9 Words to Know So You're Not So Confused in Yoga Class

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What did your yoga teacher just say? Yoga teachers love to use Sanskrit and other "yogi lingo" in practice. And while it is a great way to introduce you to yoga's origins, it can also disrupt your flow when you distract yourself from what "bandha" is in the world. Don't let the foreign words lose your focus. Here are some commonly used yoga terms that any newbie should learn to be less confused in yoga class.


This is the Sanskrit word we usually recite when we finish the class. "Nama" means "bow", "as" means "I", and "te" means "you". So the term "Namaste" literally means "I bow to you." To practice the "Namaste" move, we will put our hands together, place in front of our chest, close our eyes, and bow forward. We can also put our hands together and place them in the center of our forehead, head down and pull our hands down in front of our chest.

"Namaste" is a meaningful action, which shows deep respect for the other person. Normally, Namaste is usually performed at the end of class because then the mind is in need of rest, and classroom activities are also in a more temperate state. Yoga instructors do the Namaste movement as a show of respect to their students and vice versa. Yogis also wear namaste shirt every class to show their gratitude to teachers and interest in yoga. 


What is Asana? Asana is possibly the most generally used and most significant word to learn, so as to be less confused in yoga class. The word asana simply refers to the postures or poses in yoga. 

However, the word ‘asana’ is more than this. In the origin of yoga in the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads (both holy Hindu scriptures like the Bible or Koran), the word ‘as’ is used to refer to the seated position for meditation. 


Vinyasa is a characteristic yoga style by stringing together the poses in a flowing sequence. This is different from Hatha yoga, a slower practice that focuses on holding one pose at a time. 

If you're taking an Ashtanga or Vinyasa class, the teacher may say, "flow through your vinyasa," to guide you to take a sun salutation at your own pace and will.


Prana refers to breathing, and Yama means to control or hold something. Put those two together and you get controlled breathing. But there is a deeper meaning to pranayama practice.

Ancient yogis used breathing techniques to absorb and manipulate their energies. According to the book "Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha", breathing techniques should not only be used to bring more oxygen into the lungs but also to absorb important external energies or vitality.


Bandha means ‘tightening’ or ‘locking.’ This refers to both a muscular and an energetic tightening deep inside the body. Yoga practicers believe there are many Bandha spots all over the body where internal muscles connect. They are: 

  • Mula bandha (pelvic floor)
  • Uddiyana bandha (abdomen into the rib cage)
  • Jalandhar bandha (tucking the chin close to the chest)
  • Maha bandha (holds all of them together)


Savasana (or Shavasana) is a state of relaxation or happy meditation that occurs at the end of a class. It is a restorative pose, and arguably one of the most important. All you have to do is lie on the floor, close your eyes, and place your arms by your sides. You should also keep your palms facing up to receive the energy and blessings from the universe.

After intense yoga, Savasana can help you relax while also relieving anxiety. Other benefits include increased confidence and improved memory, concentration, and concentration. Savasana can be used at any time during yoga but is often the last pose of a class.


Mantra is a Sanskrit term, with "man" meaning "mind" and "tra" meaning "release." Mantra is a word you repeat during meditation as a tool to help release your mind. It can bring big differences, particularly if you have difficulty concentrating or getting in the right frame of mind. Today mantras are widely used to teach meditation practices to boost awareness and improve focus. 


Om is the sacred call of the universe. Om consists of three AUM sounds ( "aah," "ooh," and "mmm"). Om is a fantastic tool to manifest positive things in your life. Yogis chant Om to calm the mind and bring in positive and invisible energies from the universe to absorb and purify the body. It helps bring practitioners to a state of meditation so that the body can rest, relax deeply, and not be affected by external influences. You can control your temper by chanting Om every day. 


Drishti means "sight" or "gaze", which is meant to improve focus and to create a meditation experience in yoga poses, by providing a sense of concentration. When yoga teachers say Drishti, they are referring to your literal, physical gaze. There are nine different Drishtis in yoga, including focusing on your navel, looking upwards, and staring at your toes. However, if you are a newbie, you had better listen to your teacher and try simple Drishti. 


Are you ready to conquer your next yoga class? Hopefully, new yoga students will be able to pay attention to how they feel in each pose rather than trying to understand foreign words. 

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