I don’t know why I thought the yoga classes at the Eco Yoga Park outside Buenos Aires would be in English, but they weren’t. Luckily, with my basic understanding of Spanish and my experience with yoga (and peeking around at other practitioners, of course), I was able to figure out most of the instructions after just a few classes.
Here’s my cheat sheet, which I’ve compiled after three months of taking yoga classes all over Argentina, to get you started with your international practice. So get on your colchoneta (mat) fearlessly, and when all else fails, you can always peek around!
el cuerpo: body la cabeza: head la frente: forehead los ojos: eyes la nariz: nose el mentón: chin el cuello: neck los hombros: shoulders los brazos: arms las manos/palmas/los dedos: hands/palms/fingers el pecho/corazón: chest/heart el abdomen: core, abdomen la columna: spine la espalda: back las caderas: hips el culo: sit bones, bottom las piernas: legs las rodillas: knees el/los pie/s: foot/feet el talón: heel el peso: weight el equilibrio: balance
Arguably the most important part of yoga in any language. Luckily, in Spanish many of the words are similar to the English ones.
respirar/la respiración/respiro: to breathe/breath/I breathe profundo/profundamente: deep/deeply inhalar/inhalado: to inhale/inhale exhalar/exhalado: to exhale/exhale
A bit tricky since different teachers use different conjugations.
abrir: to open apoyar: to rest, to support aflojar: to loosen, to get loose acostar: to lie down relajarse: to relax flexionar: to flex, to bend plantar: to plant (as in, “Plant your foot at a 45-degree angle,” or Planta su pie a cuarento y cinco grados) sentar: to sit sentir: to feel mantener: to maintain, to support girar: to twist, to rotate, to turn mirar: to look activar: to activate
derecha: right izquierda: left al centro: to the center delante/enfrente: forward, front atrás: back otro/contrario lado: (other/opposite) side arriba: up abajo: down lento/lentamente: slowly/slow
cierra(n)/abre(n) los ojos: close/open your eyes manos al junto en su pecho/manos llega en el centro: hands together at your chest/center (heart)
You may not be able to understand everything the teacher says about aligning your chakras or becoming one with the universe, but with this list you’ll at least be able to bust out a revolved triangle like a native. The practice of yoga is the practice of connecting with ourselves and the world around us. What better way to do that than to take your practice traveling?
Can you think of any more important Spanish yoga terms? Add them in the comments!