For Yoga Skills and Hatha Yoga

By Phyllis Eckler


Asana – a single pose or posture that is performed during yoga practice.


Chakra - Centers of radiating life force or energy that are located between the base of the spinal column and the crown of the head. Sanskrit for “wheels.” There are seven chakras that store and release life force (prana)


Diaphragm – a flat muscle similar to the skin on a drum that sits below the lungs. It relaxes as we breath in, allowing the lungs to fill with air and contracts or lifts as we breathe out.


Guru – Spiritual teacher


Hatha Yoga - Many yoga styles spring from hatha. It is the yoga of physical well-being, designed to balance body, mind, and spirit. The word literally means Ha (sun) and tha (moon) balancing the energies of the two celestial bodies.


Mudras – Hand gestures used while sitting in a meditation.


Namaste - This Hindu salutation says “the divine in me honors the divine in you.” The expression is used on meeting or parting and usually is accompanied by the gesture of holding the palms together in front of the bosom. Pronounced NUM-ah-stay.


Patanjali – Considered the “father of yoga”. Wrote the first spiritual guide to the practice of yoga called the “yoga sutras”. These short sutras or aphorisms, were meant to guide yogis (those who practice yoga), in attaining enlightenment.


Prana – Life energy or life current that flows throughout the body beginning in the chakras (see above); similar to chi in the Chinese tradition.


Pranayama – Controlling the life energy through breathing techniques.


Sun Salutation – a memorized flwoing sequence of asanas meant to warm up the body. The order of the sequence is: Mountain pose (extended mountain pose), forward fold (extended forward fold), crescent moon (right foot back), plank pose, cobra (or upward facing dog), downward facing dog, crescent moon (right foot forward), forward fold, mountain pose, namaste.


Ujjayi breath - Breathing technique in and out through the nose that produces sound in the throat with the inhalation. Pronounced you-jie-ah


Vinyasa - Steady flow of connected yoga postures linked with breath work in a continuous movement. For example: sun salutation