Sanskrit, is it important?

Why do we need to know this ancient language name in this modern Yoga era? Why not just using the translated name?

The Sanskrit term for poses or chants are often difficult to remember and pronounce. However, by knowing the Sanskrit word for the common yoga poses or the philosophical terms leads me to understanding yoga practice deeper. Yoga is not only about poses, but there are more such as the Sanskrit ancient language, philosophy, health, and etc.

Honestly, it took me awhile to remember the names for each poses even though I had been attending classes quite regular ha ha!. Well, I still try to remember some of the asanas in Sanskrit. But somehow, it feels authentic to me, to insert some Sanskrit during my teaching practice and use the English as well. It is believed that this style creates classes that brings more students while also bringing the original context of yoga.

Here are a few of the Sanskrit words that We basically already recognise:

1. Asana – It means the physical practice of the yoga poses; either sit, stand or relax poses. It is also the ending of each poses’ names, like Trikonasana – Triangle Pose or Bakasana – Crow Pose.

2. Supta – This word means reclined where we lie on our back, such as Supta Padangusthasana – Sleeping Thumb to Foot Stretch Pose.

3. Ardha – This refers to half (half lift or half fold), like Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose or Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – Half Lotus Standing Forward Bend.

My study in Tirisula which taught by very generous yet traditional masters made me realise that yoga is more than just an exercise with poses to do. I realise that yoga is something that people have to respect and truly know what is the meaning and purpose. By studying Sanskrit, I realise yoga is one of the most historical activities ever in the existence of human kind and perhaps religion since I have learnt some of buddhism.

I feel it is quite important not just exercising, but paying tribute to yoga in other words, respecting the ancient activities in any way possible in this modern world. I am grateful that the masters have shown an example of what yoga truly is and I hope me and other yogis can spread the existence of yoga now and in the future.


– A. Natalia