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Yoga Terms 101 – What Yogis Say

Happiness | Lifestyle

If you’re new to yoga it can feel like your teacher is speaking another language. It’s hard to understand what to do or why, when you have no idea about what your teacher is saying. So let me help, here’s the inside scoop on some key lingo used in class:


Yoga posture. Yoga pose. A physical position in which stability and ease are balanced and maintained.


The science or knowledge of life. A thousand year old scientific approach to medicine, Ayurveda recognizes differences in individual constitutions and treats each person uniquely.


To bind or lock. You may hear your teacher talking about bandhas or locks. A bandha is a muscular hold that enhances subtle energy flow. Here are the three most commonly used bandhas: Jalandhara Bandha, Mulabandha, Uddiyana Bandha.


7 Subtle energy centers. Wheels of light. 1 Root, 2 Sacral, 3 Solar Plexus, 4 Heart, 5 Throat, 6 Third Eye, 7 Crown.

Chandra Namaskar

Moon Salutation.


Teacher. And Sat Guru which means the teacher within, YOU.

Jalandhara Bandha

Chin lock. This lock is in the neck and is used to prevent downward loss of spiritual energy especially from the crown chakra. To practice this bring and hold your chin down towards your chest.




A cleansing process.


Sacred sound or word or phrase often used as a focal point in meditation.


A gesture used to recirculate energy and focus the mind.


Root lock. By engaging the muscles located in the pelvic floor, energy rises up the spinal column creating core strength. When activated, the practitioner experiences an internal strength that gives support and allows the body to move in correct alignment, with minimal risk of injury.


I honor the light in you and you honor the light in me, when we are both in this light together we are one. (Namaskar used as in Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation)


5 Lessons or suggestions for how you treat yourself.


Universal representation of what is yet to be made manifest. Our potential.


Life force energy.


Regulated breathing. Using the breath in an organized way to circulate prana in the body.




The ancient language of Hindu scriptures and yoga texts, which is the source of modern Indo-European languages.



Surya Namaskar

Sun Salutation.


The main energy channel situated inside the spinal column.

Uddiyana Bandha

Abdominal lock. This literally means "flying up." This lock is used to send energy up. You practice this by drawing your abdominal wall in and up as far as possible toward the spine. This is practiced by concentrating on pulling in your stomach as you exhale and being aware of a firmness below your navel even as you inhale.


5 ethical suggestions for how you treat others

Yoga Sutra

The classical work on yoga by Patanjali.

Again, these are just some of the key phrases and words you will often hear in your classes as you progress and go through your yoga journey. Not to worry, the rest you will pick up along the way. If I have missed out on other words and phrases that you deem "essential" – feel free to let us know via the comments below!

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