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5 Sanskrit Words Every Yoga Lover Should Know

Sometimes being in a yoga class, especially when new to the practice, can feel like taking a language class. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to follow along even without understanding everything. You don’t have to fumble through though. Here are 5 basic Sanskrit words that you’ll definitely hear in yoga class.


  1. Yoga

So chances are you know what yoga is in terms of it as an exercise and practice. Yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit, and that’s what the word yoga means- union. The practice might focus on connecting our mind, body, and spirit but it’s also about connecting with yourself, each other, and the world.


  1. Asana

Asana (pronounced AH-sah-nah) literally means “seat”, but in terms of yoga it is interchangeable with the word “pose”. You’ll notice that a lot of the names for positions feature the word at the end. For example, Balasana means Child’s Pose, and Navasana means Boat Pose.


  1. Namaste

Even if you’ve never taken a yoga class before chances are you’ve heard someone say “Namaste”. It’s fun to say and has an, even more, fun meaning. It means, “the divine light within me salutes the divine light within you”. Its often used as a goodbye or ending and essentially works as a recognition of how great you and the others are.


  1. Shanti

Shanti is a word commonly featured in chants. It’s an invocation of peace most often used in the chant “Om shanti shanti shanti”. The triple repeat is no coincidence either. In Buddhist and Hindu traditions, shanti is chanted three times to represent peace of mind, body, and speech.


  1. Om

“Oooooohhhmmm” is the sound of the universe. So why is it used so much in yoga? Well, we’re all apart of the same universe, and when you chant “om”, you’re tapping into that vibration. Regardless of whether you believe it or not, it’s still fun to say it.


It’s amazing how these common yogi words have such deep meanings and long histories. Understanding even the basic meaning behind them opening up a world of understanding for what yoga truly is at its core. If you want to sign up for one of our yoga classes check out our schedule! Namaste!