What is My Teacher Saying?

Supta Hasta Padangusthasana.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.

My very first Iyengar yoga teacher was responsible for teaching me Sanskrit and its correct pronunciations. Before we performed each posture, she would be sure to call out the name both in Sanskrit and English. “Trikonasana Triangle Pose!”

Overtime, I found it helpful to break the words down into their smaller meanings. For instance, Trikonasana is comprised of  tri= 3, kona=angle and asana=pose. Postures like this are labelled with the action performed. Another example, Supta Baddha Konasana, literally means Supine Bound Angle Pose.

Not all poses can be broken down however. Some are named after animals such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), others as objects such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose), and there are even postures named after ancient warriors or sages like Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose).

Sanskrit has been called the mother of all Indo-European languages. It is considered to be one of the oldest languages on Earth; predating Greek and Latin, arising from the Proto-Indo-European language spoken 7000-8000 years ago.

So, stand up, loud and proud and repeat after me, nah’-mah’-stay.



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