language of yoga
Common Sanskrit terms that you may hear in your first class
During your first classes, you will probably hear your teacher speaking in a different language at times! This is Sanskrit, the original language of yoga that carries with it sacred sounds and vibrations. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Here are some examples of what you might hear your teacher say.
Used at the end of the class (or as a greeting at the beginning)
and one of the many translations is:
My soul honours your soul
I honour the place in you
Where the entire universe resides
I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace
Because it is also within me
And in sharing these things
We are united
We are the same
We are one.
This is the name for physical posture. All postures that your teacher will take you through have both a Sanskrit name and an English translation.
Breathing techniques. Beginners will usually start by simply observing their breath, noticing the rise and fall of the belly and chest, the flow of the breath through the body, before progressing into breath retention, counting, and more advanced practices.
These are hand seals or gestures that direct subtle energy to certain areas of the body. One that you may practice at the end of the class is Anjali mudra (hands in prayer) and most likely Chin mudra, where the tip of the thumb and index finger connect.
Om is a mantra that is often chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. Om is both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth. It is said to be both the sound of the creation of the universe, and the sound of silence.
MEMORIES OF A BEGINNER YOGI
“I remember going to my first yoga class feeling some nerves and having visions of flexible people doing headstands. Of course it was nothing like that. I remember feeling quite self conscious about doing something new and looking around the room at other people to see if my pose was matching theirs. I felt quite stiff in my body and when it came to the relaxation part at the end (Savasana) I found it quite a challenge to relax. The teacher had such a calming voice and I remember a release happening in my body toward the end and a tear appearing in my eyes. I knew I had found a practice that brought me some inner peace. A couple of years later I was training to become a teacher!”
Zoe Laughton, yoga teacher