulary for Freshmen in 2023

Stepping right into a yoga studio while you’re a newbie will be intimidating for a lot of causes. Lengthy earlier than I turned a yoga trainer, I keep in mind feeling overwhelmed by all of the Sanskrit phrases, yoga phrases, and sophisticated pose names after I began taking yoga courses.

I knew that yoga could possibly be a profound and transformational expertise. But, I didn’t perceive what the trainer meant when she directed us to make use of “ujjayi breath” or “have interaction mula bandha.” I felt like I used to be lacking out on the entire yoga expertise.

Diving into observe with out greedy widespread vocabulary, like mudra, bandha, and asanas, is like navigating a brand new metropolis with no map; it’s doable however unnecessarily difficult. Familiarizing your self with key phrases corresponding to yama, sutra, and solar salutation can assist you are feeling extra snug and assured while you enter a room filled with yogis able to circulate.

In fact, any efficient yoga trainer ought to clarify a Sanskrit phrase in a approach all college students will perceive. However figuring out some yoga vocabulary earlier than you attend a category helps bridge the hole between wide-eyed newbies and seasoned yogis, turning advanced ideas and philosophies from the yoga sutra into significant experiences that resonate each on and off the mat.

Understanding yoga vocabulary transforms mere phrases into highly effective instruments that unlock a extra profound, cohesive observe. Let’s demystify a few of these widespread yoga phrases collectively.

Yoga Vocabulary Glossary for Freshmen

Yoga is a wealthy cultural observe with particular, technical terminology, like mudra, postures, meditation, and chakra. Let’s break down some key yoga phrases that may have you ever talking “yogi” very quickly!

Asana Fundamentals

Asana refers back to the bodily postures in yoga, lots of which offer a strong exercise to your physique. Every place has a selected function in strengthening or stretching muscle tissues, aligning chakras to open vitality channels, or selling leisure.

Right here is a few asana-focused yoga vocabulary that will help you navigate your first yoga class.

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is a elementary yoga posture practiced by standing tall with ft collectively and arms by your facet. It begins and ends many yoga sequences, such because the Solar Salutation.
  • Downward Going through Canine (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a pose that brings the physique into an inverted place, fingers and ft separate, and hips towards the ceiling within the form of an upside-down “V.”
  • Chaturanga (shortened model of its full title, Chaturanga Dandasana) is a strength-building pose that fires up your entire physique as you decrease midway from a excessive plank place.
  • Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana) is one other asana you’ll circulate by way of steadily in a Vinyasa or Hatha yoga class. It’s like a excessive lunge together with your again foot barely out-turned, arms reaching over your head. Within the variation Warrior II, your torso opens to the facet, and your arms prolong out out of your shoulders,
  • Corpse pose (Savasana) is how we finish most yoga courses, mendacity flat in your again together with your eyes closed. It’s a time for integration and leisure.
  • Solar Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is an ordinary sequence in Vinyasa yoga that makes use of a number of poses above. Test it out in our article right here.

Namaste Nuances

Namaste is likely one of the most acknowledged and repeated yoga phrases, but it surely’s greater than only a factor to say to a different yogi on the finish of a yoga or meditation class. It’s an act of respect imbued with religious connection.

If you convey your palms collectively at your coronary heart middle (anjali mudra), bow your head, and say Namaste in your yoga class, you acknowledge and honor the soul shine in another person.

When you say "Namaste," bring your palms together in Anjali mudra at your heart center and bow your head in reverence.

Drishti Pointers

Have you ever ever tried focusing your eyes whereas holding a yoga pose, gazing one spot as you stability? That’s drishti. This targeted gaze, a elementary approach in yoga, will increase your focus and is a necessary instrument for reaching stability throughout tough poses.

If you focus your drishti, you additionally focus your vitality to maintain your thoughts from wandering off when it’s essential keep put.

  • Nostril Tip (Nasagrai Drishti): A yoga and meditation approach specializing in the nostril tip for focus.
  • Hand Thumb (Hastagrai Drishti) Approach: Eyes fastened on the hand throughout yoga poses like Warrior II.

Realizing even a number of important items of yoga vocabulary, just like the names of widespread postures, will provide help to really feel extra assured while you stroll into your subsequent class.

Bear in mind these phrases subsequent time you roll out your mat to your observe. They’ll assist progress your approach, channel your vitality, and join with others locally.

Significance of Sanskrit in Yoga

Sanskrit is the ancient language of yoga and sacred spiritual texts.

Sanskrit connects us to yoga’s roots. It preserves yoga’s coronary heart by way of sound and that means. Though many yoga academics use the English names of yoga postures, studying the right Sanskrit phrases helps maintain the traditional traditions of the observe.

Historical Language Connection

Sanskrit is sort of a bridge linking at present’s yoga fans to historical knowledge. Think about chatting with somebody from 1000’s of years in the past. That’s what occurs while you use Sanskrit in yoga.

Preserving Conventional Sounds

Sanskrit is a classical language primarily utilized in religious observe, philosophical texts, and historical literature. It isn’t broadly spoken at present, so the sounds are distinctive to many Western ears. Pronunciation and emphasis make an enormous distinction in spoken Sanskrit.

So, while you be taught a brand new Sanskrit phrase, search for its correct pronunciation to sound like an actual yogi.

Deepen Your Observe with Sanskrit Knowledge

If you be taught Sanskrit, it could provide new views and interpretations of your yoga observe. Contemplate these potential conditions:

  • In a yoga class, a brand new scholar learns the that means of the time period asana as “seat” or “posture.” Now, she will extra simply acknowledge the names of recent poses through the class.
  • You uncover the Sanskrit phrase “Pranayama” interprets to “life power regulation.” Abruptly, your breath holds extra energy. If you observe pranayama strategies, your respiration turns into a acutely aware act to broaden your life vitality circulate.

These examples present studying Sanskrit isn’t simply tutorial—it modifications your entire yoga class expertise and provides a profound connection to your observe.

Deepening Philosophical Understanding

Yoga is greater than a bodily motion observe of bringing your physique into totally different poses. It’s an entire philosophical system with historical roots. Familiarizing your self with a few of these philosophical ideas can take your yoga to the following degree, from a bodily exercise to extra of a religious observe.

A few of these yoga phrases you’ll have heard earlier than. However do you know their that means?

  • Karma: the legislation of trigger and impact, like a cosmic stability.
  • Karma Yoga: the act of doing good with out anticipating something in return.
  • Dharma: responsibility or righteousness, performing in accordance with ethical rules.
  • Tantra: a observe that expands consciousness and connection to the divine.

Studying from Sacred Texts

The Yoga Sutras are a group of teachings by the guru Patanjali, which many yoga academics reference.

  • Yoga Sutras: Contemplate them an instruction guide for training yoga and life generally.
  • Yama: the Yoga Sutras clarify the 5 yamas as moral tips for dwelling life.
  • Guru: in accordance with Patanjali, a religious trainer or information.
  • Ashtanga: eight limbs (literal translation), referring to the eightfold path of yoga outlined by Patanjali within the Yoga Sutras.

Studying these phrases helps you perceive the historic and philosophical context of yoga.

Anatomy and Alignment in Poses

Yoga is all about stability and concord in every posture. Yoga anatomy applies to your bodily and ” delicate ” our bodies — your vitality circulate and life power.

Know Your Energetic Physique

Many various yoga poses and respiration workouts are sensible instruments for cleaning and shifting vitality in your physique, protecting you wholesome and balanced. Listed here are a number of important phrases to know.

  • Nadi: vitality channels in your physique the place your life power vitality flows.
  • Chakra: a swirling vitality middle positioned within the physique, located alongside the backbone.
  • Ajna chakra: one of many seven essential chakras, referred to as the Third Eye chakra.
  • Prana: the important vitality that sustains all life.
  • Bandha: contracting particular muscle tissues within the physique to regulate vitality circulate; mula bandha, for instance, is your pelvic ground.

Anatomical Clues for Asanas

In a yoga class, figuring out your bones out of your muscle tissues could make or break a pose (hopefully not actually!). When your yoga trainer talks about firing up these glutes, participating the pelvic ground (mula bandha), or aligning the backbone throughout class, figuring out some fundamental anatomical lingo helps you observe the cues extra successfully.

The seven main chakras are energy centers in the body situated along the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head.

Pranayama: Breath Management Strategies

Many instructors embrace Pranayama, the artwork of breath management, of their courses. Generally, your trainer might lead you thru a pranayama breath observe in direction of the top of the category. In sure kinds of yoga, a selected sort of respiration approach accompanies the motion observe.

Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi Breath is a typical respiration approach, particularly in Vinyasa Yoga. Its literal translation is “victorious breath,” however you would possibly hear it referred to as “ocean breath,” because it mimics the sound of mild waves flowing out and in.

To strive Ujjayi respiration, maintain your hand in entrance of your face. Along with your mouth open, exhale as should you had been fogging up a mirror together with your breath. Breathe in by way of your nostril, then shut your mouth. As you exhale once more, maintain the identical oceanic sound in your throat.

Ujjayi breath generates inside warmth, and when paired with a circulate of postures, it will increase mindfulness and sharpens focus.

Kumbhaka Breath Retention

One other in style pranayama train utilized in meditation is Kumbhaka or breath retention. This respiration approach is straightforward and protected for all ranges of scholars.

To observe Kumbhaka breath retention, sit comfortably on the ground or in a chair. Take a deep breath in, pause, and maintain for a number of seconds. Then, exhale slowly and steadily. Proceed respiration on this approach, including a pause after every inhale.

Practising the Kumbhaka breath retention cultivates mindfulness, improves focus, and calms the nervous system.

Pranayama in Yoga Practices

Incorporating these pranayama strategies into your yoga periods can remodel your observe. The respiration workouts usually are not nearly shifting air out and in; they’re about shifting vitality prana —all through the physique.

Whether or not you’re seated in meditation, flowing by way of Warrior II, or mendacity in savasana on the finish of your yoga session, these strategies can deepen mindfulness and amplify the advantages of your yoga observe.

Breath by breath, pranayama guides us towards interior stillness, the place each inhale meets intention, and each exhale releases resistance inside our yoga observe.

Mudra and Mantra

The next two widespread yoga phrases usually come up in meditation periods. So, let’s undergo a crash course in every of those yoga practices so that you’ll be prepared to maneuver your yoga observe past the bodily asanas!


Merely put, a mudra is a gesture made with the fingers or fingers to regulate vitality circulate throughout the physique and focus the thoughts throughout meditation. Listed here are the 2 mudra you’ll most probably encounter in a yoga session.

  • Anjali Mudra: one of the well-recognized yogic gestures by which you convey your palms collectively at your coronary heart middle.
  • Gyan Mudra: a gesture representing the union of particular person and common consciousness, made by touching the ideas of the thumb and index finger collectively and lengthening the opposite three fingers.
To practice Gyan mudra, bring the tips of your thumb and index finger together and extend your other three fingers.

Mantra Meditation

In yoga, a mantra is a repeated phrase, phrase, or sound throughout meditation or chanting. A mantra may be devoted to a selected deity, like a prayer. Alternatively, it might be only one easy syllable used to focus the thoughts and promote a state of focus.

The simplest mantra of all is one you’ve most likely heard earlier than: Om. You might have even chanted it together with your fingers in Anjali Mudra on the finish of a yoga session. This small however mighty mantra comprises all of the sounds of the universe in a single syllable!

One other well-known mantra combines Om with the Sanskrit time period shanti, that means “peace.” If you shut your eyes and chant, “Om, shanti shanti om,” you’re invoking a prayer for peace for all dwelling beings.

In case you’re curious to strive a mantra meditation, try YogaDownload.com. They’ve many fascinating on-line yoga and meditation courses that incorporate mantras and sound therapeutic.

Know Your Yoga Fashion

If you’re taking a look at a category schedule for a yoga shala, you would possibly really feel overwhelmed taking a look at all of the various kinds of courses. Right here’s a fast cheat sheet so you realize which type of yoga will give you the results you want.

  • Vinyasa Yoga: Additionally referred to as Vinyasa circulate, synchronizes actions with respiration. Energy Yoga and Baptiste Yoga are examples of area of interest kinds of Vinyasa.
  • Hatha Yoga: A standard, usually mild type of yoga that focuses on postures and breath management to domesticate stability and concord within the physique and thoughts.
  • Ashtanga: A structured and rigorous type of yoga that follows a selected sequence of poses.
  • Sizzling Yoga: Any yoga practiced in a heated house to encourage flexibility; Bikram Yoga is a selected type of sizzling yoga.
  • Iyengar Yoga: Named after B.Okay.S. Iyengar, who created this specific yoga type to deal with alignment, particularly the backbone.
  • Restorative Yoga: A mild type of yoga utilizing props like blankets and blocks to advertise deep leisure.
  • Yin Yoga: A therapeutic sort of yoga that works with vitality channels within the physique referred to as meridians and focuses on deep tissues like fascia.

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Integrating Yoga Language

Taking on yoga is about greater than mastering motion — you’ll be studying an entire new language. However don’t sweat it! With this glossary of important yogic and Sanskrit phrases, you’ve already received a head begin.

So, what’s subsequent in your yogic journey? Maintain training, maintain exploring, and let these phrases be your guideposts alongside the way in which. Whether or not you’re flowing by way of Vinyasa or mastering the intricacies of alignment, converse the language confidently.

And hey, should you ever stumble over a phrase or a pose title (strive saying Eka Pada Rajakapotasana thrice quick!), that’s all a part of the method. Share your experiences with fellow yogis, ask questions when unsure, and maintain including to your yoga vocabulary — one pose, mudra, and mantra at a time.


FAQ 1: What does “Namaste” imply in yoga?

Namaste” is a respectful greeting in yoga that interprets to “I bow to you.” It acknowledges the divine spark inside every particular person and is usually used at the start or finish of a category as an indication of gratitude and connection.

FAQ 2: Can understanding Sanskrit improve my yoga observe?

Completely! Whereas not necessary, studying Sanskrit can deepen your appreciation for yoga’s historical past and philosophy. It connects you to the normal roots of every pose and may enrich your total expertise on the mat.

FAQ 3: Are there any sources for newbies to be taught yoga terminology?

Sure! Many yoga studios provide newbie courses targeted on terminology. On-line platforms present in depth glossaries and tutorials that may assist familiarize you with fundamental yoga vocabulary used throughout observe.

FAQ 4: What ought to I do if I discover sure yoga phrases complicated throughout class?

In case you’re confused by any phrases throughout class, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for clarification after the session or look them up later to enhance comprehension for future practices. As a yoga trainer, I can affirm that we love being requested about yoga vocabulary and are glad that will help you perceive!

FAQ 5: Is it essential to chant throughout yoga periods?

Chanting just isn’t vital however is usually a highly effective instrument for focusing consideration and setting intentions throughout meditation. Many yoga courses shut with a collective chant of the mantra “Om.” In case you are uncomfortable with chanting or unable to vocalize, you may repeat the mantra internally to your self.

FAQ 6: Does mastering breath management strategies require data of particular terminology?

Whereas not important for newbies, figuring out particular pranayama phrases will be useful as you advance in your observe. These strategies are important in controlling vitality circulate all through your physique throughout meditation and asanas.

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedohttps://mastereview.com
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs, mastereview.com, thendmidia.com and Rockdepeche.com. With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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