As a teacher of Hatha Yoga in Berlin, I often use Sanskrit words in our classes when wanting to describe a pose or the reason behind something we are supposed to do. I try to always accompany these words with a translation, but every now and then I still see confused faces looking up at me. I realize that sometimes, especially when teaching yoga in English, it is important to not only describe the action in Sanskrit but to also offer a translation in plain English.
No matter how long you have taken yoga classes or how deep you are in your own personal practice, it’s important to understand the words being used over and over again. In an effort to explain the terms that many Berlin Yoga teachers (myself included) often take for granted that their students already understand, I am starting something I call Berlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday. Each week we will be posting info about a term to help increase depth of understanding within your practice.
Perhaps the beginning is the best place to start….
Yoga: yolk (as in the yolk of an egg.)
The yolk of an egg has the capacity to bind ingredients together. Yoga also strives to bind or unite the three aspects of the self: the body, the mind and the soul. Over the centuries, it has become common for people to also translate the word yoga as “union”. And since the practice of Yoga affects people in so many different ways, the definitions of Yoga seem to be multiplying as yoga spreads throughout the world.