You know, it occurred to me during a class the other day, that I talk a lot in class. A lot. I have an almost stream-of-conscious flow going with words to match the flow of whatever is happening in sequence. I’m told it is really helpful and my students appreciate the detailed information and descriptions I give which is just as well. Lol.
But it also occurred to me that I tend to throw in words with which I am very familiar, but which may not be as familiar to those practicing with me especially if they are relatively new to yoga.
Soooo, here are the most common Sanskrit terms you’d be likely hear in a class you take with me:
Asana – posture or pose - this one is pretty straightforward!
Drishti – gaze – maybe less commonly heard, I really like this term in the original as it implies not only the physical gaze and where it’s helpful for you to be looking, eg big toe, thumb, ceiling, but also a sense of internal gazing – raised consciousness, awakening and awareness.
Chakra – a chakra is an energy center and there are seven. Asana, mantra and mudra plus a few other yogic practices work on the opening up and activation of chakra energy in many different ways – this gets into the subtle and energetic body side of things. I’ve been talking and directing attention to Anahata (the Heart chakra) quite a lot recently – compassion and joy in the season of Spring.
Prana – breath, but also life force or energy – whole scholarships have been dedicated to defining this, but lets just say it’s important and breath and breathing are an essential in yoga. Extend your breath, extend your life force and vital energy…. no breath, no space, no air, no energy, no life. yogainternational.com/article/view/understanding-prana
Om shanti shanti shanti – the Sanskrit mantra for universal peace. Om is the sound of creation, the universe, all time, space and matter and the indivisible unity of all things. Shanti means peace. Universal peace. Say it often and wish it well to all. Mantras create powerful vibrational energy when chanted. Every one is fighting or tormented by something, often something that comes from within but often from without too, from fear, to anxiety, to self-doubt, to greed, to jealousy and so on, and everyone deserves a bit of peace from that. The world would be a better place if we could all figure out how to be a bit more at peace with ourselves. https://www.wildmind.org/ mantras/figures/shanti
Namaste/Namaskar/Añjali Mudra – Namaste can be translated to mean “the divine/ light in me recognises and salutes the divine/ light in you” and is a form of greeting that’s often used to open or close a yoga class. It is very loving, kind and respectful. Namaskar is the action of greeting (salutation as in Surya Namaskar) as well as a substitute for saying Namaste, and Anjali Mudra is the gesture of bringing the hands together in front of the heart. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Namaste
STHIRA AND SUKHA: STEADINESS AND EASE – in caps on purpose. This is what we all seek in yoga! Yoga postures were never supposed to be torturous and painful. https:// yogainternational.com/ article/view/sthira-and- sukha-steadiness-and-ease
Surya Namaskar - a sun salutation – it is said that every movement in yoga can be found in the sun salutation, which is a sequence of asana in a set order that most Hatha and Ashtanga classes start with. A great reason to get down with them. If you can make it through Surya Namaskar, you’ve got it!
That's it for now from me and thanks for reading. Of course, if there’re other phrases or words that crop up that pique your curiosity do drop me a chat on WhatsApp, or an email and ask me about them! I'll do what I can to interpret and explain and where I can't I'll seek out the answer from those even better in the know.... See you soon I hope and in the meantime: Peace. Namaste. Ommmmmm shanti. :)