Yoga Phrases Decoded: Important Yoga Vocabulary for Rookies in 2023

Stepping right into a yoga studio whenever you’re a newbie could be intimidating for a lot of causes. Lengthy earlier than I turned a yoga instructor, I keep in mind feeling overwhelmed by all of the Sanskrit phrases, yoga phrases, and sophisticated pose names once I began taking yoga lessons.

I knew that yoga could possibly be a profound and transformational expertise. But, I didn’t perceive what the instructor 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 follow with out greedy frequent vocabulary, like mudra, bandha, and asanas, is like navigating a brand new metropolis and not using a map; it’s doable however unnecessarily difficult. Familiarizing your self with key phrases equivalent to yama, sutra, and solar salutation can assist you are feeling extra comfy and assured whenever you enter a room stuffed with yogis able to move.

After all, any efficient yoga instructor ought to clarify a Sanskrit phrase in a means all college students will perceive. However realizing some yoga vocabulary earlier than you attend a category helps bridge the hole between wide-eyed newcomers 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 follow. Let’s demystify a few of these frequent yoga phrases collectively.

Yoga Vocabulary Glossary for Rookies

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

Asana Fundamentals

Asana refers back to the bodily postures in yoga, lots of which offer a sturdy exercise to your physique. Every place has a particular goal in strengthening or stretching muscle mass, aligning chakras to open vitality channels, or selling rest.

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

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is a basic yoga posture practiced by standing tall with toes collectively and arms by your facet. It begins and ends many yoga sequences, such because the Solar Salutation.
  • Downward Dealing with Canine (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a pose that brings the physique into an inverted place, arms and toes separate, and hips towards the ceiling within the form of an upside-down “V.”
  • Chaturanga (shortened model of its full identify, Chaturanga Dandasana) is a strength-building pose that fires up your complete physique as you decrease midway from a excessive plank place.
  • Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana) is one other asana you’ll move via regularly 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 lengthen out out of your shoulders,
  • Corpse pose (Savasana) is how we finish most yoga lessons, mendacity flat in your again together with your eyes closed. It’s a time for integration and rest.
  • 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, nevertheless it’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 deliver your palms collectively at your coronary heart heart (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 centered gaze, a basic approach in yoga, will increase your focus and is a necessary instrument for reaching stability throughout difficult poses.

If you focus your drishti, you additionally focus your vitality to maintain your thoughts from wandering off when you have to 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.

Understanding even just a few important items of yoga vocabulary, just like the names of frequent postures, will show you how to really feel extra assured whenever you stroll into your subsequent class.

Bear in mind these phrases subsequent time you roll out your mat to your follow. 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 via 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 follow.

Historical Language Connection

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

Preserving Conventional Sounds

Sanskrit is a classical language primarily utilized in religious follow, philosophical texts, and historical literature. It’s not extensively spoken in the present day, so the sounds are distinctive to many Western ears. Pronunciation and emphasis make an enormous distinction in spoken Sanskrit.

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

Deepen Your Apply with Sanskrit Knowledge

If you be taught Sanskrit, it may provide new views and interpretations of your yoga follow. Take into account these potential conditions:

  • In a yoga class, a brand new pupil learns the that means of the time period asana as “seat” or “posture.” Now, she will be able to extra simply acknowledge the names of recent poses through the class.
  • You uncover the Sanskrit phrase “Pranayama” interprets to “life drive regulation.” Swiftly, your breath holds extra energy. If you follow pranayama methods, your respiration turns into a acutely aware act to increase your life vitality move.

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

Deepening Philosophical Understanding

Yoga is greater than a bodily motion follow of bringing your physique into completely 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 subsequent stage, from a bodily exercise to extra of a religious follow.

A few of these yoga phrases you might 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: obligation or righteousness, appearing in keeping with ethical rules.
  • Tantra: a follow that expands consciousness and connection to the divine.

Studying from Sacred Texts

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

  • Yoga Sutras: Take into account 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 keeping with Patanjali, a religious instructor 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 ” refined ” our bodies — your vitality move and life drive.

Know Your Energetic Physique

Many alternative yoga poses and respiration workout routines are sensible instruments for cleaning and shifting vitality in your physique, protecting you wholesome and balanced. Listed here are just a few important phrases to know.

  • Nadi: vitality channels in your physique the place your life drive vitality flows.
  • Chakra: a swirling vitality heart situated within the physique, located alongside the backbone.
  • Ajna chakra: one of many seven primary chakras, known as the Third Eye chakra.
  • Prana: the very important vitality that sustains all life.
  • Bandha: contracting particular muscle mass within the physique to manage vitality move; mula bandha, for instance, is your pelvic ground.

Anatomical Clues for Asanas

In a yoga class, realizing your bones out of your muscle mass could make or break a pose (hopefully not actually!). When your yoga instructor talks about firing up these glutes, participating the pelvic ground (mula bandha), or aligning the backbone throughout class, realizing some primary 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 Methods

Many instructors embrace Pranayama, the artwork of breath management, of their lessons. Typically, your instructor could lead you thru a pranayama breath follow in the direction of the tip of the category. In sure types of yoga, a particular sort of respiration approach accompanies the motion follow.

Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi Breath is a standard respiration approach, particularly in Vinyasa Yoga. Its literal translation is “victorious breath,” however you may hear it known as “ocean breath,” because it mimics the sound of light waves flowing out and in.

To attempt Ujjayi respiration, maintain your hand in entrance of your face. Together with your mouth open, exhale as if you happen to have been fogging up a mirror together with your breath. Breathe in via your nostril, then shut your mouth. As you exhale once more, preserve the identical oceanic sound in your throat.

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

Kumbhaka Breath Retention

One other well-liked pranayama train utilized in meditation is Kumbhaka or breath retention. This respiration approach is easy and protected for all ranges of scholars.

To follow Kumbhaka breath retention, sit comfortably on the ground or in a chair. Take a deep breath in, pause, and maintain for just a few seconds. Then, exhale slowly and steadily. Proceed respiration on this means, 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 methods into your yoga periods can remodel your follow. The respiration workout routines are usually not nearly transferring air out and in; they’re about transferring vitality prana —all through the physique.

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

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

Mudra and Mantra

The next two frequent 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 follow past the bodily asanas!


Merely put, a mudra is a gesture made with the arms or fingers to manage vitality move throughout the physique and focus the thoughts throughout meditation. Listed here are the 2 mudra you’ll almost definitely encounter in a yoga session.

  • Anjali Mudra: one of the well-recognized yogic gestures through which you deliver your palms collectively at your coronary heart heart.
  • Gyan Mudra: a gesture representing the union of particular person and common consciousness, made by touching the information of the thumb and index finger collectively and increasing 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 could be devoted to a particular deity, like a prayer. Alternatively, it could be only one easy syllable used to focus the thoughts and promote a state of focus.

The most straightforward mantra of all is one you’ve most likely heard earlier than: Om. You will have even chanted it together with your arms in Anjali Mudra on the finish of a yoga session. This small however mighty mantra incorporates 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.

When you’re curious to attempt a mantra meditation, try They’ve many fascinating on-line yoga and meditation lessons that incorporate mantras and sound therapeutic.

Know Your Yoga Model

If you’re a category schedule for a yoga shala, you may really feel overwhelmed all of the various kinds of lessons. Right here’s a fast cheat sheet so which model of yoga will be just right for you.

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

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Integrating Yoga Language

Taking over 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 obtained a head begin.

So, what’s subsequent in your yogic journey? Preserve training, preserve exploring, and let these phrases be your guideposts alongside the best way. Whether or not you’re flowing via Vinyasa or mastering the intricacies of alignment, communicate the language confidently.

And hey, if you happen to ever stumble over a phrase or a pose identify (attempt saying Eka Pada Rajakapotasana thrice quick!), that’s all a part of the method. Share your experiences with fellow yogis, ask questions when doubtful, and preserve 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 individual and is usually used initially or finish of a category as an indication of gratitude and connection.

FAQ 2: Can understanding Sanskrit improve my yoga follow?

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 might enrich your total expertise on the mat.

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

Sure! Many yoga studios provide newbie lessons centered on terminology. On-line platforms present intensive glossaries and tutorials that may assist familiarize you with primary yoga vocabulary used throughout follow.

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

When 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 instructor, 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 isn’t mandatory however is usually a highly effective instrument for focusing consideration and setting intentions throughout meditation. Many yoga lessons shut with a collective chant of the mantra “Om.” In case you are uncomfortable with chanting or unable to vocalize, you’ll be able to repeat the mantra internally to your self.

FAQ 6: Does mastering breath management methods require information of particular terminology?

Whereas not important for newcomers, realizing particular pranayama phrases could be useful as you advance in your follow. These methods are very important in controlling vitality move all through your physique throughout meditation and asanas.

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