Sanskrit is the primary language of Hinduism and is commonly used in yoga to define poses and practices. Here are a few of the most common Sanskrit words you may hear during yoga class, along with their meanings:
Namaste: This word is the most commonly used in the yoga practice. It means the divine light within me honors the divine light within you. In other words, I acknowledge and honor all of the beautiful light within me as well as all of the beautiful light within you and I am so thankful for all of it. It is a common way for a yoga practice to end, as we express gratitude to ourselves for bringing ourselves to the mat to partake in this beautiful practice and share the space with all of the other beings in the room.
Asana: Literally translated, the word means “seat,” but in yoga class it is used to refer to whatever yoga “pose” you are in. For example, Child’s pose is Balasana and Boat pose is Navasana.
Shanti: This word means peace and you may commonly hear a chant, “Om shanti shanti shanti,” which is an invocation of peace. The word shanti is said three times to represent an invocation of peace in body, speech and the mind.
Om: When spoken (pronounced using the sounds of the letters A-U-M), the sound is referred to as the sound of the universe. Om is all about threes, and the written version is commonly seen on yoga studio walls, tattoos, charms and more. It means we are all part of this universe and one with all parts of this universe – constantly flowing, changing, breathing, and moving. When chanting Om, you are zoning in on that constant movement.
Yoga: The word yoga means union. The practice of yoga represents the union of body, mind and spirit, but it also represents that we are connecting with ourselves, connecting with each other, connecting with our environment, and, ultimately, connecting with our truth. What could be more beautiful?!