Yogi words you should know. for Yogies. Don’t be left behind anymore when your instructor starts saying things; leaving you looking around for guidance…here are some common phrases and words used in Yoga. 


“Namaslay” is a life philosophy that mixes old-world yogic principles with a modern can-do attitude. It marries namaste, the ancient yogic greeting that means “the light in me acknowledges the light in you,” and the contemporary slang term slay, which for our purposes means “to go out there and kill it at whatever it is you’re working on—your job, your relationship, your life.”


The word asana simply refers to the actual poses and postures practiced during yoga. It is one of the “eight limbs” of yoga, with others including breath and meditation.

Pronounced AH’-sah-nah. Literally, it means “seat,” but in yoga class it’s also the word for “pose.” For example, BalasanaChild’s Pose, Navasana = Boat Pose… and so on.


Namaste is the common greeting in yoga. It is a gesture to send a message of peaceful spirituality to the universe in the hopes of receiving a positive message back.

A Sanskrit word meaning: The divine light within me salutes the divine light within you.


A word heard often in Yoga classes. see on tshirts, or as tattoos…It is sometimes defined as the sound of the universe.. But what does it mean?

The syllable OM is an ancient Sanskrit letter first found in the Vedas, originating between 1500 – 1200 BC. Essentially, we are all a part of this universe–always moving, always changing, always breathing. When you chant Om, you’re tapping into that vibration.


Peace. When you chant, “Om shanti shanti shanti,” it’s an act to bring about peace. In Buddhist and Hindu traditions you chant shanti three times to represent peace in body, speech, and mind. Shanti specifically refers to the state of inner peace. It is believed that when the chant is recited in meditation, it helps increase inner peace in the life of the reciter. Many yogis have the goal of reaching inner peace as central to their practice, and may wish to include the shanti chant into their meditation to cultivate more inner peace.


We all know that yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit. That’s what the word yoga means–yoke or union. It is, indeed, the practice of connecting our body, mind, and spirit, but it can mean more than that, too. It’s about connecting us to ourselves, each other, our environment, and, eventually, our truth. As many of our friends say: yoga is not just something you do, it’s a way of life


Also called Corpse Pose, Savasana (also called Shavasana) is the blissful state of relaxation or meditation that happens at the end of class. It is a restorative pose, and arguably one of the most important. All you have to do is lie face up on your mat. You should leave your palms facing up as well to receive energy and blessings from the universe.

After an intense yoga practice, Savasana can help you relax while also reducing anxiety. Other benefits include having increased confidence and improved memory, focus, and concentration.

Savasana can be employed at any time during yoga practice, but is often the final pose of a class.

Sun Salutation

This is a specific sequence used often in a variety of vinyasa-style yoga practices. It begins in a standing position. Then it takes you through a high plank, an upward-facing dog, a downward-facing dog, before returning back to standing.

A Sun Salutation is a yoga flow (or series of movements) featuring numerous positions. The two types of Sun Salutations are A and B. Sun Salutation A has 12 poses, and Sun Salutation B has 16. The goal of these movements is to draw energy from the sun, a symbol of worship in Indian culture.

The way these yoga flows were designed incorporates every organ and system in the body. The theory is that by facing east in the morning and doing a series of Sun Salutations, you can produce all the energy you need for the day while getting a complete workout for the mind, body, and soul. The Sanskrit term for Sun Salutation is Surya Namaskara.

Downward Facing Dog

This is a specific sequence used often in a variety of vinyasa-style yoga practices. It begins in a standing position. Then it takes you through a high plank, an upward-facing dog, a downward-facing dog, before returning back to standing.

There are a lot of synonyms for this iconic yoga pose. In Sanskrit, it’s called Adho mukha savanasana. In layman’s terms, it’s simply an inverted V. It’s similar to touching the mat in front of your toes, but you lift your hips and shift them back while moving your arms toward the top of your mat.

If you’ve ever seen a dog stretch after getting up, you’ll know exactly what Downward-Facing Dog looks like. This pose is a staple in yoga practices. Not only does it build strength in the upper body, but it also increases flexibility, especially in the calves, which are often tight.


Chaturanga is a movement that begins in the high plank position. From there, you bend your elbows straight back, slowly lowering yourself toward the ground—but not all the way there—into a low plank. As you lower down, you should exhale while also keeping your elbows glued to your sides.

This pose is typically used as a transition into upward facing dog, which involves dropping your hips toward the ground and pushing through your hands to raise your chest to the ceiling. Only your palms and the tops of your feet remain on the floor.

In some yoga practices the teacher may invite you to do a “Chaturanga push-up,” which is the same as a tricep push-up.


This Sanskrit word refers to breath work or breathing techniques. Prana translates roughly to “life force,” and yama means “to control.” So pranayama, then, is to control your breathing through various exercises. When you hear the term pranayama in class, the teacher is reminding everyone to focus on their breath. When everyone is holding a position that takes concentration, it’s easy to forget to breathe!