Ten Sanskrit Terms I learned in our local Yoga Studio

There are plenty of reasons why people go to a Yoga Studio. Some go to improve their physique. They want to be flexible and strong. Some go for mental clarity to deal with their everyday hangups. Others, to improve their spirituality. They try to create or renew their relationship with God, their universe, or their higher self.

I have been attending Yoga sessions at The Yoga Playroom for ten weeks now. It has served me well in all aspects—physically, spiritually and mentally. As a bonus, I get to learn beautiful words from the ancient Sanskrit language. And really, they are lovely words.

The Sanskrit language is one of the oldest languages in the planet. Sanskrit means refined. It is the major religious language used by Hindus and Buddhists around the world.

For this post, I want to share the ten favourite Sanskrit words I learned at the Yoga Playroom.

Ujjayi Breath – this was the first Sanskrit word I learned aside from the word “yoga.” Our teacher reminded us that being mindful with the breath will be helpful for the practice. She sat next to us and demonstrated Ujjayi breath (yogic breathing). It’s breathing through the nose with a sensation felt at the back of the throat.

Asana or Yoga Poses- this is one of the most common Sanskrit terms you will hear in the studio. You usually add the word Asana to every yoga pose like tadASANA or bakASANA.

Savasana or the corpse pose- this is one of my favourite poses because it is a resting pose. It also signals the end of the yoga session. But, it is one of the most challenging poses because it requires you to let go, and letting go is difficult.

Dhyana- Asana or Yoga poses is just one of the many kinds of yoga. In our Tuesday classes, our teacher would ask to come earlier for Dhyana or meditation. It’s sitting still and focusing on the breath. Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of Yoga.

Prana or Life Force- This is our breath. Without prana, we are nothing.

Pranayama- if Prana is breath, Pranayama means managing the breath. Every now and then, our teachers would tell us to lengthen our inhales and exhales.

Drishti or focused gaze- In most asanas, our teacher would ask us to gaze at one point: “Gaze at the back” or “gaze at your mat” or “gaze at your toes.” Drishti leads to focus and concentration. I often hear our teachers say the Sanskrit word during Warrior poses and balancing poses.

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is the most common flow we do at the studio. It is a series of Asanas.

Ahimsa or non-violence. This is our teacher’s favourite word. It means being kind to others and being kind to yourself. Doing yoga is sometimes frustrating. I have experienced episodes of frustrations whenever I am the only person in the room who cannot do the pose. But this word reminds me that it’s ok not slay the poses and it’s also ok to get frustrated. Also, Ahimsa goes beyond the mat. This is how we treat other sentient beings.

Last but not least, NAMASTE, a staple word at the end of the yoga session. It means honouring the light in everyone, including oneself.

Namaste and I hope you enjoyed this! If you wish to drop by at the Studio, click here for more info.

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