Namaste is a Sanskrit word combining the roots namah - “I bow down” and te - “to you.” The most common translation in the yoga world is, “the divine light within me bows down to the divine light within you.” It is used as a greeting and spoken in unison at the end of most yoga classes as a gesture of mutual respect. Typically, the yogi will press their hands together in prayer position while bowing their head as they say namaste.
Om or “aum” is a sacred, primordial syllable in the Hindu religious system. It is described in the Yoga Sutras as the sonic form of Ishvara or God, and Patanjali recommends chanting the sound of “om” while meditating to be connected with that divine power. Yogis often chant “Om” at the beginning of each yoga class as an invocation and at the end of class to seal the practice.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel” and is used to describe vortexes of energy within the body. There are seven primary chakras that correspond to specific glands or nerve ganglia, starting at the base of the spine and moving up to the crown of the head. When the chakras are spinning smoothly, we are healthy and balanced. When the chakras are blocked, energy gets trapped and illness - physical, mental or emotional- is likely to occur. Yogic practices such as asana & pranayama are designed to balance the chakras so that energy can flow smoothly.
Sitz Bones or sitting bones is a term commonly used by yoga teachers to refer to the ischial tuberosities, or the lowest bone on each side of the pelvis. The term sitz bones is used because when someone is sitting with a completely erect spine, they will be sitting up on these boney knobs. By keeping the sitz bones directly pressed into the floor during seated asanas, we are protecting the muscles of the low back, by preventing tucking or arching of the pelvis, and allowing for greater spinal extension.
Asana is a Sanskrit term that translates to “seat” but is now used to refer to all the postures in a physical yoga practice - seated or otherwise. Each posture in the yoga practice is a different asana with its own name and properties. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says that an asana should be both “steady” and “comfortable,” or a delicate balance of strength and ease. He was referring to the seat one takes for meditation, but the same directive can be applied to every posture, giving them the quality of moving meditation.