Why is Sanskrit so popular

Sanskrit for beginners

Sanskrit - the sacred language of the Hindus, has been the language of yoga for over a thousand years, as all religious scriptures from the Vedas and Upanishads to the Bhagavad-Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were written in Sanskrit. It is written in the so-called Devangari script, which perhaps reminds us Westerners a bit of Chinese characters ... Don't worry, we do not claim that as a yogi you should be able to master Sanskrit. However, there are a few basic terms that appear in almost every yoga class that you should be able to understand. Here are our top 6 - and there's one for free:

Namasté नमस्ते

is in many yoga classes the first word that is ever addressed to the student. It is the greeting among the yogis and means something like "The divine in me greets the divine in you". The yoga teacher likes to put his hands together in the prayer position in front of his sternum, in the so-called

Anjali Mudra अञ्जलि मुद्रा

Oops, two Sanskrit words. "Anjali Mudra" means greeting, devotion, admiration, blessing and humility and is symbolized by putting the hands together in front of the chest. A mudra (originally "seal") is a symbolic gesture both in everyday life (in India people still like to greet one another with Namasté, accompanied by a slight bow ...) as well as in religious practice (prayer position) or in Dance occurs. Literally translated from Sanskrit, mudra means "that which brings joy" - the gesture was used thousands of years ago to please the gods. Most mudras are hand or finger mudras, with the fingers placed together have different effects. Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, often uses the "Hakini Mudra" (putting fingertips together) in her speeches, which is used for concentration. The effect of the mudras results from the stimulation of the meridians, which have their beginning and end in the fingertips and which also influence our internal organs through pressure. You can read everything about mudras here.

OM or AUM ॐ

Most yoga classes begin with chanting the mantra OM three times. By chanting the OM three times, we bow to the Trinity (body, mind and soul) and the millennia-old tradition of yoga. OM or AUM, the universal original sound, symbolizes the wholeness of being, as it connects the aspects beginning / beginning (A), growth (U) and end (M) with one another. The vibrations that we reach with chanting in and around us have a positive effect on our well-being and put us in a state of harmony, bliss and a feeling of oneness with everything. Admit it, even if singing OM together in the first hour may be strange, you have certainly already felt the pleasant tingling sensation during or after singing ...

Asana आसन

or "healthy seat". But why sit when we twist ourselves properly in every asana? In the traditional sense, yoga was primarily used for meditation, because after all, yoga is about "calming down the activities of the mind" (yogas citta vrtti nirodhah, Yoga Sutra 1.2.). In order to be able to stay in the meditation seat for as long as possible, the body must be fit and muscular - this is why asanas were practiced. In modern yoga classes, the word asana is used for every imaginable pose or posture that the yogi assumes. The 84 asanas handed down in Hatha Yoga often contain the word itself, as in Pashimottanasana, Navasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, Adho Mukha Shvanasana ...

Pranayama प्राणायाम

So, you did the greeting and the singing together. It continues with pranayama, the breathing techniques in yoga. These are often placed in front of the asana practice. "Prana" is the name for "life energy", "Ayama" can be translated as "control": it is about control or mastery over breathing. Anyone who goes to a yoga class may be hot for the asana practice and movement and easily become impatient with the breathing exercises. But stay tuned, because it's worth it: through breathing exercises, your entire body can be activated, invigorated, cleansed and / or soothed. Here you can find out everything about how pranayama works and the most important techniques.

Surya Namaskar सूर्य नमस्कार

The sun prayer - a sequence of flowing asanas that ideally warm up your body and activate it for the subsequent yoga practice. Depending on the style, the sun salutation can be slightly different - in Asthanga Yoga you really work up a sweat, while the Jivamukti sun salutation is a bit more gentle. You can find everything about the sun salutation and the different versions here.

For those who have persevered so far, there is a bonus Sanskrit word at the end -Shanti Shanti Shantiशान्ति, Peace.Sung three times in a row, in keeping with Buddhist and Hindu tradition - for peace in your body, mind and soul.

Karen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and has got to know a wide variety of yoga styles and yoga teachers during this time. “What particularly fascinates me about yoga is the depth of this holistic, traditional system of exercises. Yoga is so much more than just the body-oriented asana practice, ”says Karen. “Yoga forces you to look inward, to recognize and love yourself.” You can find out more about Karen Welters at yogakara.de.