Yoga Terminology: Do You Speak the Lingo?

What your teachers say and mean during yoga class

I'd like to share a few of my favorite words with you from "happy hour," the term my yoga instructor mischievously uses to refer to our nearly two hour class. 

"float" (verb)

1) To leap, jump, or hop while clinging to a deeply held belief that the dozen candles, two incense burners, that statue of Ganesh over there in the corner, and all fellow students will still be standing when you land

Example: "From downward dog, please float to the front of your mat and into a comfortable seated position."

"when you're ready" (slang idiom)

1) Now

Example: "Float the left foot forward between the hands, when you're ready..." (without pausing) "...and repeat the sequence on the left side."

Editor's Note: This phrase will inevitably be heard while resting in the most blissful and restorative child's pose you've ever known. Enjoy it while you can.

mellow (adjective)

1) Filled with ease, joy, intention, and the feeling of surrendering

2) Holding on for dear life

Example: "Please come into a mellow lunge. Now bend your straight leg, and hover the knee just a few inches above the Earth. Hold there, keeping both knees bent..." (minutes pass) "...stay firmly planted in your legs, grow your spine tall, lift from the heart and radiate in every direction..." (more minutes pass) "Everyone's still mellow, right?"

Editor's Note: My instructor often says, "Mellow is like spicy. What's mellow for someone else might not be mellow for you."

Earth (noun)

1) A composite surface consisting of three layers: sweaty towel, sticky yoga mat, and commercial flooring (often of a sustainable hardwood); also, the place one arrives after years practicing yogic splits

Example: "Reach your legs in opposite directions and your pelvis towards the Earth."

delicious (adjective)

1) Not painful, but not mellow

Example: "Breathe into your hamstrings until you find that place where they feel totally delicious."

fold (verb)

1) To bend at the waist; often paired with "forward"

2) While seated, to gradually shift the torso so that, when viewed from the side, its orientation resembles that of an airline seat in an upright position, rather than a reclined one

Example: "Gently fold forward and imagine touching your forehead to your shins."

Editor's Note: Imagine indeed  

melt (verb)

1) In a difficult pose, what to do instead of freaking out

Example: "Don't force your hips open. Allow them to melt."

Editor's Note: Often found in sentences near "breathe." Melting is rumored to be beneficial for those with difficulty folding forward.

nectar (noun)

1) The indescribably sweet spiritual byproduct of a yoga practice dedicated to opening one's heart in order to recognize the divine nature of the one true self

2) Sweat

Example: "If you see any drops of nectar on the floor around you, please wipe them up with your towel before you go. Namaste."

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