The Yogi Dictionary

Some regular terms we hear in Yoga Class

When we are in class, we often hear the teacher say some phrases and words that are hard to decipher.

‘Focus on your drishti!’ / ‘Feel your Prana flowing’

What do these phrases mean? How can they benefit your practice?

In this post, we look at some common phrases heard in a Yoga Class and break them down, making them easily understandable, with advice on how to incorporate them into your practice.

1.Drishti is a point of focus that helps us to balance.

When we practice an asana posture that requires us to balance, have focus, and be stable, our teacher usually tells find a point to fix our gaze our upon. This helps us stay both physically and mentally steady. ‘Drishti’ can be a point on the wall, our thumbs, a hand, our big toe, to name a few!

the most common time I use this term is when students are practicing Vriksasana-Tree pose.

2. Pranayama is a point of focus that helps us to balance.

Prana – our vital life force, our energy and breath which gives us energy and sustains and vitalises the body; 
Ayama – “ extend, draw out” meaning to extend and draw out.

In class, we often do breathwork techniques to encourage the flow of Prana and bring a soothing calm to the nervous system.


3. Prana – our vital life force, our energy and breath which gives us energy and sustains and vitalises the body.

4. Nadis – Energy channels through which Prana flows.

Nadi is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘tube, pipe, nerve, blood vessel, pulse’. It is is a term for the energy channels through which Prana flow. The Nadis are said to connect at special points of energetic intensity, known as the chakras

5. Mudra – the hand positions used in poses and meditation practice.

The term mudra translates to ‘seal, mark or gesture’. It is defined as the use of hand gestures during meditation and Yoga Asana Practice that help with channeling the flow of energy and Prana within the boy. 
A common mudra is Gyan Mudra – the Mudra of Knowledge.

6. Ahimsa – No harm – No violence in thouse and action.

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘no harm’ or ‘no violence’ in English. 

ahimsa-sanskrit

It can be found in the 1st limb of Ashtanga Yoga and is one of the five Yamas. (Yamas are ethical standards and a  code of conduct in the Yoga Sutras).

Ahimsa is one of the most important aspects of Yoga.

 Ahimsa means no harm. This means to any living beings, including yourself In both action and thought. 

Peace begins with no violence and no harm. To be truly at peace, you have to be at peace with yourself and others, internally as well as externally. 

I wrote a previous blog post which goes into Ahimsa in more depth, it can be read here.

Learning philosophy and Sanskrit will really benefit your Yoga Practice both on and off the mat.

I hope you found this article insightful.


Are there any terms you find challenging? Do you actively learn Philosophy and Sanskrit along side your practice?

I’d love to hear from you!

Aimee is a Yoga and Meditation teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.


Find AMALAwellness yoga and meditation classes in Teesside and online.

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