April 28, 2023

If you’re new to yoga or are beginning to practise more regularly, you might notice teachers using a variety of terminology during classes – some in English but others in Sanskrit. Hopefully this guide will help shed some light on some of the common words you’re likely to hear:

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog. Possibly the most common Yoga pose! Hands and feet on the floor with the tailbone to the sky to create a triangle shape.

Asana – Means pose or posture.

Bandhas – There are 3 main Bandhas, Mulha, Uddiyana and Jalandhara. They are used as muscular and energetic locks within the body. Mulha Bandha is the most commonly used and can also be referred to as the pelvic floor.

Chaturanga – A posture from the Sun Salutation sequence. Four limbed staff pose/low plank, elbows bent and chest off the floor.

Dristi – Where you place your gaze or focus during certain postures. Used a lot in traditional Yoga practices such as Ashtanga.

Mudra – A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture or pose in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Often with the hands and used during meditation and breathing practices.

Namaste – Often translated as ‘the light within me honours and recognises the light within you’ A respectful greeting in Hindu traditions.

Prana – Life force or energy.

Pranayama – Breathing exercises and practices. ‘Prana’ means ‘life force’ and ‘yama’ translates as ‘gaining control’

Savasana –  Corpse Pose. The final posture of most Yoga classes, the relaxation part you’ve been waiting for! 

Sits Bones – The bony protrusions right at the bottom of your pelvis. 

Sun Salutation/Surya Namaskar – A set sequence of postures often practised at the beginning of a class to warm up the body. There is Sun Salutation A+B which have slightly different sequencing.

Tadasana – Mountain pose. Standing on two feet at the top of the mat, a strong and stable posture.

Ujjayi Breath – A type of breath practice with sound. Breathing through the nose you create a gentle ‘ha’ sound at the back of your throat either on the exhale or also on the inhale. 

Vinyasa – A popular style of Yoga but also used to describe the smooth flowing transitions between postures during a class.