A-Z Of Yoga Terms You May Have Come Across…

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Asana means “seat” in Sanskrit and refers to the postures or poses that we practice in Hatha Yoga. Asana is the third limb of the 8-limbed path of yoga as prescribed by Patanjali.


 This term refers to the 8-limbed paths described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. “Astha” is the number eight and “ang” means limb.

Yoga Terms You May Have Come Across

Ashtanga Vinyasa

This is a faster-paced, flowing series of sequential postures as prescribed by yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois, who lives in Mysore, India. There are six series of asanas that increase in difficulty, allowing students to work at their own pace. Asanas are connected by the breath and are linked with sun salutations. Most classes taught in the United States focus on the Primary Series.

Take into account how you best learn, and play to your strengths. It may have been a while since you were cramming for an exam or wrote an assignment. Just because you can perform well under pressure, doesn’t mean you want it on this particular journey. You’ve waited this long, so why the rush? Immersions will require you to do yoga all day long, every day with many tests within a very condensed time frame.

Six or 12 month extended program formats are popular for their digestible nature and allow more learning time between modules. This in my experience is particularly true when it comes to the practical aspects of teaching and applied anatomy. Learning what function the postures serve, how to plan classes and how to teach them is challenging enough, and can be easier to digest over 6 or 12 months.

Take into account how you learn, and how much your job and commitments at home could also serve as a distraction from your learning. From there, you will have a better idea on what length of training will suit you best.


Don’t choose a yoga teacher training just because the dates fit your schedule, or it’s affordable. Rather, train in the style that you want to teach with teachers you want to learn from.

Traditional schools may focus on teaching one set sequence while other schools teach you to intelligently create your own sequences. Ask yourself which classes you enjoy attending and what style of class you want to teach when you qualify, and in the future. Yoga is forever evolving but also honours the traditions of the past. Consider what style of classes will be well received in your home town and who your clientele is likely to be?

Do your homework and if practically possible, attend at least one class with the teacher(s) who will be training you.  If you don’t already know the director of the program, ask to talk with him or her so you can ask questions. Don’t be shy; you’re considering a big commitment, and its part of the decision making process.

As a course director of Banyan Tree School of Yoga I begin by asking potential applicants why teacher training appeals to them and why this one in particular. All applicants are invited to see the training school and experience a class after which we take time for informal questions and to go over the details of the programme. Our duty as teachers is to guide you towards the right training programme. A good yoga school produces confident happy teachers who support their students long after the certificates are handed out.

As teachers and student’s we are all here to enjoy the journey and to inspire. Isn’t that after all the point?