Not the Sanskrit answer to “Life’s Big Questions,” but the English “translations” of the Sanskrit asana names from this week’s (March 15, 2009) “Upper Back Extension/Shoulder Blades In” class. (Note, this is not the entire class sequence, just the Sanskrit Teaching part.)
DISCLAIMER #1: Do NOT try to use these words while talking to someone from India! Indians speak HINDI or URDU, it would be like someone coming up to you and speaking to you in LATIN, something might make sense, generally the root word is correct, but believe me SVANA is NOT dog! Kuttu is dog.
DISCLAIMER #2: I do not have diacritical marks in this program. SO, some things might look/sound weird. I’m sorry. There should be ‘long’ lines over some of the vowels and lines or dots under/over some consonants. I do not like the transliteration style of doubling vowels, or putting in extra ‘h’ here and there. So bear with me. I am using the standard transliterated common spellings of asana names.
Remember, each ASANA (”posture/seat”) name, has “asana” at the end of each word.
For **EXTRA CREDIT** (no grades given here, but for your own edification),
What IS the SEAT of each Asana?
baddhangullyasana baddha (bound) gully (finger)
urdhva hastasana urdhva (upward) hasta (hand)
gomukhasana arms go (cow) mukha (face)
garudasana arms garuda is the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu
paschima namaskarasana paschima (back) namaskar (prostration)
adho mukha svanasana adho (downward) mukha (face) svana (dog)
padangusthasana pada (foot) gustha (toe/finger)
vaishistasana Vaishista is the name of a great sage in Hindu lore
makarasana arms while lying over block makara (crocodile)
makarasana arms in standing back arch
makarasana arms in virabhadrasana I Virabhadra is a name of Lord Shiva in his wrathful form
viparita dandasana on chair viparita (inverted) danda (staff/stick)
halasana hala (plough/plow) **note: in Pune it is pronouced like Old English “ploh” (long ‘o’ rhymes with snow)
salamba sarvangasana salamba (supported) sarva (all) anga (limbs/parts)
savasana shava (corpse) **this is ok in Hindi: there is a great song & dance number with Amitabh Bachchan singing “Say Shava Shava” (it’s a joke, he’s quite far from the grave!) for his birthday in the 2001 Bollywood film Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes Happy Sometimes Sad). Shahrukh Khan plays AB’s future estranged son, and the wife is played by AB’s real wife Jaya Bachchan.