This September, as part of the Glen Ivy Monthly Challenge, we are celebrating National Yoga Month.
New to Yoga? Here is a glossary of terms to help you find your way…
Asana – Sanskrit word used to refer to a yoga posture. Asana refers to a series of body postures that stretch and tone muscles, increase endurance, and improve flexibility. Along with breathing and meditation they make up the practice of Hatha Yoga.
Ashram – A retreat or secluded place where the principles of yoga and meditation are taught and practiced.
Drishti – A point of focus where the gaze rests during the asana and meditation practice. Focusing on a drishti aids concentration and helps to maintain balance when in standing balancing poses (asanas). Although a drishti is described as a fixed gaze, the eyes stay soft at all times, never straining.
Chakras – Centers of radiating life force or energy that are located between the base of the spinal column and the crown of the head. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for “wheels.” There are seven main chakras that store and release life force energy, (prana); smaller chakras are found throughout the body.
Dharma – Self-discipline, duty. Dharma refers to one’s true life path and purpose for being.
Dhyana – Quieting the mind through meditation & contemplation.
Hatha Yoga – The physical practice of yoga; a system of yogic poses combined with breathing exercises. Many different styles of physical yoga practice stem from Hatha Yoga.
Mantra – A word or phrase that is repeated over and over in order to focus the mind during meditation.
Meditation – Allowing for inward attention while sitting quietly alone or with a group of people. During meditation one seeks to either quiet the mind or to focus intent. The goal of meditation is inner peace, reduction of stress and greater clarity.
Monkey Mind – A common moniker used to describe a mind that jumps from thought to thought the way a monkey jumps from tree to tree. Monkey Mind often becomes evident at the start of a meditation practice.
Muscle Memory – The idea that the body learns or remembers movements and postures through repetition; once guided in to a correct asana (pose) or through a series of movements (flow) several times, the body remembers the correct positioning and movements.
Namaste – A common yogic salutation meaning The beauty & divinity within me recognizes and honors the beauty & divinity within you.
Om or Aum – Often used as a mantra in meditation or chanted at the beginning or end of a yoga practice, Om is the sound of the wholeness of the universe and represents the union of body, mind & spirit.
Prana – Life force energy. In Chinese traditions prana is referred to as Chi or Qi.
Pranayama – Yogic exercises to control the breath; these varying and deliberate exercises result in specific mental and physical benefits.
Sanskrit – An ancient language originating in India. It is the language of yoga and yoga terminology.
Shanti – The Sanskrit word for peace. Often chanted at the conclusion of a yoga practice.
Sit Bones – The bones under the flesh of the butt that you sit on. Anatomically, this refers to the ischial tuberosity. In a yoga practice, the sit bones are a marker to assure for proper sitting asanas.
Sun Salutation – A flowing series of yoga poses often recommended to practice shortly after arising from a night’s rest.
Third Eye – The ajna chakra or point located in the center of the forehead. Used as a drishti or focal point in yoga or meditation practice.
Ujjayi – Breathing exercise used in the practice of hatha yoga in which the contraction of the back of the throat produces the sound of the ocean.
Vinyasa – A flowing series of poses that are done between Downward Facing Dog poses as part of Sun Salutation: Plank, Chaturanga and Upward Facing Dog.
Yoga – Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “to join together.” Refers to the joining of breath with movement in all Hatha Yoga practices.
Yogi or Yogini – Someone who practices yoga, (yogi is masculine, yogini feminine).
Do you have any suggestions you want share? Leave as a comment below and we will add to our glossary.