Yoga is an ancient Indian practise and as a result a lot of Sanskrit words are used. The most common of these are listed below:


All yoga poses have a Sanskrit name. Some of your instructors will use the Sanskrit name, while others will use the English interpretation. You will notice that nearly all the poses end in “asana”. Asana means pose or posture, and the first part of the word tells you what pose or posture it is. For example

Trikonasana: tri=three; kona=angle and asana=pose, so trikonasana=triangle pose.

Vrkasana: Vrk=tree, asana=pose, so vrkasana=tree pose.


Namaste is a very common greeting used throughout India. There are many interpretations of what the literal translation of Namaste is, but it generally means, “I honor the divine in you”. Your instructor may use this at the beginning and/or end of the Yoga class. If you feel like it, you can respond by placing your palms together, fingers up, in front of your heart and slightly bowing your head as you say “Namaste.”

Om / Aum

Om is composed of three sounds, a-u-m. It is the original sound of the universe and the sound of all creation. There are no religious connotations to the word ‘Om’, it is simply one of the many ways you can focus your mind and begin to experience the true essence of yoga. Some of your instructors will begin and/or end your class with an ‘Om’.  It is a really lovely way to start and end your yoga practice. If you feel uncomfortable joining in with the ‘omming’, just close your eyes and enjoy the sound.