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.

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 practised in class at the time. It is not a complete list but it should get you going.


Sanskrit – English Dictionary


SanskritEnglishAsanas (Sanskrit)Poses (English)
TadamountainTadasanaMountain pose
VrksatreeVrksasana, Adho Mukha VrksasanaTree pose, Full Arm balance pose
Utthitaextended, strechedUtthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Utthita Hasta PadangusthasanaExtended trianlge pose, Extended lateral angle pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose.
TrithreeUtthita TrikonasanaExtended trianlge pose
KonaangleUtthita Trikonasana, Baddha Konasana, Supta KonasanaExtended trianlge pose, Bound angle pose, Reclining angle pose
TrikonatraingleUtthita TrikonasanaExtended trianlge pose
Parivrttarevolved, turned round or backParivrtta Trikonasana, parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Parivrtta Janu SirsasanaRevolving triangle, Revolving lateral angle pose, Revolving head-to-knee pose
Parsvaside, flankUtthita Parsvakonasana, Parsva HalasanaExtended lateral angle pose, Side Plough pose
Virahero, warriorVirasanaHero pose
Virabhadraname of a hero in Siva’s armyVirabhadrasana (I,II,III)Warrior (I,II,III)
Suptasupine, lying downSupta Virasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta PadangusthasanaReclining Hero pose, Rclining bound angle pose, Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose
ArdhahalfArdha Chandrasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana (I,II, III)Half-moon pose, Half spinal twists
ChandramoonArdha ChandrasanaHalf-moon pose
HastahandUtthita Hasta Padangusthasana, PadahastasanaExtended hand-to-big-toe pose. Hand under foot pose
PadafootPadangusthasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Prasarita PadottanasanaHand-to-big-toe pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose, Wide-legged forward extension
Angusthathe big toePadangusthasanaHand-to-big-toe pose
UtintenseParsvottanasanaIntense side stretch pose
Tanto extend, stretch, lengthenParsvottanasanaIntense side stretch pose
Uttanaintense strecthParsvottanasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, Uttanasana, PaschimottanasanaIntense side stretch pose, Intense standing forward extension, Intense seated forward extension
Prasaritaexpanded, spreadPrasarita PadottanasanaWide-legged forward extension
UstracamelUstrasanaCamel pose
Utkatapowerful, fierce, unevenUtkatasanaChair pose
GarudaeagleGarudasanaEagle pose
SalabhalocustSalabhasanaLocust pose
DhanubowDhanurasana, Urdhva DhanurasanaBow pose, Upward Bow or Full Wheel pose
Dandastaff, rodDandasanaStaff pose
ChaturfourChaturanga dandasanaFour-Limbed Staff pose
Angalimb, partsChaturanga dandasanaFour-Limbed Staff pose
BhujangaserpentBhujangasanaCobra pose
UrdhvaupwardsUrdhva Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva DandasanaUpward facing dog pose. Upward staff pose
AdhodownwardsAdho Mukha SvanasanaDownward facing dog pose
Mukhaface, mouthUrdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Gomukhasana, Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana, Adho Mukha VrksasanaUpward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose, Cow-face pose, Upward facing intense west stretch, Full arm balance pose
SvanadogUrdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha SvanasanaUpward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose
Paripurnaentire, completeParipurna NavasanaFull Boat pose
Navaship, boatParipurna Navasana, Ardha NavasanaFull Boat pose, Half boat pose
GocowGomukhasanaCow face pose
SiddhaSemi-divine being, inspired sage, seer, prophetSiddhasanaAccomplished pose
Baddhacaught, restrainedBaddha KonasanaBound angle pose
PadmalotusPadmasanaLotus pose
MatsyafishMatsyasanaFish pose
MatsyendraLord of the fish, one of founders of Hatha VidyaMatsyendrasanaSpinal twist
JanukneeJanu SirsasanaHead to knee forward extension
SirsaheadSirsasanaHead stand
Paschimathe west (back of body)PaschimottanasanaSeated forward extension pose.
MarichiRay of light. Name of a sage. Son of Brahma and grandfather of SuryaMarichyasana (I,II)Marichi’s pose. Twist
SuryasunSurya NamaskarSun salutation
UpavisthaseatedUpavistha KonasanaWide-angle seated forward extension pose
Purvathe east (front of body)PurvottanasanaUpward Plank pose
Salambawith supportSalamba Sirsasana, Salamba SarvangasanaSupported Head-stand, Supported shoulder-stand
SarvaallSalamba SarvangasanaSupported All limbs pose (Shoulder stand)
EkaoneEka Pada Sirsasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Eka Pada Viparita DandasanaOne-legged head stand, One-legged shoulder stand, One-legged inverted staff pose
HalaploughHalasanaPlough pose
KarnaearKarnapidasanaEar-pressure pose
Pidapain, discomfort, pressureKarnapidasanaEar-pressure pose
SetuBridge, dam, dikeSetu Bandha SarvangasanaBridge pose
BandhaConstruction/formationSetu Bandha SarvangasanaBridge pose
MayurapeacockMayurasanaPeacock pose
Bharadvajaname of sageBharadvajasanaBharadvaja’s twist pose
MalagarlandMalasanaGarland pose
HamsaswanHamsasanaSwan pose
Pinchachin or featherPincha MayurasanaForearm balance pose
KurmatortoiseKurmasanaTortoise pose
Skandaname of Kartikeya the god of warSkandasanaGod of War pose
Hanumanname of a powerful monkeyHanumanasanaMonkey pose
Dwitwo, bothDwi Padda Viparita DandasanaTwo-legged Inverted Staff pose
Viparitareversed, invertedDwi Padda Viparita DandasanaTwo-legged Inverted Staff pose
SavacorpseSavasanaCorpse pose