Sanskrit for Brand New Yogis (Free resource)


Haven’t taken your first class yet because you are confused about that weird-sounding language yoga teachers and students use? Don’t worry I got you. The very basics of Sanskrit, just enough to get you going.

Before we start, what is Sanskrit?!

An ancient language from India that is still used in yoga culture today.

Do I need to be able to understand Sanskrit to take a yoga class?


What does Namaste actually mean?

Namaste is a Sanskrit phrase combining two phrases to mean “I bow to you” or “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” It is usually used to close a class. The teacher says Namaste and the students reply with Namaste.

What other Sanskrit words and phrases can I expect to hear in a beginners yoga class?

  1. Asana – pose. Each yoga pose has “asana” at the end of the Sanskrit name e.g. Tadasana, Balasana.
  2. Mudrahand gesture
  3. Anjali mudra – hands together in a prayer position at your chest
  4. Prana – lifeforce. Usually referred to in the context of breathing ‘Inhale prana”
  5. Drishti – a point you can gaze at to keep focus or keep balance. Useful in room full of students
  6. Chakra – 7 energy centres in the body
  7. Mantra – translates into “mind” and “travel” – word(s) or sound(s) repeated to aid concentration in meditation e.g. Om.
  8. Ayurveda – a life science – one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems
  9. Balasana – Childs pose. A resting pose and definitely a popular asana for a beginners class. Take one whenever you want a rest.
  10. Pranayama – breath work. Usually pranayama is done at the start of the class.

Hope this helped, Bookmark this blog post or better still, to receive a printable Sanskrit Cheat Sheet for Complete Beginners, click here.

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