Yoga is an ancient practice whose terms are founded in Sanskrit. The word Yoga means to unite or join, “yoke together”, the mind and body through the breath. It is a physical exercise in which breathing techniques (pranayama), are used to drive physical activity (asanas). Yoga is an intellectual exercise as well, in that practitioners learn to focus their thinking to achieve physical strengthening. Yoga is based on the science of physical exercise.
The practice of Yoga is a lifestyle, in that the physical and emotional benefits of Yoga are best achieved through a lifetime commitment to the practice. The benefits of core strengthening, weight bearing, balance, flexibility, range of motion, stress reduction, and overall sense of well being through the practice of Yoga cannot be overstated.
Here are some additional Yoga terms, in Sanskrit, that are essential to beginning Yoga practice:
Asana: physical pose or posture, a Yoga practice is composed of asanas
Prana: breath, the force for all physical activity
Yama: expansion, to grow
Pranayama: breath work, breathing techniques
Ujjayi: a type of pranayama called victorious breath, a controlled breathing technique to lengthen and deepen the breath
Namaste: literally, the truth within me honors the truth within you