Jargon Buster: A Yoga Glossary

HomeKawai PurapuraJargon Buster: A Yoga Glossary
2017-12-20T17:51:04+13:00December 20th, 2017|Kawai Purapura|


We understand that all these yogic words and phrases can be pretty confusing. It’s impossible to know if you’d enjoy Kirtan when you’re not really sure what it is. We get that it’s scary signing up to your first Kundalini class without knowing what to expect. You’re not the only one who smiles and nods politely when someone starts talking about pranayama techniques.

Have a read through our very own yoga glossary and get your head around all these amazing activities on offer at our 2018 Yoga Festival. That way, when we release the schedule you’ll be able to plan in which classes you want to attend without googling them all first.


Acro Yoga
A form of partner yoga which brings together yoga and acrobatics. It’s a playful, fun but also therapeutic form of yoga. It’s also great for Instagram, if you’re so inclined..

Aerial Yoga
Aerial Yoga uses a silk hammock to help students hold their bodies (sometimes upside down) in the shape of traditional Yoga postures. The hammock takes the weight of your body so gravity can help you find stretch out and get the correct alignment.

Asana is the term used for the actual physical postures/positions in yoga.

Cacao Ceremony
A celebration of chocolate in its purest form, except done in a more spiritual and ceremonious way. Used as far back as 1900 BC as a ritual in Aztec and Mayan cultures, it involves drinking raw liquid cacao, a sharing circle, meditation, chanting and dance. The cacao releases dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ hormone which makes us feel really happy, relaxed, free and sometimes even brings us into a state of euphoria. Some people describe it as a natural high because all your senses become heightened and various emotions can wash over you.

An energy wheel in our body. It’s said humans have 7 of them. Read more about them here.

Ecstatic Dance
Similar to a trance dance where you totally let you and throw some crazy shapes on the dancefloor allowing the music to take over. It can leave you in a meditative state and will probably make you quite sweaty and out of breath, but also very alive.

Guided Meditation
Sometimes it can be hard to meditate alone. Guided meditation is where a teacher will give you verbal cues helping you to focus on your breath and control your mind.

Hatha Yoga
A style of yoga focusing on physical postures. This is commonly consider the best introduction to yoga.

A celebration or ritual where things are burned as an offering.

Iyengar Yoga
A meticulous style of yoga that places a lot of emphasis on the correct alignment and uses many props to help achieve this. It’s also really great for people who have suffered from injuries.

Harmonious chanting of mantras over and over again. It’s almost like singing meditation.

In Kundalini Yoga, a kirya is a series of postures, breath and sound that are repeated to awaken our inner energy.

Kundalini Yoga
A combination of breathing techniques, moving postures, mudras (hand positions) and chanting to fire up your energy and connect you to a higher consciousness.

A little like a yogic hymn. It’s a statement or phrase that is repeated during a meditation.

Simply put, it just means being really aware of things and focussing on something in the present moment.

Qi Gong
It has some similarities with martial arts as it combines slow flowing movements with breathing and meditation.

Techniques we use to control our breath / different breathing techniques and exercises.

Reiki / Reiki Healing
An alternative Japanese healing method that involves placing your hands on someone’s body to sense energy blockages and then remove them. Sometimes this is non-contact healing.

Restorative Yoga
Yoga postures supported by various props that allow you to fully relax and rest. It has a very slow pace and the postures are held for several minutes in complete stillness and comfort.

Wisdom talks or gatherings where people share truths.

Shamanic Healing
Facilitated by a Shaman, they call on spirits to restore parts of your soul.

Pretty similar to tightrope walking.

Sound Healing / Sound Bath
A meditative session using sounds such as gongs, tibetan singing bowls, drums and chimes. The sounds can vibrate through your body and help reduce stress and anxiety.

SUP Yoga
Yoga on a paddle-board in a swimming pool. Pretty cool hey?

Tai Chi
A Chinese martial art practiced for health benefits using yin and yang movements (slow and fast).

Tantra Yoga
Tantra means to weave or connect. It’s a spiritual style of yoga which deepens your relationships with others.

Transformational Yoga
Chanting and breathwork while holding various asanas.

Movement with breath. Vinyasa classes are often a flow with each asana linked together. It can be fast or slow but is usually quite active.

Yin Yoga
Slow and stretchy yoga. In each posture you find your edge (a comfortable stretch) then you stay super still and hold for a few minutes. It improves flexibility as it allows our fascia (deep muscle tissues) to relax.

Yoga Nidra
Sleepy yoga. A meditative style of yoga where your body and mind are in a limbo-like conscious sleep.


If there’s anything you think we’ve missed off just let us know! 🙂