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The language of an asana class

Let me paint a picture for you and you can tell me if you've been in this situation.

You are sitting on your mat, class is about to start, you are feeling good and you are happy to be there... and then it's like the teacher starts speaking another language and you have no idea what is going on.


In fact they are speaking a different language - Sanskrit. Then to complicate things further we add in some english names and they aren't the same across the board. I know from personal experience how frustrating this can be so in this blog post we will be talking about some of the more common Sanskrit words and phrases you may hear and how many instructors will interpret them.


This is by no means a complete breakdown but might just help you get through those first few classes and prepare you for learning Sanskrit names in the future (if thats something you are into).


Asana - Posture or position

Pranayama - Energy work but will often refer to breathing and breathwork

Vinyasa - a series of poses connected together to move you from point A to point B

Chaturanga Dandasana - Shortened to chaturanga is a tricep push up included in your vinyasa

Savasana - corpse pose, the final resting pose in a close, laying on your back with palms turned up in a deep state of relaxation

Om - The sound of the universe, chanted at the opening or closing of a class.

Surya Namaskar - Sun Salutation. A flow series many instructors use to warm the body up.

Virabhadrasana - Warrior, standing lunge postures


The above are Sanskrit/yoga words that I personally have heard in most yoga classes I've taken. If I've missed any feel free to comment and let me know.


The following is a quick breakdown of how to interpret Sanskrit names

Ardha - Half.

Baddha - Bound.

Parivrtta - Revolved.

Adho - Downward.

Urdhva - Upward.

Viparita - Upside down.


As you begin your Sanskrit exploration into yoga names you will see things often sound the same because they start with the same prefix and will end in asana because its the name of a position or shape.


I hope this helps you in your yoga journey and that you will feel much more comfortable knowing what the words your instructor says aren't as strange as they might sound at first.



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