Common Sanskrit Translations

Have you ever wondered what your yoga teacher was saying when she/he spouted those strange sounding words? Have you ever wondered what those pose names mean?

Here are some of the more common Sanskrit words translated. Do the poses make a little more sense now? Knowing a few root words make it much easier to understand your yoga practice.

Adho-mukha — Face downward

Ardha — Half

Asana — Posture – third stage of yoga

Astavakra — Broken boy

Aum — All, conveys concepts of “omniscience”, “omnipresence”, & “omnipotence”

Baddha — Bound, caught, restrained, firm

Baka — Crane

Bandha — Bondage or fetter, a posture where certain organs or parts of the body are contracted and controlled

Bheka — Frog

Bhuja — Arm or shoulder

Bhuja-pida — Pressure on the arm or shoulder

Bhujanga — Serpent or snake

Chandra — Moon

Chataur — 4

Danda — Staff

Dhanu — Bow

Dharana — Concentration or complete attention, sixth stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali

Dhyana — Meditation, seventh stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali

Dwi — 2, both

Dwi-hasta — 2 hands

Dwi-pada — 2 feet or legs

Eka — 1, single, alone, only

Eka-pada –1 leg

Garbha-pinda — Embryo in the womb

Garuda — Eagle

Go — Cow

Gomukha — Face resembling a cow

Hala — Plough

Hasta — Hand

Janu –Knee

Karma — Action

Karna — Ear

Karna-pida — Pressure around the ear

Kona — Eagle

Krauncha — Bird like a heron

Kriya — Cleaning process

Kukkuta — Cock

Kundalini — Divine cosmic energy

Kurma — Tortoise

Mala — Garland, wreath

Manduka — Frog

Mantra — Sacred thought or prayer

Marichi — Name of one of the sons of Brahma

Matsya — Fish

Mayura — Peacock

Mudra — Seal, sealing posture

Mukha — Face

Mukta — Liberated

Mula — Root, base

Nauli — Process in which the abdominal muscles and organs are made to move vertically and laterally in a surging motion

Nava — Boat

Pada — Foot or leg

Padangustha — Big toe

Padma — Lotus

Parivartana — Turning around, revolved

Parivrtta — Turned around, revolved

Parivrttaika-pada — With one leg turned around

Parsva — Side, flank, lateral

Parsvaika-pada — With one leg turned sideways

Paschima — West, the back side of the body

Paschimottana  — Intense stretch of the back side of the body from the nape to the heels

Patanjali — Propounder of Yoga philosophy, author of the Yoga Sturas

Pida — Pain, suffering, pressure

Pincha — Chin, feather

Pinda — Fetus or embryo, the body

Prana — Breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, strength, also connotes the soul

Prasarita — Spread out, stretched out

Pratyahara — Withdrawl and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and sensual objects, fifth stage of yoga

Purva — East, front of the body

Purvottana — Intense stretch of the front side of the body

Raja — King, ruler

Raja-kapota — King pigeon

Salabha — Locust

Salamba — With support

Sama — Same, equal, even, upright

Sama-sthiti — Standing still and straight

Sarva — All, whole

Sarvanga — Whole body

Sava — Corpse, dead body

Setu — Bridge

Setu-bandha — Construction of a bridge

Sirsa — Head

Supta — Sleeping

Surya — Sun

Sva — One’s own, innate, vial force, soul, self

Svana — Dog

Tada — Mountain

Tap — Burn, blaze, shine, suffer pain, be consumed by heat

Tapas — Burning effort which involves purification, self-discipline and austerity

Tittibha — Firefly

Tola — Balance

Tri — 3

Trianga — 3 limbs

Trikona – Triangle

Uddiyana — Fetter or bondage, diaphragm is lifted high up the thorax and the abdominal organs are pulled back towards the spine

Ujjayi — Type of pranayama in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out

Upavistha — Seated

Urdhva — Raised, elevated, tending upwards

Urdhva-mukha — Face upwards

Ustra — Camel

Utkata — Powerful, fierce

Uttana — Intense stretch

Utthita — Raised up, extended, stretched

Vakra — Crooked

Viparita — Inverted, reversed

Vira — Hero, brave

Virabhadra — Powerful hero

Vrksa — Tree

Vrschika — Scorpion

Yoga — Union, communion, union of our will to the will of the Supreme Spirit

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