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8 Sanskrit words to know, to understand the names of yoga postures

‘Svastikāsana’ illustrated in the 1830 manuscript of Joga Pradīpikā originally written by Ramanandi Jayatarama in 1737

Posture names are sometimes difficult to remember for a beginner. By learning a few basic Sanskrit words, one can easily decipher the names of the most common asanas and thus better understand and remember them.

1. Adho – अधो = downward

Example: Adho Mukha Svanasana – अधोमुखश्वानासन = Downward-facing dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana

2. Urdhva – ऊर्ध्व = upward

Example: Urdhva Prasarita Padasana – उर्ध्व प्रसारित पादासन​ = Legs extending upward

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (or legs up the wall)

3. Supta – सुप्त = supine, lying down on your back

Example: Supta Svastikāsana – सुप्त स्वस्तिकासन = Supine cross-legged pose

Supta Svastikāsana with a bolster

4. Utthita – उत्थित = extending

Example: Utthita Trikoṇāsana – उत्थित त्रिकोणासन = Extended triangle pose

Utthita Trikoṇāsana

5. Kona – कोण = angle

Example: Upaviṣṭa Koṇasana = Seated angle pose

Upaviṣṭa Koṇasana

6. Baddha – बद्ध​ = bound

Example: Supta Baddha Koṇasana – सुप्त बद्धकोणासन = Supine bound angle pose

Supta Baddha Koṇasana

7. Pārśva – पार्श्व = side

Example: Utthita Pārśvakoṇāsana – उत्थित पार्श्वकोणासन = Extended side angle pose

Utthita Pārśvakoṇāsana

8. Parivṛtta – परिवृत्त = revolved, twisting

Example: Parivṛtta Trikoṇāsana – परिवृत्त त्रिकोणासन = Revolved triangle pose

Parivṛtta Trikoṇāsana

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York “Yogathon” – 2022 edition

Every year the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York holds a “Yogathon” in order to raise money to support the community of teachers and students who are part of the association.

The fundraising event started out in 2005 when BKS Iyengar travelled to the USA for the last time, as part of his book tour for Light on Life. The Yogathon was held to raise money and have a performance for Guruji: more than 3,000 people gathered to meditate and practice with BKS Iyengar.

This year, the yogathon paid tribute to Theresa Rowland, who was Lou’s teacher for many years, and passed away a few years ago.

Here is the video of this year’s yogathon which took place on June 5th 2022. There are many fun skits and performances to watch:

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York is a community made up of students and teachers from across the New York Metropolitan area who find a refuge in the practice of Iyengar Yoga at the Institute both Online and In-Person.

IYAGNY is the non-profit organization that operates the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York.

Action, knowledge, love – Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti – Tapas, Svādhyāya and Ishvarapranidhāna

Yoga has three facets to it. A tripod, in which even if one limb is removed, it creates an imbalance ultimately leading to a fall. These three faces are presented by Sri Krishna in three chapters of the Bhagavad Gita as Karma Mārga (the path of purification of action), Jñāna Mārga (the path of purification of the instrument of Knowing) and Bhakti Marga (the path to purify the understanding of Love). A lot of times traditional translators and teachers, pandits, have taught these three paths of Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti as three different paths, separate and distinct from each other. There is somewhat a sectarian identity involved. They identify with being a Karma Yogi, Bhakti Yogi or a Jñāna Yogi.

If Karma Mārga implies purification of one’s action, can such an action be deprived of Knowledge and Love? If Jñāna Mārga means purification of the instrument of Knowing (the mind) through inquiry, can such purification happen without engaging into action (relationship) and surrendering into the love and humility that it demands to do so? And if Bhakti Marga means to purify the understanding of Love, then can such a purification take place without service to others (karma marga) and knowledge of oneself and one’s ego (Jñāna Mārga).

So this is what Patañjali presents as Yoga in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras. He says Tapas (self-discipline which is purification of action), Svādhyāya (which is self-knowledge) and Ishvarapranidhāna (which is bhakti, love, surrender – here and now). Yoga is all of these three put together. There can be no sectarianism when one’s heart and mind are touched by Yoga. Because Yoga means all inclusiveness. Yoga means shining forth the benevolence of the spirit. Benevolence can never be sectarian. It is like the Sun that doesn’t choose on whom it wants to shine. It does not take sides. It shines for everybody, whether you choose to be under its light or not. This light shines whether you choose to identify yourself as a theist, an atheist, a scientist, a religious man, a politician woman, or whatever that may be. If you leave the confines of your four psychological walls and step out, the light is shining.

On Suffering and Pain

Once a woman came to Gautama Buddha and told him that she had just lost her husband and that she needed help from him to get rid of the pain she felt within her. Buddha said to her: “First bring me some sesame from a home in which there is at least one person not experiencing any pain”.

So began the woman’s search. She went from home to home asking, finding out. Every person that the woman met had pain. This made her realise that she is not alone in pain. She came weeks later and said to the Buddha without any surprise that the expedition was unfruitful. She couldn’t find a single person that was free from pain.

“And so I cannot remove your pain. There is a way out of suffering however, and that is a choice.”

So the real question is why do I suffer? And without giving a ready-made answer from the recesses of my memory, if I just stay quietly with myself, what happens?

On Will-power

We usually consider success to be the fulfilment of our desires. Yet when a desire is fulfilled there are more desires. We construe this self-satisfaction to be success and we think there is happiness in it. It is why we pursue it. Will-power as it is understood in this context by a lot of people is the ability of a person to overcome all obstacles to meeting one’s goal, this “goal” usually being sensual satisfaction or an ego-inflating end. So the idea of will-power is based on this success.


Will-power is the strength of the mind (Citta shakti) that makes it capable to meet success or failure with equanimity, composure and clarity. This itself is success because all endeavours of life are uncertain. And we are seeking security and insurance in everything we do, which is why there is no peace in anything we do.

Furthermore, success, understood in the former sense of self-gratification develops arrogance. Failure on the other hand teaches us to be humble and have a clear look at our limitations and helps us to proceed without negligence. This makes us skillful in action, here and now. This helps us to surrender, here and now. This self-surrender and humility are symptoms of happiness.