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What does Sanskrit mean?




1.     1.

An ancient Indic language of India, in which the Hindu scriptures and classical Indian epic poems are written and from which many northern Indian languages are derived.

 Sanskrit Dictionary


Sanskrit is the ancient language associated with India. It is considered to be the oldest language in the world, being at least 6,000 years old, and probably much older.

Sanskrit is considered to be the language of the Gods, as it is made up of the primordial sounds, and is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds as created in the human mouth.

 Henry David Thoreau once developed what he thought would be the perfect alphabet, and ended up creating something remarkably similar to Sanskrit. NASA and others have been looking at Sanskrit as a possible computer language since its syntax is perfect and leaves little room for error. Joseph Campbell, the late, great mythologist referred to Sanskrit as, "The great spiritual language of the world."

Sanskrit. In total the language has 49 letters. (I have enough trouble with 26 letters in English)

Sanskrit – The Atma Institute                           


This topic came up when Shelly Niebuhr of Spiritual Yoga was teaching a topic on The Eight Winds.  Shelly told us of a student that challenged her because she did not use Sanskrit terms for yoga poses and that it was not authentic yoga. 

Well these are my thoughts:

First! I speak English and Tex-Mex. I admit that I am Culturally Challenged! Until I started yoga I knew very little of eastern traditions. And that is where the problem lies; we often do not know or understand other people’s traditions or we understand them very superficially.

Now a yoga practitioner (teacher-instructor) has to have good communication skills to teach their students (yogis). If the teacher and the students are not using the same language it will be stressful and hard to learn. If students don’t understand the instructor the students are lost!

If I hear stand in “tadasana.”  We’re going into “vrikshasana” most students would not understand, would be lost, and would have no idea of what we were going into which causes the student stress; not what we’re trying to achieve in yoga. 

Now if you heard stand in “mountain” we’re going into the “tree pose” you would probably have a better idea of what to prepare for.

It would be a loss if a new students were discouraged and frustrated because they didn't understand the yoga LINGO and gave up on yoga teachings and never returned!

I do NOT want to discourage anyone from learning the Sanskrit pose terms; they are truly beneficial but are they essential?

My Take:

The Old Testament of the Bible was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was written in Greek. I personally do not know Hebrew or Greek with the exception of very few words. Now I believe that I have come to know Jesus Christ not because I understood Hebrew or Greek but because of the English translations! YES, you truly have a deeper understanding if you know Hebrew and Greek but you can also learn through the English Translations.

So if you learn and know the Sanskrit meanings you are blessed to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the yoga postures. But for other people, much like myself, I will have to depend on the English translations to learn and to teach yoga.

-         eoa 7/26/15

Exercise should be about

rewarding your body

with strength and endorphins;

 not punishing our body

for what you have eaten.

By respecting the differences in our own church
And seeing how these differences 
enrich each one another. 
We are more open to appreciating
the richness and diversity of other traditions. 
In a true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. 

Thich Nhat Hahn

Shelly was also challenged because the student said, the class was not a hard enough of a workout!  Well, Every Student Begins Where They Are! Yoga is NOT a competition! Yoga is a very personal practice and has nothing to do with anyone else! You go at your own pace, you do what works for you, and stop before you feel pain!

In a typical yoga class there are students of many different levels. Also each and every one of us has our own unique body limitations.

In yoga you stretch your mind as well as your body. The main goal of yoga is to prepare your body and mind for meditation or deep relaxation.

Another goal is NOT to punish your body but to Reward your body with deep breath oxygenation, stretching your body muscles, stretching your spinal column, and strengthening your core. We are Always Encouraged to "MODIFY" a pose if we encounter any pain. Some poses we may need to avoid all together!

In yoga you are always encouraged to do your personal best, but not to let your ego push you to stretch beyond your limitations! Don’t let your ego push you to hurt yourself. We develop a discipline, to listen to our bodies; not to over-extend and cause an injury.  The #1 goal of any yoga instructor should be that at the end of the class, that there are NO Injuries! It is a great responsibility to make sure that no one gets hurt!

Now I am trying to understand where the person was coming from who felt that yoga had to be taught in Sanskrit terms and needed to be more physically challenging:

1.     For some people yoga is just an exercise. That's Not Bad! Yoga is a great exercise!

2.     For some people yoga is a spiritual practice, enlightenment; a type of prayer.

3.     For others yoga is a lifestyle!

4.     And for others yoga encompasses all three; exercise, spiritual practice, and as a lifestyle!

For most of us yoga starts out as an exercise but the more we practice, we more we learn, the more expansive in meaning yoga becomes! 

Strengthening your “CORE” is more than your abs, spinal column, torso but also your “Inner Strength; your ethics, morality, integrity, and compassion. 


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