10 Sanskrit Words to Know for Yoga

In Breathe by Sweatbox Yoga


Ever walk into a yoga class and the class starts with Om, Shanti, Om and you’re like, what are we even talking about?

I know I have. I had no idea what we were doing, but I followed along, happily and made a note that I would ask the teacher at the end of class what we were chanting. But I forgot, or I got nervous and didn’t do it. Whatever it was, I left feeling a little out of the loop in my yoga community – it wasn’t until two years later that I really started to build my Sanskrit vocabulary.

Sanskrit is the language of yoga and stems from the liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Below is a list of 15 commonly used Sanskrit words and what they mean. You will not find the name of any asana poses because the list would be massive!

  1. Asana: any yoga posture, example: bakasana (crow), savasana (corpse’s pose)
  2. Om: a mystic syllable, usually chanted at the beginning and/or end of a yoga class
  3. Shanti: peace
  4. Satya: truth
  5. Chakra: energy center, there are 7 of them
  6. Drishti: the point of focus used during an asana practice
  7. Buddha: an enlightened soul
  8. Prana: life energy, similar to chi
  9. Pranayama: the control of breath
  10. Mantra: a repeated word or phrase used to aid concentration
  11. Shakti: – female energy
  12. Shava: – male energy
  13. Tantra: –tool for healthy living and awareness
  14. Sraddha: – faith
  15. Moshka: liberation

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