Yoga can be intimidating when you’re first starting. You first think it’s just stretching, but after some quick research you learn that it can be so much more. All that sanskrit. All those poses. All that gear. All those strange words.
Here are some of the more common words you may overhear when getting in to yoga. This list could have been more extensive by covering the various types of yoga as well as the eight limbs of yoga, but you’re unlikely to come across them in a beginner environment. If you want to know more about them though, just check out our ultimate beginners guide to yoga.
#yogaeverydamnday: A popular instagram hashtag designed to show off how much you practice yoga
Asana: Another name for a yoga pose or posture
Athleisure: Term used to describe athletic apparrel that is socially acceptable to wear outside of the gym and in public. See also “lululemon”
Ayurveda: An traditional indian style of medicine
Bikram: A standardized style of yoga that moves through 26 poses in a heated room
Bolster: A cushion or pillow that aids in support during some yoga poses
Chakra: A “center” of spiritual power
Chatarunga: A yoga pose where you just kinda hang out in the bottom of a push-up
Guru: A spiritual teacher who teaches yoga – not real estate or marketing classes
Eight Limbs: Eight elements of yoga that make up a comprehensive yoga practice
Handstand: A yoga pose that requires a bunch of balance and strength. Makes for great instagram pics. Bonus points for beach or sunset background.
Hatha: Gentle, beginner friendly yoga
Hot Yoga: Yoga…in a heated room
Karma: A bitch. But really, you already know what karma is.
Lululemon: A store selling athleisure apparel and expensive yoga pants
Mala: Strand of 108 beads/gemstones with particular “energies”. You repeat your mantra each time you go over a bead with your fingers.
Manduka: A popular brand of yoga mat. Also makes apparel.
Mantra: A saying or phrase. Your jam.
Mudra: Symbolic ways to hold your hands and fingers
Namaste: “I bow to you” – typically used as a sign of respect and often the word that designates that class has wrapped up
Om: A mantra, or something you say over and over again to zone your mind out
Pranayama: Strategic breathing
Sanskrit: Classical Indian language. Most yoga poses (asanas in sanskrit) have traditional sanskrit names in addition to their common names.
Savasana: An amazing yoga “pose” that lets you lay on your mat like a dead person
Studio: A space dedicated to yoga practice. Studio yoga is different from “gym yoga” in that it is more “true yoga” focused.
Sutra: Classic yoga books
Tapas: Self-discipline. Not to be confused with small plates of food.
Yamas: Codes of moral conduct
Yoga Block: A rectangular cube made of foam designed to help you with poses you haven’t quite mastered yet or to provide support where you need it
Yoga Retreat: A travel getaway that typically includes around three classes of yoga a day
Yoga Strap: A thing that looks like a fabric belt designed to help you with poses you can’t quite do yet or to get you deeper in to a pose
Yoga Teacher Training: Typically requires 200 hours of training – way cooler if you do it in southeast Asia or India
Yogi(male)/Yogini: A practioner of yoga – although the default is “yogi”
Vinyasa: A type of yoga focused on “flow” between poses
Zafu: Fancy name for the cushion you sit on during meditation
There you go. Some of these may not exaaaaccccctly be directly related to yoga, but still may come in handy one day.