Yoga / Yoga for Beginners

Common terms used in Yoga Class

Common Yoga Terms for Beginners
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When headed to a yoga class for the first time, some of the terms can be confusing or foreign.  Depending on the teacher they may use Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, to describe poses.  OR they may use other terms for poses.  Here are a few that I’ve heard most often in the classes I have attended, it is a mix of part Sanskrit and other more simplified terms.  The more you attend classes, the more you will become familiar with them so do not fret if you don’t know them!  


Also known as a low plank, is when your body is straight with your elbows bent, next to your side.


My favorite part at the end of class where you get to lay on your mat on your back and relax for a few minutes

Down Dog

This is a pose where your hands and feet are on the ground with your butt in the air.

Up Dog

– Or Upward Facing dog – Usually you get into this pose from Chaturanga pushing your shoulders up and straightening the arms.  The tops of the feet resting on your mat.  Core is engaged.

Tree Pose

Another of my favorites, where you are balancing on one foot.  The other foot is place on the leg your are balancing on either above or below the knee.

Mountain pose

Basically you are just standing on your feet with your hands at your sides.

Child’s Pose

More of a resting position between harder poses.  For this pose you would come to your knees, sit back on the heels and fold over the legs.  Head comes to the mat, arms resting out above the head.


I always took this as a kind of mutual thank you from the teacher and to the teacher of the class.  I’ve heard it means “the divine in me recognizes the divine in you”.  According to, it “represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.”


Is usually a sequence or flow of poses.  Often times teachers will walk you through a sequence or the vinyasa.  They will instruct you to vinyasa and usually that just means repeating the same sequence they have been working through with you.


New to yoga?  You might also enjoy these posts!

15 yoga workouts under 15 minutes
How to Create and At Home Practice
How to Motivate Yourself to Workout Consistently
5 Reasons to Start Practicing Yoga
6 Things to Do Before Yoga Class

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Commonly used yoga terms

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