Learning Yoga Asanas in Sankrit

“You must be kidding me!” That was what I responded to Master Sree and Master Paulu upon hearing to qualify for a yoga teacher, being able to say the yoga asanas in sanskrit is part of the deal! I frowned upon hearing it. It’s a foreign language. Why can’t I say or teach in English? It’s easier to understand and definitely effortlessly to pronounce. For example downward facing dog in sanskrit is Adho Mukha Svanasana. What a long sentence to remember. Forward fold is Uttanasana and chair pose is Utkatasana. I’m like gosh they sound and spell almost the same to me. How am I going to remember them without confusing myself? Master Paulu proceeded to explain that the original Yoga texts were written in Sanskrit. This age old language is believed to be more effective and powerful because of its spiritual sound quality.


I was sharing this with a Yogini friend of mine. She said that Sanskrit helps to connect us with the origins of practice. By saying the name and doing the pose together creates the unity of the body and sound. I told her that despite going for classes regularly, I still have difficulty remembering the names. She shared that it’s actually pretty easy. Like every pose has the word asana in it as it means pose. It is important to understand the roots and the common words first. For instance

Urdhva means upward hence upward facing dog is Urdhva mukha Svanasana

Adho means downward hence downward facing dog is Adho mukha Svanasana


So long I can remember the meaning, it’s easier to relate to the poses and remembering them in sanskrit. Now it’s making more sense to me.  It’s still tough for me to remember all of them though. But I’m getting there…