Decoding The Words From Your Last Yoga Class

Savasa . . . what?

Originally from India, yoga is now a popular practice found all over the globe. Yoga uses the Indian language, Sanskrit, to describe the poses performed on the mat. However; as the practice has become popular in English-speaking countries, English words now accompany the Sanskrit pose names.

The word yoga means “unifying the spirit with meditation and concentration.” But, what about the other yogi terms you heard your instructors use in your last class? Well, we’re here to provide a quick reference guide so you aren’t left behind on the mat next time.

Mountain pose

Sanskrit: tadasana, which stems from the Sanskrit tada meaning “mountain”

English: mountain pose, as you are channeling the stillness and height of a mountain

Benefits: This seemingly simple standing pose tightens the core, strengthens thighs and knees, and stabilizes breath. It’s also said to improve confidence and posture.

Boat pose

Sanskrit: paripurna navasana, which partially translates to “entire” and “complete”

English: boat pose, because you resemble well, a boat, balancing on your sacrum

Benefits: ridding stress to helping with digestion, all while stimulating the kidneys and improving the spine

Bow pose

Sanskrit: Dhanurasana hails from the Sanskrit word, Dhanu, which means “bow.” It also refers to the asana meaning “pose.”

English: Bow pose, because the shape you make in the pose resembles an archer’s bow. Your arms are the bowstring and your trunk is the frame.

Benefits: An intense backbend that also opens your chest, strengthens the back, and stretches the body. This pose also helps stimulate your organs.

Cobra pose

Sanskrit: Bhujangasana emerges from the word, bhujanga, in Sanskrit, which means “cobra”

English: cobra pose . . . during this pose your form resembles the raised head of a cobra

Benefits: it helps open your heart and strengthens the spine, but it also stimulates abdominal organs and has been said to soothe sciatica

Corpse pose

Sanskrit: savasana comes from the word, sava, which means “corpse.” It can also be referred to as mrtasana which translates to “death.”

English: corpse pose . . . this one requires a lot of concentration and meditation to be as still and silent as, well, a corpse

Benefits: not only does this pose help relax the entire body, but it can help you sleep and relieve stress

Happy baby pose

Sanskrit: ananda balasana from ananda which means “blissful” and bala or “baby”

English: happy baby pose, because babies perfected this fun and happy roll-around move

Benefits: besides feeling awesome on your back, this pose also helps stretch your inner groin

Downward dog

Sanskrit: adho mukha svanasana = adho (downward), mukha (face), and svana (dog)

English: downward dog, because the pose resembles how a dog looks while stretching

Benefits: anything from energizing the entire body to helping reduce high blood pressure

Half moon pose

Sanskrit: Ardha chandrasana emerges from ardha meaning “half” and candra or “a shining moon in the sky”

English: half moon pose, because as you balance on one leg and arm your body resembles a half moon

Benefits: you’ll stretch out your shoulders and chest in this pose along with strengthening your buttocks and thighs

Fish pose

Sanskrit: matsyasana which is derived from the word, matsya, meaning “fish”

English: fish pose, because if you tried it in the water (lying on your back with your chest held up and the top of your head touching the water), you’d float in the water like a fish

Benefits: to stretch the muscles around your rib cage, while also strengthening your throat muscles and enhancing your posture

Monkey pose

Sanskrit: Hanumanasana from Hanuman, a sacred figure in Hindu mythology

English: monkey pose, Hanuman resembles a monkey so . . . enough said

Benefits: an intense stretch of the groin and thighs, and an added benefit in the abdominal organs

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