During your asana class or indeed any yoga class you may hear your teacher referring to things in Sanskrit, which may leave you wondering sometimes what on earth they are talking about!! Sanskrit is our oldest language and is embedded with special vibrations like no other language and it is an integral part of our yogic history. Some words just can’t be explained with the same meaning or relevance in English or would take many words to say the say thing hence why our teachers use the Sanskrit version also giving us more insight into our practice. Here are a few words you may commonly hear with their meaning, knowing this may in fact lead you to a deeper level of practice allowing you to expand, so enjoy!
OM or AUM – the sacred syllable symbolising all creation, all states of consciousness, all that is unreal and all that is real and all that is beyond. The symbol of God or absolute consciousness.
Prana –Vital energy, life-breath, life force.
Pranayama – extended breath or regulation of the breath including restraining of the breath to work with and circulate the internal energies.
Drishti –meaning to gaze, find a drishti point means find a point to gaze at or the teacher may point out where the drishiti should be i.e. fingertips etc. Coming from Drishta meaning the visible, seen or that which is perceived.
Bandhas –Bondage or to tie a knot. In class this is referred to as to a part of the body to lock the internal energy, this creates a great deal of strength and helps to maintain focus. There are three main bandhas mula (pelvic floor or root), udiyana (stomach) and jalandhara (throat.)
Asana –means steady comfortable pose. If you are struggling in a posture then you are pushing too far, hold back a bit and wait for the body to invite you in deeper, try not to let the mind fight with the body but make a friend!
Pratyahara –abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from the external objects, meaning to let go of the stimulation from all your senses sight, taste, sound, smell and touch and to dive into an inner world leaving the external world. Simply meaning to withdraw.
Samadhi – the state of super consciousness with the experience of oneness, a state of the absolute where all knowledge, joy and peace reside. All things become one there is no duality.
Samsara –this is the circle of birth to death and back to birth, that through our practice we are working towards liberation from.
Sattva or Sattvic – meaning all that is pure, light and real. If something is sattvic it is pure.
Chakra – centre of psychic energy within the human system. A wheel of energy or vortex, of which there are many but there are seven main charkas five that are located along the spine, one at the third eye and one at the crown of the head.
So enjoy the sound of Sanskrit, sound has a profound effect on our beings so let the sound be joyful and float within you.
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony peace and balance
Om shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky