COMMONLY USED YOGA WORDS/PHRASES

Asana (AH-sah-nas) – Translates as “seat”, but is what we call the physical postures of the yoga practice.   This is the 3rd limb of Pantanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga.

Ayurveda (i-yur-vay-dah) – Is a science and practice, which is based on nature and the 5 elements.

Chakras – The word chakra translates into wheel and chakras are wheel like vortices of energy within the subtle plane of existence, which help to assimilate and organize prana, or life force energy.  Our 7 primary chakras are located in the body following the line of the spinal column from the pelvic floor to the crown of the head, which assist in governing different aspects of our life.

Dharma – Is the universal law that is constantly guiding us into alignment with our life’s purpose and our highest Self. 

Drishti – Translates as “Point of Focus”, and refers to your where you focus your eyes when practicing asana, pranayama, or meditation.

Mantra – Represents the mind, and is a word, syllable, or group of words or syllables repeated in the mind to help cultivate deep focus, while invoking a deity, feeling, way of being, or intention.

Meditation – Means “To Become Familiar With”, and is the practice of complete concentration when the mind is fully focused on a single point, whether that be a mantra, an object, the breath, the body, or simply observing the flow of thoughts within the mind.

Mudra (moo-dra) – The word mudra translates as “seal” or “gesture”, most commonly practiced with the hands, but can also incorporate the whole body, and is used to seal in energetic flow and help to manifest an intention or way of being.

Namaste (na-mah-stay) – A Hindu salutation that means, “I bow to you”, and used as to close a yoga class, with the honorable expression of “The divine in me recognizes and honors the divine in you.”  Namaste is always offered with Anjali or prayer mudra, sealing the palms in front of the heart.  

Niyamas – In yogic philosophy, Pantanjali defined the 8 limbs of yoga, one being the Niyamas, which are personal observances that we make to live more peacefully within ourselves.  Cleanliness, Contentment, Austerity, Self-Study & Devotion to a Higher Power.

Om – The universal sound, often used to close a yoga practice, and when broken down has 3 syllables, each representing their own specific function.  “Ah” represents creation, “Ooo” represents preservation, and “Mmmm” represents transformation. 

Prana – Often referred to as “Life Force Energy”, but more accurately translated into “Constant Motion”, as Prana is the vibratory force that animates all living things.  In Chinese Medicine Prana is referred to as Chi.

Pranayama – Is the controlling of life force energy through breathing techniques.

Ujjayi (oo-jai-ee) - Is an audible breath technique produced by a slight contraction of the throat muscles, which creates an oceanic sound at the back of the throat with each inhale and exhale.  This form of breathing is excellent for creating internal heat while cultivating deep focus in the mind.

Vinyasa – Translates as “To place in a special way” and is commonly referred to in class as our flow.  Moving in and through postures synchronized with the breath. 

Yamas – The first of Pantanjali’s 8 limbs, and are observances we make to conduct ourselves in living more peacefully within society, and include, Non-violence, Non-stealing, Truthfulness, Moderation of Action & Non-collection of material items. 

Yoga – Means to yoke, join or unite.  It is the uniting of the body, mind, and spirit, the uniting between the individual and the universal.  Pantanjali describes yoga in sutra 1.2 as “Yoga calms the fluctuations within the mind.”