Ahimsa is the concept of doing less harm, on the mat and off. You can never be perfect, but you can always do better, be kinder and more loving. Ahimsa is the first of the precepts set down by Patanjali, a great yogic sage. The second is Satya, or truthfulness. These two ideas are the heart of yoga. Be kind. Be honest. Everything else will fall into place.

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This is a very basic guide to help a beginning practitioner recognize a few of the Sanskrit root words commonly heard in the names of yoga poses.


Eka - One

Dwi - Two

Tri - Three

Ardha - Half

Baddha - Bound

Parivrta - Revolved

Parsva - Side

Kona - Angle

Utthita - Extended

Supta - Supine

Urdhva - Upward

Adho - Downward

Mukha - Face / Facing

Hasta - Hand

Pada - Foot

Pincha - Feathers

Baka - Crane (aka Crow)

Svana - Dog

Go - Cow

Mayura - Peacock

Vrschika- Scorpion

Kapota - Pigeon

Kukkuta - Rooster

Kurma - Tortoise

Bheka - Frog

Padma - Lotus

Vriksa - Tree

Hala - Plow

Agni - Fire

Setu - Bridge

Vasishta - A famous sage

Virabhadra - A famous warrior

Hanuman- The monkey god

Matseyendra - Lord of the fishes