The health benefits of Yoga are a well-known fact, so it’s no wonder you want to give it a try. But the instructions in your first class might make you feel like you walked through a portal to another country. Keep this guide on hand to break down some of the most commonly used words so you’ll be a Yogi (expert in Yoga) in no time.


Meaning: The word itself means union, and refers to the connection between body, mind and spirit. Ultimately the goal is to be conscious of our connection to ourselves, each other, our environment and our truth-whatever that may be.

Use: When you go to class, remember the meaning and let it help you focus while you work.


Meaning: Refers to the seven centers of spiritual power in the human body which are the root, the sacral, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the third eye and the crown.

Use: Yoga’s mix of poses and breathing exercises is meant to help move blocked energy through your chakras to help balance you out.


Meaning: Vital life force or breath

Use: Your teacher may refer to your prana during the class or during meditation. If they do, check back in with your breath and make sure you’re not holding it.


Meaning: Your posture or pose

Use: Literally Originally used to refer to the seated position taken for meditation, today it is most commonly used to represent any Yoga pose. Your teacher may use this word to replace “pose.” If you think of the names of yoga poses, like Tadasana (mountain), Utkatasana (chair), Virabhadrasana (Warrior II), you can see that the end of the name is “Asana.”


Meaning: Arranging something in a special way

Use: In simple terms it’s a sequence of Asanas (poses). Classes focus on the coordination of movement and breath to flow from one position to the next. These classes are more fluid and movement-intensive, but no two will be the same.


Meaning: Translates to effort, force or exertion.

Use: A type of yoga that is gentler, but can be more difficult depending on the poses. There are pauses in between each pose, and the class is designed to balance and open the body.


Meaning: In nature, anything that is cool, dark and slow is considered Yin.

Use: This is a style of yoga that usually consists of poses done on the floor that work the lower part of the body. The poses are held for much longer and focus on the connective tissue in the joints, most commonly the hips, pelvis, inner thighs and lower spine.


Meaning: Translates to “having eight parts.”

Use: Like Vinyasa, this style of yoga is tied to the breath and consists of a series of poses executed in swift succession. The difference is that the same poses are always performed in the same order. It’s more physically demanding and is meant to build an internal heat to help purify the body.


Meaning: Translates to "peace."

Use: In traditional Buddhist and Hindu practice, “shanti” is chanted three times to represent peace in your body, mind and speech. This may be used in class as a mantra.


Meaning: The divine light within me salutes the divine light within you.

Use: Most commonly used to end the class, the instructor will say it first, and repeating it back is a nice way to show respect and say thank you.