Sanskrit is the classical language of Yoga. It is used in the Vedas and Upanishads as well as in the yoga sutras. The use of Sanskrit is perhaps its most famous trait. It is the language of the ancient yogis and yoginis, and its structure and grammar are based on ancient Indian traditions. Its origins date back to the 5th century BC. Sanskrit is written from left to right and is composed of three characters, called vowels and consonants.
Learning Sanskrit has proven not only to be a great way to increase your knowledge of yoga, or even deepen your understanding, but also a great way to learn the language of yoga, and really delve into what it means. Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages still used today, with roots that go back thousands of years. It has a number of different terms that are used in yoga and meditation, so here are five of the most essential ones you need to know.
Yoga is a powerful tool that can change your life for the better—and there are many different kinds of yoga to choose from. When practiced regularly, yoga can help you improve your health, lower your stress, and even help you manage your weight. If you’re new to yoga and want to learn all the yoga terminology, we’ve got you covered. Here are five Sanskrit yoga terms explained.
When I initially began practicing yoga, I would hear what I called the “yoga language” in class. I realized it was a foreign language, but I never bothered to look into the origins of the language or the meanings of the terms.
“I have no idea what you’re saying, just tell it in simple English,” I’d thought as I rolled my eyes. However, as my passion in yoga developed, I understood how important language is to yoga, its history, and its purpose.
As some of you may know, yoga has strong origins in Northern Indian culture, which is why the yoga language is based on Sanskrit, India’s oldest and most ancient language.
Sanskrit is a difficult language to master, and some people still think it is just a written language rather than a spoken one. Sanskrit is, nevertheless, spoken in yoga. While it is utilized more often in certain types of yoga and practically never in others, its effect may be felt in all of them.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most frequently used Sanskrit yoga terminology. You may discover that your yoga practice deepens as you get a better knowledge of Sanskrit as it is utilized in yoga.
1. Pranayama (breathing exercises)
Pranayama is made up of the terms “prana,” which means “breath” or “life energy,” and “ayama,” which means “to stretch or expand.” When you put them together, you get ‘extended breath.’
In various types of yoga and meditation, different pranayama methods are utilized. A short text here can’t begin to scratch the surface of what pranayama entails, but at the very least, you now know what it implies.
What makes it so crucial? Breathing is essential to so many aspects of yoga, as yogis discover, from breathing through pain in poses until you achieve stability and relaxation, to breathing to circulate energy or heat throughout the body.
There will very likely be courses teaching some kind of pranayama.
2. Drishti is a Hindu goddess.
How many times have you heard a yoga instructor say something like, “Gaze off the top of your nose” in Mountain Pose or “Gaze off the fingers” in Warrior II? If they want to use Sanskrit, they might say “nasagre drishti” or “hastagrahe drishti,” for example.
While the location may be more harder to comprehend, at least you now know what drishti implies.
The gaze for a specific posture usually doesn’t vary, thus in Warrior II, it’ll always be off the tips of the fingers, or hastagrahe, so once you understand it in English, you’ll know where to look when you hear it in Sanskrit.
What makes it so crucial? In yoga, drishti is essential for focus. Try performing Half Moon looking down, then Half Moon staring up through the fingers of the outstretched arm, to see if you can reach an edge in a posture.
Not just in this position, but in many others as well, you’ll notice how your body shifts as your attention shifts.
Bandhas, number three
Bandhas are body locks that help you concentrate and focus by directing your breath and energy throughout your body.
Mula bandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha are the three most important bandhas in yoga. The mula bandha (root or pelvic floor lock) and uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock) create a closed circuit energy lock that keeps energy and strength flowing throughout the practice.
When performing particular breathing techniques, the jalandhara bandha is a throat lock that is often used. This is also a fast cure for stress or anger management, so study up on it.
What makes it so crucial? The goal of yoga is to achieve a state of mind, body, and spirit unity. Outside of practicing asana (postures), two essentials to doing so are activating an inner concentration and energy, which the bandhas enable you to accomplish.
Asana is the Sanskrit word for “posture.” While most people mistakenly think that the postures constitute yoga in and of themselves, asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga. Asana may be as simple as sitting motionless in meditation (Lotus) or as complex as striking a Warrior I, II, or Half Moon pose.
What makes it so crucial? The advantages are many, but some of the most apparent include improved flexibility, strength, and balance, pain and stress reduction, healing, and treatment of a variety of physical and mental illnesses.
People are typically drawn to the asana limb of yoga because of the physical advantages, but as their practice progresses, individuals tend to pursue other limbs as well.
Savasana is the fifth pose.
This is perhaps the simplest word to comprehend. It’s the whipped cream on top of a long practice session. The last relaxation asana in the sequence, Savasana or Corpse Pose, is not, according to popular belief, a sleep period.
You’ll be laying on your back with your eyes closed, feet at the mat’s corners, and arms at your sides with palms up in this position.
You may be tempted to doze off for a few minutes, but this is really a good opportunity to think on things like the goal for that day’s practice or any new insights that the practice has revealed.
What makes it so crucial? Aside from the significance of contemplation, this is a time for the body to recuperate from all it’s been through in the past hour or so. Your body must be able to just breathe and recognize when the intensity has passed.
Integration was the greatest description I’ve ever heard… a few minutes to really establish the mind-body link
The vocabulary of yoga is vast; here are just a handful of the most common words you’ll encounter. Don’t be afraid of Sanskrit as I was; instead, let it spark your desire in learning more and exploring all of yoga’s limbs.
In Sanskrit, the word “yoga” means “union.” It’s a word that has become synonymous with the practice of yoga, which has its origins in the ancient Hindu texts. Yoga has meaning beyond that of physical postures and poses. It is a path of self-improvement that can be practiced for form, and in the most ancient texts, it refers to action.. Read more about explain the meaning of common terminology of yoga and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the five terms of yoga?
The five terms of yoga are asana, pranayama, nidra, dhyana, and samadhi.
What is yoga in Sanskrit language?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union or to yoke. It refers to the practice of physical and mental disciplines intended to bring about a state of perfect spiritual enlightenment.
What are the terms of yoga?
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. It is one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism, with origins in meditation practices and religious rituals.
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