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8 yoga terms for your yoga practice
Especially as a yoga newbie you will be confronted with many terms that may be completely unfamiliar to you. Pranayama, Mudra & Shavasana - and you only understand train station? Then our little dictionary of terms is just the right thing to help you find your way around the spiritual world.
Of course you can also practice yoga without knowing the technical vocabulary. However, if you know the meaning of frequently used words and can classify them accordingly, you will get closer to the matter layer by layer. We have summarized the most important words in our guide for you so that you can start the journey into your inner being joyfully and knowingly:
Sanskrit - the sacred language of yoga
Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages in the world and originated in northern India. It is also referred to as "holy language". You will often come across Sanskrit words in your yoga practice - whether when naming individual yoga exercises, when reciting mantras and also here in this small guide!
Asanas - Postures
The Sanskrit word "Asana" describes different postures that are an integral part of Hatha Yoga . In Sanskrit, for example, the warrior is called "Virabhadrasana", the cobra "Bhujangasana" or the position of the child "Balasana". If the individual asanas are practiced one after the other, one speaks of a "flow". The best-known flow is Surya Namaskar , the sun salutation.
Affirmations - positive thoughts
Affirmations are clear, positive sentences formulated in the present tense, which are repeated or written down. This technique is used to replace deadlocked, mostly negative thought spirals with life-affirming formulations in order to positively influence the subconscious. Example of an affirmation: "I face every situation with calmness and composure."
Mantras - healing syllables
This Sanskrit word denotes syllables that anchor themselves in the consciousness through repeated recitation. Mantras work less on the intellectual level and more on the level of sound, vibration and rhythm. The universal mantra that many yoga teachers begin and end their classes with is "Om". Examples of other mantras :
- Sat-Chit-Ananda - Being, Consciousness, Bliss
- So ham - That's me. That is me.
- Sa Ta Na Ma - Birth, Life, Death and Rebirth
Pranayama - conscious breathing
Pranayama refers to breathing techniques that serve to consciously bring body and mind together. "Prana" describes the breath as well as the cosmic energy in the universe. Known breathing techniques:
- Nadi Shodana : Alternating breathing, breathing alternately through 1 nostril
- Kapalabhati : clarifying breathing exercise where the focus is on the forceful exhalation.
Mudra - symbolic gesture
The Sanskrit word " mudra " means seal. What is meant by this is a symbolic hand gesture that is used in connection with yoga exercises or meditation. One of the most well-known mudras is the greeting gesture "Namasté", in which the hands are gently placed together in front of the chest. The translation of this gesture is: "The divine in me bows to the divine in you."
Chakras - powerful energy centers
The Sanskrit word chakra literally means wheel, disk or circle. The knowledge of the chakras is many thousands of years old and has its origin in the Vedic scriptures. These are invisible, subtle energy centers. Each chakra embodies a state of consciousness. The 7 main chakras are located along the spine:
- Muladhara - root chakra
- Svadhisthana – Sacral Chakra
- Manipura —Solar Plexus
- Anahata - heart chakra
- Vishuddha - Throat Chakra
- Ajna Chakra - the third eye
- Sahasrara Chakra - Crown Chakra
Shavasana - the corpse pose
In this resting position it is important to release all tension from body and mind. The asana, also known as the "corpse pose", is performed lying relaxed on the back and with the eyes closed. Shavasana symbolizes the end of the life cycle, which we symbolically go through in every classic yoga class from birth to death.
Can you see through it a little better now? We are convinced: With these terms you are well prepared for the next yoga class! Remember: There is no shame in not knowing every Sanskrit term, Indian deity or ancient scripture. After all, nobody knows everything!
For more information, please have a look at our detailed, linked topic posts. Feel free to ask if you come across something that interests you and is unfamiliar to you. Your yoga teacher will be happy to help you. In this way you expand your knowledge bit by bit and your personal yoga journey always remains exciting.