Sanskrit Dictionary – the language of yoga

Sanskrit is the original language of yoga. The names of the asanas (postures) often help to understand the pose. Some are names of sages from a known legend/poem, while others are names of animals, body parts, movements, and more.

Learning a bit of sanskrit is fun and useful The Sanskrit names of asanas are used in most Iyengar classes. I found that I could benefit more from the asana if I know the Sanskrit name. I immediately prepare for the following asana and don’t have to wait and see what others are doing first.

I made this list when I wanted to learn the Sanskrit names. I chose the words that were part of the most common asanas practiced in class at the time. It is not a complete list but it should get you going.

Yoga literally means ‘union’. To read more about what yoga is, click here.

 

Sanskrit – English Dictionary

Sanskrit English Asanas (Sanskrit) Poses (English)
Tada mountain Tadasana Mountain pose
Vrksa tree Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana Tree pose, Full Arm balance pose
Utthita extended, streched Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Extended trianlge pose, Extended lateral angle pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose.
Tri three Utthita Trikonasana Extended trianlge pose
Kona angle Utthita Trikonasana, Baddha Konasana, Supta Konasana Extended trianlge pose, Bound angle pose, Reclining angle pose
Trikona traingle Utthita Trikonasana Extended trianlge pose
Parivrtta revolved, turned round or back Parivrtta Trikonasana, parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Revolving triangle, Revolving lateral angle pose, Revolving head-to-knee pose
Parsva side, flank Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parsva Halasana Extended lateral angle pose, Side Plough pose
Vira hero, warrior Virasana Hero pose
Virabhadra name of a hero in Siva’s army Virabhadrasana (I,II,III) Warrior (I,II,III)
Supta supine, lying down Supta Virasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta Padangusthasana Reclining Hero pose, Rclining bound angle pose, Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose
Ardha half Ardha Chandrasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana (I,II, III) Half-moon pose, Half spinal twists
Chandra moon Ardha Chandrasana Half-moon pose
Hasta hand Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Padahastasana Extended hand-to-big-toe pose. Hand under foot pose
Pada foot Padangusthasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Prasarita Padottanasana Hand-to-big-toe pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose, Wide-legged forward extension
Angustha the big toe Padangusthasana Hand-to-big-toe pose
Ut intense Parsvottanasana Intense side stretch pose
Tan to extend, stretch, lengthen Parsvottanasana Intense side stretch pose
Uttana intense strecth Parsvottanasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, Uttanasana, Paschimottanasana Intense side stretch pose, Intense standing forward extension, Intense seated forward extension
Prasarita expanded, spread Prasarita Padottanasana Wide-legged forward extension
Ustra camel Ustrasana Camel pose
Utkata powerful, fierce, uneven Utkatasana Chair pose
Garuda eagle Garudasana Eagle pose
Salabha locust Salabhasana Locust pose
Dhanu bow Dhanurasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana Bow pose, Upward Bow or Full Wheel pose
Danda staff, rod Dandasana Staff pose
Chatur four Chaturanga dandasana Four-Limbed Staff pose
Anga limb, parts Chaturanga dandasana Four-Limbed Staff pose
Bhujanga serpent Bhujangasana Cobra pose
Urdhva upwards Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva Dandasana Upward facing dog pose. Upward staff pose
Adho downwards Adho Mukha Svanasana Downward facing dog pose
Mukha face, mouth Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Gomukhasana, Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana Upward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose, Cow-face pose, Upward facing intense west stretch, Full arm balance pose
Svana dog Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana Upward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose
Paripurna entire, complete Paripurna Navasana Full Boat pose
Nava ship, boat Paripurna Navasana, Ardha Navasana Full Boat pose, Half boat pose
Go cow Gomukhasana Cow face pose
Siddha Semi-divine being, inspired sage, seer, prophet Siddhasana Accomplished pose
Baddha caught, restrained Baddha Konasana Bound angle pose
Padma lotus Padmasana Lotus pose
Matsya fish Matsyasana Fish pose
Matsyendra Lord of the fish, one of founders of Hatha Vidya Matsyendrasana Spinal twist
Janu knee Janu Sirsasana Head to knee forward extension
Sirsa head Sirsasana Head stand
Paschima the west (back of body) Paschimottanasana Seated forward extension pose.
Marichi Ray of light. Name of a sage. Son of Brahma and grandfather of Surya Marichyasana (I,II) Marichi’s pose. Twist
Surya sun Surya Namaskar Sun salutation
Upavistha seated Upavistha Konasana Wide-angle seated forward extension pose
Purva the east (front of body) Purvottanasana Upward Plank pose
Salamba with support Salamba Sirsasana, Salamba Sarvangasana Supported Head-stand, Supported shoulder-stand
Sarva all Salamba Sarvangasana Supported All limbs pose (Shoulder stand)
Eka one Eka Pada Sirsasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana One-legged head stand, One-legged shoulder stand, One-legged inverted staff pose
Hala plough Halasana Plough pose
Karna ear Karnapidasana Ear-pressure pose
Pida pain, discomfort, pressure Karnapidasana Ear-pressure pose
Setu Bridge, dam, dike Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge pose
Bandha Construction/formation Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge pose
Mayura peacock Mayurasana Peacock pose
Bharadvaja name of sage Bharadvajasana Bharadvaja’s twist pose
Mala garland Malasana Garland pose
Hamsa swan Hamsasana Swan pose
Pincha chin or feather Pincha Mayurasana Forearm balance pose
Kurma tortoise Kurmasana Tortoise pose
Skanda name of Kartikeya the god of war Skandasana God of War pose
Hanuman name of a powerful monkey Hanumanasana Monkey pose
Dwi two, both Dwi Padda Viparita Dandasana Two-legged Inverted Staff pose
Viparita reversed, inverted Dwi Padda Viparita Dandasana Two-legged Inverted Staff pose
Sava corpse Savasana Corpse pose