5 Common Yoga Terms Explained

5 Common Yoga Terms Explained

Have you ever had trouble focusing in yoga when all these wonderfully-weird words are used? Find yourself looking at the yogi next to you for guidance unless the words 'child's pose' and 'savasana' are used (hey, we all know these ones, right!!), then you'll definitely need to read these 5 common yoga terms that pop up in yoga class:



1. Asana:


In ancient traditional yoga practices, the term 'asana' was simply a 'comfortable seated posture' for the practice of breath control and meditation. Nowadays 'asana' is used to refer to the practice of physical yoga postures (downward-facing dog etc).



2. Pranayama:


'Prana' in Sanskrit refers to the 'life force' within every being. In the context of modern-day yoga classes, 'pranayama' is used to describe breathing exercises, such as alternate nostril breathing, Kapalbhati etc.



3. Vinyasa:


Technically speaking 'vinyasa' means 'to place in a special way'. Vinyasa Flow Yoga is a relatively recent style of yoga which focuses on creating harmony between the breath and the physical practice. In Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes, 'taking a vinyasa' is to go through a short series of movements to link a pose to another.


The postures that make a vinyasa are:
+ High Plank
+ Lowering down to a low plank
+ Snaking the chest forward to upward facing dog
+ Lifting the hips back and up into downward facing dog.


Lucie demonstrates them here in this video for you:


The vinyasa transition can be modified to be made easier or more challenging, and the teacher will typically offer variations during the class.



4. Chaturanga:

Chaturanga Dandasana, commonly called 'chaturanga' is one of the poses that constitutes a vinyasa transition in Vinyasa Flow yoga. Chaturanga is a low plank, performed before lifting the chest up to upward-facing dog.


Don't be a mat-dweller - Lucie shows you how to chaturanga in her video above!



5. Ujjayi:


Literally Ujjayi breath (say it like: ooo-dja-ee) means 'victorious breath'. Ujjayi breath is performed by restricting the air flow at the back of the throat, whilst breathing in and out of the nose. This creates a sound on the exhale which is often compared to the sound of the ocean.


Ujjayi breathing is used throughout the asana practice as a way to warm up the body and to act as a point of focus to prevent the mind from wandering.
Written by Lucie Ataya.


Like most city workers, Lucie found herself sitting behind a desk for prolonged periods of time. As a result, she enjoyed the perks as well as suffered the consequences of a busy corporate life.


Her only recluse was her morning yoga practice that not only charged her for the day ahead but also helped her repair some of the physical, emotional and spiritual damage done by her hectic routine. As she developed her yoga practice she realised how the ancient yogic principles were still relevant in the modern age and how effective they were in restoring a much-needed balance in everyday life.


Having studied and practiced the various disciplines of yoga, combined with her own experience, Lucie has formulated a yogic approach that is empathetic towards the constraints of a modern city dweller, and addresses its needs.


Based on the Vinyasa Flow system of yoga, Lucie’s teaching is centered around mindful movement and breath awareness. Beyond the physical practice, she views Yoga as a way to create harmony between the body, mind and spirit and to effectively channel one’s energy.


Lucie currently teaches private, group and corporate classes across South and Central London and intervenes as a yoga teacher trainer on 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training courses.


For more information, get in touch with Lucie


Instagram @lucieataya_yoga

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