How to Pronounce Sanskrit Yoga Terms in English
The names of yoga poses and other yoga-related terminology have their roots in the Sanskrit language. For those people who don’t have any experience with the complex language, it can be a daunting task to pronounce Sanskrit yoga words. Here’s a beginner’s guide to correctly pronounce Sanskrit words in English.
Why Does Yoga Use Sanskrit?
In ancient times, not everyone knew how to read or write, and knowledge was mostly passed down from generation-to-generation orally. As yoga’s origins were in the Sanskrit language, it is a tradition to use the original language in order to pay respect to the discipline.
Each yoga word in Sanskrit is derived from root words, similar to how words in modern English have Latin or Greek origins. This gives the word a unique character with a deeper meaning. In a way, studying yoga in Sanskrit allows the seeker to connect with the wise gurus and sages of ancient times. Also, teachers and gurus in ancient times were firm believers in the healing nature of certain sounds, such as Om, which is why they taught their students in the Sanskrit language.
How to Write Yoga in Sanskrit
When pronouncing yoga, it is generally pronounced as Yog. It is similar to the way we pronounce prologue.
How to Pronounce 8 Limbs of Yoga in Sanskrit
Naming Asana Variations: Prefixes of Yoga Sanskrit Poses
|English||Sanskrit||Meaning||Example Yoga Pose|
|Adho||अधो||downward||Adho Mukha Shvanasana (downward dog)|
|Ardha||अर्ध||half||Ardha Padmasana (half lotus)|
|Baddha||बद्ध||bound||Baddha Konasana (bound angle)|
|Dvi||द्वि||two||Dvi Pada Kaundinyasana (two-legged Kaundinya)|
|Eka||एक||one||Eka Pada Shirshasana (one-legged headstand)|
|Parivritta||परिवृत्त||revolved||Parivritta Trikonasana (reverse triangle)|
|Prasarita||प्रसारित||spread out||Prasarita Padottanasana (wide stance forward bend)|
|Salamba||षलम्ब||supported||Salamba Shirshasana (supported headstand)|
|Supta||सुप्त||supine, reclining||Supta Virasana (reclining hero)|
|Upavishta||उपविष्ठ||seated||Upavishta Konasana (wide-angle seated forward bend)|
|Urdhva||ऊर्ध्व||upwards||Urdhva Dhanurasana (upwards bow)|
|Utthita||उत्थित||extended||Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle)|
|Viparita||विपरीत||inverted||Viparita Dandasana (inverted staff)|
Sanskrit Pronunciation Tips and Tricks
Here are some helpful tips and tricks for pronouncing sanskrit words:
– When pronouncing Asana, put emphasis on the first ah in ah-sun-a
– The last syllable ‘a’ of asana is generally not emphasized, such as yo-gah. Rather, it is a short sound which is barely audible when used in everyday language, and is more along the lines of how prologue is spoken. Although there is no defined rule of the last syllable, it is up to the individual to choose how to speak the last syllable.
– When pronouncing “ch” in Sanskrit, make sure to start off with a soft ‘ch’, similar to how change is spoken in English, rather than how shave is spoken.