Tuesday, December 4, 2007


How about something other than a history lesson this week? Here are some terms you might hear in class that are not posture related. I’ll be going into more depth on some of these later on.

Ashtanga: (2 definitions) 1) Eight Limbed Path 2) A particular style of yoga incorporating breath, bandha’s, asana and drishti.

Asana - yoga postures

Bandha’s - "locks"; three of them - root lock, abdomen lock and chin lock.

Chataranga - the motion of moving from plank pose through push-up position into up dog.

Drishti - 1) Point of gaze or focus and is meant to direct our attention to the subtle practice ("it’s what you can’t see that matters"; the breath and bandhas). 2) Let your gaze move in the direction of the stretch.

Hatha - the base of all yoga asana. From Hatha are derived the many other traditions.

Namaste - peace; thank you; "the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you"; in Indian and other cultures, this is not said out loud, but implied by bringing the hands to the heart or forehead.

Pranyama - breathwork; any kind of controlled breathing used in a yogic practice.

Om (Aum) - known as the universal sound; the first sound that was created.

Samasthti - Equal Standing - Neutral position at front of mat.

Shanti - Peace.

Ujjayi breath - "breath of fire"; an audible breath that builds heat within the body; an audible sound to focus the mind; a way to measure a person’s practice. Can be utilized beyond the ashtanga practice.

Yama/Niyamas - guidelines for rightful living.

Vinyasa - 1) A balance of strength and flexibility, lightness and heaviness, movement and stillness. 2) Neutral positions between postures (samasthi, dandasana). 3) Refering to a flowing style of yoga that moves from posture to posture without pause.

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