Asana – literally means “to sit and be”. In the ancient times asana referred to the platform used to sit on during meditation. Later, in about CE 200 in the Yoga Sutras, the meaning became “physical posture”. As a result, asana also has spiritual belief- it promotes inner stability and fosters a quiet, reflective mind.
Chakra –In traditional yoga the chakras are believed to be the centers of life force energy (prana) in the body. Chakras are part of your subtle body that you can’t see or touch. The body contains seven major chakras. When chakras are blocked, it triggers physical, mental and emotional imbalances that manifest in the form of poor digestion, anxiety and much more.
Drishti –(view or gaze) is a specific point you choose to concentrate on during mediation or while practicing asanas. It comes from the root drsh which means “to perceive”. Your dristi can be anything from your nose to a dot on your yoga mat. It will help you build your mental muscles and concentration.
Mantra – Mantra’s meaning is a “tool of thought” and it consists of two parts: the root word man, which relates to thought, and the suffix -tra, which refers to tools or instruments. Each mantra has its own sound and vibration and it is believed there are about 70 million mantras. When you chant mantras, your body vibrates within the frequency of that mantra.
Namaste – namah translates to “salutation,” and te translates “to you.” So namaste translates to “salutation to you.” However, some translations say Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you- “I bow to you.” In yoga, the gesture is known as Anjali Mudra. It is practiced by joining the palms and the fingers together (each finger represents different qualities). When you bring your hands together at the center, you are connecting the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This is the yogic process of unification. In yoga, everything is one.
Om – The ancient Hindus believed that “Om” was the first vibration of consciousness. When viewed on a tonoscope, the sound “Om” takes the same shape as one of the most basic geometric forms in our universe, the ellipse. Researchers recorded the sound Om and put it in the computer and found that the frequency of Om is exactly the same as the frequency of earth’s rotation around its own axis. So, Om is more than just a sound – it is the vibration of the universe.
Prana – translated means “vital force” and it moves through your nostrils. The breath is connected to neuro-physiology and it is the first and a last thing we do in our lives. When your left nostril is dominating, the right side of the brain is active (intuition, creativity, left hand control). When the right nostril is dominating, the left side of the brain is active (logic, thinking and right-hand control). To understand prana takes a long time as there are 172,000 prana channels that function in the body.
Pranayama – means controlled breathing. Prana refers to the breath, and yama means to “control” or “hold” something. Breathing techniques should not only be used to introduce more oxygen into the lungs, but to capture outside sources of vital energy and life force. A regular practice of pranayama can supercharge your whole body.