Want to dive deeper into yoga philosophy and asana with the research of Sanskrit? Join Richard Rosen—writer and co-founder of the previous Oakland- and San Francisco Bay-based Piedmont Yoga Studio—for Sanskrit 101: A Beginner’s Guide. Through this 6-week introductory on-line course, you’ll study Sanskrit translations, refine your pronunciations, discover its historic highlights, and extra. But, much more considerably, you’ll rework your apply as you start to know the sweetness and which means behind the unique language of yoga. Sign up today!
As a Western yoga practitioner, you probably entered the yoga world by way of bodily poses like Warrior II, Triangle, and Down Dog. But how about Virabhadrasana II, Trikonasana, and Adho Mukha Svanasana? If studying the Sanskrit names of asanas has by no means appeared as necessary to you as studying their alignment, you’re lacking out on wealthy context. Exploring the basis phrases of the names of widespread yoga poses and learning the which means behind them typically sheds mild on an historic backstory, which not solely deepens the importance and expertise of each apply of the pose, however is fascinating as well. Here, Richard Rosen, who leads our Sanskrit 101 course, shares three examples to whet your urge for food.
1. Staff Pose
Sanskrit Name: Daṇḍasana (dahn-DAH-sa-na)
Daṇḍasana’s root phrase, daṇḍa, means stick, employees, or scepter. “The ‘staff’ refers specifically to the spine,” Rosen says, “which stands for both the walking stick and the scepter.” The strolling stick’s significance dates again to yogi ascetics’ treks throughout India from one pilgrimage website to the subsequent. And the scepter represents the sovereign energy of the self-realized yogi. With this in thoughts, the subsequent time you apply this widespread seated pose, you might really feel extra supported and empowered.
2. Intense West Stretch Pose
Sanskrit Name: Paścimottānāsana (pash-chee-moh-TAHN-AH-sa-na)
Paścimottānāsana comes from the basis phrases paścima, which means west, and uttānā, which means intense stretch. To perceive how the pose acquired this identify, you’d should know that orientation was an necessary consideration in conventional yoga. The 4 cardinal instructions and 4 intermediate factors on the compass have been every assigned an influence, represented by a female and male guardian deity, an animal, a weapon, and a colour. When training, historic yogis usually confronted east, the path of the rising solar and a logo of the daybreak of religious information. Thus in yoga, the again of the physique turned generally known as the “western side” and the entrance because the “eastern.”
So this seated posture acquired its identify for its stretch on the whole again line of the physique. And based on the Shiva Samhita, every day follow of this pose induces breath to move west to the sushumna nadi that runs via the backbone. Next time you apply this ahead bend, think about dealing with your mat towards the east to honor the custom of the the lengthy line of yogis earlier than you.
3. Adept’s Pose
Sanskrit Name: Siddhāsana (sid-DAH-sa-na)
Siddhāsana’s Sanskrit root phrase, siddha, has many meanings, amongst them: adept, completed, fulfilled, acquired, one who has attained his object, completely expert or versed in, perfected, beatified, endowed with supernatural schools, sacred, illustrious, ready, healed, and extra. A siddha is a semi-divine being of nice purity and perfection, stated to own the eight supernatural schools and be immortal, dwelling to the top of a kalpa, or a world age. A siddha can be any impressed sage, prophet, or seer, anybody with magical or supernatural powers. Next time you follow this seemingly humble seated place, embody its blissful superhero spirit.
Eager to study extra? Sign up now for Sanskrit 101: A Beginner’s Guide.