Loving your Corporate Yoga class these days?
Awesome! However, you may have heard your teacher mention a few terms that you didn’t understand or that weren’t explained properly. You may have even left the class feeling confused or worse yet, thinking “Oh no, my straight forward yoga class has become one of those kinds of classes.”
Well, we’re here to help. Here are 5 terms that your Corporate Yoga teacher (or any yoga teacher, really) may be dropping during your class that have you left you baffled or bewildered:
(1) Pranayama – Pranayama simply means “breathing exercises” or “the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises”. There are many different types of pranayama but one of the most common ones taught to beginners is “Alternate Nostril Breathing” or “Nadi Shodhan pranayama”, where students hold one nostril shut while they breathe through the other one, then switch. The purpose of doing these breathing exercises is to slow your breathing down, which in turn slows your mind, reducing stress and bringing you into the present moment. Yoga teachers will often teach some pranayama for 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of class, but it can show up anywhere in a yoga class. (If pregnant, pranayama can still be practiced but it is advised not to hold the breath.)
(2) Bandhas – Bandha means “lock”, “seal” or “bind”. There are 3 bandhas in the body (chin, abdominals and pelvic floor) and they are often tightened or contracted at different times during a yoga class in order to help the student breathe, retain energy and give the body a sense of lightness. When your yoga teacher tells you to “contract your mula bandha (pelvic floor lock), you’ll want to engage the muscles you would normally use to stop the flow of urine. This term may produce some giggles at first in a yoga class but over time, as it makes more sense to participants, it is actually looked forward to and is quite empowering.
(3) Mudras – Mudras are positions of the body, most commonly the hands and fingers, that are held in certain positions in order to positively influence your body or mind. For example, while seated in meditation, if your thumb and fore finger are lightly touching, this creates a circle in order for energy to flow more smoothly through the body. Bringing the hands together into Anjali mudra, a prayer-like position in front of the heart, indicates gratitude.
(4) Prana – Very simply, prana means “chi” or “life force”. Things like the leaves, trees and oceans contain this vital energy, and so do people. When you do yoga, you increase your prana, or very simply, you make more energy. The ancient texts say that people with more prana live longer.
(5) Om - Om is the sacred sound of the universe and has a detailed history of how it originated and what it means. You’ll often hear this chanted at the end of a yoga class, although it’s not often chanted in our Corporate Yoga classes, as not everyone is comfortable with it, especially if co-workers are right outside the room being used for class. If you do hear it being used, don’t be afraid to use your voice and give it a try. Chanting OM will ground and center you, calm you down and make you feel like all is right with the world. You can literally feel the vibration that this sound creates echoing through your entire body.