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It has been said that learning a new language is like a spiritual journey in which we discover another culture. Studying the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit has an added benefit—it can assist you in going deeper in your yoga practice to reveal a greater understanding of the poses you’re perfecting.
Whether you’ve just started taking yoga classes or are already an experienced yogi, there’s plenty to discover about this mystical language. Here, we’ve broken down 40 common Sanskrit words and their meanings, so you can broaden your mind and confidently take to your mat.
Learn more: Should Yoga Teachers Use Sanskrit?
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Explore The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda
(love + devotion)
Learn more A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
Learn more See More Clearly By Practicing Drishti
(a spiritual teacher)
See also My Guru, My Self
Lear more Discover the Ida and Pingala Nadis
Read more Intro to Chanting, Japa, and Mantra
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(I bow to you.)
Learn more The Meaning of “Namaste”
Learn more Yoga Sutra
Learn more Mastering the Om: A Guide for Beginners
(life force or breath extension)
See also A Beginner’s Guide to Pranayama
See also Practice Swadhyaya on the Mat
Rina Deshpande is a teacher, writer, and researcher of yoga and mindfulness practices. Having grown up with Indian yoga philosophy, she rediscovered its profound value as a New York City public school teacher. For more than 15 years, she has practiced and shared the benefits of yoga across the globe. After studying yoga and mindfulness as self-regulation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she designs curriculum for science research and K–12 education. She is the author of Jars of Space, a book of handwritten and illustrated yogic poetry. Learn more at @rinathepoet or rinadeshpande.com.
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