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5 Yoga Terms to Know Before Your First Class

Posted by James Oakley on
5 Yoga Terms to Know Before Your First Class

Yoga is amazing not only for your body but also for your soul! It is a great way to unwind, stretch and release any tension you are holding onto. There will be a yoga for beginners class that will suit you and help to bring some zen into your life.

So, whether you are a beginner or are a seasoned yogi, there still might be some yoga terms that you have never heard before and/or have no clue what they mean.   

You do not need to know every single yoga term and meanings; you will gradually pick these up along your yoga journey. Here is a list of five Sanskrit yoga terms to give you some confidence before stepping into the classroom.

Mountain pose/ Tadasana

Mountain Pose is the perfect standing position for the human body. It helps to correct your posture and stiff muscles, from repetitive tasks from daily activities, such as sitting at a desk or standing on your feet all day. It's grounding, and calming.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the outside of your feet parallel to your mat. Draw your low belly in and up toward your spine and engage your core with a tiny bend in your knees, engaging your quads to draw your kneecaps upward.

Remember to relax your arms beside your body, fingertips pointing to the ground, as you lift and lengthen your head, shoulders, and chest.

Chaturanga

Chaturanga is an excellent transitional movement that starts with a high plank. From there, you drop yourself into a low plank by bending your elbows straight back and slowly lowering yourself toward the ground, but not all the way down. Exhale as you lower yourself, keeping your elbows firmly against your sides.

This position is commonly used to prepare for an upward facing dog, which includes lowering your hips to the ground and lifting your chest to the ceiling with your hands. Your palms and the tops of your feet are the only parts of your body that remain on the ground.

Downward Facing Dog

This pose is used often in a variety of vinyasa-style yoga practices. It follows the sequence by beginning in a standing position. Then you'll complete a high plank, an upward-facing dog, and a downward-facing dog before rising up again.

You elevate your hips and shift them back while moving your arms toward the top of the mat, similar to touching the mat in front of your toes.

You'll know what Downward-Facing Dog looks like if you've ever seen a dog stretch after getting up. This is a common stance in yoga classes. It not only builds upper-body strength, but it also improves flexibility, particularly in the calves.

Savasana

Savasana, also known as Corpse Pose, is a wonderful state of relaxation or meditation that occurs at the end of class. It's a calming pose that's also one of the most vital.

All you have to do is lie down on your mat, face up. To receive energy and blessings from the universe, you should also keep your palms facing up. Savasana can help you relax and be one with your body and breath after an intense yoga session.

Namaste

Namaste is a greeting in some cultures, but it's commonly used at the end of a yoga class, with your palms clasped and your head bowed, usually in a sitting position.

Namaste put simply, is about acknowledging, and respecting another human being, its translation is 'I bow to you,' but also means, 'the divine in me recognises the divine in you.'  It is a way to show respect and is used as a way to end class and part with respect between the teacher and the student.  

Namaste is a spiritual phrase that recognises the energy and spirit of another.  It represents the idea that we are all divine and interconnected. It is now a respectable and symbolic way to close a yoga lesson.

The best thing about yoga is that it can be done anywhere, anytime, with very little to no equipment. It is a wonderful practice!

Beginner yoga does not have to be intimidating, it is a place to learn and be at one with the breath. The yoga lingo will become like a second language the more you practice, so make sure to keep your paws on your yoga mat.

Here’s a quick tip, when you are completely lost just copy the person next to you, everyone has been a beginner to yoga at some point in their lives!

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