Basic Yoga Sanskrit – Lingo for Yoga Beginners

Flowell Team
July 20, 2022
5 min read

When you begin taking yoga classes, you may notice some instructors using unfamiliar-sounding words to cue poses. These words come from Sanskrit, the classical language spoken in ancient South Asia (modern-day India) where Yoga originated. Sanskrit not only describes poses but conveys yoga’s spiritual concepts that cannot be translated. The words may be difficult to learn at first, but you’ll catch on quickly as you hear them repeated throughout your practice.

Let’s introduce 10 Sanskrit words you’re likely to encounter as a beginner in your yoga class:

Asana आसन (ah-sa-na)

An asana is a physical yoga pose; you’ll encounter this suffix at the end of each pose’s name.

Chakra चक्र (chak-rah)

A chakra is a “spinning wheel” where the body’s energy, feeling, and physicality converge. Yogis believe that there are seven chakras within each of us, each representing a different energy. Your yoga practice can help you balance your chakras.

Chaturanga चतुरङ्ग (chat-u-ranga)

Chaturanga is a push-up movement used to transition from a high plank to a low plank. This is a common pose you will learn in practice.

Hatha हठ (hah-tah)

Hatha is a branch of yoga that emphasizes physical techniques with controlled breathing. It aims to balance the sun and moon chakras.

Mantra मन्त्र (man-truh)

A mantra is a word, phrase, or sound frequently repeated throughout a meditation to facilitate concentration.

Om ॐ (ohmm)

Om is one of the most sacred mantras in yoga. It is traditionally chanted both at the beginning and end of a yoga class.

Prana प्राण (prah-nuh)

Prana represents life-force energy that is present within the living and inanimate alike. Yogis seek a greater understanding of prana to improve their own energy, health, and wellness.

Savasana शवासन (sha-va-sa-na)

Savasana is typically the final pose of a yoga class. The yogi lies flat on their back with their legs stretched along the mat and arms to the side.

Ujjayi उज्जायी (u-jai-yee)

Sometimes translated as “ocean breath.” This is the most common breathing technique in yoga. Ujjayi helps you clear your mind and relax by focusing on your breath.

Vinyasa विन्यास (vuh-nyaa-suh)

Vinyasa is a sequence of two or more poses or asanas. One pose smoothly flows into the next in coordination with one’s breath. It also commonly denotes a branch of yoga that emphasizes these flows.

Now that you’ve learned some basic Sanskrit, you can apply your knowledge with a yoga class here on Flowell! Sign up for free on Flowell today and create a personalized practice just for you.

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