“In Sanskrit, words are like living beings; depending on context, circumstance and environment their mood varies and meaning differs.”

— Amit Ray

An Intro to Sanskrit 

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve most likely heard the instructor mention words you are (or were as a beginner) unfamiliar with. Perhaps he or she ended class with “Namaste” or a collective “Om.” Have you wondered what those terms mean and where they come from? Well, wonder no more.

Sanskrit is a philosophical language of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. It is also one of the 22 languages of India. Sanskrit is one of the, if not the oldest, attested human languages. Yep, you read that right. It’s been around since 1500 BC, that’s quite a long time.

A Lesson In Sanskrit 

Now that you have a little background in the language, let’s practice some of it. Here are eight Sanskrit words every yogi should know.

1. Yoga Nidra

In practice you will discover that Yoga Nidra is beyond a technique, it is a state of consciousness. It is a pristine state where you can rest in an effortless state of being.

2. Asana

Meaning “seat.” It is the term of the seated meditative posture we take at the end of a yoga class.

3. Kundalini

Kundalini refers to primal energy, typically located at the base of the spine and often related to a coiled serpent. Here’s how you can work towards releasing that pent up energy.

4. Mantra

A sacred sound or phrase (like ‘om’) that has a transformative effect on the person chanting it.

5. Om

This is the original mantra of Sanskrit and it translates to “Supreme.” The most important part of this Sanskrit term is the sound and vibrations it brings when it is chanted.

6. Sutra

Or “thread.” It means a work consisting of aphoristic statements. Check out ‘A Feminine Perspective to the Yoga Sutra’s with Nischala Joy Devi’ for more insight.

7. Prana

Prana directly translates to “life” or “breath.” It is known as the life force which sustains the body.

8. Pranayama

Pranayama is life/ breath extension and it focuses on breath control. Conscious inhalation and exhalation is something every human should learn in order to master a calm mind. Pssst, here’s how to start.

Want to practice Sanskrit with other like-minded creatives? 

You’re in luck because Conscious Good has launched our next big thing: The Creators Network. It’s the place where you can interact and swap resources with fellow conscious media peeps. Share your thoughts on Sanskrit (or literally anything else!) with them and ask them for opinions, too.

Plus, The Creators Network is the first place to get notifications on things like Conscious Good job postings (cough cough, we’ve got a couple up now!), Advisory Board Members, Jurors and so forth.

Signing up is easy, you’ll see!

Trina is Founder and CEO of Conscious Good, dedicated to media for a healthier, happier life. She was the Founding Director of Tribeca Film Festival, COO of Tribeca Entertainment for five years prior, Head of Content for GAIAMTV’s (Gaia). Trina is also an avid meditator and completed her 200 hour kundalini yoga teacher training (as taught by Yogi Bhajan).

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