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Basic Yoga Terms – Ultimate Dictionary

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Have you ever been to a yoga class and everything that the instructor seems to be saying sound like some alien language to you? First of all, you aren’t the only one. In fact, anyone who has been to a yoga class knows that yoga tends to be full of uncommon words. Here is the ULTIMATE Basic Yoga Terms Dictionary which will get you fully prepared for your next home yoga session or a proper yoga class.  Yoga can be scary for beginners whilst trying to figure out what the yoga instructor is saying. Well, most yoga instructors use basic yoga terms deriving from Sanskrit – a very ancient Indian Language which is common in yoga.

Sanskrit is one of the most ancient human languages dating back to the 2nd millennium. Lord Brahma was believed to be the creator of the Sanskrit Language. This was then passed onto sages who then consequently spread it all around the world. Sanskrit is usually associated with Indian and the Hindu Language, however, Sanskrit has been used in various religious texts while also being the foundation and major influence on many world languages we know now.  This dictionary of Basic Yoga Terms is perfect for beginners starting any form of Yoga or even a great refresher for anyone taking yoga classes. So these are some of the most common basic yoga terms in their original Sanskrit with the meaning and translation in English. These basic yoga terms are likely to be used in many classes so it will be very helpful to know what each word means.

Basic Yoga Terms:

Ardha –  (Are-dah)

Ardha translates to “half” in English. Therefore Ardha is usually used in Yoga Classes as part of the names of specific yoga poses in order to indicate the different versions of difficulty.

Asana – (AH-sun-ah)

Asana means yoga pose or posture. Most Yoga Poses have the original Sanskrit name which will have “asana” added as a suffix.

Guru –

Guru means teacher or master in Yoga. Yoga Instructors may be referred to as Gurus in order to show them respect.

Hatha Yoga(HATH-ah Yo-gah)

Hatha Yoga is what most people tend to think of when we yoga comes into our mind. Therefore Hatha Yoga is the physical parts of yoga so it is basically the type of Yoga which involves asanas.

Mantra – (MAHN-trah)

A mantra is a word or sound which is repeated multiple times loudly or silently to help aid concentration during meditation and yoga. A mantra helps connect our mind with peace and to help block out distractions around you.

Namaste – (NAH-mah-stay)

Namaste is a way to greet someone with respect. A lot of Yoga Instructors will begin and end yoga classes with Namaste while also holding together whilst bowing. This is to show respect to their students. Namaste translates to “I greet the light in you”. This is a way to say hello to positivity and welcome others especially elders.

Om – (Aum)

Om is the most sacred yet basic yoga term in the entirety of yoga. Also, Om is the universal sound of creation and consciousness. Most Yoga classes will begin and end the class by chanting Om three times.

Padmasana – (Pod-MAH-sah-nah)

Padma translates to lotus in English. The Lotus Pose is the most iconic yoga pose in the world. This yoga pose requires flexibility and also open hips.

Prana – (Pra-NA)

Prana is our lifeforce and energy within us. When we do yoga we try to balance our “Prana” or likewise life energy in order to achieve peacefulness.

Shanti – (Shahan-TEE)

Shanti is another very common mantra like Om which is usually chanted during Yoga Classes. Likewise, Shanti in English translates to “peace”

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